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Lucy Popescu’s theatre news: Ai Weiwei; Frankenstein; Waiting for the Ship to Sail

01 May, 2020 — By Lucy Popescu

Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch in Frankenstein. Photo: Catherine Ashmore

HAMPSTEAD Theatre’s latest online offering is #aiww: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei. The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (Sunflower Seeds at Tate Modern) was arrested on April 3, 2011 at Beijing Airport. He was escorted to a van by officials and effectively disappeared for 81 days. On his release, the government claimed that Ai Weiwei, a dissident, had been detained for tax evasion. Howard Brenton’s play is based on conversations with Ai in which he tells the story of his imprisonment – by turns surreal, hilarious, and terrifying. Directed by James Macdonald and starring Benedict Wong, it’s available on demand until May 3. Visit: hampsteadtheatre.com

The National Theatre’s Frankenstein will be online across two nights, April 30 and May 1. Danny Boyle’s production has Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternating the roles of Victor Frankenstein and his creation. Not to be missed. Visit: nationaltheatre.org.uk

• Chickenshed’s Waiting for the Ship to Sail is now available online. It’s an artistic response to the urgent and pressing questions of global migration, and investigates national and personal identity. This musical/dance production offers new perspectives on the forces driving both individual and mass migration, as well as telling the story of families directly affected. Visit: chickenshed.org.uk/ and click Waiting for the Ship to Sail.

The Royal Shakespeare Company has partnered with the BBC to share six of their shows between now and September as part of the Culture in Quarantine initiative. You can currently watch Polly Findlay’s production of Macbeth, with Christopher Eccleston in the title role and Niamh Cusack as Lady Macbeth on iPlayer. Visit: rsc.org.uk

• The Globe Theatre has released Emma Rice’s Bollywood-infused A Midsummer Night’s Dream as part of its free online content. Shakespeare’s classic is introduced by actress Meera Syal and combines music, dance and comedy. Four runaway lovers are caught in a dispute between the King and Queen of the fairies, while a troupe of amateur actors are trying to rehearse a play. Puck flies between both groups armed with a love potion capable of making anyone fall for the first person they set eyes upon. Visit: bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p08b015k/culture-in-quarantine-shakespeare-a-midsummer-nights-dream

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