Review: Really Old, Like Forty Five

February 25, 2010

The Cottesloe Theatre is steadily becoming one of those spaces that I admire. It has a life of its own, despite being part of the National Theatre. Some people will frown upon the work that comes into it, for it is bold, challenging and often gambling with new work that is a far cry from the NT brand of entertainment for the people. The Cottesloe Theatre for me is almost restoring my faith in the work of the National Theatre, proving at times it can dance the thin line of experiementation and throw caution to the wind at it’s faithful audiences.

Really Old, Like Forty Five is one of those pieces that the National has put their faith in – with a big risk. It is an absurd new play by Tamsin Oglesby, charting the lives of a family as they plod through old age and dementia. This might seem like a conventional play on the surface, but when you throw in a medical company whose aim is to rid the streets of old people, facilitating uthensia and attempting to cure memory loss with the use of a robot nurse that has animastic qualities, you begin to see what an absurd play this really is.

Here lies the problem. This mix of robotic nurses, dementia curing pills, and a focus on a family attempting to fight through memory loss is possibly a little far fetched to comprehend. Or maybe it is novel approach to a hard topic? Either way there is no escaping the fact that this play is absurd, and this of course means that either you will love it, or hate it.

I couldn’t help but to feel Really Old, Like Forty Five is a mix of a Doctor Who episode with characters from The Catherine Tate Show attempting to pull off a NHS advert for dementia.

Oglesby’s play juxtaposes the medical trials against that of the real life, and if you can look beyond the surreal aspects of the play – there is a message that rings loud and clear. At what age do we get old? When is it time to stop pretending we are young?… and how far do the medical trials of new treatments go in order to gain reputation or profit?

Anna Mackin certainly faces the play with a great force in her direction. She tackles the subject matter straight on, switching the action between the various themes and directions of the text effortlessly so that there isn’t a moment for the audience to get lost on the tangent. Her insight into the play even allows her for some slightly surreal moments involving the use of Liz Brotherston’s stage design and video work by Fifty Nine Productions Ltd, which take form of a giant tortoise and a baby flying through the air. Odd aye?

Whilst the play may take an unusual approach to getting a point across, there is no denying that this dark comedy does feature some superb acting from the cast. Judy Parfitt as the steady dementia form of old woman Lyn is one of the key figures in Really Old, Like Forty Five. She shows a harrowing display of emotion during scenes where she believes things that aren’t true because her memory is failing her. Equally her inability to understand what is going on, makes for brilliant one liners allowing for the comedy to arise.

The Olivier Awarded Marcia Warren as the dotty Alice brings such a charm and wit to her acting capturing the heart of growing old and still managing to survive with vigor. Oglesby’s portrayal of these older women are at times immensely sad, yet glowing with warmth and joy. Michela Meazza as Mimi the robotic nurse is beautiful. She moves with such robotic and structured manners that when combined with the sound effects, I quite simply forgot she was even human (is that possible?).

The rest of the cast featuring Lucy May Barker, Paul Bazely, Tanya Franks, Gawn Grainger, Thomas Jordan and Paul Ritter each bring with them the absurd characters of Oglesby’s play to different ends, but still achieving the desired affects.

Really Old, Like Forty Five is a tough play to comprehend. Oglesby’s setting of the play at times outweighs the subject matter of growing old and dementia – yet equally she has managed to create a common worry within the everyday person and completely turn it on it’s head. We often see in the media the use of clinical trials for various drugs, and countless times we have heard of courtroom trials around uthensia, Really Old, Like Forty Five tackles these subjects in an absurd manner. Often hitting the theme with poignant emotion, other times slightly missing the point by the very nature of the play.

The outcome is really down to the spectator. If you’re a regular at the National Theatre, I might suspect that you have a certain idea of what to expect from the play. Well – you won’t quite see what you expected. Really Old, Like Forty Five is a compelling approach to dramatising the worries that we all have, but to be sure – watch some Doctor Who episodes before you go, just to get into the spirit of it!

Really Old, Like Forty Five is playing in the Cottesloe Theatre at the National Theatre until 20th April 2010. Booking in person, over the phone or indeed as always through the National Theatre’s website.


