Lucy Popescu’s theatre news: House of Shades; Ordinary Day; The Ballad of Adulthood; Everyday

Thursday, 12th May — By Lucy Popescu

100 Paintings

100 Paintings is at the Hope Theatre

AT the Almeida Theatre until June 18 is Beth Steel’s House of Shades, starring Anne-Marie Duff. The play follows five decades in the lives and deaths of the Webster family. Set against the ever-changing industrial landscape of working-class Britain, some chase dreams of a brighter future and others are haunted by the nightmares of the past.

There’s plenty of musical talent on offer at the Cockpit Theatre this month. Set in New York City, Ordinary Days, music and lyrics by Adam Gwon, tells the story of four people struggling to connect and runs from May 13-15. This is followed by HGO’s double-bill of one-act Baroque operas from May 20-29. John Blow’s Venus and Adonis and Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas explore the darkness and sorrow at the heart of passionate lives.

• At Camden People’s Theatre, from May 17-18, The Ballad of Adulthood follows two teens on their rites of passage. Through grief, friendship, love, loss and everything in between, we return to the journey of what it means to be young. Billed as a play about dreams, friendships, music, grief, and the reality of growing up.

Deafinitely Theatre use British Sign Language in Everyday at New Diorama Theatre from May 17- June 11. Drawing on interviews with women and non-binary people, exploring domestic abuse in the deaf community, this is a defiant and empowering new work from Paula Garfield. Four people come together to perform a ritual of community and catharsis; they form a witches’ coven like no other.

• Lotus Beauty is downstairs at Hampstead Theatre until June 18. Satinder Chohani’s play follows the intertwined lives of five multigenerational women who visit Reita’s salon where honest truths and sharp-witted barbs thrive. Will the power of community be enough to raise the spirits of everyone who passes through?

Jack Stacey’s tragic comedy, 100 Paintings, is set in a dystopian future and tells the story of a young artist and his mother struggling to survive in the crumbling Savoy Hotel. Battling mountains of unpaid hotel bills, the artist has three days to produce 100 original paintings and deliver them to the new hotel manager or they will be turned out onto the street. He struggles to keep on course, but help comes from unexpected places. Hope Theatre, May 17-June 4.

• Finally, it’s a joy to see the Arcola reopen with Barney Norris’ new play We Started To Sing, a love song to the people who raised him. Over three decades, a family spreads across the country – Sussex, London, Wiltshire, Northamptonshire and Wales. Can the distance between them change the music of their lives? May 19-June 18.

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