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  • Miles Hedley

SPRING/SUMMER SEASON at Greenwich Theatre

Updated: Jun 11, 2021

Live performance is back! And the highlight of Greenwich Theatre’s season is a quadruple bill of brilliant short plays by living legend Caryl Churchill, whose dramas have lit up this country’s cultural life for more than half a century.

The four works – tagged Bad Nights And Odd Days - will feature Withnail And I film star Paul McGann (pictured above in rehearsal with co-star Kerrie Taylor) who is making a welcome return to Greenwich Theatre following his memorable 2017 turn as a Nazi officer in the Guernsey-set play Gabriel.

All four were written early in Churchill’s career. Abortive investigates the harrowing consequences of rape, Three More Sleepless Nights turns the spotlight on to the everyday tensions of relationships, Seagulls is an allegory about losing the ability to write and Not Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen contemplates a future of ecological and economic ruin.

The show is directed by James Haddrell, who in March staged a fabulous online version of Churchill’s caustic satire The After-Dinner Joke.

He said: “This collection of intimate, quietly heart-stopping dramas will offer a powerful, moving evening of live theatre - the kind of evening we have all been missing so much.”

Bad Nights And Odd Days opens on June 23 and then runs Tuesday-Saturday evenings till July 10 with matinees every Saturday. Current social-distancing rules will apply.

Before that, a long-delayed visit by writer-performer Tayo Aluko comes in mid-June with a pair of shows about pioneering black campaigners.

On the 12th, Call Mr Robeson traces the career of the amazing Ol’ Man River singer, actor, political activist and civil rights pioneer Paul Robeson from global fame as a Hollywood idol to being branded a traitor during the McCarthy witch-hunts.

And the following day Aluko presents Just An Ordinary Lawyer, his tribute to Nigerian-born barrister, musician and cricket-lover Tunji Sowande who in 1978 became Britain’s first black judge.

While Bad Nights And Odd Days is playing on the main stage, Greenwich Theatre’s intimate studio space will be hosting shows throughout July.

On the 4th, award-winning company Clown Funeral stage A Pattern Of Bad Behaviour, described as a twisted comedy about what happens after two strangers meet in a car park and go for dinner.

Clown Funeral return on the 9th with The Runner, a work-in-progress about the darker side of running.

Comedy Club 4 Kids welcomes a string of top comics offering good clean fun for all the family at 11am on the 10th.

That evening – and the following one - the same space will be given over to Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope, writer-performer Mark Farrelly’s study of two contrasting periods of the gay icon’s life: loneliness in 1960s London and triumph in 1990s New York.

Back in the main auditorium, Steve Richards returns to Greenwich on July 18 with the latest edition of his Rock’n’Roll Politics. With so much Tory sleaze in the news at the moment, it promises rich pickings.

The school holidays are given over to two family shows in rep, both directed by Haddrell and both featuring legendary panto star Anthony Spargo. From August 5 to September 5 The Wolves Of Willoughby Chase – already an online Christmas hit – gets a hugely-deserved live run, alternating with Anthony Clark’s adaptation of the classic fairytale Pinocchio. It’s a must-see pairing for kids of all ages.

Full details of all the shows and all the latest lockdown advice is available at

Picture: Lidia Crisafulli


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