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February 2018
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April 2018

March 2018

That was February in London theatre - new plays, keeping it in the family and some wizard celeb spots

* Romola Garai has been cast as The Writer in... The Writer at the Almeida. It's a new play by Ella Hickson which opens on 14 April and is directed by Blanche McIntyre.

Wizard* The casting director for An Ideal Husband at the Vaudeville is keeping it in the family with real life father and son Edward and Freddie Fox playing father and son characters in the play. Frances Barber also stars and it opens on 20 April.

* Ciaran Hinds and Aoife Duffin join Colin Morgan in the cast of Brian Friel's Translations at the National Theatre which opens on May 22.

* Nicholas Hytner continues an exciting first year at the Bridge Theatre with a new Alan Bennett play, Allelujah which opens July 11. I'm already curious about who might be in the cast.

* Hadyn Gwynne has replaced Linda Bassett in The Way of The World at the Donmar Warehouse which opens 29 March.

* Another cast swap, Rhys Ifans is being replaced by Ben Chaplin for Joe Penhall's new play Mood Music at the Old Vic. Jemma Redgrave and Pip Carter have joined the cast and it opens on April 21.

* The Royal Court has announced its new season (a good summary here from What's On Stage) but here are just a small handful that catch my eye: A new play - Ear for Eye - by Debbie Tucker Green, Rory Mullarkey's new play Pity (curious about this after St George And The Dragon), Game of Throne's actress Ellie Kendrick's writing debut Hole and James Macdonald directing Cordelia Lynn's One For Sorrow.

Celeb spots:

While January had a bumper crop of actor, director and playwright spots, February was quieter but had a magical quality.... Daniel Radcliffe and Danny DeVito were both spotted watching Fanny & Alexander at the Old Vic and Poly spotted Ian McKellan at Waterloo Station. But those weren't the only spots, oh no, Sam Mendes was at the Bridge Theatre watching Q (Ben Whishaw) play Brutus in Julius Caesar, Richard E Grant was at the Royal Court watching Carey Mulligan in Girls and Boys  and Nikki Amuka Bird was at the Almeida for Summer and Smoke.


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Interview: Milly Thomas on writing and performing suicide aftermath play Dust, Soho Theatre

Dust is rooted in personal experience, what made you want to write about it?

I think it all stems from a lack of communication. It was something I really struggled to talk about with friends, family and loved ones, so it came from a burst of panic, rage and confusion that I’d sat on for years and years.

Milly Thomas Headshot - courtesy of Jack Sain
Milly Thomas. Photo: Jack Sain

What was the process like committing it to page and then lifting it off the page?

It was actually pretty difficult. Once I’d made the decision to write I thought the rest would come easily, but that wasn’t the case.

I’m a pretty fast writer but I’m only as fast as I am because I take a few weeks to ruminate until my head is too full and I’ve got to commit it to paper.

But this felt so raw and painful, it felt almost like it was birthed in stages. And then when the script was finally done it was rebirthed again when we finally took it into a rehearsal room and stood it up. 

It’s a monologue - just you and the audience for 70 minutes, what is that like and how do you prepare? 

Honestly, I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but I don’t prepare.

All I do is I warm up my voice, my body and I try and play games with myself to keep myself as reactive as possible.

The play moves so fast and it’s such a rollercoaster for Alice as well as the audience that it works best when I let it happen to me.

I am in control of the decisions but Alice isn’t and Alice and I have got to constantly battle for the driver's seat in my body in order to keep the play live.

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