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Theatre Gems

Here are four theatre gems showing now and coming soon:

Last chance to see

Registerd charity Ice & Fire is a theatre company placing human rights issues at the heart of its agenda. If you saw On the Record at the Arcola, you will know the extraordinarily ability of the company to get a powerful message across. The Nine o’Clock Slot (this is the time when the English poor and unnamed are buried) shocks and surprises from the moment it opens (which is not when you think it will open). The audience promenades through a cemetery and attends a funeral service before being seated for the play. Skillful – brilliant - use of space adds to the notion that this is something really exciting in British theatre. The small cast – all play at least two characters – offers outstanding performances. Moving, powerful, episodic and ultimately more than merely thoughtprovoking, The Nine o’Clock Slot stayed with me for a long time after the play closed.
Red Gallery, Shoreditch until 19 April
(Ice &Fire’s next production The Island Nation is currently in development – a staged reading is at the Southbank Centre on 17 May).

On Now

I am a great fan of Studio 503 which used to be called the Latchmere Theatre. The venue is garnering praise for its current play Occupied which has only been open a short while and has already received two off West End nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Best Set Designer. Occupied is set in a disused toilet, and tells of two Romanian immigrants who kidnap an Englishman to learn how to be English. Carla Grauls, the author, is a multi-award winning writer while director Anna Mors graduated in directing from Rose Bruford and has recently won the Kevin Spacey Award for Emerging Artists.
Studio 503 Battersea until 26 April

Coming Soon

Teddington Theatre Club’s production of Moira Buffini’s play Dinner follows recent opening of her newest play Handbagged – which is playing to great reviews currently. Handbagged is about the monarch – Liz – and her most powerful subject – Maggie. What happens when the gloves come off? Dinner, a darker, Olivier-nominated,  work is about food and life – and a dinner party where spice and sex are also on the menu. If you have not been to TTC at the Hampton Hill Playhouse, you should go. It’s a thrill to see a small venue doing so well and putting on great plays.
11-17 May, Hampton Hill Playhouse

Must See – West End

Another Country by Julian Mitchell was the must-see play of 1981 when it opened at Greenwich with Rupert Everett (be still my beating heart). When it transferred to the West End it helped launch the careers of Kenneth Branagh, Colin Firth and Daniel Day-Lewis. It also became a film which, if you saw it, you will never forget. It must be hard for a young cast to step into these enormous shoes but I guess that so many years have elapsed, perhaps the old ghosts of their predecessors cast no shadows. This cast features a robust Judd (Will Attenborough, son of director Michael Attenborough) and newcomer, a beautiful and sweetly bad  Rob Callender as Bennett. It’s set, as you probably know, in the early 30s in an English Public School with fags, dorms and prefects and bullying; the perfect breeding ground for – and microcosm of – the Civil Service and the world of spies. Go and see for something truly British, indeed a classic. The school singing will bring a lump to your throat unless you are made of stone.
Trafalgar Studios until 21 June

Sarah Hodgson is Group Editor at Time & Leisure Media Group