©Jay Brooks

Prospect recommends: The best plays this month

The must-sees
April 11, 2017
The Resistible Rise of Arturo UiDonmar Warehouse, 20th April to 17th June

Political rhetoric has never seemed so worn, nor demagoguery so dire. It will be instructive, therefore, to re-visit Bertolt Brecht’s Richard III-style parable of the rise of National Socialism, in which the gangster Arturo Ui makes his way during the Great Depression. Corruption thrives in Chicago as a protection racket for jobs and business. Lenny Henry, a prominent comedian for several decades, knighted for services to drama and charity, scales another peak in a startling stage career that began with a memorable Othello, followed by an even greater performance in August Wilson’s Fences.

The FerrymanRoyal Court, 24th April to 20th May

Jez Butterworth’s new play, directed by Sam Mendes, sold out on the first day of booking, and is already selling seats for a season at the Gielgud (20th June to 7th October). Expect something special from the author of Jerusalem and a crack Irish cast including Brid Brennan, Gerard Horan, Dearbhla Molloy and Des McAleer, in a company comprising “18 adults, 7 covers, 12 children on rota and one baby.” It’s all hands on deck in rural Derry for the annual harvest shindig. But who’s the mysterious visitor?

Brighton FestivalVarious venues, 6th to 28th May

The extraordinary poet and performer Kate Tempest is guest director of this year’s Brighton Festival, playing several gigs herself and curating site-specific events in woodland and cemetery, river and beach. There’s also a US election-year domestic trilogy, The Gabriels, by smart American playwright Richard Nelson, stories of Indian independence by Siddhartha Bose, dance from Dundee and Buenos Aires, Australian circus group Circa, cabaret artist Meow Meow and Kneehigh’s terrific Tristan & Yseult.