Review: The Cat in the Hat

February 10, 2010

The Cat in the Hat

Based on the books by Dr Seuss, Katie Mitchel directs The Cat in the Hat in an action packed adventure of a naughty cat who comes to play with two children who are bored one rainy day. This childrens show is simply superb in its entertainment for children and adults alike, delivering a fast paced bouncing and eye popping performance.

There are so many parts of Mitchel’s production that can be praised. Firstly it delivers pure entertainment for children in a short but sweet burst of 35 minutes (I’m sure that some people would relish more). Secondly it has a design that fits so perfectly with the original book that it makes me wonder if the illustrations hadn’t come to life themselves to perform. Thirdly, the sound and music is cheeky and brilliantly executed.

Mitchel has brought together a team of creatives who deserve the sell out shows that The Cat in the Hat is receiving from their National Theatre to Young Vic transfer. Vicki Mortimer’s design takes on a cartoon effect that is portrayed in all the props and costume. Paul Clark and Gareth Fry’s Music/Sound Design combined puts the piece in a world of it’s own. Coupled with the wacky direction from Katie Mitchel, The Cat in the Hat is stunning.

Thing 1, and Thing 2

The production borders on extreme chaos and something of a nightmare, which would explain why children love it, (and in some cases leave crying!). It is completely absurd and without a doubt wacky, but this only makes it more enjoyable.

The cast manage to keep up with this fast paced piece, hitting all the humour that the show needs. They are equally receptive to the younger audiences, playing upon their interjections and laughter. Angus Wright as the Cat in the Hat is seductive and humorous in his portrayal of the mischievous cat. Luisa and Sandra Guerreiro are brilliantly freakish as Thing 1 and Thing 2. There is nothing more frightful than an energetic pair of twins wearing red jump suits and blue wigs.

It’s good to see a production that has followed completely with a theme, that is reflected in all aspects – design, sound, direction and acting. Children’s theatre needs to be bold, engaging and above all enjoyable for those little spectators. The Cat in the Hat ticks all the right boxes, and includes some real mouth opening moments, especially during a balancing act of a fish, umbrella, plates, cups, books, milk tray, little red ship all balancing whilst the cat stands proudly on a ball. Brilliant!

The Cat in the Hat is another great example at showing how imaginative and engaging childrens theatre can be, even for those of us who aren’t quite children anymore.

The Cat in the Hat is playing at the Young Vic until 13th March. Tickets are very limited so queuing for returns is the best way of getting tickets. See the website for more details.

Review: Our Class

December 23, 2009

Our Class at the National Theatre

The persecution of the Jews over the course of the 20th century is no easy task to condense into a play. Nor is it an easy task to bear witness to over the course of three hours in the Cottesloe at the National Theatre. Tadeusz Slobodzianek’s new play in a version by Ryan Craig whilst holding heavy subject matter it is hard hitting, thought provoking and finely acted.

I had my doubts about Our Class within the first few minutes. My initial reaction was, ‘not another play where adults pretend to be children’. There is nothing worse, often sending shivers down my spine, to see grown actors attempting a mocking childs voice and mannerisms. However there is something quite compelling with the start of the play, it sets the tone and links directly with the title and theme of the play: a close knit school class and their inevitable future living through multiple regimes.

Our Class is a tough play to watch, its dialogue is brutal, hitting the points of torture and endurment of a ethnic group being persecuted for their origins. There is nothing happy about genocide and Tadeusz Slobodzianek doesn’t try to convey the light hearted approach, there is no humour, just the knowledge that this did happen, (and in some countries, still happening).

What I admire about this production is my inability to highlight a single actor who stood out to be praised. Our Class isn’t about exceptional acting abilities – it is performed with the ensemble at heart, and what a better way to feed into the key themes. They sing folk songs, recite nursery rhymes in unison and dance in circles on the wooden floor of the Cottesloe Theatre.

The ensemble at work

Spanning some 60 years, Our Class tackles a fascinating subject, that any person with an interest in Polish history would thrive off. At times the play is a little heavy with its emphasis of dates and times to which the story is winding between. Yet it is the narrative based text that drives the piece, action is minimal here. It’s almost a Greek tragedy for the modern tragedies of our time. We hear of the violence, the horrific torture of the Jews against the catholic villagers. If there is action, – fighting between characters, Bijan Sheibani’s direction creates the brutality with words not physical contact. The words and dialogue are the weapons of this play.

