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Dead at Last, No More Air - Camden People's Theatre

Dead at Last, No More Air

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

JUST a Must is presenting Dead at Last, No More Air at Camden People’s Theatre – from May 6 to May 17, 2014.

This English language premiere of a forgotten European masterpiece, the final work of Werner Schwab, marks two decades since the great Austrian playwright’s untimely death.

Werner Schwab (1958-1994), the undisputed star of German-speaking theatre, effortlessly rose to fame for his unique talent with language and his macabre, humorous, confrontational narratives. In only four years, he completed fifteen plays.

Dead at Last, No More Air (Endlich tot, endlich keine luft mehr) was his last. In 1994, shortly after its completion, he was found dead in his room following a New Year’s Eve drinking spree. He was only 35.

Dead at Last, No More Air, also known as a “theatre-extinction comedy”, is described as a brutal, irreverent and bizarrely comical piece about what happens when an emerging theatre production is sabotaged by outsiders.

Following a dispute with the cast, the director replaces all the actors with pensioners from a nearby home for the elderly. At first compliant and polite, the ‘forgotten and dispossessed’ gradually start to question the director’s authority, leading to a ‘coup d’état’ where the theatre’s cleaning lady is selected as the group’s leader. Not everybody survives the new order.

Director Vanda Butkovic said: “Death at Last, No More Air is a comedy that puts a magnifying glass to the world of theatre in order to explore its relationship to reality and to power. Staging a Werner Schwab play in London is anything but an easy option for our company. Although renowned in the German speaking theatre world, he is virtually unknown in the UK.

“Nevertheless, I am certain that the play’s uncompromising critique of politics and culture expressed through Schwab’s distinct, biting humour and linguistic dexterity, will resonate with UK audiences and will offer a refreshing alternative perspective to the body of work performed in the current theatrical landscape.”

Produced by Berislav Juraic, Dead at Last, No More Air is translated by Meredith Oakes, with design by Simon Donger, dramaturgical support by Diana Damian Martin and lighting by Ana Vilar.

The cast includes Ingrid Evans, Jeremy Hancock, Denise Heinrich-Lane, Ben Hood, Tom Jacobs, Andrew McKenzie, Niall Murray and Delia Remy.

Just a Must was founded by producer Berislav Juraic and director Vanda Butkovic to introduce post-dramatic theatre in translation to British and international audiences. The company’s work focuses on showcasing exciting authors who have generally been neglected in the British and international performing arts arena.

Previous productions include the English language premiere of Sports Play (2012 – 2014) by Elfriede Jelinek (UK and international tour), the UK premiere of Woman Bomb (2011) by Ivana Sajko (Tristan Bates Theatre) and the first revival of Holy Mothers by Werner Schwab (2009). The company also co-produced Tom Lyall’s Defrag_ at Camden People’s Theatre.

Dead at Last, No More Air is suitable for ages 12+.

Tickets: £12, £10 concessions – available from the box office on 020 7419 4841 or online at www.cptheatre.co.uk/.

Time: Tuesday to Saturday at 7:30pm.

Running Time: 1 hour 40 minutes.

NB: Dead at Last, No More Air will also be performed at The Warren, Brighton from May 30 to June 1, 2014.

USHERS swaps late night slot for month long residency

Daniel Buckley

Casting news

FOLLOWING its success in the late night slot, USHERS: The Front of House Musical will now get a month-long West End residency as the main show at Charing Cross Theatre – from Tuesday, May 13 to Saturday, June 7, 2014.

Tickets: £15 – available from the box office on 08444 930650 or online at www.charingcrosstheatre.co.uk/.

Times: Monday to Saturday at 8pm; Saturday at 5pm.

Previously Posted: The cast has been announced for the new British musical, USHERS: The Front of House Musical which runs at Charing Cross Theatre for a six-week season, playing at 10.15pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from March 12 (previews from March 7) to April 19, 2014.

