Royal Court's weekly rep: the best of and a behind the scenes video
One company of actors, six new plays over six weeks and I was there for each and everyone. There was drama, endurance and tragedy and not always in the plays.
Last minute casting and little rehearsal time meant a slightly shaky start to the first play. The London heatwave became too much for the Royal Court's air conditioning system which went on strike resulting in at least one very humid and sticky performance.
And then there was the terrible and tragic suicide of one of the company, Paul Bhattarcharjee. Paul was still reported missing when Poly and I saw the final play which he'd been cast in before his disappearance.
But what of the plays themselves?
Favourite: Talk Show by Alistair McDowall was the most accomplished, rounded and complete of the six plays. Fantastic performances by Jonjo O'Neill and Ryan Sampson too.
Best actor: This is a tough one because there are three potential winners: Jonjo, Ryan and Sam Troughton. Think it's going to have to go to Sam for putting in several intense emotional performances - he can certainly turn on the waterworks.
Best actress: Not as many meaty roles for the women (typically) but I'd give this to Angela Terrance who showed great versatility playing both school girls and grown women, innocent and worldly-wise.
Playwright to look out for: Definitely Alistair McDowall and also Suhalay El-Bushra (Pigeons)
Special award: Chloe Lamford who designed the set for each. Using a huge wooden cube as a starting point for each so there was a certain continuity through the run, part of the fun of seeing all six plays was in the different ways it was used. Sometimes very simply, a plain back drop such as the prison visitors room in Mint and others decked out to make more complete sets such as the basement bedroom TV studio for Talk Show. Sometimes the sides were up, sometimes down and sometimes both during the performance.
All in all a challenging and brave endeavour and an interesting one to be part of as a member of what I'm calling the 'audience ensemble'. The following behind the scenes documentary gives you some idea of what was involved and below are links to my reviews of all six plays
Thought I'd wait until the end to do this but Sam Troughton was in Mike Bartlett's play Love, Love, Love which premiered at the Royal Court and Mr W has also worked with Mike Bartlett at the Royal Court in his play Cock.