Lucy Popescu’s theatre news: Wolf Cub; The Lad Himself; Mary Seacole; Uncle Vanya

Thursday, 28th April — By Lucy Popescu

Wolf Cub featuring Clare Latham photo Robert Day

Clare Latham in Wolf Cub. Photo: Robert Day

WOLF Cub, written by Ché Walker and performed by Clare Latham, is at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs until May 7. Set in 1980s America, teenage Maxine has several problems. There’s moving to Los Angeles with her booze-sodden Dad, there’s high school, boys, drugs, murder, Nicaraguan Contras, CIA, the LA uprising, the Northridge Earthquake. Blazing through a turbulent coming of age, and now trapped in a country sick with injustice, Maxine’s eyes are yellow, her hands are claws and she is desperate for release.

Roy Miles’ play, The Lad Himself, is Upstairs at the Gatehouse until May 1. Tony Hancock, the 1950s comedian, finds himself in limbo – the waiting room from The Blood Donor. He is confronted by the same officialdom, red tape, pomposity and bureaucracy in the afterlife that drove him mad in life. He manages to alienate vicars, clowns, cleaning ladies, RAF pilots, doctors, nurses, the entire population of Croydon and St Peter – a woman, who bears a startling resemblance to Hattie Jacques.

Mary Seacole by Jackie Sibblies is at the Donmar Warehouse until June 4. Seacole was the pioneering Jamaican nurse who bravely voyaged to heal soldiers in the Crimean War. She was a traveller, hotelier and a businesswoman. Putting the concept of a biopic through a kaleidoscope, Sibblies explores what it means to be a woman who is paid to care, and how, ultimately, no one is in charge of their own story.

A modern day version of Uncle Vanya is at the Old Red Lion Theatre from May 3-14. What do millennials have in common with 19th century aristocrats? A brand-new translation presented by female-led Candid Broads, brings Chekhov’s classic into the 21st century. Exploring characters locked down together with nothing much to do, Uncle Vanya has more resonance than ever before. Expect humour, music… and a little vodka!

• Marcos Morau’s company La Veronal returns to Sadler’s Wells on May 3-4. Through the troupe’s multi-disciplinary approach, Pasionaria questions the notion of emotional detachment in an artificial world that deprives its inhabitants of their individualism, morals and passion. It also reflects on the idea of progress. Eight dancers play with the concept of robotic, statuesque or inert bodies – ultimately asking what makes us human.

Orlando, Virginia Woolf’s 1920s masterpiece, was written in tribute to her lover, Vita Sackville West. A new stage adaptation by Sarah Ruhl is at Jermyn Street Theatre until May 28. Growing up as an Elizabethan pageboy and skating on the frozen Thames, Orlando never imagines he’ll travel to Turkey. Or get married in the reign of Queen Victoria. Or live long enough to answer the telephone. He definitely isn’t expecting to wake up as a woman one day. But if you stick around for five centuries, life is bound to get interesting.

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