Joining original and returning cast members Ralph Bogard, Ross Mcneill and Liam Ross-Mills are Daniel Buckley, Ceris Hine and Carly Thoms.

Daniel Buckley’s most recent credits include standby Elder Cunningham in The Book of Mormon (Prince of Wales Theatre), Marvin Camden, understudy and played Lucas Lloyd in Loserville (Garrick Theatre/West Yorkshire Playhouse), Piggy in Lord of the Flies (UK Tour), Rupert Pie in Fresher: The Musical (Edinburgh Fringe Festival) and Otto in Spring Awakening (UK tour).

Ceris Hine was voted winner of The Voice of Tomorrow in 2009 and in 2011 she released her debut album Rose Tinted Girl. She recently reprised the role of Columbia in the 40th Anniversary UK tour of The Rocky Horror Show. http://www.indielondon.co.uk/Theatre-Review/ushers-full-cast-announced

Carly Thoms

Carly Thoms played Liesl in the UK tour of The Sound of Music. Her London credits include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Sound of Music and Babes in Arms (Union Theatre).

Set in a West End theatre, USHERS: The Front of House Musical follows a working shift in the lives of the stagiest people in the theatre – the front of house staff, portraying the hilarious, ridiculous and frequently moving stories of ice-cream and programme sellers who dare to dream…

A preview performance of a new jukebox musical is due to take place, a three-year workplace romance is on the rocks, an untrained newbie is working her first shift and the amorous manager is under pressure to cut costs. What could possibly go wrong?

The cast are currently in the studio recording the cast album, to be released in March by SimG Productions.

Read more about USHERS.

For more information visit www.ushersmusical.co.uk/.

Gilbert & Sullivan's Patience - King's Head Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

CHARLES Court Opera is returning to the King’s Head Theatre with a brand new, fresh and witty production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Patience (or Bunthorne’s Bride) – from June 6 (previews from June 4) to June 28, 2014.

A satire on artistic movements and meaningless fads, Patience brims with cheeky humour, some of Sullivan’s most irresistible music and deliciously over-the-top characters.

John Savournin’s direction and Simon Bejer’s design will bring out the operetta’s relevance to a modern audience.

The cast of nine singers has yet to be announced.

Patience has musical direction by David Eaton and lighting by Nic Holdridge.

Tickets: £15 – £25; previews (June 4 and 5) all seats £10. To book, call the box office on 020 7478 0160 or visit www.kingsheadtheatre.com/.

Times: Monday to Saturday at 7.15pm; Saturday, June 28 at 2pm and 7.15pm.

Australian musical Once We Lived Here continues at the King’s Head Theatre until April 26, 2014.

Finborough's Thérèse Raquin transfers to Park Theatre

Thérèse Raquin. Photo credit: Darren Bell.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING a sell-out run at Finborough Theatre, where it continues until Saturday, April 19, a new musical adaptation of Émile Zola’s classic French novel, Thérèse Raquin, will transfer to the Park Theatre for a limited four week run – from Wednesday, July 30 to Sunday, August 24, 2014.

Casting for the transfer has yet to be announced.

Tickets: £19.50, £16 concessions, £15 previews (July 30 to August 4), £12 (Tuesdays for Residents with North London postcodes and Under 25s). To book, call the box office on 020 7870 6876 or visit www.parktheatre.co.uk/.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Saturday and Sunday at 3pm. Press Night (August 5) at 7pm.

Previously Posted: The world premiere of a new musical adaptation of Émile Zola’s classic French novel Thérèse Raquin, starring Julie Atherton (title role) and Olivier Award nominee Tara Hugo (Madame), runs at Finborough Theatre from March 27 (previews from March 25) to April 19, 2014.

Thérèse Raquin is set in 19th Century Paris. Behind the counter of a small dusty haberdasher’s shop near the Seine in the dank, narrow Passage du Pont Neuf, sit Madame Raquin and her beautiful niece Thérèse, whom she has married off to her sickly son Camille in a loveless match.

