If the weather were always so beautiful as it has been recently then the theatre may seem like a strange idea for a sunny afternoon. However English weather, like its people, is known for its eccentricities. Therefore, here is a pick of the best plays to be found in London this summer.
‘Much Ado About Nothing’ at Wyndham’s Theatre (running until 3rd September)
Named as ‘Doctor Who About Nothing’ by its critics, the casting of this production is either genius or gaff. Playing the comic couple Beatrice and Benedict are the gifted actors David Tennant and Catherine Tate famous, of course, for their pairing on BBC’s Doctor Who. David Tennant has already made his name in theatre particularly for his expert portrayal of Hamlet recently at the RSC. This production has been set in 1980s Gibraltar: a time of partying and crisp, white uniforms which will lay the perfect platform for a Shakespearean comedy and a wonderful evening of gaiety.
‘Pygmalion’ at the Garrick Theatre (running until 3rd Spetember)
George Bernard Shaw’s masterpiece play of duelling minds has had confirmed admirers since its first appearance in 1912. This popularity only grew with the emergence of ‘My Fair Lady’ which added a new dimension to Audrey Hepburn’s fame. This latest version at the Garrick stars Rupert Everett and Kara Tointon: a strange mix of respected actor and soap/ reality show star. Whether Miss Tointon will meet the mark is yet to be seen. From the 15th August until the end of the run Alastair McGowan will take over from Rupert Everett, surely adding a more comic side to the sarcastic and arrogant Professor Henry Higgins.
‘The Woman in Black’ at the Fortune Theatre (currently booking until 17th December)
This production has been running at the Fortune Theatre since 1989 and has chilled the bones of thousands. It tells the tale of Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor who is sent to investigate the estate of a Mrs Alice Drablow, who gets tangled up into a story that very quickly becomes to intrude on his own life. What is particularly remarkable about this production is the way in which two (and a bit) actors and a few sound effects can hold an audience right in the palm of their hand as they are carried along with Kipps’ journey until its fatal conclusion.
‘Doctor Faustus’ at Shakespeare’s Globe (running until 2 October)
Shakespeare’s Globe has taken the dramatic decision to stage the theatrical sparring partner of its namesake in the form of its new production of Christopher Marlowe’s ‘Doctor Faustus’. ‘Doctor Faustus’ is the journey of a man who sells his soul to the Devil for knowledge. Here, the Devil is played by Arthur Darvill whose recent work in Doctor Who as Rory has made him a household name. This tale of fate, hell and humankind seems rightly placed in the Globe in its very nature and therefore this production should be one to watch.
‘The Railway Children’ at the Waterloo Station Theatre (running until 4th September)
Recent winners of the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment and a record-breaking run; this production was always going to be a hit. Its staging is a mark of pure inspiration using the abandoned Waterloo Station to full advantage. Based on E. Nesbit’s well-loved novel ‘The Railway Children’, it is the story of Bobby, Peter and Phyllis who move to the countryside after their father is imprisoned. A favourite for everyone from 9 year olds to 90 year, this truly is family entertainment at its best.