Our Class whilst being simple in its stage design by Bunny Christie, it is a complex piece. The development of the characters over the span of their lives gain increased intensity as guilt emerges, claims are made against them and ultimately their deaths lay before them. Our Class resonates through us so truthfully because, although we may not have first hand experience of War Crimes and Genocide, we all know of them. It’s something that hangs heavy over Europe from the second world war, and further afield today.

The stage design for Our Class, simple.

One thing I struggled with slightly was the length of the play. At 3 hours with one interval, the second half seemed to drag slightly. Whilst I understand that for us to understand the paths of the characters, and where they end up you need this length, I couldn’t help to think that some 20 minutes of editing could have brought the running time down. The brutality of the spoken action is less so in the second half, and instead the various monologues of action take over. The actors sliding between themselves to fulfill the narration.

The narration of Our Class is without doubt energised and emotional. Careful pacing has been executed with the actors, giving at times remarkable outcomes, twisting and turning through the individual stories. Yet what Our Class needs is a change in direction or tactic. The monologues are delivered with force, but after 2 hours, you want something different, a change of dynamic. Having said this, it doesn’t make for a poor performance.

It is remarkable how gripping this production is. Perhaps it’s the subject matter, or perhaps the acting and directing? Whatever it is, Our Class is gripping, bursting with emotion, with a deep sense of understanding and knowledge that humans are vile, horrid creatures at times.

Our Class is playing at the National Theatre in the Cottesloe Theatre until 12th January 2010, tickets are still available through their website and box office.

Review: Nation

November 27, 2009

Nation at the National Theatre

Is it all a load of fantasy?

There are two ways of looking at the production of Nation now showing at the National Theatre. First, you can see it as what it is being advertised as by the National … that of a “spectacular family show”, you can just take it as this, and forget all your pre-concieved ideas of what a good piece of theatre is about. Or you can see it with a critical eye, and look beyond the visual affects and see the chaos that lies beneath.

How does someone take a piece of fantasy and craft it in such a manner that it is relayed in a theatrical sense, without it coming across as sheer nonsense? The National Theatre has actually had quite a good track record for setting new heights in their work of fantasy adaptation, one look at the popular adaptation of the Phillip Pullmans series, ‘His Dark Materials’ that graced the stage and went on a long tour proves that it can be done – and well.

So what went wrong here?

After several days mulling over my thoughts; for this production is not an easy one to digest; it comes in waves of information, in visual delight and a complicated script – I have concluded that perhaps it lies with the actual adaptation of text. Mark Ravenhill, one of our clear playwrights of the 21st century, whose previous work I have applauded time and time again, was given this mammoth task. How do you adapt a Terry Pratchett fantasy novel into a National Theatre “spectacular family show”, or more basic than that, into a working playscript?

Idenity is a big theme in Nation

Ravenhill at times captures the essence of Pratchetts story, with strong notions of what identity is between two different worlds, that of the British Empire and a ‘Barbarian Island’. Of course this is one of the themes running through the play, sorry, I mean ‘spectacle’… yet somehow Ravenhill just doesn’t fulfill the text in such a way that it translates well. It doesn’t bring the true magic of fantasy storytelling to the stage, instead… it brings something that for me, falls flat.

I think it’s safe to say that after the first half there are far too many questions that have been raised, and failed to be answered. Whilst I understand that plots are meant to be developed, it’s almost like Ravenhill has opened a can of worms and hasn’t quite caught them all yet to work into the story/plot.

Of course it’s not just Ravenhill’s writing that lets this show down – the musical interludes and songs are shocking. I’m sorry, but was there any need for the songs? They seemingly attempted to add a flare of musicality to the production, but failed to get anywhere with actors who clearly are not meant to be singers. It was such a shame that some of the ensemble singing wasn’t stronger, hell, there was a big enough cast for it to be!

One form of puppetry in Nation

The devices used in Nation are too extreme and too many, a revolving stage, puppetry, visual affects, projectors and exploding scenery to name but a few. Whilst I understand that part of translating this fantasy world comes across through the visual aspects, there seemed to be no limits on how far the direction was taken with the design. Melly Still the director of Nation really did let her imagination go wild with help from Mark Friend on set design, but has she not learnt to also know when the imagination runs away from logic?

