1 Living With the Lights On
Earlier this year, Mark Lockyer was a superb and plausibly evil Iago in Othello at Bristol’s Tobacco Factory. It was good to see him in such fine form because, just over 20 years ago, when he was playing Mercutio for the RSC in Stratford, he had an encounter with the devil on the banks of the Avon. He was subsequently diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has been living with the condition – which, on occasion, makes him go way off script, with discomfiting results – ever since. In this 75-minute one-man show, he spares himself nothing. It’s a story that is not just about triumph over adversity but also what it means to be in character.
Tobacco Factory, Bristol, 18-22 September; touring to 11 November
2 Jane Eyre
The days when adaptations of classic novels made for dull theatre are long past. Sally Cookson has been leading the charge and her version of Charlotte Brontë’s novel is a pleasure: witty, theatrically inventive yet also faithful to the spirit of the original novel and its psychological underpinnings, as Jane’s conflicted thoughts and inner confusions are given voice by the ensemble.
Hull New theatre, 18-23 September; touring to 21 October
3 Cock and Bull
Nic Green’s show – made and performed with Laura Bradshaw and Rosana Cade – was inspired by the empty promises of the Tory party, which made it all the more delicious when it was revived earlier this year, just in time for the election. Now, as the Conservatives cling to power, it gets another outing. Women turn the words used by largely male politicians against them with scorn in an evening that uses repetition to such clever effect that it feels like an exorcism.
West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, 20 September
4 Half Breed
What does it really mean to be a female best friend? It’s a subject under scrutiny in writer Natasha Marshall’s debut show. Marshall stars as Jazz, a young mixed-race woman raised in a Somerset village where casual racism is common. Fortunately, Jazz has a best friend, Brogan, but when Brogan gets a new boyfriend, Jazz knows she has to widen her horizons. Fast.
Soho Upstairs, W1, to 30 September
5 Knives in Hens
David Harrower’s three-hander, revived by South African director Yaël Farber, boasts a love triangle in which a nameless young woman, trapped in a loveless marriage, begins a relationship with the local miller. Farber does brooding and poetic very well and this revival reminds of the power of language as it explores freedom.
Donmar Warehouse, WC2, to 7 October
1 Royal Ballet Gala
Dancers from the Royal celebrate Hull’s year as City of Culture with a gala programme and Hull-born guests including Xander Parish, who defected from the British school to the Mariinsky in 2009.
New theatre Hull, 16 September
2 Velvet Petal
The power of beauty is examined in Fleur Darkin’s hot, strange, sensual work, inspired by the Polaroid art of Robert Mapplethorpe with a dance-punk score by Torben Lars Sylvest.
One Touch theatre, Eden Court, Inverness, 16 September
3 Bridges y Puentes
Promenade performance from The Ragroof Players using text, song and dance and a babel of languages to explore migration.
Theatre Royal Stratford East, E15, 16 September; Charlton shopping centre, Dover, 22-24 September