The Misfortune of the English (Orange Tree)
It’s been a cracking season at the Orange Tree so far this Spring, and things just might have got better still with this new play by Pamela Carter. It’s inspired by the true story of a group of English schoolboys who in April 1936 ignored local advice and got caught in a blizzard in then Nazi Germany’s Black Forest with tragic consequences. What was it that stopped them from taking advice or turning back? The play premiered in Germany last year to fine reviews and speculation about British ideas of heroism fed by stories of WW1 and Empire. Oscar Toeman, who directed an excellent revival of The Sugar Syndrome at this address, is at the helm.
Orlando (Jermyn Street)
Identity and history, the stops and starts of progress, and what happens if you survive for 500 years come under the microscope in Sarah Ruhl’s playful stage version of Virginia Woolf’s fantastical 1928 novel with a time-travelling, gender-swapping central character. You might think it would be a novel which would be impossible to stage, but Ruhl’s version has been widely liked (it premiered in this country at the Royal Exchange in Manchester in 2014 to great reviews) and it will be delicious to see how director Stella Powell-Jones manages to stage sea voyages, the court of Elizabeth the 1st and ice-skating on the frozen Thames on the tiny Jermyn Street stage.
Fat Blokes (The Place)
“This is a fat rebellion,” yells Scottee half way through this angry, joyful dance show which comes with choreography by Lea Anderson and a cast of plus-size blokes. We all know that fat is a feminist issue but this deliciously messy show, which combines autobiographical storytelling with agit-prop interventions, dares to talk about male fat shaming, masculinity, mental health and feelings of failure. This is a brave piece that asks why are we afraid of fat bodies, and puts its money where its mouth is by giving over the stage and making visible those who are normally left feeling that they take up too much space.
Cover photo publicity image for The Misfortune of the English.