Some of the visual material was fantastic, no denying that – especially that of the underwater video projections which were very stunning (a big thumbs up to Jon Driscoll and Gemma Carrington, projection designers on this). Equally the way that the boats were represented on large cloth material (although done countless times before), actually brought a fresh burst of creativity to the mix, but this alone can’t bring the performance from the depths of “EEK”.

Emily Taaffe and Gary Carr

The acting was good, but not amazing, with Emily Taaffe as the British castaway figure of Daphne and Gary Carr as Mau the Island new-born Chief leading the production for the best part. Although admittedly I couldn’t quite believe that Taaffe was meant to be playing a 14 year old girl.. I’m sorry but my imagination couldn’t fathom this idea. Other notable praise for ‘good’ acting goes to an ensemble of energetic characters of natives, puppeteers and fine men and women.

Still as director has worked as best she could in this complex plot and miss-matched songs, to create a visually striking performance, but anything beyond this it lacks. It really is a shame. So whilst the National Theatre promote this as ‘family spectacle’ and whilst I’m sure it is enjoyable for children – for those of us who are looking at the National Theatre and thinking you represent our nation’s theatre… might just be disappointed.

Nation runs in the Oliver Theatre and is booking until 28 March 2010, see the National Theatre website for methods of booking.

Review: The Habit of Art

November 16, 2009

The Habit Of ArtThere is something oddly familiar with Alan Bennett’s new play, The Habit of Art now playing at the National Theatre. It has nothing to do with Artistic Director Nicholas Hytner, directing another of Bennett’s plays, the last being The History Boys at the National again. It has nothing to do with the subject matter either, a look into the relationship and lives of W H Auden and Benjamin Britten.

No, the reason The Habit of Art is so familiar lies in the content of the play, a rehearsal room, the setting for Bennetts new piece. The play is a play within a play, and the play happens to be towards the end of rehearsal period. (Still following?) The Lytteltons stage is thus the rehearsal room, with the bare bones of a set constructed, and slightly furnished. A small kitchen area is on one side of the stage, and on the other a series of desks, chairs, keyboard and scripts.

The lighting is simple, even the design evokes the reaction that this is all too familiar. Any person who works in theatre, or has had the opportunity to sit in a rehearsal room during a rehearsal will see the familiarities here, and it is executed marvelously. The witty banter between the actors, the assistant stage manager running around setting props and prompting lines, yes, this is all too familiar to me.

There is a slight concern then that, because of the setting of the play, that Bennett has excluded a whole sector of his audience who perhaps don’t know the workings of the theatre and the rehearsal room, yet this clearly is not the case. I might have been chuckling to myself at theatre related jokes, but equally these jokes transferred easily to the audience with great reception.

Richard Griffiths is as always on top form in this. Even the subject matter of playing Auden as a sexually driven, yet equally as boring man is done perfectly. I never thought I’d reach the day when I would find it amusing to listen to Griffiths telling of his delights of enjoying a mans genitals and pleasuring him in such a manner as I heard in The Habit of Art.

The storyline of the play (within the play) is an interesting one, and I do say this in a tone of – I’m not quite sure I like it. However, that’s not the point. For the storyline of the play, is actually that of the rehearsal room, it is the breaking out of character to criticise the playwrights words. It’s the getting thrown off your lines because an actor has yet to have their movement blocked for their short monologues.

What is brilliant about The Habit of Art is Bennetts ability to go, yes I am a playwright, I write, but sometimes we don’t always get it right. And yes, there are actors, who just act, how easy that must be! The director disappears, but the show goes on. It is Bennetts sense of understanding the world he is writing for. He openly mocks himself as a playwright by having a playwright as a character within his play, putting the actors off their lines and arguing with rewrites. Yet equally Bennett makes wise comments upon theatre and actors, comparing them to a solider, they are afraid.

There are some other remarkable people to mention in The Habit of Art, pretty much all the actors are strong, funny and play the parts excellently. Frances de la Tour is wonderful, playing the balancing act between the cast and the creatives. The peace maker in the rehearsal room. She is cool and  equally demanding too with her outbursts of “On, go on”, every time the action stops due to casual talking. Alex Jennings plays the role of the composer Benjamin Britten, and whilst he wasn’t someone who greatly stood out for me, his emotional engagement with his story did pluck at my heart strings slightly.

