The best new plays in London and Manchesterby Michael Coveney / October 12, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in November 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
National Theatre, 4th November to
Another month, another production by Ivo van Hove—this time of Sidney Lumet’s Oscar-winning 1976 film Network, a dystopian media satire written by Paddy Chayefsky, newly adapted by Lee Hall. The main attraction is Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston in the role of a TV anchor-man sliding into dementia and meltdown. It’s a controversial project for the NT, with outside producers parachuting in Cranston, supported by Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey) in Faye Dunaway’s role. But if anyone can make a play about a film about television without resorting to glib use of video, van Hove can.
Royal Exchange, Manchester, 2nd to
Another film adapdation this time of Jubliee, Derek Jarman’s 1978 punk movie. It was as wild and outrageous as it was imaginative, with Elizabeth I time-travelling to hear Anarchy in the UK and a murderous girl gang listening to New Wave music. One of the girls was Toyah Willcox, now returning to the scene of the crime as Gloriana in Chris Goode’s stage adaptation celebrating the film’s rebellious spirit.