Theatre: the shows to book for this autumn

Martin Argles

So far in 2012 there haven’t been that many plays that we’ve been dying to see, which have then lived up to our expectations (GATZ, the return of London Road, Uncle Vanya at the Print Room and Timon of Athens being exceptions). But suddenly, all at once this autumn, we’ve got a theatre wish list as long as our arm. Here it is:

The River: Not much is known about the new play by Jez Butterworth, he who wrote the amazing and hugely successful, multi-award winning Jerusalem, except that it’s set ‘in a remote cabin on the cliffs.’ Dominic West stars and, like Jerusalem, the play is directed by Ian Rickson and designed by Ultz, so all in all it promises to be a heady evening. Ticket demand will be huge, and because the play is being staged in the Royal Court’s smaller theater, the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, seats will be few. For this reason, the Royal Court have decided not to release any tickets at all in advance, which at least gives everyone a fair shot at scoring seats. Instead, all tickets will go on sale on the day of peformance at 9am online and 10am from the Royal Court box office. Good luck!

Another production that is high on our, and many others’ list, is the new play by Enron writer Lucy Prebble. The Effect, described as a ‘clinical romance exploring questions of sanity, neurology and medicine’ may not sound immediately appealing, but then nor did a play about a corrupt energy company. Again, seats will be at a premium because it’s being staged at the National Theatre’s smallest, most intimate space, the Cottesloe. Tickets go on sale on the 24 September. Mark it in your diary.

We’re also dying to see two other productions opening at the National this autumn. Scenes from an Execution by Howard Barker is set in 16th Century Venice and about a female artist who, when commissioned to paint a triumphant battle, instead depicts a scene of war-torn carnage. Fiona Shaw plays the artist Galatica in a production directed by Tom Cairns, whose last play at the National, Brian Friel’s Aristocrats, was so good we saw it twice. And then there’s the new Alan Bennett play, People, starring Frances de la Tour, directed by Nicholas Hytner and designed by Bob Crowley – the team behind Bennett’s The History Boys and The Habit of Art. Tickets please.

Finally, we’ve written about All That Fall, the Beckett play starring Michael Gambon and Eileen Atkins, and The Globe’s all male productions of Richard III (with Mark Rylance as the doomed King) and Twelfth Night (in which Stephen Fry plays Malvolio), before, so this is really just a reminder that if you haven’t booked tickets yet, it will soon be too late. All three productions sound like absolute must-sees. Click here to read more about All That Fall, and here for Richard III and Twelfth Night.

Book now for best autumn theatre: All That Fall, The River, Richard III, Twelfth Night, People, The Effect
Scenes from an Execution: 27 Sept - 9 Dec 2012. All That Fall: 9 Oct - 3 Nov 2012. The River: 18 Oct - 17 Nov 2012. People: 1 Nov - 9 Feb 2013. Richard III & Twelfth Night: 2 Nov - 3 Feb 2012. The Effect: 6 Nov - 23 Jan 2013.
All That Fall: Jermyn Street Theatre, 16B Jermyn St, SW1Y 6ST. The River: The Royal Court, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS. Richard III & Twelfth Night: Apollo Theatre, 31 Shaftesbury Ave, W1D 7EZ. Scenes from an Execution, People & The Effect: National Theatre, South Bank, SE1 9PX
All That Fall: £18 - £20. The River: £20 except on Mondays:£10. Richard II & Twelfth Night: from £32. People & Scenes from an Execution: £12 - £47. The Effect: £12 - £32
Jermyn St Theatre: 020 7287 2875. The Royal Court: 020 7565 5050. Apollo Theatre: 020 7492 1548. National Theatre: 020 7452 3000
— Daisy
6th September 2012

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