The best shows to watch this monthby Michael Coveney / June 16, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Palace Theatre, London, 6th July to 27th May 2017
The two-part play has been done in the West End before, but this is surely something else: “the eighth story, 19 years later” in JK Rowling’s wizard saga over two original full-length plays, with flying, spells and transformation effects (we hope).
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ended with an older Harry packing his respective children off to Hogwarts. Now Rowling—with director John Tiffany and playwright Jack Thorne (who collaborated on the fantastic adaptation of the Swedish vampire movie Let the Right One In)—has revisited the murder of Harry’s parents. The emerging truth will presumably energise grown-up Harry (Jamie Parker)—now an overworked employee at the Ministry of Magic, and family man—Hermione (Noma Dumezweni, an RSC associate) and Ron Weasley (Paul Thornley). Previews through June settle into regular performances in July, both parts playing from Wednesday to Sunday. The producers are relying on the loyalty of Harry Potter fans to negate the risk of this unusual scheduling, as well as the challenge of a (probably) high-concept production in one of London’s most forbidding Victorian theatres.
Queens of Syria
Young Vic, 5th to 9th July, then touring
An all-female cast of Syrian refugees is visiting Britain for three weeks, knitting their experiences of war and exile into Euripides’ Trojan Women. This staging is interspersed with excerpts from Yasmin Fedda’s award-winning documentary which followed rehearsals for this theatre project with refugees in Jordan, first performed there three years ago. More performances follow in Oxford, Brighton, Liverpool, Leeds and Edinburgh.
Making Mischief Festival
The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, 27th July to 27th August
The RSC’s Other Place, originally a tin hut, was solidified with brick in 1990 and closed in 2006 to make way for the Courtyard while the main theatre was being rebuilt. Now it’s restored as a key “creative hub”—learning, research, development, rehearsal rooms and “hang out” destination. Its 200-seater studio opens with an original work mini-festival involving Tanya Moodie in a solo show, Joanne, and an already lauded new play, Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again by Alice Birch.