The best shows to watch this monthby Michael Coveney / May 19, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in June 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
Barbican Theatre, 9th to 18th June
In the week before the EU referendum, the Barbican is hosting an extraordinary European theatrical collaboration: a radical new version of Sarah Kane’s Phaedra’s Love, starring Isabelle Huppert, directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski, the iconoclastic artistic director of the Nowy Teatr, Warsaw.
Kane’s play opened in London 20 years ago at almost exactly the same time as Huppert appeared, gloriously, as Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart at the National Theatre. Phaedra, consumed with lust for her stepson Hippolytus, is a far (and deeply anguished) cry from the tragic stoicism in Schiller. Huppert has played in Kane’s suicide drama 4.48 Psychosis in New York, and recently gave an acclaimed performance opposite Cate Blanchett in Jean Genet’s The Maids in Sydney and New York. Warlikowski also deploys chunks of JM Coetzee’s philosophical novel Elizabeth Costello, together with original material developed with the Lebanese-Canadian playwright Wajdi Mouawad.