Kevin McNally has his chance to show how well Shakespeare's play goes in the open airby Michael Coveney / July 19, 2017 / Leave a comment
King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, 8th to 20th August
The honour of being the first senior British playwright for many years to have a world premiere at Edinburgh falls to the irrepressibly fecund Alan Ayckbourn, now 78. The Divide sounds as structurally ambitious as his Norman Conquests trilogy (1973), or the two-part House and Garden (1999). The Divide consists of two plays of three hours each set a century from now in a country decimated by a plague and enforced gender segregation. Forbidden love marks the lives of a brother and sister in a small English town, while revolution looms on the peripheries. It comes to the Old Vic in the autumn.
Shakespeare’s Globe, 10th August to 14th October
The last home-grown King Lear at the Globe (above) was David Calder’s, and now Kevin McNally has his chance to show, as Calder did, how well this play always goes in the open air. McNally is best known as Joshamee Gibbs in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. His stage roles include Claudius to Jude Law’s Hamlet, Tony Hancock in a show of his own devising, and playing the playwright in Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van.
Minerva, Chichester, 11th August to 9th September
As director of the National Theatre, Richard Eyre programmed Githa Sowerby’s Rutherford and Son, a sensation in 1912, by an Edwardian author who died in 1970. That production restored a reputation and the little Orange Tree theatre in Richmond followed, four years ago, with Sowerby’s The Stepmother (1924), a riveting fable of manipulation, money and matrimony. Eyre now re-visits that piece at the Minerva in Chichester. What price, the play asks, a woman’s autonomy in a man’s world?