Preview: This week’s must see theatre
- Credit: Archant
Recently filmed by Roman Polanski as Carnage, starring Kate Winslet and Jodie Foster, God of Carnage by French playwright Yasmina Reza, is a sharply-observed comedy of disintegrating behaviour. Plus: Bedlam, Wasted, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.
GOD OF CARNAGE
Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich, until March 2, £12-£8, 01603 620917, www.maddermarket.co.uk
Recently filmed by Roman Polanski as Carnage, starring Kate Winslet and Jodie Foster, God of Carnage by French playwright Yasmina Reza, best known for Art, was voted 'Best New Comedy' in the 2009 Lawrence Olivier Awards and in the same year won the Tony Award for Best Play.
Before the play begins, two 11-year-old children, Benjamin and Henry get involved in an argument because Henry refuses to let Benjamin join his 'gang' resulting in Benjamin knocking out two of Henry's teeth with a stick.
This dispute in the park brings two sets of affluent, liberal minded parents together to discuss the incident in a reasonable way. A lawyer and his wife come to the home of a self-made wholesaler and his wife. The evening starts in a civilised manner but as it goes on, the 'meeting' degenerates into irrational and childish arguments. This sharply-observed comedy of disintegrating behaviour is here directed by Rob Morris and features Jenny Dewsbury, Neil Bain, Steve Dunn and Angela Rowe, as the parents.
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Sewell Barn Theatre, Constitution Hill, Norwich, February 22-23/February 27-March 2, £8 (£6 cons), 01603 697248, www.sewellbarn.org
Nell Leyshon made history at the Globe theatre, being the first women since 1599 to be commissioned to write her new play Bedlam, which chronicles the goings on at London's notorious Bethlem psychiatric hospital in the 18th century.
Following the story of a young country girl admitted to the asylum, the dark comedy looks at the terrible treatments administered to unfortunate inhabitants, and the gin craze that was sweeping London.
Bedlam - the city's ancient hospital for the insane - is under the influence of Dr Carew for whom profit and lechery come before prevention or cure. But with the arrival of a lovely country girl and the appointment of a more enlightened governor, Carew's inhuman regime starts to crumble, along with his own sanity.
Set against the anarchic backdrop of binge drinkers and ballad singers, this production, directed by Robert Little, will be in the typically energetic style of the Sewell Barn company.
The Garage, Chapelfield North, Norwich, February 25, 7.30pm, £7.50, £5 under-25s, 01603 630000, www.thegarage.org.uk
The Garage, in Chapelfield, continues to stage some innovative drama and has this year beefed up its Curtain Up! season with a number of productions that seem tailor made to lure in younger audiences into the theatre with material relevant to their lives.
The latest is Kate Tempest's highly acclaimed debut play Wasted which focuses on three characters experiencing their early to mid-twenties. Charlotte, Ted and Danny have grown up in London. One's a struggling teacher, one's a bored office worker and one is an aspiring musician, whose band is going nowhere fast.
They're getting further from their idealistic teenage years and life is becoming distinctly staler. They want something different but they aren't sure what that something is, or how to get it.
To make themselves feel better, the three do what they know best: get wasted on drugs and drink and party. But the title of the piece doesn't just refer to them getting high — it is a reference to the opportunities they're missing.
Kate Tempest made a name for herself on the spoken word scene as a poet, rapper and hip hop artist, before this electrifying debut play, which was first premiered at the Latitude Festival.
THE RAGGED TROUSERED PHILANTHROPISTS
Norwich Arts Centre, February 28, £11 (£9 cons), 01603 660352, www.norwichartscentre.co.uk
A powerful two-handed version of the classic book by Robert Tressell which tells the story of a group of painter-decorators struggling for survival in a stagnating Edwardian England.
As they renovate a three-story town house for Mayor Sweater, the philanthropists throw themselves into backbreaking work for poverty wages. They're joined by artist Owen, whose spirited attacks on the dishonesty of capitalism, along with his socialist vision, highlight exploitation in the workplace and inequality in society.
Brought to life by director Louise Townsend and designer Finetime Fontayne, and featuring performers Neil Gore and Richard Stone, this is a fast-paced interpretation of an enlightening, deeply moving and funny tale that has changed countless lives and remains as vivid and remains as relevant today as when it was written almost a century ago.
UEA Drama Studio, February 22-23, 7.30pm, £7-£5, 01603 508050, www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk
UEA Drama Society presents this hit comedy horror rock-musical based on the 1936 US anti-marihuana propaganda film. The show follows a pair of lovably wholesome teenagers as they fall prey to the evils of the demon weed.
UEA Drama Studio, February 28-March 2, £6 (£4 cons), 01603 508050, www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk
When a rhinoceros charges across the town square then start appearing everywhere, Berenger's whole world is under threat in Eugène Ionesco's iconic satire on mindlessness and conformity presented by UEA Drama's own Minotaur Theatre Company.