Macbeth and Absolute Hell unleashed in new season at the National Theatre

Macbeth. Image Jack Davison.

The National Theatre’s new season features Rufus Norris directing Macbeth, starring Rory Kinnear and Anne-Marie Duff, and, 30 years after the play’s rediscovery, Absolute Hell returns to the National in a new production directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins.

Olivier theatre

MACBETH by William Shakespeare (February 26-May 12)

The ruined aftermath of a bloody civil war. Ruthlessly fighting to survive, the Macbeths are propelled towards the crown by forces of elemental darkness.

Shakespeare’s most intense and terrifying tragedy is directed by Rufus Norris 25 years after his last Shakespeare production.

Rory Kinnear and Anne-Marie Duff play Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.

Lyttelton theatre

ABSOLUTE HELL by Rodney Ackland (April 18 – May 23)

Bomb-blasted London. A Soho den in the hangover from World War II, where members drink into the darkness, night after night.

Lying, fighting and seducing, these lost souls and bruised lovers struggle from the rubble of war towards an unknown future.

Rodney Ackland’s extraordinarily provocative play was condemned as ‘a libel on the British people’ when first performed in 1952.

Now it emerges as an intoxicating plunge into post-war Soho; full of despair and longing. Joe Hill-Gibbins returns to the NT to direct a large ensemble in this new production.

Dorfman theatre

JOHN by Annie Baker (January 17 – March 3)

The week after Thanksgiving. A bed and breakfast in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. A cheerful host welcomes a young couple struggling to salvage their relationship, while thousands of inanimate objects look on.

An uncanny new play by Annie Baker, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning The Flick had a sold-out run at the National in 2016. James Macdonald directs the European premiere. Full cast includes Marylouise Burke, Tom Mothersdale, Anneika Rose and June Watson.

THE GREAT WAVE a new play by Francis Turnly (March 10 – April 14)

On a Japanese beach, teenage sisters Hanako and Reiko are caught up in a storm. Reiko survives while Hanako is lost to the sea.

Their mother can’t shake the feeling that her missing daughter is still alive, and soon family tragedy takes on a global political dimension.

Set in Japan and North Korea, Francis Turnly’s epic new thriller is directed by Artistic Director of the Tricycle Theatre Indhu Rubasingham in a co-production with the Tricycle Theatre.

Cast includes Kae Alexander, Rosalind Chao, Tuyen Do, Vincent Lai, Kwong Loke, Frances Mayli McCann, Kirsty Rider, Leo Wan and David Yip.

NINE NIGHT a new play by Natasha Gordon (April 21 – May 25)

Gloria is gravely sick. When her time comes, the celebration begins; the traditional Jamaican Nine Night Wake.

But for Gloria’s children and grandchildren, marking her death with a party that lasts over a week is a test. Nine nights of music, food, sharing stories – and an endless parade of mourners.

Natasha Gordon’s debut play Nine Night is a touching and very funny exploration of the rituals of family.

Roy Alexander Weise directs a cast including Franc Ashman, Oliver Alvin-Wilson, Rebekah Murrell and Cecilia Noble.

Tickets on sale to the public next month.

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