In the Royal Court's upstairs (studio) theatre, David Greig's Outlying Islands, one of the hits of this year's Edinburgh Festival and the play that launches the Court's autumn season, is an atmospherically-lit production set on a remote Scottish island in the Atlantic, on the eve of the Second World War.
Two young men, Robert (Laurence Mitchell) and John (Sam Heughan), arrive on the almost-deserted island, sent there to survey the rare bird life. On the island are its owner, Kirk (Robert Carr), and his niece, Ellen (Lesley Hart).
Following a heart attack, the boys are left alone with Ellen and nature takes its course — but which one will she choose, and what effect will that have on the already edgy relationship between the young men?
Following Islands, but in the downstairs (main) theatre, is A Number. Written by Caryl Churchill (a frequent and favorite playwright at the Royal Court), directed by Stephen Daldry, the Court's ex-artistic director, and starring Sir Michael Gambon, A Number is a very high-profile production that will place the Court center stage this autumn for audiences and drama critics alike.
In November the upstairs studio will see the arrival of Crazyblackmuthf***in'self by DeObia Oparei, directed by Rikki Beadle-Blair, a play described by the Court's press office as "a journey to the soul of Africa from the heart of St. John's Wood via the groin of Peckham."
Downstairs in the main theatre, November sees the opening of Anthony Neilson's The Lying Kind (which he also directs), about two policemen with a major moral dilemma.
—By Paul Webb Theatrenow