Good to see Iman Qureshi, who wrote the Papatango Award-winning The Funeral Director, is back with a new play. A mighty ambitious one it is too, with a cast of eight and multiple story threads. It examines the history and legacy of gay and queer women and it tells that story using the metaphor of a community choir eager to take over the main stage at Pride. But can everyone sing in harmony or will differences and resentments force them apart? It’s a play that comes with songs reflecting lesbian experience through the decades and it is directed by Damsel Production’s Hannah Hauer-King.
The Breach (Hampstead)
Sibling relationships and teenage friendships come under the microscope in the latest from Naomi Wallace, a playwright who understands very deeply that the personal is political and how politics impacts on personal lives, sometimes with tragic consequences. The first of a trilogy of plays set in 1970s Kentucky, The Breach—directed by former Royal Exchange AD, Sarah Frankcom, making a very welcome return to our stages—focusses on brother and sister Acton and Jude. Jude is desperate to keep her younger brother supported and safe and she works nights and weekends so that he will get the opportunities he will need to live the American dream. But will it be enough?
House of Shades (Almeida)
Beth Steel is the real deal, a writer with working class roots who can turn her hand to the epic and the intimate. She’s been a mite overlooked so it’s good to see the Almeida giving house room to this new play—delayed by the pandemic— which covers five decades of life and death in the Webster family, a Nottinghamshire mining family, and how the past impinges on the present. Set against a changing industrial landscape, the play is directed by Blanche McIntyre and stars the wonderful Anne-Marie Duff as the family matriarch. It’s inspired by the Oresteia so it could be bloody.
Cover image of the cast from The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs, photo by Holly Revell.