An Inspector Calls and E15: this week’s best UK theatre and dance

From Stephen Daldry’s ground-breaking production to a visceral take on the welfare crisis. Plus: Worst Wedding Ever, Material Men Redux and more

Theatre

1 An Inspector Calls
That inspector keeps on calling thanks to Stephen Daldry’s ground-breaking production of JB Priestley’s old war horse, still pulling in the crowds 25 years after it was first seen at the National. If then it seemed like a comment on Thatcher’s conviction that there was no such thing as society, now it reflects a world of bruising cuts that affect the most needy. It points the finger very firmly at its audience but does so with such style that the message is all the more pointed.
Playhouse Theatre, WC2, to Saturday 25 March

2 E15
Lung’s loud, exuberant and often messy verbatim-style piece, about a housing campaign in Newham initiated by young mums after they were issued with eviction orders from a Stratford mother-and-baby unit designed to house vulnerable young people, is not going to win any awards for tidiness. But it is this chaotic and yet cleverly focused style of theatre-making that results in it feeling so fresh.
Hull Truck Theatre from Wednesday 8 February to Saturday 11 February

3 Worst Wedding Ever
Rachel and Scott are as poor as church mice so have decided on a simple wedding. But Rachel’s domineering mother won’t hear of it, and soon the marquee is going up in the garden and the band has been booked. Writer Chris Chibnall is best known for two series of Broadchurch on TV, but he demonstrates that he can also write in a farcical Ayckbourn-ish way with this warmly engaging comedy about the ties that bind.
Salisbury Playhouse to Saturday 25 February

4 The Boys In The Band
There’s just two weeks to see the West End transfer of this revival of the 1968 comedy about a self-lacerating group of gay men who come together to celebrate the birthday of one of their number, Harold, played terrifically by Mark Gatiss. The play may be hackneyed in both its boulevard construction and its insistence that many gay men are consumed by guilt and self-loathing. Yet it is a fascinating social document, and this is an astute production by Adam Penford.
Vaudeville Theatre, WC2, from Tuesday 7 February to Saturday 18 Feb

5 Black Beauty
Much more than simply a trot around the paddock, this stage version of Anna Sewell’s story about a horse is a very funny but also heart-breaking affair. Fans of the novel may find themselves perplexed by the setup in which two down-on-their-luck equine illusionists try to survive when their pantomime horse business is on its last hoof. But stay with it, because this develops into a family show that is both visually astute as well as playful and moving.
Beacon Theatre, Greenock, Saturday 4 February; Byre Theatre, St Andrews, Sunday 5 February; Platform, Glasgow, Monday 6 February; touring to 19 Feb

Dance

1 Masurca Fogo

Ruth Amarante in Masurca Fogo
Ruth Amarante in Masurca Fogo. Photograph: Zerrin Aydin-Herwegh

This late Pina Bausch work – performed by Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, the company she founded – is infused with a light and larky spirit, as the choreographer explores themes of love, loss and yearning with wit and fantasy.
Sadler’s Wells, EC1, from Thursday 9 February to Sunday 12 February

2 Material Men Redux
Shobana Jeyasingh explores the brutality of colonialism in this duet for virtuoso dancers Sooraj Subramaniam and Shailesh Bahoran.
Nottingham Lakeside Arts, Tuesday 7 February; touring to Saturday 29 April

3 Tango Fire
Killer footwork is guaranteed as tango champs German Cornejo and Gisela Galeassi return with this high-gloss showcase of classical and contemporary dance.
Peacock Theatre, WC2, to Saturday 18 February; touring to Sunday 26 February

Contributors

Lyn Gardner and Judith Mackrell

The GuardianTramp

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