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Published 17 March 2015

What’s it all about?

The fabulous mundanity of the life of poet Stevie Smith who, while creating ‘almost unclassifiable work’, as Philip Larkin called it, lived with her aunt in the heart of suburbia.

Who’s in it?

Zoë Wanamaker returns to Hampstead Theatre for the first time since 1994’s Dead Funny. She exposes the eminently normal and gloriously stoic in the secretary and poet, occasionally dipping into morbid fantasy or exposing the quiet mischief of her heart.

Chris Larkin takes on a handful of roles – some with more sinister ambiguity than others – as Man.

What should I look out for?

Lynda Baron’s perfect, heart-breaking depiction of aging that sees her transformed from the ‘Lion Aunt’ to quivering, wheezing shell.

Simon Higlett’s design, which gives Wanamaker’s Stevie the unshakeable air of an overgrown schoolgirl and sets the action of a book strewn set that would delight any bibliophile.

In a nutshell?

Mundanity, morbidity and mischief combine while Wanamaker brings spark and stoicism to poet Stevie.

What’s being said on Twitter?

@KathyLette Brilliant Zoe Wanamaker brought reclusive poet Stevie Smith to quirky + colourful life at @Hamps_Theatre last night. Funny + moving #Stevie

@giveMetokyo Oh my, one of the most engaging and thought provoking pieces I’ve ever seen. Fantastic performance @ZoeWanamaker #Stevie @Hamps_Theatre

Will I like it?

If you’re in the mood for a more sedate evening of theatre that may illuminate and inspire you to dig out a new poetry anthology, Stevie will be perfect. The biographical dash through the life of the lesser known poet, often told to the audience rather than shown, is ideal for those not averse to a spot of verse.

Stevie is playing at the Hampstead Theatre until 18 April. You can book tickets through the theatre’s website.


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