Lynn Nottage’s Sweat to transfer to West End from Donmar Warehouse
The Pulitzer Prize-winning play is based on interviews Nottage conducted in 2011 with residents in the town of Reading, Pennsylvania which was, at the time, one of the poorest cities in America. She wanted to explore the effects of losing heavy industry, and the changing ethnic landscape of the city.
Sweat shows a parole officer, two convicts and three childhood friends who had worked in the same factory, meeting in a bar in the city. It shifts around time as the local community is destabilised by the risk of the city’s industry collapsing, which has very real effects on its residents’ lives.
Sweat premiered in Oregon in 2015 before beginning an Off-Broadway run at the Public Theater in 2016, and transferring to Broadway’s Studio 54 the following year. It won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and received three Tony Award nominations, including best play.
It received its first showing in London at the Donmar Warehouse in late 2018 directed by Lynette Linton, and was a late entry in many critics’ ‘Best Shows of the Year’ lists. The show’s sell-out success saw it extend a further week at the theatre.
In his five-star review for LondonTheatre.co.uk, Mark Shenton related the play’s themes to the rise of Donald Trump in America, writing: ‘This play helps to contextualise with astonishing clarity just how his rise happened. And it is both chastening and bruising to watch.’
Sweat tickets go on sale on Monday.