What happened to the shows whose runs were cut short because of the theatre lockdown? Bertie Carvel, best known for being the original Miss Trunchbull in Matilda, playing Rupert Murdoch in Ink and for starring in Mike Bartlett’s Dr Foster on TV, has come up with a good idea: four shows that were running in London and Manchester on the day of the theatre shutdown in which the original cast recreate the plays for radio while in isolation. A pretty fab bunch they are, including the Lyric Hammersmith’s revival of Mike Bartlett’s Love, Love, Love, Winsome Pinnock’s Rockets and Blue Lights which had been due to open at the Royal Exchange in Manchester, Josh Azouz’s The Mikvah Project (which was running at the Orange Tree), and EV Crowe’s deliciously surreal Shoe Lady which was at the Royal Court.
Love, Love, Love had just opened at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre when the theatres closed in March 2020. Lockdown Theatre Festival gives it a new lease of life on radio, using technological solutions to record the actors at home. Mike Bartlett’s play charts one couple’s journey 40 years on from the era of free love to the beginning of the 21st century. Smoking, drinking, affectionate and paranoid, Kenneth and Sandra build their life and family together in a time of increasing national prosperity, when the future is always better than the past. Now they’re retired and their children grown, but why hasn’t it all worked out the way they thought? What happens when the children you think you’ve done everything for, believe you haven’t done enough?