While he is out working, Thérèse serves in the shop and the monotony is only broken on Thursday nights, when Madame plays dominoes with a strange assortment of old friends.

On one such Thursday, Camille brings a childhood friend to the party – the bluff and attractive Laurent. He inspires such an incredibly powerful passion in Thérèse that she abandons all her inhibitions and her loyalties. This brutal and overwhelming passion overturns all their lives and has results nobody could have foreseen.

In keeping with the innovative and challenging nature of the original work, this radical new musical adaptation uses music and lyrics to heighten and distil the underlying themes. It features a company of twelve who play the main roles of Thérèse, Laurent, Camille and Madame Raquin, as well as their Thursday night domino playing companions and a watchful and distrustful chorus.

As well as Atherton and Hugo, the cast includes Lila Clements, Claire Greenway, Ellie Kirk, Jeremy Legat, Ben Lewis, Gary Tushaw, Verity Quade and Matt Wilman.

With music by Craig Adams and book and lyrics by Nona Shepphard, Thérèse Raquin is directed by Nona Shepphard, designed by Laura Cordery and has lighting by Neil Fraser.

Julie Atherton’s theatre credits include Lift (Soho Theatre), Sister Act (UK Tour), The Hired Man (Mercury Theatre, Colchester), Cinderella (Lyric Hammersmith), Avenue Q (Noël Coward Theatre), Mamma Mia! (Prince Edward Theatre), Ordinary Days (Finborough Theatre and Trafalgar Studios) and Fame (Aldwych Theatre). Her recordings include A Girl of Few Words and No Space For Air.

Tara Hugo’s theatre work includes Legacy Falls (New Players Theatre and New Your Musical Festival), La Cage Aux Folles (Menier Chocolate Factory), Threepenny Opera (Donmar Warehouse) for which she received an Olivier Award nomination, and The Bacchae (New York Shakespeare Festival). Her recordings include Tara Hugo Sings Philip Glass.

Émile Zola (1840–1902) was a novelist, playwright and journalist, the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism. He was a major figure in the political liberalization of France and in the exoneration of the falsely accused and convicted army officer Alfred Dreyfus, which is encapsulated in his renowned letter J’accuse. Zola was nominated for both the first and second Nobel Prize in Literature in 1901 and 1902.

Presented by Theatre Bench in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre, Thérèse Raquin is part of Finborough Theatre’s acclaimed Celebrating British Music Theatre series and follows the sell-out success of its workshop as part of Vibrant 2012 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights.

For more information or to book, call the box office on 0844 847 1652 or visit www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk/.

Also at Finborough Theatre: the first production in more than fifty years of Terence Rattigan’s Variation on a Theme and the first London production since 1985 of Tom McGrath and Jimmy Boyle’s The Hard Man.

UK Premieres for Australian plays at the Bussey Building

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING their acclaimed production of Mrs Lowry and Son at Trafalgar Studios last Autumn, hotly-tipped director Abbey Wright and her company tackroom theatre are once again joining forces with Moya Productions to present the work of two contemporary Australian playwrights at South London’s Bussey Building.

Holiday and The Eisteddfod (May 14 to June 4) will each be performed for the first time in the UK, offering London audiences a rare opportunity to get to know the work of two of Australia’s most imaginative and dynamic writers, Raimondo Cortese and Lally Katz.

Raimondo Cortese won the Australian Leadership Award in 2010 and was described by The Age as “one of the most exciting playwrights around.” He won the Green Room award for Best Australian Writing for Holiday, a contemplative play that starts with an innocent discussion between two men and becomes an exploration of private fantasy, hidden anxiety, personal mythology and inexplicable behaviour, accompanied by baroque song.

Lally Katz is one of Australia’s most popular dramatists with three new plays premiering on major stages there in 2011 alone, making her the most performed playwright after Shakespeare that year. The Eisteddfod is a fresh, poetic farce set about an agoraphobic brother and sister who create an unsettling fantasy world inside their own flat. Following its Melbourne premiere in 2004, it transferred to the New York Fringe Festival where it won the Producers’ Choice Award.

