(Michael Billington’s article appeared in the Guardian, 6/1; photo: Exemplary freshness and vigour … Roy Williams, pictured in 2008. Photograph: Sarah Lee/the Guardian.)

Our new series on lost theatre classics begins with an exceptional play about the dashed hopes of a middle-aged Jamaican woman

When the theatrical lockdown ends, I suspect there will be a temptation to rely on the established canon. But over the next 12 weeks I will be exploring, in reverse chronological order, some forgotten plays from the last 120 years. I’ve confined myself to plays from the British and Irish rep but feel free, as the list unfolds, to add your own suggestions.

The No Boys Cricket Club (1996) was Roy Williams’s second play and was written in his final year at Rose Bruford College. You could say that it deals with a subject with which we have become familiar: the dashed hopes of first-generation Jamaican immigrants uneasily settled in Britain. But several things make this an exceptional play.

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