Both are known for audacious theatre, so it's no surprise that this latest project challenges the generic conventions of musical theatre and they way in which we confront emotive topics.
The struggle of coping with a cancer diagnosis is juxtaposed against full musical theatre flourish. Don't expect polite, palatable platitudes. This production promises to "look behind poster campaigns and pink ribbons at the reality of cancer: waiting rooms and chemo suits, changed bodies, family pressures and financial worries".
But equally, don't expect straight, realist drama: this honest perspective will be brought to life with rip-roaring anthems and dance numbers. If the publicity poster is anything to go by, costumes will be far jazzier and more surreal than hospital gowns and scrubs.
Along with directing, Kimmings has worked with artist creative Brian Lobel to write the book and lyrics to this new musical. Having built a career around creating performances about our perceptions of bodies, including a series of projects called Fun with Cancer Patients, Lobel is in familiar territory.
After the disappointment of wonder.land, new musicals at the National Theatre under Rufus Norris' tenure are a fraught subject. But the theatre has a strong precedent for creating trailblazing, top notch musical theatre from surprising subject matter: murdered prostitutes (London Road) and the life of the First Lady of the Philippines (Here Lies Love). We hope A Pacifist's Guide to the War on Cancer does both its serious its subject matter and its form justice.
The show will come to the National's Dorfman Theatre after a UK tour of Manchester and Exeter. Public booking for A Pacifist's Guide to the War on Cancer at the National Theatre opens on 21 June.
|What||A Pacifist's Guide to the War on Cancer, National theatre|
|Where||National Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
14 Oct 16 – 29 Nov 16, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|Price||£15 - £45|
|Website||Click here to book via the National Theatre|