Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 590

34 24 F E BRUARY 202 2 WEEKENDING Events Photography: Craig Sugden, National Theatre, Steven Joyce, Amazon Prime, Gus Stewart/Redferns/Getty Images BOOK IT NOW Quentin Letts The theatre critic’s guide to what’s on RETURN OF A CLASSIC In 2019, when going to the theatre was an entirely normal thing to do, the National Theatre’s production of Small Island was a sellout. Now we’re at last getting back to watching a stage instead of a screen, there’s a second chance to see it. Based on Andrea Levy’s bestselling novel about theWindrush generation and the tangled history of Jamaica and the UK, and hailed as ‘a landmark in the National’s history’ by The Guardian, it’s sure to be a hot ticket again. Runs to 30 April. nationaltheatre.org.uk LITERARY LANDMARK Celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, expect an eclectic collection of authors for talks, interviews and debates at Jewish BookWeek in London. Highlights include: • Food writers Claudia Roden and Jay Rayner in conversation about her latest book, Med, which collects a life’s worth of travelling and stories, along with recipes for the food she cooks now. • LaurenceMarks andMaurice Gran, Emmy-winning writers of Birds of a Feather, The New Statesman and Goodnight Sweetheart, on their 60 years of friendship and comedy. • Dr Agnes Kaposi, author of Red Star, Yellow Star, and a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. Born in the year Hitler came to power, she talks of growing up inHungary and shares her story of struggle, heartbreak, survival and eventual success. • Comedian and actor Isy Suttie, star of Peep Show reggae beats Arinzé Kene is excellent as Bob Marley GET UP! STAND UP! LYRIC THEATRE, LONDON BobMarley’s all too brief life is told energetically, if a little skimpily, in this evocativemusical. Arinzé Kene plays the Jamaican reggae star and the story follows him fromboyhood, when he was neglected by his mother, to international stardom. Kene is excellent. Although a lot moremuscular thanMarley, he sings beguilingly and with impressive conviction. Lee Hall’s script does not give himenough to do in the acting department but hemakes up for that with themusic. With each pulsating song, Kene usually centre-stage curled round amicrophone, the evening soars. Numbers include I Shot the Sheri , Exodus, Is This Love, and NoWoman, No Cry. In a counterintuitivemove, that last one is sung not by Kene but by Gabrielle Brooks, who plays Bob’s long-su ering wife, Rita. Shanay Holmes plays Cindy Breakspeare, the beauty queen who sharedMarley’s a ections. Rita deserved a sainthood for her forgiveness. Clint Dyer’s production clutters the stage with loudspeakers. A Jamaican disc jockey, speaking an irresistible but not entirely comprehensible patois, pops up in one of the Lyric’s boxes to get everyone jammin’. With a good band and swaying backing singers, the songs are everything. On the night I went, audiencemembers were soon shoulder-shimmying in their seats. Marley’s music helped define the years of my youth, but the show is more than just a nostalgia trip. It touches on the tricky confluence of politics andmusic. Marley survived an assassination attempt in 1976, shortly before a concert intended to heal Jamaica’s election tensions. The production uses grainy film footage and stills from that time. And I had forgotten how youngMarley was when he died from cancer – just 36. What a waste of all that talent. Booking until 17 September. thelyrictheatre.co.uk MURDER FOR TWO BARN THEATRE, CIRENCESTER Light-heartedmicro-whodunnit with two actors performing 13 parts with littlemore than a piano to help them. This quirky piece was first seen in Chicago 11 years ago and later became an o -Broadway hit. Cirencester’s gallant Barn Theatremay be a long way fromNewYork but audiences should still enjoy the tale of lowly police o cerMoscowicz investigating the death of novelist ArthurWhitney. Runs to 5March. barntheatre.org.uk MIMMA THE MUSICAL CADOGAN HALL, LONDON Here’s a collector’s item– a one-o performance onMonday (28 February) of a newmusical, done in semi-stagedmode by Sir David Suchet, Celinde Schoenmaker and others with the BBCConcert Orchestra. Mimma opened in Australia in 2019. Then the pandemic struck. A young Italian arrives in late 30s London to take refuge from the fascism in her home country. Will she be accepted? How can she help Italy? This Prince’s Trust fundraiser will givemusicals aficionados a sneak preview of a show that won plaudits DownUnder. cadoganhall.com and BBCRadio 4, talking about her life and career and debut novel, Jane is Trying. Runs from26 February to 6March. kingsplace.co.uk LOOKING FOR LOVE The perils of dating get a new twist in Wolf LikeMe, set in Australia and starring Isla Fisher and Josh Gad. Widower Gary is still reeling from the loss of his wife seven years on, and is struggling to connect with his 11-year-old daughter, Emma. He meets advice columnist Mary, who has her own issues, but still o ers a sympathetic ear despite the fact that – spoiler alert – Red Riding Hood would have views about the size of hers. All six episodes are available on Amazon Prime from tomorrow (25 February). acclaimed production Small Island returns to the National Theatre ( left); cru ns (right) and French onion soup (below) at Richoux food maestro Claudia Roden (below) is at Jewish Book Week