Coming Up – Park Theatre

Daniel Weyman, Alistair McGowan, Maggie Ollerenshaw  in 4000 Days. Image Rory Lindsay.
Daniel Weyman, Alistair McGowan, Maggie Ollerenshaw in 4000 Days. Image Rory Lindsay.

Spring season at London’s Park Theatre starts this week with the opening of African Gothic followed by the anticipated return of Alistair McGowan in the tense drama 4000 Days.

The remaining season sees a raft of premieres, a new musical and a number of top revivals.

Two Sheds Theatre, the production team behind the sell-out Muswell Hill and the acclaimed My Children! My Africa! launches the season with African Gothic, a dark and disturbing play by South African’s most award-winning playwright Reza de Wet. It has its official opening tomorrow.

Frikkie and Sussie were born into a South African Eden, an idyllic farm with loving and responsible parents, a black nanny as their second mother, and a benevolent God to keep them all safe and sound…but that was decades ago. Now their parents are long gone, the farm a desolate ruin, and they feel forgotten.

Written during the Apartheid era, Reza de Wet’s astonishing play held up a mirror to the dark heart of Afrikaner society, forcing it to take a long and uncomfortable look at itself and the myths that sustained it.

Alistair McGowan, Maggie Ollerenshaw and Daniel Weyman star in the UK premiere of Peter Quilter’s 4000 Days, opening later this month.

McGowan plays a gay man, Michael, who has been in a coma for three weeks. On waking, he realizes that four thousand days of his memory have been completely erased. He remembers nothing of his partner, Paul, and a fight begins to bring Michael’s memory back, while Michael’s mother Carol, fights to remove Paul from their lives completely.

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jonathan lynn

Jonathan Lynn, creator of Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, writes and directs The Patriotic Traitor, a new play examining the true story of the wartime relationship between De Gaulle and
Pétain that stars Laurence Fox and Tom Conti (read full details bit.ly/1OKpFTG)

In March simple8 presents their new devised piece Don’t Sleep There Are Snakes, based on the true story of Daniel Everett’s adventure into the Amazonian jungle.

The new play, by Sebastian Armesto and Dudley Hinton, tells the story of Daniel Everett, a linguist and missionary, who is sent into the jungle with one purpose: to learn the unknown language of an Amazonian tribe and convert its people to Christianity.

But as he struggles to communicate, he uncovers a culture like nothing he’s ever imagined. What he discovers blows apart modern linguistic theory, forcing him to question his faith and his understanding of what it means to be human.

A striking new musical The Buskers Opera by Dougal Irvine has its world premiere at the Park Theatre before touring the country and it provides an innovative take on John Gay’s classic The Beggar’s Opera.

It is London, 2012. The night before the Olympics Opening Ceremony and a group of street performers called ‘the 99percenters,’ gather in protest against the over-priced, corporate games. Among them is Macheath, satirist and ladies’ man, whose razor-sharp wit is slashing chunks out of the Mayor’s reputation.

This hilarious new musical comes from the pen of one of the hottest writers emerging in UK theatre, Dougal Irvine, whose catalogue of work includes Departure Lounge, The Snow Queen, Teddy, The Other School, In Touch and Britain’s Got Bhangra.

Expect a reckless abandonment of political correctness and some top class tunes to redefine a golden age.

The season ends with The Quiet House by Gareth Farr, a funny, poignant play that tackles the taboos of conception and IVF.

From Echo Presents, Park Theatre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre The Quiet House tells the story of Jess and Dylan who want a family. When diagnosed with infertility, this ordinary couple find themselves on an extraordinary journey. They enter the world of IVF treatment where intimacy is replaced by injections. An exploration of infertility and the taboo that surrounds it, The Quiet House is a funny, moving and unswervingly honest love story, inspired by true events.

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Ensemble Theatre and Theatre Royal York’s musical production The Restoration of Nell Gywn by Steve Trafford takes us back to a bawdy but dangerous time in England’s royal court.

Giant Cherry Productions also return, following up their sell-out run of The Glass Protégé with a revival of the hilarious Hello Norma Jean by Dylan Costello – which considers the very real possibility of Marilyn Monroe living incognito in Essex today.

Produced by Attic Theatre Company, new drama Beacons by Tabitha Mortiboy takes us on an atmospheric and sometimes haunting journey through love and loss on the cliffs of Beachy Head.

Social media is at the fingertips of children of all ages now, and PMJ Productions’ timely response is Sket by first time playwright Maya Sondhi, which follows a group of young people through the trials and tribulations of selfies and sexting – and examines the consequences.

Award winning, prolific producer Guy Masterson brings his double bill of exquisite, sharp plays Absolution by Owen O’Neill and Bill Clinton Hercules by Rachel Mariner with Masterson directing both.

Park90’s season concludes with Shock Box Theatre’s production of Happy To Help by Michael Ross, a quick-witted, fast-paced, biting satire set in a fictional supermarket chain.

Jez Bond

Artistic director Jez Bond said: “At Park Theatre we are committed to presenting world class theatre, and collaborating with the finest existing and emerging talent right in the heart of Finsbury Park.

“Our last season delivered phenomenal successes with sell out runs for new plays The Gathered Leaves and An Audience With Jimmy
Savile, and I’m confident that this new season of work will challenge, entertain and stimulate audiences old and new.

“It’s important to all of us here that Park Theatre is accessible to all. We’ve just launched ‘Park Young Patrons’ to encourage more young people to engage with our work, and we’re continually fundraising to keep ticket prices low and to enable us to provide more Creative Learning projects for the community.

“We’re continually evolving as a building, and this autumn we’ll be improving the ticket buying process with the introduction of a dedicated box office in the foyer.”

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