Sweat

Gielgud Theatre
Shaftesbury Avenue, London

Previewed: 7 June 2019
Opened: 12 June 2019
Closes: 20 July 2019

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Nearest Tube: Piccadilly Circus

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Show times
Monday at 7.30pm
Tuesday at 7.30pm
Wednesday at 7.30pm
Thursday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday no show

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Sweat

The acclaimed Donmar Warehouse production of Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Sweat in London's West End for 50 performances only

Reading, Pennsylvania, USA. As factory workers facing de-industrialisation their friendships strain under fear, anger and racial tensions... and a devastating outcome awaits the divided community.

Based on interviews that Lynn Nottage conducted over a two-year period with the people of Reading, Pennsylvania - officially one of the poorest cities in the USA.

The cast at the West End Gielgud Theatre features Martha Plimpton as 'Tracey', Clare Perkins as 'Cynthia', Leanne Best as 'Jessie', Osy Ikhile as 'Chris', Wil Johnson as 'Brucie', Stuart McQuarrie as 'Stan', Sule Rimi as 'Evan', and Sebastian Viveros as 'Oscar' - who are all reprising their roles from the Donmar Warehouse season. Directed by Lynette Linton with movement by Polly Bennett, fights by Kate Waters, designs by Frankie Bradshaw, video by Gino Richardo Green, lighting by Oliver Fenwick, and music and sound by George Dennis.

When this production transferred to the West End's Gielgud Theatre in June 2019, Neil Norman in the Daily Express said "this is a terrific play, beautifully performed with red-blooded gusto. It digs deep into the entrails of American society while conveying the complexities and shifting social environment of characters at the mercy of the fat controllers of US industry and commerce. Highly recommended." Dominic Maxwell in the Times highlighted that, "now in the West End after first appearing at the intimate Donmar Warehouse at Christmas, Lynette Linton's exquisitely acted production still pulls off the double of being as light on its feet as it is intense... Sweat is a play for today. And it's truly terrific." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard wrote that "Lynn Nottage's writing is highly charged. It can feel too nakedly explicit, with characters who resemble pundits setting out arguments that are like case studies. But Lynette Linton's production is sharply focused, attuned to the play's moments of unnerving humour, the harrowing force of its tense second half and the deep seriousness of its politics."

When this production was staged at the Donmar Warehouse in December 2018, Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times said: "Let's not mince words: Sweat, by Lynn Nottage, is magnificent...It's funny, angry and immensely sad... and it is brilliantly performed in Lynette Linton's production... a devastating critique of de-industrialisation and the loss of hope: a humane, heartbreaking and necessary play." Michael Billington in the Guardian highlighted how "in this breathtaking new play Lynn Nottage tackles the devastating impact of loss of work and of de-industrialisation on modern America... What Nottage captures brilliantly is the way work, however hard or demanding, gives people an identity and purpose." Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard described how, "by turns profound, terrifying, earthy and witty, it details the decline of the town, and people, of Reading, Pennsylvania... Lynette Linton's superbly calibrated production excels from start to finish. Outstanding." Patrick Marmion in the Daily Mail thought that "this is an undoubtedly taut and serious bit of writing. It is also a salutary tribute to the dignity of men and women often ignored or disparaged on stage." Ann Treneman in the Times praised how Lynn Nottage is "brilliant at capturing the authentic voices of workers caught up in a drama they never wanted or expected."

Martha Plimpton's West End credits include the role of 'Brooke Wyeth' in Lindsay Posner's production of Jon Robin Baitz's play Other Desert Cities at the Old Vic Theatre in 2014. Clare Perkins' credits include the role of 'Emilia 3' in Nicole Charles' prodution of Morgan Lloyd Malcolm's Emilia at the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in 2018, and the West End transfer to the Vaudeville Theatre in 2019. Leanne Best's credits include the role of 'Leslie Glass' in Angus Jackson's production of the stage musical version of Desperately Seeking Susan at the Novello Theatre in 2007. Wil Johnson's credits include the role of 'Claudius' in David Leveaux's '50th Anniversary' revival of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at the Old Vic Theatre in 2017. Stuart McQuarrie's credits include the roles of 'Russ' and 'Dan' in Dominic Cooke's production of Bruce Norris' Clybourne Park at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2011. Sule Rimi's credits include the role of 'Dr Jim Bayliss' in Jeremy Herrin's revival of Arthur Miller's All My Sons at the Old Vic Theatre in 2019; the role of 'Moe 3' in Rachel Chavkin's revival of Arthur Miller's The American Clock at the Old Vic Theatre in 2019; and the role of 'Sir Amias Paulet' in Robert Icke's revival of Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart at the Almeida Theatre in 2016.

