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Lucy Popescu’s theatre news: Hymn; Good Grief; The Color Purple; Shook

11 February, 2021 — By Lucy Popescu

Hymn stars Adrian Lester, left, and Danny Sapani. Photo: Zeinab Batchelor

THE Almeida Theatre’s production of Lolita Chakrabarti’s Hymn, directed by Blanche McIntyre, was originally due to play to socially distanced audiences and will now be streamed live from the theatre for five performances from Feb 17-20. Benny (Danny Sapani) is a loner anchored by his wife and children. Gil (Adrian Lester) longs to fulfil his potential. They form a bond but, as cracks appear, they realise that true courage comes in different forms. Featuring music from Gil and Benny’s lives, Chakrabarti’s soulful play asks what it means to be a good father, brother or son. Tickets to the live stream from £10. Visit

Hampstead Theatre is delighted to announce a new playwriting programme, for which participants will be paid, led by the multi-award-winning TV and theatre writer, Mike Bartlett (King Charles III), and IGNITE a new, free youth project for 13- to 17-year-olds living in Camden. Both initiatives will launch online this spring, while the venue remains closed, alongside the INSPIRE writers’ group, led by Roy Williams. The application process for the playwriting programme is now open and the deadline is Thursday, Feb 18. Visit:

• This month sees the online premiere of Good Grief by Lorien Haynes, directed by Natalie Abrahami and starring Sian Clifford (best known as Claire, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s uptight sister Claire in Fleabag) and Nikesh Patel. A romantic comedy about grief, described as “sharp, funny, irreverent and quintessentially British.” Available to stream Feb 15-April 15. Further info and tickets from:

Curve, in association with Birmingham Hippodrome, will stream award-winning musical The Color Purple, based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, from Feb 16-March 7 and is offering 2,000 free tickets to NHS staff. Curve has brought together the 2019 award-winning company for a fully reimagined concert version directed by Tinuke Craig, alongside musical director Alex Parker. The cast includes T’Shan Williams, Danielle Fiamanya, Karen Mavundukure, Ako Mitchell and Simon Anthony Rhoden. Visit:

• Shook by Samuel Bailey, was due to open in the West End. Instead, Papatango is sharing a film capture of the original world premiere until Feb 28. After you purchase a £10 ticket, the show will be available to watch for up to 48 hours. Cain, Riyad and Jonjo are locked up in a young offenders’ institution, where they trade sweets, chat, kill time – and await fatherhood. Grace’s job is to turn these teenagers into parents. Visit:

Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art, about a meeting between the poet WH Auden and the composer Benjamin Britten, is available to watch online until Feb 28. Philip Franks’ production stars Matthew Kelly and David Yelland Visit:


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