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International season at Lyric Hammersmith

Published 30 December 2008

The Lyric Hammersmith looks to the international stage for its spring programme of work, as Sean Holmes takes over as Artistic Director of the West London venue.   

Following new musical Spring Awakening, the last production under the tenure of current Artistic Director David Farr, the season continues with a production of Gogol’s The Overcoat, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Russian writer, a multinational circus show entitled Hang On, and a Bollywood-inspired version of Emily Bronte’s classic novel Wuthering Heights.

Theatre company Gecko returns to the Lyric Hammersmith to stage The Overcoat (20 March to 11 April, press night 23 March), based on Russian writer Nikolai Gogol’s 1842 short story. Using physical comedy, movement, cinematic images and evocative music, Gecko reinvents the classic tale of a downbeat draughtsman who is fixated on a glamorous new coat. The result is an intoxicating world where a man’s thoughts spill out into everyday life, blurring reality with grotesque fantasy in a vivid critique of modern consumption.

Gecko’s previous productions include Taylor’s Dummies, The Race and The Arab And The Jew, which was staged at the Lyric Hammersmith last winter.

Following The Overcoat, theatre company Theatre-Rites and aerial experts Ockham’s Razor bring family show Hang On (15-25 April, press night 17 April) to the main stage. This circus-inspired production features an international ensemble including an Italian juggler and a Japanese Taiko drummer. Japanese percussionist Nao Masuda accompanies the daring action, which includes an attempt by the show’s aerial performers to create a giant, spinning human mobile suspended from a hanging rig high above the stage.

Theatre-Rites’s previous work includes family dance piece Mischief, which played at the Peacock theatre last year and was recently awarded the TMA award for Achievement In Dance.

The season continues with Wuthering Heights (29 April to 23 May, press night 30 April), in which theatre company Tamasha transports Bronte’s classic tale to the scorched desert landscape of Rajasthan. In this Bollywood-inspired version, Shakuntala, headstrong daughter of spice merchant Singh, falls for Krishan, a street urchin her father brings home after one of his trips to market. But can their adolescent love withstand India’s rigid social hierarchies and Shakuntala’s yearning for a life of luxury?

Tamasha is one of the country’s leading theatre companies credited with bringing Asian culture into the mainstream. Past productions include A Fine Balance, produced at the Hampstead theatre in 2006, Fourteen Songs, Two Weddings And A Funeral and East Is East, the hit 1996 production of Ayub Khan-Din’s play which was staged at the Royal Court and the Duke of York’s theatre before being nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award and spawning a successful film version.

In the Lyric Studio, the season continues after Lemn Sissay’s Why I Don’t Hate White People with Vanishing Point’s farcical, hypnotic show Interiors (21 April to 9 May, press night 22 May) and Inspector Sands’s highly physical production If That’s All There Is (12 to 16 May). Amici Dance Theatre Company comes to the Lyric from 8 to 12 June for an Open Door, where visitors can watch and take part in the work of this unique company which integrates disabled and non-disabled performers.

The Lyric Hammersmith’s programme of children’s shows on Saturdays continues throughout the spring, with week-long runs over the half term and Easter holidays. The family programming culminates in the annual summer party, to be held this year on 11 July. Entitled A Blooming Marvellous Summer Party, this free event offers activities for all the family in and around the Lyric Hammersmith.

CB

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