The Donmar Warehouse is a not-for-profit theatre in Covent Garden the opened back in 1977. The 251-seat theatre is an intimate playhouse that puts on exciting and diverse productions. The theatre’s latest Artistic Director Michael Longhurst wants to open up the Donmar to a wider audience and tell important stories.
Michael’s mission statement is Important Stories, Thrillingly Told’. Wanting to make the theatre feel less like an exclusive club, he recently launched the Donmar Daily scheme which releases 40 tickets per show a week in advance. This sits alongside their Young and Free Scheme – which gives young people aged between 16-25 free tickets to the Donmar’s productions.
I’d been to the Donmar Warehouse just once before using their Young and Free scheme to see Lynette Linton’s critically-acclaimed production of Sweat. As a frequent theatre-goer I couldn’t believe that this beautiful intimate space was hidden away in London. Their programming has always been impressive but I’d always struggled to get tickets. With these new schemes, it means more people have access to the Donmar’s productions.
Behind the scenes at the @DonmarWarehouse exploring the theatre and chatting to the cast.— Amy Stutz (@AmyStutz) September 24, 2019
Loved watching #Appropriate tonight. Such clever writing and seriously brilliant acting. @MonicaDolan gives one hell of a performance! pic.twitter.com/jLWsp3FunW
Their latest production, Appropriate, is a show about family dynamics and the history and politics of America. It’s a family drama with clever writing that beautifully reflects different classic American playwrights.
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ play tells the story of the Lafayette family who all father at their late father’s home in Arkansas to bury the hatchet and prepare the former plantation for its Estate Sale. When they arrive at the house, family secrets are uncovered and they make a discovery that changes everything.
It’s a powerful, shocking and thought-provoking piece of theatre that provides a multitude of perspectives on American politics. When talking to the cast, actor Charles Furness described the characters as “human and flawed.” He said: “They are desperately trying to hold on to their point of view.”
The set is unbelievable, designer Fly Davis has done a tremendous job creating the intricate details of the house. The way the special effects happen is like magic before your eyes and it’s a truly gripping production. It’s chilling and unnerving as the narrative is played out and we uncover the secrets of the family.
The cast boast superb acting which is enhanced by the intimacy of the space. We feel as if we are sat in the front room with this family, unearthing their discoveries alongside them. Monica Dolan is excellent as single mother Toni who is full of resent and bitterness. She depicts the role with immense authenticity.
As tensions rise, the relationships between the family become strained. The writing in this piece of theatre about family flaws is stunning. It’s a triumphant production filled with intensity, humour and drama to create a remarkable piece of commentary on the socio-political state of America.
The Donmar Warehouse continue to create productions that challenge and entertain audiences with high-quality theatre.
Find out more about Appropriate and the Donmar Warehouse on their website.