The shows will form part of the programme for the Australia and New Zealand Festival of Literature and Arts which aims to bring original, quirky and brilliant talent from down under to London on the weekend from May 29 to June 1.

Actor Paul Woodson, whose credits include Three Sisters (Sean Holmes/Filter) will play Abalone in The Eisteddfod alongside Louise Collins, whose recent credits include Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Globe Theatre) as Gerture. In Holiday, Woodson will be joined by Andrew Buckley, whose recent work includes television roles in Borgia and Shameles.

Holiday and The Eisteddfod will be directed by Abbey Wright, former Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar Warehouse where she worked with notable directors including Michael Grandage, Alan Rickman, Jamie Lloyd and John Tiffany. In 2013, she founded tackroom theatre to create new work. Her first production for the company, Mrs Lowry and Son, was Critics’ Choice in both The Times and The Telegraph.

Speaking about the plays, Wright said: “I feel there’s a lot of very interesting writing coming out of Australia at the moment, and much of it isn’t performed here in the UK. I wanted to share with audiences two works that I believe to be truly original in the inspiring environment of the Bussey Building.”

Tickets: Early Bird tickets, £8 – £10; general admission, £10 – £15 – from www.clfartcafe.org/. Alternatively call the Soho Theatre box office on 020 7478 0100 or on the door: Bussey Building, 133 Copeland Road, London, SE15 3SN.

Time: 7.30pm.

Running Time: 2 hours 20 minutes (including interval).

Yesterday’s Tomorrow - Drayton Arms Theatre

Yesterday’s Tomorrow

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

YESTERDAY’S Tomorrow, Gene David Kirk’s story of a serviceman’s love at war, based on actual events, receives its world premiere at the Drayton Arms Theatre, where it runs from Tuesday, May 6 to Saturday, May 31, 2014.

Coming to the end of their peacekeeping tour of duty, Ian and John grow desperate to realise their unlawful and unacceptable feelings for each other. Closeted and cloistered, they carry out their duty as professional and proud servicemen in the knowledge that this is their last tour. Their final duty. An end to a secret…

The cast includes Ben Carpenter (Rupert Goold’s Macbeth, Chichester Festival Theatre/West End/Broadway); newcomer Lewis Griffith; River Hawkins (title role in The Picture of Dorian Gray, Greenwich Theatre); Provence Maydew (Shaw’s Candida and The Provoked Wife, Greenwich Playhouse); Matthew Schmolle (A Midsummer Nights Dream, Southwark Playhouse); and Nicholas Waters (A Midsummer Nights Dream, Southwark Playhouse).

Yesterday’s Tomorrow is directed by Hamish MacDougall (I Never Get Dressed Till After Dark On Sundays, Cock Tavern Theatre, The Upstanding Member, Old Red Lion Theatre). Movement director is Anna Morrissey.

Gene David Kirk completed 14 years’ military service in the RAF. His first play, Where & When, was staged at The Cockpit in 2001; while his second play, All Alone, received The Stage Best of the Fest and Attitude Pick of the Fringe awards at the 2005 Edinburgh Fringe.

At the International Dublin Gay theatre Festival, All Alone was nominated for The Oscar Wilde Award for Outstanding Achievement in New Writing for Theatre. It was then staged in London before moving to New York’s Off Broadway Soho Playhouse. It played again in London earlier this year at the Drayton Arms Theatre to sold-out performances and four-star reviews.

Kirk is currently developing a new play about human trafficking called Slagheap.

Tickets: £12 – available from the box office on 020 78352301 or online at www.thedraytonarmstheatre.co.uk/.

Time: Tuesday to Saturdays at 8pm.

Running Time: Approximately 90 minutes.

NB: Yesterday’s Tomorrow contains strong imagery and language and is therefore suitable for ages 16+.

