In praise of Caryl Churchill

Published in The Independent on Sunday on April 12, 2015

Who is Britain’s greatest living playwright? Tom Stoppard has often been bestowed with this honour, as he was, again, in the barrage of press marking his comeback play The Hard Problem earlier this year. But, for many, there’s another clear candidate, Caryl Churchill – and her claim to the title is set to be showcased in the months ahead, with three major revivals of her work.

First, a production of Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, her early play about the English Civil War, opens next week at the National Theatre. Then in July comes Manchester International Festival’s take on her 1994 twisted fable The Skriker, starring Maxine Peake and with music by Antony Hegarty and Nico Muhly, followed by the transfer to the Young Vic of Michael Longhurst’s acclaimed production of cloning drama A Number. Continue reading “In praise of Caryl Churchill”

Indira Varma: From Game of Thrones to Man and Superman

Published in The Independent on February 17, 2015

George Bernard Shaw’s play may be entitled Man and Superman, but I’ve just met its superwoman. A new production of this rarely performed play opens at the National Theatre next week, directed by Simon Godwin, and starring Ralph Fiennes as Shaw’s speechifying philosopher, Jack Tanner. But Indira Varma – who plays his romantic sparring partner Ann – is in no doubt as to the importance of the female lead in this epic play.

“Ann, who does not speak half as much as Tanner, should bear the mantle for women,” the 41-year-old actress says. “He wants to be the superman, philosophical man or whatever, but I feel Ann is that too – she just doesn’t talk as much. She’s practical.” Continue reading “Indira Varma: From Game of Thrones to Man and Superman”