Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
If you fancy a play to knock your socks off then you're in luck as this revival of a classic is getting all the praise. The production centres on a marriage breakdown on a college campus as middle-aged couple George and his wife Martha invite younger couple Nick and Honey over for some after party drinks. Cue the drama as Nick and Honey get dragged into George and Martha’s relationship, with no choice but to look on as they fire verbal abuse at one another, kind of like that couple in your friendship group who always have a blazing row when they’re pissed. It's all mind games and tension building towards dawn, and with a cast this good - Imelda Staunton; Conleth Hill; Luke Treadaway; Imogen Poots - you can almost excuse the ticket price, though there are £15 tickets to be had if you look hard enough.
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Ed Harris stars in this Pulitzer-winning play by American Sam Shepard. He’s as good as you’d imagine in a play that takes a while to start, but then grips you hard. Harris plays Dodge, a whiskey-swigging, sofa-ridden farmer, whose grandson visits with a new girlfriend and kickstarts a chain of events, revealing a terrible family secret. It’s nearly three hours long, but the second two acts are so tense, and weird, that it doesn’t often feel it. £35 day seats are the cheapest option ticket-wise, so it’s worth searching online for last minute deals.
The Kite Runner
Featured on nearly every bookshelf in Britain, Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner is pretty well read. The story of an Afghan man, living in America, who returns to his country to right a childhood wrong has now been turned into a play. There’s way too much talking from the lead, Amir, who stays on stage the entire time narrating everything, but the story is great, and the kite scenes and live tabla are a nice touch. Tickets are expensive, but the balcony seating isn’t bad at The Wyndham’s so the cheaper seats will be okay.
The Glass Menagerie
This is a genuine modern classic of a production having 5-starred Broadway and Edinburgh Festival. John Tiffany, and collaborator Stephen Hoggett, blend intense physicality with psychological strength of character to create fully realised and believable performances. The entire creative team are award-winners, and lead actor Cherry Jones is no stranger to a gong. Tennessee William’s classic play about a fallen-from-grace mother trying to find a suitor for her mentally fragile daughter is purpose-built for rich, nuanced acting. Front Row of the Upper Circle for £20 is the best value - any closer and you’re talking £50+.
There are two reasons to see this. First, Tom Hollander and Freddie Fox are seriously good actors. Second, it’s a hell of a play. Tom Stoppard is a fiercely intelligent writer without seeming overbearing. He’s smart, and at the end of this, you’ll feel smart too. Like popping a Berocca into your glass of water, seeing this play’ll add fizz to your evening and perk you right up. An old diplomat reminisces about Zurich in 1917, when he met novelist James Joyce, Dadaist founder Tristan Tzara and everyone’s number one communist, Lenin. £20 tickets will still have decent views.