Kiln, London NW6; until 22 Dec
Orange Tree, Richmond, Surrey; until 1 Dec It is a striking coincidence – or is it necessity? – of preoccupations, and the way they are staged. This autumn three bold adaptations, of novels and a play, feature twins, women working out where they belong, and a city prising itself open to different selves. All eschew gimlet-eyed realism. All are fluid, flamboyant, parodic. All express themselves partly in song.
Kwame Kwei-Armah’s glorious musical production of Twelfth Night, which takes Shakespeare to the Notting Hill carnival, ends its run at the Young Vic this month. Emma Rice’s adaptation of Angela Carter’s Wise Children – asking who’s your father, with a lot of how’s your father – sets off on a countrywide tour this week. And now Indhu Rubasingham directs a melodically spiced staging of White Teeth at the Kiln.
Slapped down, slap-up, slapstick. On the page and on stage, this is part circus, part documentary. Stephen Sharkey’s adaptation of Zadie Smith’s first novel captures something of what made the book so galvanising in 2000 – and what has made it so addictive ever since. I wish it did not semaphore what it’s up to.
Kilburn High Road, on which the theatre stands, is skittishly put on stage in Tom Piper’s graphically simple, cartoon-like design. Ultra-bright characters shimmy through it, as if pitching themselves as sideshows. It was incisive and imaginative of Smith – who as a young writer was more often praised for her sense of the