Mark Brown, arts correspondent
Tuesday February 19, 2008
A 21-year-old playwright is to join theatre history as one of the youngest writers to have a debut play performed in London’s West End.
Photograph: Alex Macnaughton/Rex Features
Polly Stenham’s story of a dysfunctional middle class family, That Face, surprised most critics when it opened at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, central London, last year, and went on to win a string of awards.
Now a wider audience will have the chance to see it when it opens at the Duke of York’s theatre for a 10-week run in May.
Sonia Friedman, a West End producer, said she wanted to be involved in the play as soon as she saw it. “I can’t remember the last time I sat in a theatre and felt so moved and stunned by a theatrical experience. It was just so extraordinarily insightful and exciting,” she said.
The critics also loved it, with the Observer calling it “gob-smacking” and the Daily Telegraph critic calling it one of the most astonishing debuts he’d seen.