The Prudes

The Prudes

About five minutes in to the therapy session cum comedy gig cum This Morning Celeb Interview that tonally is The Prudes, late 30s couple Jess and Jimmy inform the audience as their ‘Confessor’ (to be all three it makes us a cardigan wearing, lager drinking, silver fox) that they are not actually called Mr and Mrs Prude as that would be ridiculous... 

Grimly Handsome

Grimly Handsome

At times I question The Royal Court for programming plays aimed solely are the pretentious and the seasoned theatre critic. There are times it almost seems not to care about any other audience "not smart enough" to get how clever it is, and there is a sense of it behaving like an exclusive club which holds the key to understanding complex wordplay and bizarre visual metaphor that are becoming so common to its output as to veer towards self-parody... 

Goats

Goats

Set in a village in Syria, Liwaa Yazji’s Goats translated by Katherine Halls directs its focus on the struggles of a community devouring state controlled propaganda deep within the throes of civil war... 

Bad Roads

Bad Roads

Ukrainian playwright, Natal’ya Vorozhbit may be one of the few global voices for a conflict many of us seem to have ‘forgotten’, as though the Russian intervention happened way before 2014... 

Road

Road

Bad times make for good drama. Good drama makes people think. Great theatre can have the power to educate and change opinion, and can take its own place in history for which it is rightly remembered and celebrated... 

Anatomy of a Suicide

Anatomy of a Suicide

First things first: if you've ever worried about how a history of depression or suicide in your family could affect you or your children, DO NOT go and watch Anatomy of a Suicide... 

Killology

Killology

Killology (by Gary Owen, writer of last year's award-winning play, Iphigenia in Splott) follows in a similar ilk to the likes of recent pieces Upstairs at The Royal Court, Yen and Wish List - focussing on the emotional turmoil suffered primarily by the younger generation in our society today... 

The Ferryman

The Ferryman

If populism breeds cynicism, then there's a high quota of cheap shots that could be made towards the Royal Court's latest offering. The desire for the Chelsea chattering theatregoers to have a Jez Butterworth experience under their belt to discuss, the results of the return of Sam Mendes to his theatrical homeland – one of the few directors' names your Mum may actually know, since his foray into Bond – the well-worn subject matter of the passions of the Irish during the height of the Troubles both towards the cause and to the family... 

Nuclear War

Nuclear War

Nuclear War is Simon Stephens’ experimental foray into contemporary movement and dance. Stephens, the playwright behind Pornography, Punk Rock and the Olivier award-winning adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, has partnered with the Royal Court’s choreographer Imogen Knight to create this short, intense piece on modern loss and love... 

Wish List

Wish List

God life can be a depressing old thing can't it? When, through no fault of your own, you find yourself struggling to just exist from one long unfulfilling day to the next – knowing that struggle just leads you to more of the same emptiness... 

The Children

The Children

If the purpose of life is to continue its perpetuity, the implication is that those of us who spawn children are naturally superior to those who don't. But does that remove the focus from what we can all do to impact and improve the world which they are going to inherit? Why bring children into a world of problems – to solve and resolve the issues we created? Don't we owe it to future generations to fix our mistakes first?There are no children on stage in The Children, Lucy Kirkwood's slow and subtly written look at three 60-somethings as they attempt to live, matter and have purpose, rather than simply exist... 

Torn

Torn

In a charged, fraught episode – one of many in Torn – actor Roger Griffiths shouts that this is the last chance to ‘salvage the wreckage’ of a family. Torn circumnavigates the intricacies of a toxic, fractured unit... 

Minefield

Minefield

As I've said before, whilst important times in history demand to be explored in theatre and film – and often bring raw emotion with them the more recent the history is – subject matter alone shouldn’t get in the way of our judgment on how good a production is in itself... 

Human Animals

Human Animals

A bird crashes through the window and meets a brutal end, its blood smeared across the living room carpet. This is the first incident of violence in a play in which a previously-benign natural order has been upset; the soft bodies of foxes are discovered in the bushes, mice chew through their own veins, dead flies align on the window ledge and birds convene in terrifyingly large numbers... 

Cyprus Avenue

Cyprus Avenue

It's difficult for many people today – and not just those whose lives weren't directly impacted – to really understand the common sense background to what my Mum (and the BBC) used to refer to as "the troubles" in Northern Ireland... 

I See You

I See You

What happens to your sense of identity when the world in which that self was created dramatically changes? If you lived to fight, what if the outcome of that fight wasn't what you believed you were fighting for? This is the epic nature of the situation in Mongiwekhaya's I See You – the latest piece to be staged at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs as part of The Big Idea (a strand of new plays that offer radical thinking) – where the identity is heritage generally and race specifically, and the fight was for the end of Apartheid in South Africa... 

Yen

Yen

When your life is borne of problems, pain and lies, the longer you don't – or can't – do anything to improve it, the more you may take an almost masochistic solace (from the outside point of view) in accepting that at least your world is yours alone and then only share it with other players involved in the same pain; as often seen in the behaviour of addicts, criminals and the generally dispossessed... 

Escaped Alone

Escaped Alone

Caryl Churchill rarely does interviews and never discusses the meanings behind her plays (even her stage directions are scant) - so I would be building myself up for a fall if I were to try and interpret Escaped Alone in a way that wouldn't, inevitably, cause arguments...