With so much great in-person theatre opening this week, from Phoebe Éclair-Powell’s Harm at the Bush, to Amy Berryman’s Walden with Gemma Atherton as part of Sonia Friedman’s Re:Emerge season at the Harold Pinter, it’s hard to pick just one show. But I’d put my money on the Kiln’s first play since the theatre shutdown. It's the co-winner of the inaugural Women’s Prize for Playwrighting, which aims to do for female theatre writers what the Women’s Prize for Fiction has done for novelists in raising the profile of those who make up 52 per cent of the population but don’t get 52 per cent of stage time. Amy Trigg’s play focusses on Juno, a young woman pondering how being a disabled child has impacted her in young adulthood. Co-produced with Paines Plough and directed by Charlotte Bennett this was loved by the judges for the prize who praised its humour and honesty. Trigg herself plays Juno.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Globe, and live stream)
Welcome back to theatre and welcome back to the Globe, which returns with a restaged version of Sean Holmes’ 2019 revival which features Sophie Russell as Bottom. If you are looking for joy in the theatre over the next few months this is a very good place to start - it's a production which brings a pantomime playfulness to Shakespeare’s magical play. The show, which includes live streamed performances on June 5 and September 25 for those who are not yet ready or able to venture into the theatre, will be followed by Romeo and Juliet with Alfred Enoch and Rebekah Murrell, and Twelfth Night with Michelle Terry as Viola. It’s a tempting season.
Herding Cats (Soho and online)
Another production that can either be experienced in-person or digitally (something we are going to see a great deal more of over the coming months), this is a revival by Anthony Banks of a play he premiered back in 2010 at the Ustinov in Bath. Lucinda Coxon’s excellent, nasty and very sad play is about young people disconnected from each other and contemporary life. It should take on new meaning at a time when many of us have discovered what home working means, and it’s a play which lets nobody off the hook: not the characters or the audience. There’s a fab cast too with the unhappy threesome being played by Jassa Ahluwalia, Greg Germann and Sophie Melville.
Cover image from Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me.