My 2017 Theatre Highlights – Mark Ludmon

Book tickets for An Octaroon at Orange Tree Theatre

We asked our review team to nominate their 2017 theatre highlights. Mark Ludmon nominated his favourites. An Octoroon, (Orange Tree Theatre) This year saw the arrival in the UK of the work of acclaimed American playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Hampstead Theatre presented his dark unsettling satire Gloria while the Orange Tree Theatre gave us his theatrically inventive play An Octoroon. Using Dion Boucicault’s once-popular 1858 melodrama The Octoroon as its starting point, this cleverly explored the black experience from the perspective of 19th-century slavery. With a strong cast directed by Ned Bennett, the production was bursting with ideas, laughs and energy, often breaking the fourth wall to great effect. Read my review. Barber Shop Chronicles, (National Theatre) The vibrancy of Inua Ellams’ new play Barber Shop Chronicles hits you from the moment you enter the foyer of the National’s Dorfman Theatre, decked out with signage from barbers around the world. To … Read more

Cast announced for An Octoroon at Orange Tree

Cast for An Octoroon at Orange Tree Theatre

The cast has been announced for the European premiere of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Obie Award-winning play, An Octoroon, at the Orange Tree Theatre in London. The line-up comprises Cassie Clare, Emmanuella Cole, Celeste Dodwell, Iola Evans, Ken Nwosu, Vivian Oparah, Alistair Toovey, and Kevin Trainor. They are joined by cellist James Douglas. Ned Bennett returns to the Orange Tree to direct after his successful production of Alistair McDowall’s Pomona which transferred to the National Theatre and Royal Exchange. An Octoroon, which premiered Off-Off Broadway in 2014, is set on a failing plantation, Terrebonne, after the death of its owner Judge Peyton. His handsome nephew George arrives as heir apparent and quickly falls in love with Zoe, a beautiful “octoroon” – a 19th-century term for a mixed-heritage person with just one black great-grandparent. However, the dastardly M’Closky has other plans for both Terrebonne and Zoe. It is based on Irish playwright Dion … Read more

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