Upstairs Downstairs at Royal Court

Published April 17, 2008

The Royal Court has confirmed details of the three plays in its Upstairs Downstairs season this summer. The Ugly One, Free Outgoing and Gone Too Far!, all of which were staged last year in the intimate Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, are to be revived in the larger Jerwood Theatre Downstairs from June-August.

The Ugly One, by German playwright Marius von Mayenburg, and Free Outgoing, by Anupama Chandrasekhar, were both part of Artistic Director Dominic Cooke’s international season in the Upstairs space last autumn.

Ramin Gray returns to direct The Ugly One (10-28 June), a scalpel sharp comedy on beauty, identity and getting ahead in life. Michael Gould reprises his performance as Lette, who turns to a plastic surgeon after the extent of his ugliness is revealed. But when the bandages come off, he realises there is such a thing as being too beautiful.

Free Outgoing (2-19 July) is set in the fiercely conservative Tamil region of southern India, where the rampant technology of the modern world clashes with this highly traditional society. Lolita Chakrabarti recreates the role of Malini, a well-behaved schoolgirl who sparks moral outrage after a video clip of her with a boy is transmitted from person to person, throughout the entire community. Indhu Rubasingham directs.

Gone Too Far!, the debut play by Bola Agbaje, was first staged Upstairs as part of the Royal Court Young Writers Festival in February 2007. The production, which has been nominated for the Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre Laurence Olivier Award this year, is now revived Downstairs from 23 July-9 August. Director Bijan Sheibani – whose production of The Brothers Size at the Young Vic has also been nominated in the same category – once again directs this comic play about two brothers from different worlds. When Ikudayisi, who grew up in Nigeria, comes to stay with Yemi, who lives on a South London estate, their two worlds overlap.

Further casting for all three plays is to be announced.

The news of these revivals comes hot on the heels of the West End transfer of Polly Stenham’s That Face, which also ran in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs last year and will be revived at the Duke of York’s from May.

CB