Theatre news: Cancelling Socrates; Diversifications; Moment of Grace; Tolstoy Tried to Kill My Girlfriend; The Dance of Death; The White Card; A Doll’s House, Part 2

Thursday, 23rd June — By Lucy Popescu

The White Card_Christine Gomes as Charlotte and CJ Coleman as Alex_photo Wasi Daniju

Christine Gomes and CJ Coleman in The White Card at Soho Theatre. Photo: Wasi Daniju

• Howard Brenton’s Cancelling Socrates (starring Jonathan Hyde) at Jermyn Street Theatre has received rave reviews. Socrates is revered as the founding father of Western philosophy. But in 399BC Athens, he was deemed a pain in the neck. The plague is over, democracy is restored, and everyone would like to return to normal. How hard is it for one ageing firebrand to stop asking questions? Until July 2.

Natalie Ekberg’s topical play Diversifications, at the Old Red Lion, is about three women waiting to receive the results of their genetic testing. With emotions running high, they share their most intimate thoughts and soon realise that each of them has something the other one craves: children, career, freedom. A year after they have passed, their partners meet. Until July 2.

• Inspired by Princess Diana’s famous visit to the Broderip Ward at Middlesex Hospital, Bren Gosling’s Moment of Grace is at the Hope Theatre June 28-July 16. Set in Britain’s first Aids unit and using personal testimonies, Gosling explores the impact of this royal visit on three people: Andrew, a patient; Jude, a nurse; and Donnie, a fireman estranged from his son. Worldwide interest, news crews and a televised interview ensued.

• In Ezra Harker-Shaw’s meta­fictional drama Tolstoy Tried to Kill My Girlfriend (at Camden People’s Theatre) Heath, a writer, wakes with a hangover. Just as he’s trying to work things out, someone crashes into the room and begins to berate him. It’s Deacon, one of his characters, who doesn’t like the way their story is going. A debate ensues and each antagonist calls on their literary heroes to help. These include Tolstoy and Virginia Woolf. Until June 25.

• Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s adaptation of August Strindberg’s classic drama The Dance of Death (starring Lindsay Duncan and Hilton McRae), runs from June 28-July 23 at the Arcola Theatre. As their 30th wedding anniversary approaches, Alice and Edgar are locked in a bitter struggle. They’ve driven away their children and their friends. Their relationship is sustained by taunts and recriminations. When a newcomer breaks into the fray, their insular lives threaten to spin out of control.

Claudia Rankine’s The White Card is at Soho Theatre until July 16. Set shortly before the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests rippled across the globe, a wealthy, privileged white couple invite a talented black artist to dinner. Tensions run high and a heated debate uncovers some uncomfortable truths about white privilege, cultural appropriation and representation.

• Fifteen years after Nora Helmer slammed the door on her stifling marriage, she’s back. But Nora has to face the family she left behind. Lucas Hnath’s A Dolls’ House, Part 2 at the Donmar Warehouse picks up where Ibsen’s revolutionary masterpiece left off. Directed by James Macdonald with a cast led by Noma Dumezweni. Until August 6.

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