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Lyn's Picks: May 30

Lyn's Picks: May 30

Lyn's Picks: May 30 cover photo on Stagedoor
What's caught the attention of our resident critic this week?

No Particular Order (Theatre 503)

Joel Tan, a writer who splits his time between Singapore and the UK, offers a unique perspective in this ambitious play which spans 320 years in the lives of the citizens of an unnamed country where a dictator comes to power. We are all buffeted by history and shifts in power and politics, but the voices and experiences of ordinary people often get lost. Tan brings them to the fore and gives a sense of ebb and flow, power and politics and constant revolution and change in a play from a writer who may be making his UK debut but who is already under commission with Headlong and the Almeida.

Cancelling Socrates (Jermyn Street)

Tom Littler has just been appointed the new artistic director at the Orange Tree in Richmond. It’s a reward for his consistently interesting programming at the tiny Jermyn Street theatre which includes this latest play from Howard Brenton who may be a veteran but whose late flowering has proved that he has his finger as much on the pulse as many younger writers. This one goes back to Ancient Athens where everyone is recovering from a plague and trying to get back to some semblance of normality. But local philosopher Socrates just keeps asking questions: nobody wants these questions to get an airing, and they certainly don’t want to contemplate the the answers. It’s just too scary. Sounds familiar? It’s 339BC, but maybe it could just as well be the contemporary UK.

The Secretaries (Young Vic)

Queer feminist rage takes over the Young Vic’s smaller space in a murderous story about a group of secretaries at a lumberjack factory who have murder on their minds. It's directed by Genesis Future Directors Award recipient, Deirdre McLaughlin, and written by a US quintet of female writers who call themselves The Five Lesbian Brothers. The script dates from the early 1990s and mixes comedy horror with sharp satire on how lesbian women are perceived in a joyous and anarchic celebration of the pleasures of being a bad girl. Really bad girls who pride themselves on being great at dictation and killers with a chainsaw for any man who shows an interest in one of the members of the typing pool. Parody is always difficult to pull off, but if McLaughlin succeeds this could be a sly, subversive hit.

Cover image from No Particular Order at Theatre 503.

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Written by

Lyn Gardner

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