Rejoice! We're approaching a long weekend that's reserved for making chocolate cornflake cakes, skipping through daffodils, worshipping your deity(s) of choice or staying in bed grumbling about the return of hayfever season – the choice is yours. But with two glorious Bank Holidays at your disposal and rain forecast for both of them (sorry!) it's as good a time as any to crack into some theatre. Here's where to start:
🌼Watch some adorable kids' shows
Little Angel Theatre has been, well, angelic through the pandemic, providing loads of free puppet-making workshops and interactive Zoom shows to divert primary-aged kids. This weekend, you can adventure through a flower-filled forest with Where the Bugaboo Lives (which according to Lyn Gardner's review has "oodles of low-key charm and a DIY aesthetic"). Or check out the appropriately Eastery show Eggs on Legs by Garlic Theatre, performed by a cast of ovoid puppets.
🌼See old stories made fresh
There's something very spring-appropriate about the act of reinterpreting an old text, like fresh crocuses pushing their way through dead old leaves. Tristan Bernay's play Testament relocates three unsettling Bible stories to contemporary America, with a gospel and blues soundtrack. Or catch up with The Picture of Dorian Gray, which recasts Oscar Wilde's decadent antihero as a modern day influencer on an obsessive hunt for youth and beauty.
🌼Get sacrilegious with Jesus Christ Superstar
Priests picketed the opening night of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's musical, which turns Jesus into a self-absorbed rock god who's wearied by the demands of fame. Yes, it would be lovely to be watching last year's gorgeous staging at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. But now's a good time to get to know the original 1973 film, which mixes definitive vocal performances with a hip 'n' happening arty desert aesthetic. Or opt for something that's camper than the Easter bunny with the 2012 concert production, starring Mel C and Tim Minchin, available to watch on Broadway HD.
🌼Become a hardboiled detective
Eggstraction is a very Easter-appropriate escapade that invites you to hunt down a fearsome master criminal, whose nickname is, err, The Easter Bunny. Or for an adventure that's fierce rather than fluffy, try The Kindling Hour, the hotly-awaited new interactive show from creep masters Swamp Motel.
🌼Look forward to the West End's resurrection
The past fortnight has been lit up by lots of exciting new show announcements; Cruise, a new play set in the gay nightlife of '80s Soho, is opening up in May. Ian McKellen is set to play Hamlet in June. And Hairspray, Anything Goes, and Back to the Future are all gearing up for summer reopenings. Make sure you're there by booking your seats through Stagedoor - live theatre's second coming has taken considerably longer than 40 days, but we know it'll be worth the wait!
Until next week,
Quotes of the Week
“The guidelines are always written for your Palladiums and your Birmingham Hippodromes. Places with 1,000 seats or more. There didn’t seem to have been any thought given to smaller venues like ours.”
- Theatre manager Adam Lacey talks about the tough side of running a small venue in Fergus Morgan's piece on pandemic pub theatre
“It is a part of Europe whether or not it is in the EU. Britain’s history is European history. That legacy cannot be denied. It’s rich and it’s an asset. It’s food for creativity and thought.”
- Swedish director Maria Aberg tells The Guardian why her new international theatre company is committed to making work in the UK.
Cover image from Eggs On Legs by Garlic Theatre.