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The best theatre in August and September—Hansard and Caryl Churchill

Plus a new version of Ibsen's Enemy of the People at the Nottingham Playhouse

Alex Jennings and Lindsay Duncan in Hansard

Alex Jennings and Lindsay Duncan in Hansard

Hansard, National Theatre,
22nd August to
25th November

Many of our best male dramatists—Coward, Pinter, Osborne—are actors turned playwrights. Simon Woods, the latest, appeared as Charles Bingley in Pride and Prejudice on film and Caesar Augustus in HBO’s Rome, so he should be good at excavating emotional and political minefields. In Hansard, his first play, the year is 1988  and Alex Jennings is a Tory politician whose marriage to the translucent Lindsay Duncan, above, is considerably less idyllic than the Cotswolds house they inhabit. Their bickering gathers force as a blood sport without hounds and horses.

 

Glass, Kill, Bluebeard, and Imp, Royal Court, London,
18th September to 12th October

The most unpredictable of playwrights, Caryl Churchill, shows no sign of flagging in her ninth decade. Her next eagerly anticipated play for her spiritual home in Sloane Square is a quartet of short pieces directed by her regular collaborator, James Macdonald. These stories come with an elliptical descriptive summary: “A girl made of glass. Gods and murders. A serial killer’s friends. And a secret in a bottle.”

 

An Enemy of the People, Nottingham Playhouse,
13th to 28th September

A new take by playwright Rebecca Lenkiewicz on Ibsen’s play about a doctor threatening a community’s livelihood by trying to shut down the spa where the waters are poisoned. It is the perfect dramatic metaphor for arguments over pollution, with politicians, journalists and townsfolk lined up in opposition. This time, the doctor’s a woman, played by TV and film star Alex Kingston, with Malcolm Sinclair as the Mayor, her brother.

 

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