The best theatre shows to catch this summer

    7 May 2019

    The next few months look set to be an exciting time for London’s theatres – both in the West End and on the independent circuit. Here are our six picks of shows to catch:

    Death Of A Salesman

    Young Vic, 1 May – 29 June

    Under new artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah, the Young Vic feels the theatre to watch right now. The pick of its spring season? A stylish revival of Arthur Miller’s great play starring The Wire’s Wendell Pierce and Oliver-winner Sharon D Clarke (who had the critics purring over her performance in hit musical Caroline Or Change). This has everything in place to be one of the productions of the year.

    White Pearl

    Credit: Niall McDiarmid

    Royal Court, 10 May – 15 June

    It’s been a while since I’ve seen anything good – I mean, really good – at the Royal Court. A shame given the Sloane Square theatre used to be one of the most reliable hit-factories in London. But this new play – by first time writer Anchuli Felicia King – looks like it could break the spell. It’s about a cosmestic company whose tone-deaf advert goes viral for all the wrong reasons. I’m hoping for a clever take on outrage culture and social media.

    The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson

    Park Theatre, 9 May – 8 June

    Playwright Jonny Maitland has previously written brilliant plays about Geoffrey Howe and (controversially) Jimmy Saville. Now he turns his sharp eye to Brexit. Beginning in spring 2016 with Boris Johnson’s fateful decision to back ‘Leave’, this play jumps forward fifteen years to imagine Boris’s fate in a post-Brexit Britain. Maitland has told The Spectator that he was inspired to write after reading Lloyd Evans’ (our theatre critic) verdict that theatreland needed a decent Brexit comedy. Fingers crossed this is it.

    The Glass Menagerie

    Arcola Theatre, 23 May – 13 July

    Admittedly I’m biased: The Glass Menagerie is one of my favourite plays in the world. Acclaimed director Femi Elufowoju Jr. takes Tennessee Williams’ depression-era masterpiece (which he lists as a formative influence) and reimagines the Wingfields as an African American family, living in their cramped tenement apartment in Mississippi. The Arcola Theatre is a lovely space and invests generously in its productions. Let the magic begin.

    Blueprint Medea

    Finborough Theatre, 21 May – 8 June

    The Finborough Theatre is one of the gems of London’s theatre scene. Based on interviews with female Kurdish fighters (and loosely inspired by Medea), this new play promises to be a hard-hitting but compelling evening. Playwright Julia Pascal has won numerous writing awards but has also achieved the not-inconsiderable feat of penning decent (and fair-handed) plays about the Israel/Palestine conflict. If you’re interested, get in early – the tiny Finborough (capacity 50 seats!) sells out quickly.

    The Hunt

    Almeida Theatre, 17 June – 3 August

    The last time the Almeida adapted the work of Danish film director Thomas Vinterberg (with its 2004 production ofFesten), it became one of its bigger hits – earning the independent Islington theatre one of its first Broadway transfers. This time, the Almeida has hired Spooks screenwriter David Farr to adapt Vinterberg’s 2012 cult hit, Jagten (The Hunt). Set in a small Danish village, it follows a man falsely suspected of child sex abuse. It won’t be an easy watch, but it should be worth it.