Everyone’s talking about

A Little Life, Harold Pinter Theatre, London

Right now, it is James Norton’s world and we are simply living in it. At the beginning of this month, he bade farewell to his role as Happy Valley’s spectacularly awful villain Tommy Lee Royce in one of the most talked-about series finales in recent years. At the end of next month, he will take to the stage in one of the most talked-about productions to premiere this year: the long-awaited adaptation of Hanya Yanagihara’s bestselling novel A Little Life. Norton plays troubled young man Jude, who lives in New York with three university friends (performed by Omari Douglas, Luke Thompson and Zach Wyatt), in a story of trauma and survival, addiction and abuse, ambition and friendship. From 25 March to 18 June, haroldpintertheatre.co.uk

Touring musical

The Rocky Horror Show

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, The Rocky Horror Show holds the mantle for the longest continuously running musical in the world, and has been seen by 30 million theatre-goers globally. Swindon, Aberdeen, Woking, Bradford and Norwich are among the cities the now-classic production is heading to during its new nationwide tour. Book a ticket and you will step into the weird and wonderful world of mad scientist Dr Frank-N-Furter, his Frankenstein-esque monster Rocky, and the newly engaged couple who have stumbled upon them. Until 16 Sept, rockyhorror.co.uk

At the pictures

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

Zoe (Lily James) is a documentary maker whose new film idea leads her to follow childhood best friend Kaz (Shazad Latif) on his journey through the arranged marriage process. Kaz is doing it not out of parental coercion but genuine desire, so along the way the pair debate romance, relationships and the many faces of love. Created by the makers of Bridget Jones’s Diary and Love, Actually, and co-starring Emma Thompson, What’s Love Got to Do with It? is a light and funny romcom to soothe the soul. Out now

5610_WHATSLOVE_01FEB21RV.tif What's Love Got To Do With It? Film Still Studiocanal Image via Panther
What’s Love Got to Do with It? is in cinemas now (Photo : Robert Viglasky / StudioCanal)

Family friendly

Marvellous and Mischievous – Literature’s Young Rebels, York Art Gallery

On loan from the British Library is this terrific exhibition that spotlights famous rebels, rule-breakers and convention-defiers across children’s literature. It includes the first UK edition of Anne of Green Gables, the first version of Cruikshank’s coloured illustrations of Oliver Twist and original artworks for books including Tracy Beaker, What Planet Are You From, Clarice Bean?, and Zog. Let children enjoy it at your peril. Until 4 June, yorkartgallery.co.uk

A good laugh

Phil Wang: Wang in There, Baby!

Two years since his Netflix special Philly Philly Wang Wang convinced many people of just how funny he is, Wang is at last touring the country with a new show, in which he will perform to his biggest live audiences yet. Expect jokes on family, identity, nipples (don’t ask!), and everything else going on in his “Philly little life”.
23 March – 18 June, ticketmaster.co.uk

Modern reimagining

Romeo and Julie, National Theatre, London; Sherman Theatre, Cardiff

It is quite possible that many fans of Russell T Davies’s 2021 miniseries It’s a Sin are still not over what happened to the character Colin. Now the Welsh actor Callum Scott Howells, who played him, is taking to the stage alongside Rosie Sheehy – first at the National Theatre in London, then in Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre – for this Wales-set, modern day love story inspired by Shakespeare’s tragedy. Whether or not it will appease viewers is yet to be seen, but something tells me there could be heartbreak all over again. Until 1 April, nationaltheatre.org.uk; 13–29 April, shermantheatre.co.uk

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Your wallet will thank you

Islanders: The Making of the Mediterranean, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Islands have long been romanticised as remote places that are unlike the mainland. In this major new exhibition, 4,000-year-old cultural treasures on loan from across the Mediterranean will go on show in the UK for the first time to dispel myths on islands formed across millennia. The artefacts and installations focus on Cyprus, Crete and Sardinia, but are thoughtfully put together in a way that asks questions about our own island culture and identity. Fascinating and free to enter. Until Until 4 June, fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

For bibliophiles

Oxford Literary Festival

Always attracting an array of esteemed speakers, the Oxford Literary Festival is an unmissable event in a book-lover’s calendar. This year’s guests include Eleanor Catton, the youngest-ever Booker prize winner; Mick Herron, the author of the spy thriller series that has been adapted to Apple TV’s Slow Horses; the Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho, and Dame Mary Berry on her latest book, Cook and Share. 25 March – 2 April, oxfordliteraryfestival.org

Last chance

Sylvia, Old Vic, London

As another hip-hop-meets-history production, Sylvia was always going to be compared with Lin-Manuel Miranda ’s phenomenally successful Hamilton – but if the standing ovations are anything to go by, it lives up. Beverley Knight stars as Emmeline Pankhurst and Sharon Rose plays her daughter and the eponymous protagonist in this original and entertaining production, which injects funk and soul into the suffragette’s story. The run comes to an end in six weeks and it is worth clearing your diary for. Until 8 April, oldvictheatre.com

Beverley Knight as Emmeline Pankhurst and Sharon Rose as Sylvia Pankhurst in Sylvia at The Old Vic 2023 Credit: Manuel Harlan Provided by armani.ur-rub@oldvictheatre.com
Beverley Knight as Emmeline Pankhurst and Sharon Rose as Sylvia Pankhurst in Sylvia (Photo: Manuel Harlan)

Look ahead

Factory International, Manchester

Almost a decade on since plans were announced for Manchester’s £186m arts venue, Factory International will finally open this summer. It will be the permanent home of the biennial Manchester International Festival, which begins this year on 29 June, and its sparkling new theatre will host the world premiere of the stage adaptation of The Matrix in the autumn. Factory International is a space to be watched. factoryinternational.org

By admin