Drayton Arms Theatre, 153 Old Brompton Road, South Kensington, London, SW5 0LJ

Liz Robertson: Songs From My Trunk - Hippodrome Casino

Liz Robertson

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

OVER the years, Liz Robertson has starred in musicals both in the West End and on Broadway, and worked with every major musical theatre composer – from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Stephen Sondheim, to Rodgers and Hammerstein and her late husband Alan Jay Lerner.

Audiences have been enthralled by her exquisite voice, her subtlety and taste.

Now, she has decided to mix things up musically and show people a different side with the premiere of Songs From My Trunk, at the Matcham Room, Hippodrome Casino on Sunday, April 20, 2014. As she explains:

“From a young age I wanted to sound like the popstars of my era, or to be sexy, down and dirty like Ella, Nina and Cleo, but there was nothing warm and smokey in my sound. Now is the time to start exploring those new notes with songs that I have always desired to sing but never could without sounding ridiculous. So here we are, experimenting….at my age!”

And so it is that in Songs From My Trunk she unveils an eclectic collection of songs, from Van Morrison’s Someone Like You to the Beatles’ Here, There and Every Where to God Only Knows by the Beach Boys and Ann Hampton Calloway’s Bring Back Romance.

Songs From My Trunk is directed by Sarah Ingram, who said: “I am so excited for audiences to hear and see this other side of Liz. This Lady can definitely get down!”

Presented by Black Saphire Productions, Songs From My Trunk has musical direction by Chris Walker.

Tickets: £15 to £30 – available from the box office on 0207 769 8888 or online at www.hippodromecasino.com/.

Times: 6.45pm and 9pm.

Matcham Room, Hippodrome Casino, Leicester Square, London, WC2H 7JH

Richard Armitage to head cast of The Crucible at The Old Vic

Richard Armitage in Chris Ryan's Strike Back

Story by Jack Foley

RICHARD Armitage, star of The Hobbit films and Spooks, is to lead the cast of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible at The Old Vic this summer.

He will play the role of John Proctor in Yaёl Farber’s new production, which also stars Anna Madeley and Samantha Colley as Elizabeth Proctor and Abigail Williams.

Sarah Niles, Rebecca Saire and Zara White will also appear in the play, with further casting to be announced shortly. Previews begin from Tuesday, June 24, 2014.

Described as a visceral re-imagining of Arthur Miller’s modern American masterpiece, the play follows the Salem witch trials and draw parallels with the author’s own experience of McCarthy’s anti-Communist investigations in the 1950’s.

The Crucible tells the story of one man’s fight to save his identity in a repressive Puritan community where intolerance collides with lust and superstition, fuelling widespread hysteria with tragic results.

The Crucible is the second play in a new season of productions which are presented in-theround at The Old Vic. Reprising the transformation of The Old Vic’s auditorium into the round, first seen for the award-winning 2008 production of The Norman Conquests, this ambitious project is once more made possible by the generous support of CQS.

Armitage will shortly be seen on cinema screens in tornado disaster film Into The Storm, directed by Steven Quale, in which he stars opposite Sarah Wayne Callies.

Later this year he will reprise his starring role of Thorin Oakenshield, leader of the Dwarves, in Peter Jackson’s last instalment of the highly successful Hobbit trilogy alongside Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis and Cate Blanchett.

He is also well known to cinema audiences for playing villain Heinz Kruger in Captain America: The First Avenger as well as TV roles in Spooks, Robin Hood, Strike Back, The Vicar of Dibley and the BBC’s Macbeth opposite James McAvoy and Keeley Hawes.

A respected theatre actor, his previous stage work includes The Duchess of Malfi and Macbeth for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Hamlet at the Birmingham Rep.

Samantha Colley is to graduate from The Oxford School of Drama in 2014. Whilst training, she played the title role in Anna Karenina, Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew and Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. The Crucible is to be Samantha’s professional stage debut.

