Something for the weekend sir?

Sitting around on a Saturday night? Reconciling yourself to an evening spent watching manic depressive Irish twins and a faded noughties boyband systematically deconstruct the meaning of what music has to be? Well this glimpse of what’s on the London stage may encourage you to put on your gladrags and discover some theatre that you never even knew existed.


Who? A bit of a high-culture European super-group; acclaimed French director Patrice Chereau (La Reine Margot) works with Simon Stephens (Wastewater, Punk Rock) and Jon Fosse (by all accounts Europe’s most performed playwright – who knew?).  It’s basically a bit like when John Lennon formed a band with Keith Richards, Eric Clapton and Mitch Mitchell but probably a lot less cool.
What? Two nameless characters are alone on a boat, they drift into the ocean and into the world of the unknown. They are entering a world of metaphor, allusion and philosophical questions about man’s relationship with itself and with nature.How much you enjoy this play probably rests on whether you got to the end of the previous sentences without raising your eyebrows at the pretentiousness of it all.
Why? With such a strong British tradition and the constant influx of big names from America, this is a chance to see how they do it on the continent. A legendary director meeting a prolific playwright (over 900 productions in 40 languages) would be cause for celebration across Europe but here it has received a decidedly mixed reception. Fosse is seen by many as a sub-Ibsen or Beckett but you do not get translated that many times without being able to tap into certain universality.
Where? The Young Vic
When? Until 21st May (and then on an international tour)
How much? £10 – £27.50
Tedious deconstruction of the play to one sentance:An existentialist play directed by a Frenchman where there are two characters called ‘the one’ and ‘the other’; you can’t argue you didn’t know what you were letting yourself in for when you bought the tickets.


Who? Tender Napalm is the first play in three years by Phillip Ridley, winner of Time Out, Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle awards and includes Jack Gordon (Fish Tank, War Horse) who won the Screen International Star of Tomorrow award.
What? Taking its influences from a number of playwrights, including Pinter & Coward and with nods towards Shakespeare and the ancient Greeks, Tender Napalm is more than a string of cultural reference points. It presents an intelligent study of the lines (in reality, in language and in metaphor) that pull a relationship through love and hate. A stripped back stage and fully committed performances by the actors draw the audience into the action.
Why? Ridley’s ear for language draws you into the hidden depths and finds ways of vocalising those places in the mind that in real life remain unsaid, this leads to a play that has a vitality and a rawness that is too often missing from similar plays. Rather than clunky realist plotting, Ridly manages to draw the life out the play out of the emotion and imagination of his characters.
Where? Southwark Playhouse
When? Until 14th May
How much? £8 – £18
Tedious deconstruction of the play to one sentence

A brutal, excoriating but often very funny examination of a relationship and the fine lines drawn between love and hate; stellar performances and intelligent staging underpin a play by one of Britain’s most exciting writers.

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