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Lyn's Picks: July 2

Lyn's Picks: July 2

Lyn's Picks: July 2 cover photo on Stagedoor
What's caught the attention of our resident critic this week?

Leopoldstadt (Wyndhams)

Nestled within the Russian doll construction of Tom Stoppard’s latest, and possibly final play, Leopoldstadt, is Leo, the son and grandson of a Viennese Jewish family. A serious, weighty and enjoyable family saga, it charts the family’s history from turn of the century Vienna to 1955. Leo was born Leo Rosenbaum in Vienna but takes his English stepfather’s name-- just as Stoppard did when his widowed mother married Major Kenneth Stoppard in India in 1945-- and becomes Leo Chamberlain, a callow young English comic writer of 25 who knows little about his past. Leo could perhaps be seen as a rueful portrait of the artist as a young man. Stoppard’s best plays are always those where he risks revealing himself and this story of Jewish identity and heritage is one of his best and deserves to be welcomed back into the West End.

2:22-A Ghost Story (Noel Coward)

All theatre is a form of ghost story, and some of the art’s greatest plays from Hamlet to The Weir are forms of ghost stories. Until the pandemic The Woman in Black was one of the West End’s longest running hits and with good reason: it can still make an audience startle. Will Danny Robbins’ play join those ranks? It’s too early to say whether it will be supernatural piffle or something more haunting. But I’m a sucker for a ghost story, and with Matthew Dunster on board directing a star cast which includes Hadley Fraser, Julia Chan, Jake Wood and Lily Allen, making her West End debut, I hope there is substance to this story about a woman who believes her new house has a ghost.

Shedinburgh Fringe Festival 2021 (online)

Can’t make it to Edinburgh this August, have no fear you can still join in on-line from the safety of your living room. One of the best places to start is the Shedinburgh festival which is the brainchild of producers Francesca Moody and Harriet Bolwell and playwright Gary McNair, and which last year raised over £20,000 on pay what you can tickets to provide bursaries to help artists go to the fringe in person in future years. This year they hope to do better still. This week’s programme includes Emma Dennis-Edwards terrific Funeral Flowers, Rosa Hesmondhalgh’s brave and funny, Madame Ovary, and Gary Owen’s blistering modern classic, Iphigenia in Splott.

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Written by

Lyn Gardner

New tips and reviews every week. If you're looking for innovative theatre, you've come to the right place.
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