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Lucy Popescu’s theatre news: National Trust; Statements after an Arrest under the Immorality Act; Dear Elizabeth; Fever Pitch; The Merchant of Venice; This Beautiful Future

26 August, 2021 — By Lucy Popescu

Freddie Wise and Katie Eldred in This Beautiful Future. Photo: Steve Gregson

THE latest show Upstairs at the Gatehouse is National Trust by Mial Pagan. Former lovers Peter Fraser and Eleanor Perry are ruthless in their quest for positions of influence and power in politics and journalism. Personal gain outweighs responsibility and comes at terrible cost to the country when Britain is pitched into chaos by Fraser’s policies and weakness in the face of a hard-line group in Cabinet. Fri & Sat 7.30pm, Sun 5pm, Aug 27-29.

I’m a proud trustee of the JMK Award for Theatre Directors. This year’s winner is Diane Page with a rare revival of Athol Fugard’s classic play Statements after an Arrest under the Immorality Act, about a multiracial relationship in Apartheid South Africa. It’s on at the Orange Tree Theatre from Aug 28 to Oct 2.

• The Gate Theatre presents Dear Elizabeth by Sarah Ruhl at Theatro Technis from Sept 1-18. Ellen McDougall’s acclaimed production returns for a limited run in the Camden venue which allows for social distancing. Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, two of America’s most brilliant poets, wrote over 400 letters to each other from 1947-1977. For each performance two unrehearsed actors will take the roles of Bishop and Lowell; a recent graduate will be paired alongside a more established actor. They will meet each other and the audience at the same time.

Joel Samuels’ adaptation of Nick Hornby’s best-selling novel, Fever Pitch, is at The Hope Theatre from Aug 31-Sept 25. It explores one man’s obsession with Arsenal Football Club, what it means to be a fan and what that means for everyone in his life who isn’t. From exhilarating moments of joy to soul-destroying lows, Nick’s passion infects every aspect of his life. 10 per cent of tickets to be released free to Islington residents.

• Tower Theatre Company presents The Merchant of Venice, one of Shakespeare’s most popular and controversial comedies. With its confusion of traders, money lending and love, alongside a riddle of caskets and rings that bind (and are lost), the play shows the dark side of trading and the controlling love of fathers. Tower Theatre. Sept 2-11.

At Jermyn Street Theatre until Sept 11 is This Beautiful Future by Rita Kalnejais. Elodie and Otto are teenagers in love. Hidden in their farmhouse-loft, they talk, tease and touch. Outside, the picture is different: it is Chartres, 1944 and war is raging. Elodie lives under German occupation while Otto, a soldier, pledges faith to the führer. This tender portrayal of first love was highly praised on its debut at the Yard Theatre in 2017. Directed by Chirolles Khalil, it stars Katie Eldred and Freddie Wise.


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