Pick of June Theatre Shows

Laura Linney, Andrew Scott and Aiden Turner are among the big names opening in shows in June 

Photo of Laura Linney

Possibly the most anticipated opening in June is the West End debut of American actor Laura Linney in My Name Is Lucy Barton, a dramatic monologue based on Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel about the complexities of family life. It opens at the Bridge Theatre on 2 June for a very short run.

Octoroon opens at at the National Theatre on 7 June. Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins’ play was described by The New York Times as ‘the decade’s most eloquent statement on race in America today’. Meanwhile the National’s The Jungle which was co-produced with the Young Vic  transfers to the Playhouse Theatre from 16 June. ‘The Jungle’ in question is the one just across the Channel in Calais. The play tells the story of the refugee camp from its creation to its destruction. We meet some of the residents and learn about their stories, their hopes and their fears.

William Wycherley’s The Country Wife, a Restoration comedy so rude it wasn’t performed from the mid 18th century until the twentieth century, opens at Chichester Festival Theatre’s Minerva on 8 June. This was one of the plays I featured in my YouTube video 5 Plays That Shocked British Theatre.

Beirut was written in the USA in the 1980s at the height of the AIDS crisis. Alan Bowne’s play is a cutting examination of a society ravaged by a nameless disease. Although written at a particular moment in history, the play transcends the issues of its time and could be about the spread of any incurable disease. At its heart is a dark love story, questioning how society deals with the ‘abnormal’ in a society gone mad with fear and ignorance. Beirut will be performed at Park Theatre from 12 June .

The Royal Shakespeare Company has two major openings in June. ImperiumMike Poulton’s adaptation of Robert Harris’ best selling Cicero books transfers from Stratford to London. It had great reviews when it was in Stratford including five stars from Michael Billington in The Guardian who called it ‘one of the finest achievements of the Royal Shakespeare Company in recent years’. It’s an epic drama set in turbulent times for the Roman Empire (it covers the assasination of Julius Caesar). Imperium is in two parts lasting a total of seven hours. Richard McCabe’s performance in the central role of Cicero was much praised. It opens at the Gielgud on 14 June.

Back in Stratford, the RSC are putting on a new musical. Miss Littlewood tells the story of the anarchic revolutionary of 20th century theatre Joan Littlewood. Her Theatre Workshop was responsible for many famous productions including Oh, What A Lovely War!, A Taste of Honey and The Hostage, and breathed new life into the then-derelict Theatre Royal Stratford East . This new musical of Joan’s life story, told with her own uncompromising candour, reveals a mighty love story at its heart. Clare Burt makes her RSC debut to play Joan Littlewood. Miss Littlewood opens on 22 June.

Andrew Scott

Andrew Scott, famous for television’s Sherlock and his recent stage performance of Hamlet, will be reprising his almost legendary monologue Sea Wall, written by Simon Stephens. Andrew Scott first performed this at the Bush Theatre in 2008. You can see it, if you can get a ticket, at the Old Vic from 18 to 30 June.

When it was performed on Broadway, Fun Home won five Tony Awards including Best Musical. The New York Times said it was ‘a poignant and raw exploration of family, memory and sexuality’. Now we get the chance to see it at  Young Vic  from 18 June

Cordelia Lynn’s new play One For Sorrow  opens at the Royal Court  on 20 June. During an attack on London, 20 year old Imogen joins a campaign offering refuge to victims. Before her family have even had a chance to have a reasonable discussion, John is at their door. He is different to them. He isn’t what they expected. And although they’d never admit it to themselves, he isn’t necessarily what they want.

Following his success with Red (here’s my review), Michael Grandage directs The Lieutenant Of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh at the Noel Coward Theatre on 23 June. Aidan Turner, a great actor who is probably best known for baring his chest in Poldark, stars. If you know the films In Bruges and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri or the plays The Cripple Of Inishmaan and Hangmen, all written by Martin McDonagh, you’ll know the kind of black comedy to expect. In this play, a republican Irish paramilitary goes on a rampage after his cat is killed. This is the link official Noel Coward theatre box office.

Dusty, a new musical based on the authorised biography of Dusty Springfield, will have its world premiere at Theatre Royal Bath on 23 June before touring to The Lyceum in Sheffield, Newcastle Theatre Royal and The Lowry in Salford.

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