Oh Mother (Soho Theatre)
RashDash hit London with a show which has already had audiences talking and debating during its pre-London dates. It marks a new departure for the company whose fierce, enquiring and often cheeky feminism now turns its beady eyes on motherhood. Everybody in the company has had a baby over the last couple of years and as the company told me in a recent interview, that has informed the making of the piece. It’s the start of a lively summer season at Soho Theatre which next month continues with Follow the Signs, a new fully BSL-integrated hip-hop musical, David Hoyle’s Ten Commandments and Not Your Circus Dog’s punk crip cabaret, Not F**king Sorry. That’s before hitting the Autumn running with a post Edinburgh run for Haley McGee’s Age is a Feeling. McGee’s The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale was such a sly delight I’m looking forward to this one.
Much Ado About Nothing (Lyttelton, NT)
Can Katherine Parkinson and John Heffernan as Beatrice and Benedick bring the necessary spark, melancholy and laughter required to Shakespeare’s autumnal romantic comedy? It’s a play which genuinely requires chemistry to be a joy. Simon Godwin, who has delivered at this address over and over –including with a digital version of Romeo and Juliet during the pandemic—is on hand to ensure there is the necessary sexual tension and deal with the funny business that so often falls a wee bit flat. When this play works it can be totally enchanting and with the NT in need of an outright hit, let’s hope it delivers.
Yeast Nation: The Triumph of Life (Southwark)
After there was Urinetown there was Yeast Nation, and some people reckon the score is superior to Greg Kotis and Mark Hollman’s Tony and Obie award-winning musical. It is similarly off-beat featuring as its protagonists a bunch of yeast (yep I did write yeast, it’s not a typo) who we meet three and a half billion years ago on the long slow road to evolution. It turns out that yeast have their feuds, their power plays and their triumphs just as much as any human, and some are loveable and some are villains. It will be interesting to see if this show does the trick for UK audiences and whether it rises like a pillowy loaf or turns out to be a bit of a Marmite show, loved and loathed in equal measure.
Cover image from Yeast Nation: The Triumph of Life at Southwark Playhouse.