Adrian Scarborough as the biographer Humphrey Carpenter, has some beautifully comic lines, including his exclamation that he is nothing but a “device” in the play. This certainly racked up a few laughs at the National, for most certainly this character is only a device being used by Bennett or rather the playwright in the play to tell the winding stories of Auden and Britten.

It is moments such as this that reminds us once again that Alan Bennett is a master of a playwright, a living monument to all things good about theatre and his ability to write about situations and characters. Witty, heart-warming, and fantastically funny, that is The Habit of Art for me.

The Habit of Art by Alan Bennett is playing at the National Theatre and booking until April 2010. New tickets to be released shortly so check the National Theatre website for details.

Review: Mother Courage and Her Children

November 2, 2009

Mother Courage and Her Children

Mother Courage and Her Children

Mother Courage and Her Children has been built into my nervous system since a young age. Programmed and modified in vigorous lessons at GCSE’s, A Level and Degree level of teaching. Therefore I think it’s fair to say that it was about time that I actually went and saw the Brecht production for myself. As you can imagine, I hold the play quite dear to my heart, and actually rather like the themes that run through it. Nothing beats an epic war spread over many years, and the loss of people to that war. Judging from several reviews of the show already it would appear not everyone likes an epic proportion of a play, and quite a few people were lost to the tragic tale.

Let me set the scene, the Olivier Theatre at the National Theatre, a vast stage exposed to the audience, blasts of sound effects and sound scopes echo around the auditorium. Stage managers, actors, scenery, and props are littered everywhere and anywhere. This is the start of a war, and Mother Courage the protagonist of Brechts play leads her cart of war supplies across what we know now as Europe with her three children, from three different fathers. This opening scene is quite dramatic, explosions going off, lights whirling beams around the stage, and Fiona Shaw standing on top of her cart singing an almighty song of war.

The production is going to epic, I could just tell, but the real question is more, did it live up to the epic proportions of the play that Brecht once wrote?

Mother Courage

Fiona Shaw as Mother Courage

What I admire about Deborah Warner’s production of Bertolt Brecht’s, Mother Courage and Her Children, is how true she sticks to some of the Brechtian methods of alienation and distancing of the audiences, at no point is there a cause for emotion when Brecht is around. Huge banners and voice overs announce the start of new scenes and what happens within. “…her honest son dies” – This is what I love about Brecht, the fact you are told beforehand what to expect, and thus when it happens you are absent minded about any form of emotion.

Warner’s direction of Mother Courage for me stays true to the ways of Brecht, even down to the bursting of songs, which are delightfully played by Duke Special and band. Perhaps it’s all a bit theatrical, with the use of hand held microphones, but then once again it reminds us that we’re just watching a show, and as Brecht said: “I don’t want the audience to come into the theatre and hang their minds up with their hats”, or something close to that nonetheless.

Warner has brought the production up to speed rather (despite the three hour running time) with a contemporary feel to the production. It’s something about the staging, the scenery that is erected to symbolise but to not actually fulfill. It’s in the costumes and props, and maybe down to the swearing that is littered in Tony Kushner’s new translation.

Despite all of this, I can’t help feel that there is something missing from Mother Courage and Her Children, it lacks a heart, a keystone that completes the show. It’s as if it is missing a limb that it can’t function without. Don’t get me wrong, there is much to praise in this slightly risky production for the National Theatre, but after 3 hours I wanted more. I wanted full on explosions and blood and guts. I wanted to see the despair of Mother Courage as she loses her last child.

I just wanted more.

From a production with such epic proportions, you would have thought Warner would have pushed the piece beyond the comforts of ‘let’s keep this nice for the audience’.  Alas, that wasn’t the case.

Mother Courage2

Mother Courage and her Daughter

Fiona Shaw plays the lead here, and she does so with compelling conviction. She is rugged, and honest, witty and smart. I actually rather liked her singing, compared with some of the comments I’ve read! Personally I think she makes a fine leading lady and I can’t help but to feel that the pressure was on for her to push this piece constantly forward as she is rarely off the stage during the show. However she does so commendably, and I’d actually rather like to see her in future shows, she is certainly one to watch.

Another person to shine in this production comes from the slightly stupid and forgotten character of Swiss Cheese, played beautifully by Harry Melling. He manages to capture everything possible about this character, from movement, voice and presence. At times I found myself caught in his performance more than I did of Fiona Shaw.. and that’s something!

