(Gardner’s article appeared in the Guardian, 4/15.)
1: Right Now
A young couple, Ben and Alice, move into a new apartment. The neighbours pop over. Then they start inviting themselves round and won’t take no for an answer. Superbly translated by Chris Campbell, this French-Canadian oddity will play with your head until, like Alice herself, your sense of reality is skewed. A disconcerting evening and one that boasts a brilliant performance from Lindsey Campbell as Alice.
2: People, Places And Things
You will think twice about ordering an interval glass of wine during Duncan Macmillan’s provocative, spiky and empathetic play about addiction and how it is treated. Denise Gough’s Olivier award-winning performance as actor Emma, who realises she needs help but is resistant to what’s on offer, has been rightly lauded to the skies. The drama plays out cleverly and with a twist towards the end, delivering one of the most devastating scenes you’ll see on a UK stage this year.
3: Kings Of War
Shakespeare’s Henry V, Henry VI and Richard II in one big mash-up courtesy of Ivo van Hove. Over four very bloody hours, it dissects the lust for power and the price paid by ordinary people for rulers who use war for their own ends. The acting is sublime, the use of video clever, and as the corridors of power fill up with corpses the show takes on a grim fascination. Shakespeare, but not as we know it, and all the better for it.