Photo: ©The Other Richard

The best theatre to watch this April—4000 Miles at the Old Vic and The War of the Worlds at NST City

Plus Manor at the National Theatre
March 3, 2020
4000 Miles, Old Vic, 6th April to 23rd May

Award-winning American playwright Amy Herzog is known for mining her family history. This early play introduces us to her 91-year-old grandmother in Greenwich Village catching up with Leo, her grandson, who’s just completed a long bicycle trip and is mourning the loss of a close friend. It’s the ease and particularity of Herzog’s writing that makes the play sing. Director Matthew Warchus has secured some deluxe casting in Eileen Atkins as the feisty nonagenarian and movie heartthrob Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name, Little Women) as troubled Leo.

Manor, National Theatre, 7th April to 6th June

A new mother-and-daughter play comes from the notable sister act of writer Moira Buffini and director Fiona Buffini. A run-down coastal manor house is besieged by neighbours seeking shelter when a violent storm hits. A potent social situation, combining elements of John Whiting and Edward Albee, is exacerbated by the arrival of a right-wing demagogue who might be a saviour, might be a destroyer. Is this a post-Brexit metaphor? Will they get through the night? And in what sort of shape?

The War of the Worlds, NST City, Southampton, 12th to 25th April

HG Wells’s 1937 sci-fi novel plonked Martians in Woking and prompted Orson Welles’s “fake news” bulletin on American radio, as thousands woke up to discover that aliens from outer space had landed in New Jersey. The Nuffield in Southampton has co-produced a critically acclaimed re-setting of this classic fable of futuristic paranoia with the Brighton Festival, HOME in Manchester and the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth. It goes onto the New Wolsey, Ipswich, at the end of the month.