War has always provided a handy backdrop for high drama and our top picks for this week have turned to various different conflicts for inspiration. One of the hottest tickets in London this week is for Trevor Nunn’s highly anticipated revival of Flare Path, Terrence Rattigan’s World War II based play, which opens on Thursday. Outside the capital, there is more Second World War drama in the form of the touring Goodnight Mister Tom, while the classic Journey’s End can also be caught on tour. Meanwhile, the Wars of the Roses are brought to the stage in Propeller’s Richard III and the award-winning Black Watch, dramatising the much more recent conflict in Iraq, makes a welcome return. - picked by Catherine Love
Trevor Nunn kicks off his stint as artistic director of the Theatre Royal Haymarket with this production of Terrence Rattigan’s Second World War drama Flare Path, starring Sienna Miller, James Purefoy and Sheridan Smith. It is 1942 and bomber pilot Teddy is thrust into the centre of a love triangle when his wife’s Hollywood heartthrob ex-lover makes an unwelcome appearance. Based on Rattigan’s own wartime experiences, this is a tale of love, loyalty and courage.
Runs until 4 June
Internationally acclaimed all-male company Propeller return to the Lowry this week with their production of Richard III. The play follows the murderous rise of one of Shakespeare’s most villainous kings in a dark and bloody production that has toured to rave reviews. Theatregoers looking for a bit less blood and guts can also catch Propeller’s version of The Comedy of Errors.
Runs 9 – 12 March
Winner of numerous awards, including four Oliviers, the National Theatre of Scotland’s Black Watch makes a return at the Warwick Arts Centre. The play follows the legendary Scottish regiment to the war in Iraq, based around interviews conducted by the playwright Gregory Burke with former serving soldiers and brought to life with movement, music and song.
Runs 8 – 12 March
Based on Michelle Magorian’s beloved children’s novel, this new stage adaptation follows the experiences of young William Beech during the Second World War. He is evacuated out of London to the English countryside, where he is sent to live with the gruff, reclusive Tom Oakley and surprisingly grows to form a close and moving friendship with the old man.
Runs 9 – 12 March
R. C. Sherriff’s First World War play is a moving reminder of the horrors of war, following a group of young men in the trenches in the days leading up to the last great German offensive of the war. Based on the playwright’s own experience of trench life, Journey’s End is by turns funny and tragic and remains as relevant as ever in the light of ongoing conflicts.
Runs until 12 March