As we head into April, you can almost feel the palpable excitement. April marks Step 2 of the Coronavirus roadmap, and it’s just a few more weeks until live theatre can return in front of socially distant audiences from 17 May. Before theatres open again, there’s plenty of virtual alternatives to keep us entertained.
From livestreamed revivals to national premieres, there’s something for everyone. Here’s our top 10 theatre picks for April 2021.
Some Girl I Used to Know
After a 2014 premiere at the Arts Theatre, Denise Van Outen reprises her performance in the one-woman play Some Girl I Used to Know. She’ll play Stephanie, a lingerie designer from Essex who questions her life’s worth when she receives a text out of the blue. The upcoming film is directed by Tamzin Outhwaite and is said to be a nod to those who’ve spent time alone during the Coronavirus pandemic. Money raised from Some Girl I Used to Know will be donated to the Make a Difference Trust, supporting out-of-work artists.
Online, from 2 April.
Romeo and Juliet
Coronavirus cancelled a lot. The pandemic interrupted upcoming productions, including a Romeo and Juliet revival at the National Theatre, directed by Simon Godwin. Thankfully, audiences can get a second chance to see the production, as it’s been filmed in the Lyttelton Theatre for an Easter release. Josh O’ Connor and Jessie Buckley play the two title leads, with supporting performances from Tamsin Greig, Adrian Lester and Fisayo Akinade. Hopefully this is just an amuse bouche before an in-person engagement.
Sky Arts, airing 4 April.
During the pandemic, it’s been difficult to stay in contact with friends and family. What can we do to reach out to others? How can we maintain connections? After the award-winning show Islander at Southwark Playhouse, Helen Milne Productions return with Distance Remaining, following individuals who rekindle lost friendships from the last year.
Online, from 14 April.
Dr Seuss’ The Lorax
In 2015, Dr Seuss’ The Lorax found a new residency away from Paradise Valley, making a London home at The Old Vic. After in-person revivals, The Lorax is going global with a limited run of livestreamed performances. Hamilton’s Jamael Westman plays the Once-ler, joined by actors including Melanie La Barrie and Audrey Brisson. It’s a perfect family-friendly option too, complete with puppets and original music. Just don’t get any ideas to chop down trees though.
Online, from 14 April.
Inspiration can come from anywhere. For Jack Holden, it was during a voluntary shift for Switchboard, the LGBTQ+ Listening Service. Cruise dramatises the tale of one man, who was given four years to live after a HIV diagnosis. So when he lives past that date, life is given a new purpose. Holden writes and stars in his own work, streaming for 10 days before an in-person transfer to the Duchess Theatre in May.
Online, from 15 April.
West End Drive In
Although theatres can’t open until May, drive in concerts have been given the green light from mid April. Next month, the Troubadour Meridian Water will reopen its doors for a series of West End concerts, taking place each Saturday. Stars taking part are to be confirmed, but previous concerts included cast members from Six, Waitress and Wicked.
Troubadour Meridian Water, from 17 April.
A Killer Party
Think you could be a detective? Want to flex your investigative skills? After an American engagement, A Killer Party comes to the UK for a theatrical murder mystery like no other. A Killer Party tells of an actor turned artistic director who is suddenly killed during a readthrough. But, can you eke out a confession? We can’t wait to pretend we’re Sherlock Holmes.
Online, from 19 April.
Joey Contreras’ In Pieces will finally receive its British premiere in April, following performances at New York’s Lincoln Center in 2017. West End stars including Jordan Luke Gage, Danielle Steers and Hiba Elchikhe appear in the musical film, exploring how unconscious choices can ultimately guide our lives without realising.
Online, from 23 April.
Can’t wait until May for the Eurovision Song Contest? You don’t have to. Eurobeat is the musical alternative to the continental singing event, with viewers being able to vote for their favourite acts after the stream. This year’s event is set in Lichtenstein, with European acts portrayed by Joanne Clifton, Tia Kofi, Tom Read Wilson, Christine Allado, Matt Croke and Aisha Jawando.
Online, from 30 April.
The Winter’s Tale
Nature is healing. New Shakespeare adaptations are back on our screen. The Royal Shakespeare Company are back in the spotlight, with a history-making production, as The Winter’s Tale premieres on BBC Four before in-person performances. Erica Whyman directs a new adaptation, set in late 1960s America.
Available on BBC Four, broadcast date to be confirmed.