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“You can tell a German because he knows his Bach & Beethoven. You can tell a Canadian because he separates his rubbish. And you can tell a Brit because he knows how to sue his neighbours…”
Where did Father Christmas originate? How do you feel about men holding hands? What should you do if you spill someone’s drink?
Written with charm, wit and passion, David Edgar’s new play is a fascinating tapestry about the twisting road to becoming British. Secretly, Tetyana wants to escape her marriage. Mahmood gets kidnapped for his own good. And the motley crew in Emma’s English class are all looking for something, whether it’s a passport – or a fight. As the day of their ceremony approaches, Emma’s students begin to challenge some of her dearest-held beliefs.
David Edgar’s plays include Pentecost, Playing with Fire, Destiny, and his famous adaptation for the RSC of Nicholas Nickleby, now revived in the West End. Directed by Matthew Dunster; Designed by Paul Wills; Lighting designed by Philip Gladwell; Sound designed by Ian Dickinson
4 stars “This is a brilliant piece of entertainment: crisp, funny, sceptical and generous. Behind the entertainment, however, are wisdom and a warning… Matthew Dunster directs with a sense of nimble clarity, and the eight actors play twice as many roles with acrobatic skill.” John Peter, Sunday Times
4 stars “It was while watching Matthew Dunster’s excellent, pacy ensemble staging for Out Of Joint that I realised why I so like David Edgar’s writing… he actually wants to find answers” Ian Shuttleworth, Financial Times
4 stars “a fast-paced, zesty production… it is oddly moving to think that across multicultural Brent there could well be people taking similar classes to the one portrayed on stage even as we watch the play.” Jane Edwardes, Time Out
“David Edgar’s first play for Out of Joint is both fast and funny in its discussion of what it might mean to be British if you are applying for the status of citizenship… A typically versatile cast of eight skim across topics of prostitution, questionnaires and “how to become a citizen” with sharp wits and witty sharpness in Matthew Dunster’s non-stop, 100-minute production.” Michael Coveney, Whatsonstage.com
“Playfull, witty and full of energy” Front Row, Radio 4
“An hour and three quarters of provocative, witty, virtuoso theatre -Teresa Banham gives a passionate portrayal of Emma the tutor who clashes with one of her students. Sirine Saba is excellent as Nasim, who refuses to play the game and causes Emma to question her beliefs. Kirsty Bushell, in the tender scenes between Tetyana and her stepdaughter, produces moments of real pathos” Graham Gurrin, The Stage
“If you see just one or two pieces of theatre this year, make sure Testing the Echo is one of them: a powerful new play – a riveting hour and three quarters of theatre staged with impressive skill – important and disturbing” Joyce Macmillan, The Scotsman
4 stars “Clever, intelligent, witty… A prime example of how theatre and politics can be combined to create a thought-provoking evening” Manchester Evening News