The Lucky Chance, Frome; Almeida; Soho theatre, London
There’s a puppet but no happy ending at Emma Rice’s fine new Somerset venue; Elvis Costello soundtracks a postwar Polish love story; and Armando Iannucci bravely tries to satirise the Tory party
It is very good news. Indhu Rubasingham takes over as artistic director of the National in 2025. That must be welcomed not only for who she is – the first woman or person of colour to run the country’s biggest theatre – but for what she has done, and will do. She set London’s Kiln theatre alight, making it feel comfortable and look glorious, changing its name (from the Tricycle), undeterred by pickets outside the early shows. She put on new work that soared – Red Velvet, Retrograde – and in The Wife of Willesden let rip a zinging combination of Zadie Smith and Chaucer. At the National she has commanded the notoriously difficult Olivier with The Father and the Assassin and made the Lyttelton crackle with The Motherfucker With the Hat. Remember when “an eye for detail” was code for “female” in job ads? Forget it: Rubasingham thinks big – helping to make the theatre a place not merely of representation but of leaps in empathy.
As does Emma Rice, formerly of the Globe, who has just opened a new permanent home for her company, Wise Children. The Lucky Chance is a converted Methodist church that once housed a nursery: barrel roof, gleaming wood, a bar in the foyer with a piano (carols on launch night). Its former uses – for celebration, larking about, being looked after – have impregnated the walls.