London Spotlight: March 2006
The English Touring Theatre's revival of Alan Bennett's remarkable play, The Old Country can be seen for a week at the Richmond Theatre this month before transferring to the Trafalgar Studios. While the three top-lined thespians aren't as well-known nationally as Irons, they're names to reckon with on these shores: Timothy West, Simon Williams, and Jean Marsh are featured in this play about a couple visiting an old friend who's moved to an unnamed foreign land. The plot revelations are too delectable to reveal, buts it's safe to say the narrative reflects the interest in patriotism that Bennett also explored in his teleplay, An Englishman Abroad.
Samuel Beckett was born April 13, 1906, and in honor of his 100th birthday, the Barbican administrators have joined with Dublin's Gate Theatre to present a Beckett Centenary Festival, starting this month. Everything Beckett will be examined during this celebration. On stage, the master's Rockaby and Ohio Impromptu play on a bill March 21- 28 . Another pair of one-acts, Footfalls and Come and Go, opens March 30 for a week. For patrons who can't get enough of their man, the organizers have seen to it there will be filmed versions of the work and other fare available.
Of more than passing interest this month are a handful of other items. Jez Butterworth's newest work, The Winterling, is due at the Royal Court, helmed by departing artistic director Ian Rickson. Tennessee Williams's unusual comedy, Period of Adjustment bows at the Almeida, directed by Howard Davies, and featuring a cast that includes Jared Harris. At the National, three short plays -- presented in a changing bill of two -- about teenagers will be unveiled. The playwrights are Mark Ravenhill, Enda Walsh and Deborah Gearing, and the cast of new faces will be guided by Anna Mackmin. (All tickets for patrons under 18 are priced at £10.) Meanwhile, The Gate Theatre's interpretation of August Strindberg's Great Highway graces their Notting Hill stage.