Anna Madeley’s previous stage credits include Richard Eyre’s Broadway production of Private Lives (Music Box Theater), Earthquakes in London (National), The Turn of the Screw (Almeida) and The Philanthropist (Donmar and Broadway). She has also appeared in three seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

On film she has starred in In Bruges, Guest House Paradiso and A Fantastic Fear of Everything. Most recently, she played Miss Ravillious in Mr Selfridge and has had roles in Utopia, Hustle and the controversial Channel 4 drama, Consent.

Yaël Farber is a multiple award-winning director and playwright of international acclaim. Her productions have toured the world extensively – earning her a reputation for hard-hitting, controversial works of the highest artistic standard.

Her most recent work Nirbhaya (directed and written by Farber in India) earned rave reviews and three international awards at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival and has just completed a sold out run at The Southbank Centre. Mies Julie (written and directed by Farber) won a string of international awards at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival, was named one of the Top Ten Productions of 2012 by The New York Times, and Top five Productions of 2012 by The Guardian.

Yaël is the recipient of four Best Director Awards (1991, 2002, 2008, 2012) in her native South Africa, where she was named Artist of the Year (2003). She has won the Scotsman Fringe First Award (Edinburgh 2000, 2012, 2013), The Sony Gold Award (London 2001), Best of Edinburgh Award (Edinburgh 2012) and The Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award 2013.

She has been nominated for a Drama Desk Award (New York, 2007) and a TMA Best Director Award (UK 2008). Her productions have toured across the major cities of the USA, the UK (including the West End and the Barbican), Canada, Australia, Japan, Europe and Africa, The United Arab Emirates and Bermuda.

She created a work in residence at The Joseph Papp Public Theatre, and was Head of the Directing Program at the National Theatre School of Canada for three years (2009 – 2012).

Arthur Miller (1915-2005) needs little introduction. His plays include The Man Who Had All the Luck (1944), All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953), A View from the Bridge and A Memory of Two Mondays.

He was awarded the Avery Hopwood Award for Playwriting at University of Michigan in 1936. He twice won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, received two Emmy awards and three Tony Awards for his plays, as well as a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.

He also won an Obie award, a BBC Best Play Award, the George Foster Peabody Award, a Gold Medal for Drama from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Literary Lion Award from the New York Public Library, the John F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Algur Meadows Award.

Box office: 0844 871 7628 | oldvictheatre.com
The Old Vic, The Cut, London SE1 8NB
From Tues, June 24 – Sat, Sept 13
Preview pricing: Tues, June 24 – Tues, July 8
Mon–Sat 7.30pm; Wed & Sat 2.30pm
[Please note there are no matinee performances on Wed, June 25 & Wed, July 9].
Tickets: £10, £16, £21, £30, £45, £55

Write Now 5 - Jack Studio Theatre

Pool

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE Jack Studio Theatre has announced its annual playwriting festival, Write Now 5, and it runs from May 17 to June 7, 2014.

Now in its 5th year, this festival of new work is dedicated to the south east London region and is an essential part of the theatre’s work to showcase and support emerging playwrights and their work.

Writers with a connection to south east London were asked to submit previously unperformed plays to the theatre.

The submissions were read by a panel consisting of Kate Bannister (Artistic Director, Jack Studio Theatre), playwright Lin Coghlan (National Theatre, EastEnders, Soho Theatre); Franko Figueiredo (Artistic Director, Stone Crabs); and Simon James Collier (producer of the award-winning Okai Collier Company). Additional support was given by the BBC writersroom.

From the 250 submissions for full length and short plays, three full length plays and seven shorts were chosen for the festival.

Pool, by Tom Harvey, will be given a fully staged two-week production (May 27 to June 7). Box Chicken, by Max Katz, and Botticelli’s Angels, by Gemma Mills McGrath, will be given three staged readings each (May 20 to May 24).

A comedy about drowning, grief and forgiveness, and a reminder that friendship is about all we have to see us through, Pool will be directed by Kate Bannister.