Lynn Nottage's Sweat won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

This production was originally seen at London's Donmar Warehouse - previewed from 7 December 2018, opened 19 December 2018, and closed 2 February 2019 - when the cast featured Martha Plimpton as 'Tracey', Clare Perkins as 'Cynthia', Leanne Best as 'Jessie', Patrick Gibson as 'Jason', Osy Ikhile as 'Chris', Wil Johnson as 'Brucie', Stuart McQuarrie as 'Stan', Sule Rimi as 'Evan', and Sebastian Viveros as 'Oscar'.

When this production was staged at the Donmar Warehouse in December 2018, Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times said: "Let's not mince words: Sweat, by Lynn Nottage, is magnificent...It's funny, angry and immensely sad... and it is brilliantly performed in Lynette Linton's production... a devastating critique of de-industrialisation and the loss of hope: a humane, heartbreaking and necessary play." Michael Billington in the Guardian highlighted how "in this breathtaking new play Lynn Nottage tackles the devastating impact of loss of work and of de-industrialisation on modern America... What Nottage captures brilliantly is the way work, however hard or demanding, gives people an identity and purpose." Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard described how, "by turns profound, terrifying, earthy and witty, it details the decline of the town, and people, of Reading, Pennsylvania... Lynette Linton's superbly calibrated production excels from start to finish. Outstanding." Patrick Marmion in the Daily Mail thought that "this is an undoubtedly taut and serious bit of writing. It is also a salutary tribute to the dignity of men and women often ignored or disparaged on stage." Ann Treneman in the Times praised how Lynn Nottage is "brilliant at capturing the authentic voices of workers caught up in a drama they never wanted or expected."

"Lynette Linton's beautifully paced UK premiere assembles a superlative cast who wring every last drop of pain, gallows humour and pathos from their material. Sweat opens in recessionary 2008 with an appointment between a black probation officer and Jason, a young white convict with supremacist tattoos on his face. You have to wait until the harrowing end to find out his crime. The action moves back to 2000 and the regular drinking haunt of steelworker friends: tough Tracey, warier Cynthia and Jessie, a heartbreaking lush. They have worked together all their adult lives, and white Tracey's son Jason and black Cynthia's son Chris are best friends and co-workers. Close bonds fray along racial lines when economic difference is introduced after a white-collar promotion for Cynthia, then a devastating industrial dispute. The skill of Nottage's universal play, a salutary piece for these hard times, is to depict globalisation on a human scale. Show up and listen." The Sunday Times

"The year's most powerful play: a drama of 'the de-Industrial Revolution'. Lynn Nottage's Sweat, written in the wake of recession, is based on years the playwright spent in Reading, Pennsylvania. Talking to steel workers locked out of the factory where they had worked for decades, Lynn Nottage found people who talked of their city in the past tense, friends whose lifelong affection had begun to fracture, sudden tensions between black and white workers. She heard the anger that brought Trump to power. And she brought all this to the stage. Unforgettably. What a piece of work Sweat is: buzzing with documentary truth and dramatic vivacity... Nottage's themes are fundamental: the vital importance of work; the corrosive effects of poverty; the waning power of unions; the way hardship ignites a sense of difference... Yet the main experience of Sweat is immediate, particular. And sheerly exciting... How terrible and inspiring to watch vibrant lives being shredded -- and rising up." The Observer

Sweat in London at the Gielgud Theatre public previewed from 7 June 2019, opened on 12 June 2019, and closes on 20 July 2019