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‘Grapes of Wrath,’ ‘Boys From the Blackstuff’ at U.K. National Theatre



London’s National Theatre has unveiled its summer season programming across its three stages.

Frank Galati’s Tony-winning adaptation of John Steinbeck’s masterpiece, “The Grapes of Wrath” is directed by Carrie Cracknell (“Julie,” “The Deep Blue Sea”). It follows the Joad family who are forced to travel west in search of a promised land and embark on an epic journey across America in the hope of finding work and a new life in California. The cast includes Cherry Jones with further casting to be announced. It will play in the Olivier theater July 17–Sept. 14.

James Graham’s new adaptation of Alan Bleasdale’s seminal TV show, “Boys from the Blackstuff,” is directed by Kate Wasserberg in her National Theatre debut. Set in 1980s Liverpool where life is tough as Chrissie, Loggo, George, Dixie and Yosser play the game. But there is no work and no money. Cast includes George Caple, Dominic Carter, Helen Carter, Aron Julius, Nathan McMullen, Lauren O’Neil, Barry Sloane and Mark Womack. It plays in the Olivier theater May 22–June 8.

Some 25 years after its first staging, Complicité’s “Mnemonic,” conceived and directed by Simon McBurney (“Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead,” “The Encounter”), returns. In the play, a body is found in the ice, and a woman is looking for her father while a man searches for his lost lover. The cast includes Richard Katz and Kostas Philippoglou. It plays in the Olivier theatre June 22–Aug. 10.

Katori Hall’s (“Tina: The Tina Turner Musical”) Pulitzer-winning comedy “The Hot Wing King” makes its U.K. debut in a new production directed by Roy Alexander Weise (“Master Harold’… and the boys”). In the play, things are heating up in Memphis as the annual Hot Wing Festival rolls into town. With their sights set on the crown, Cordell, his partner Dwayne and friends Isom and Big Charles team up again as the New Wing Order, with a new attitude and a new wing recipe. But after an unexpected family emergency, their plans get. The cast includes Kadiff Kirwan, with the rest to be announced. It plays in the Dorfman theatre July 11–Sept. 14.

In addition, the National Theatre Connections Festival returns June 25-29 and will feature 10 new plays from contemporary writers, including Luke Barnes, Mojisola Adebayo and Yasmeen Khan that will be staged by 10 youth theater groups from across the U.K. The New Views Festival returns in July. The winning play of the National Theatre New Views playwriting competition for young people will be staged as part of the festival, alongside rehearsed readings from shortlisted writers.


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