Black Album plays in National summer

Published May 7, 2009

The National Theatre has confirmed dates and casting for Hanif Kureishi’s forthcoming stage adaptation of his novel The Black Album, which plays through the summer alongside several productions which have extended their runs at the Southbank venue.

The Black Album opens in the Cottesloe theatre on 21 July after previews from 14 July. A co-production with Tara Arts, whose Artistic Director Jatinder Verma directs, The Black Album has a cast that comprises Alexander Andreou, Jonathan Bonnici, Tanya Franks, Sean Gallagher, Beruce Khan, Nitin Kundra, Shereen Martineau, Robert Mountford and Glyn Pritchard.

Kureishi’s tale centres on Shahid, an Asian kid from Kent who goes to college in London and teams up with a sympathetic group of anti-racists. But it is 1989, the year of the fatwa on Salman Rushdie, and as Shahid begins a hedonistic affair with his lecturer, his radical Muslim friends want to steer him away from the decadence of the West.

As well as being the author of novels including The Buddha Of Suburbia and Intimacy, Kureishi has previously written for the stage, including the play Sleep With Me and a version of Brecht’s Mother Courage, both also staged at the National Theatre.

While The Black Album plays in the Cottesloe, Richard Bean’s somewhat controversial play England People Very Nice is to continue in repertoire in the Olivier theatre until 9 August. Phedre, starring Helen Mirren and Dominic Cooper in the Lyttelton, and Marianne Elliott’s production of All’s Well That Ends Well in the Olivier, neither of which has yet opened, have also extended their booking periods and will play until 27 August and 30 September respectively.

This summer also sees the return of Sunday performances in the Olivier and Lyttelton theatres, which was trialled in the autumn of last year, at which time Nicholas Hytner, Artistic Director of the National Theatre, said: “It’s long been our ambition to open the National on Sundays, joining all our neighbours on the South Bank who open their doors throughout the weekend.” Sunday performances resume from 9 July.

Further ahead, the National has announced the return of Tom Stoppard and Andre Previn’s collaborative work Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, which was revived earlier this year and will return to the Olivier theatre from 9 January to 17 February 2010. Combining theatre with an orchestral score played live onstage by the Southbank Sinfonia, this is a darkly provocative piece which centres on a dissident who is locked up in an asylum.

CB