A note on the length of the production. It has been discussed at length at how long this production of Mother Courage and Her Children is. Yet I approve of the running time, it easily reflects that of the context of the play, being set over a war that lasts years upon years. A war that never truly ends. The length of the production reflects that of the length of the lives of the characters living through a war that never ends.

My advice to people would be to check out the performance, it’s entertaining, fresh and really bold, just don’t expect to be completely drawn into the action and leave bowled over by the magic of theatre, because if anything, Brecht is far from making theatre like this.

A bold and challenging piece that brings the light out of a classic Brecht play.

Mother Courage and Her Children is playing in the Olivier Theatre of the National Theatre until 08 December 2009. Check the National Theatre website for details

Review: War Horse

October 12, 2009
War Horse

War Horse

Does War Horse live up to the hype and five star reviews? Surely a West End transfer, a merchandise stand complete with magnets, t-shirts and mugs, and a storyline to make the hardest of men shed a tear would be worth a praising review from A Younger Theatre? I wish it was true…

War Horse has been critically acclaimed since it touched audiences hearts at the National Theatre last year. The show quickly became sold out, and a highly anticipated West End transfer to the New London Theatre was made earlier this year.

And yet I was rather disappointed by the production.

There is no doubt that the puppets of the horses are crafted with such skill and are equally moved/mastered by extremely skilled puppeteers. The movement within these puppets, and the sheer size of them can be quite difficult to focus on at first.

Like any object manipulated into ‘life’, there is adjustment needed to both accept that there is someone control these bits of materials, and equally when you look beyond the manipulators that what you are seeing is ‘believing’ in the creature itself.

The horses are the closest looking things that we’re going to see of horses galloping around a West End stage anytime soon. They are lifelike, yet equally have a skilled puppet craft applied to them. So the horses are obviously not the problem within War Horse, and if anything, the puppetry within the piece as a whole is what drives the piece along but also gets the audiences into the auditorium in the first place.

What War Horse lacks is that of substance.

The story is a little thin on the ground, with moments that really could have been expanded, and equally moments that could quite have easily been cut. The connection between Joey the horse and it’s owner, the young lad Albert is lovingly nurtured within the production, and becomes a delight to watch. Yet other occassions within the piece I struggled to stifle my yawning. The rambling monologues from the German Captain seemed to drag the production into the depths of history.

War Horse

War Horse

War Horse is clearly a good production, especially with the level of skill from the puppeteers, and a notable performance from Kit Harington as Albert, leading the ensemble piece. Despite the five star reviews, and the hype surrounding War Horse, I failed to connect to the piece. It lacked something for me.

I think if anything it is more a personal connection than stating that this is a downright bad production. After all, one person may love a piece of theatre, and equally their friend may despise it. That is the very nature of arts and opinions. So this time, the National Theatre just didn’t pull it off for me.

Perhaps it goes back to my inability to relate to horses? Having never been up close to one more than once in my life, nor through having any desire to ride one… but surely that wouldn’t put me between what is an outstanding production and one that needs more work?

For me the emotional connection to the story was a start/stop affair. I wanted to enjoy this. I wanted to get lost within the magic of the various uses of puppetry onstage, and I wanted to be caught up in the emotive story of the first world war and the soldiers who lost their lives. But I didn’t, and this for me was the killer of heart and soul for War Horse. Others might have been crying and wiping their eyes at the end, but sadly I was trying not to laugh at whoever awful idea it was of having smoke billowing from either side of the stage and thus making a quarter of the audience blind to the action onstage during the second half.

However this isn’t all negative, and far from it. What Marianne Elliott and Tim Morris as directors have done is direct a show that brings into the main stream theatregoers eyes the use of full scale puppetry of high quality, allowing this artform to be more widely accessed. Also their simple stylistic approach to the play could be worth a note to some over-heavy productions seeking to represent every last bit of life on stage.

War Horse is well worth a visit, and with ticket prices seemingly dropping slightly, its worth spending a night engaging with horses made from an assortment of materials. Is the production child friendly though? Hmm… personally I wouldn’t take a young child along, not with its numerous methods of death and imagery of war wounded soldiers splattered across the stage…

War Horse … the five stars reviews, or the sagging storyline? You decide.

The New London Theatre is playing War Horse and booking until next year, 2010. Tickets can be found on the National Theatre website.