Never too late to save a soul. At least that’s what it says on the entrance sign, or is it the exit?

It’s the morning after New Labour’s victory in 1997. Things Can Only Get Better, except for a group of pool attendants struggling to keep the gates open.

As Rob, Steph, Trev and Ashley fight to keep their heads above water, they find that chaos is possibility, that ghosts can be trusted and that magic is redeeming.

Tom Harvey is a creative entrepreneur and writer working across film, television, interactive media and theatre. He has only been writing for the theatre in earnest for a couple of years and Pool is his first theatre production. He lived and worked for 20 years in south east London, and went to college at the Elephant and Castle.

An exploration of the power of human connection to help us find a future from the debris of the past, Botticelli’s Angels is directed by Matthew Parker.

One thing I’ve learnt from all this – if you don’t grieve on time, you grieve forever.

Frank is on a mission. He seeks compensation for the damage that he and his magician brother Johnny suffered as children. His meeting with Ursula, a newly trained outreach worker for the church, begins a journey that forces them all to renegotiate their view of themselves, tussle with the seductive grip of denial, and finally feel the pain and relief of truth.

Gemma Mills McGrath writes screenplays, poems and short stories, some of which have been placed in UK and US competitions and schemes such as TAPS, BBC Radio 4 Drama Course, and Old Vic, New Voices. Botticelli’s Angels is her first play, which started life as a short. Mills McGrath is a freelance management lecturer and has worked in south east London for ten years and now lives in Bromley.

Box Chicken is directed by Mark Leipacher.

If you peel the skin away from someone do you think people would recognise who they were? From their voice, or from the way their eyes moved, or from how their teeth fit together.

Ailleen is about to turn sixteen. In the confines of a run-down fried chicken shop, she finds refuge. Refuge from the pain left behind by the sudden disappearance of her eldest brother Ricki, and from the demons that haunt her alcoholic mother Rose.

When Ailleen’s Uncle Silco unexpectedly returns, her birthday party descends into shocking revelations and dangerous half-truths. Against the backdrop of boxed chicken, her coming of age is acutely shaped by the flawed adults and the secrets of those closest to her.

Max Katz has received rehearsed readings at theatres including the Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre, Soho Upstairs Theatre, and Young Vic Theatre. She has also been short and long listed for various theatre awards, including the Alfred Fagon Award (2006 and 2008), the Verity Bargate Award (2008) and the Bruntwood Prize (2012). Katz works in south east London, supporting projects across London for vulnerable and diverse communities.

To launch this year’s Write Now Festival (May 17, 2014) there will be a selection of short plays. Chosen from submissions to the Jack, these plays explore different aspects of a chosen theme. Using the phrase ‘Speak Up, Speak Out’ as a starting point, writers were asked to explore this incredible human trait, to say something when others won’t, in any way they felt possible. The shorts are:

Lost in the Quagmire by Chris Shaw Swanson; The Limerick by Martin Nathan; A Small Act of Vandalism by Andrew Biss; Cinderella Story by Matt Hanf; Live With It by Zia Moher; On Flies Wings by Jessica Andrewartha; and Dead Dove by Nick Myles.

For more information or to book, call the box office on 0333 666 3366 or visit www.brockleyjack.co.uk/.

Samuel Adamson’s adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House runs at the Jack Studio Theatre from Tuesday, April 22 to Saturday, May 3, 2014.

Olivier Awards 2014: Watch the show highlights

HIT West End musical The Book of Mormon emerged as one of the big winners at the 2014 Olivier Awards, taking four prices including best new musical.

Co-created by South Park duo Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the production also won two acting awards, for Gavin Creel and Stephen Ashfield as, respectively, best actor in a musical and best supporting performance, as well as an additional prize for its choreography.

Other big winners on the night included political drama Chimerica and a revival of Henrik Ibsen play Ghosts.

Read more l Full winners list

Watch the show highlights: