Sunday, February 9, 2014

British Invasion: February 2014

As someone who keeps a regular eye on UK theater, I thought I might try and keep track of UK artists doing work in New York.  I have rated them by my Anglophile excitement level--the unit of measurement is a Kitson, for obvious reasons.

We'll see if I keep up with these reports on a regular basis but here's a glance at February works with a British flavor. 
The flavor of the month is blackcurrant.

A Doll's House (Feb. 21-Mar. 16):  Starring Hattie Morahan, adapted by Simon Stephens (Curious Incident, MorningHarper Regan,), and directed by Carrie Cracknell this Young Vic production was well-received in London and will have a run in New York at BAM.  Critics called it an "innovative" and "spirited" production.  And the acclaim for this production was so high they had two revivals of it in London already.  Cracknell is doing interesting work right now with the recent production of Nick Payne's (Constellations, If There Is I Haven't Found it Yet) play Blurred Lines about sexism and misogyny.  Stephens is one of the UK's most prolific contemporary playwrights working in both West End productions and experimental ones and we don't get to see a lot of his work in New York (thought Curious Incident is supposed to be Broadway bound).  I'm jumping out of my skin for this one.  Definitely 9 Kitsons of excitement here. 

Love and Information: This Caryl Churchill play is directed by James Macdonald (King Lear, Cock) and comes to New York from the Royal Court.  It is playing at the New York Theater Workshop.   I've never seen any Churchill (for shame).  This play involves a large cast playing 100 characters and it is all about communication, privacy, technology, and our changing world.  My interest is piqued.  6 Kitsons.

Machinal (now through Mar. 2):  The creative team behind last year's hit Chimerica, director Lyndsey Turner and designer Es Devlin are working their magic at the Roundabout with this fantastic production of Sophie Treadwell's famous play starring another British import, Rebecca Hall.  Already well-received by New York critics this show is unusual, dark, educational, and of a style and approach not often seen.  Worth checking it out. Having seen it already I'd give it 5 Kitsons of excitement.

Antony and Cleopatra (Feb. 18-Mar. 23): A Royal Shakespeare Company co-production adapted and directed by Tarell Alvin McCraney, this production premiered in the UK and comes to The Public Theater with stage beefcake and Brit Jonathan Cake.  It received mixed reviews when it played in the UK but McCraney's Choir Boy was one of my faves in 2013 so still curious about this production set in Haiti.  Only about 4 Kitsons because I'm a little skeptical considering the bad press. 

If you listen to me on the Maxamoo podcast then you've already heard me talk about these but you can hear me rant and rave about other theater there as well. 

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