Cultural life: Rufus Norris, Director


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The Independent Culture


I went to see The Book of Mormon recently, which was brilliant and mundane in equal measure; there's hardly a tune in it and the story is pretty standard in essence, but there's some wicked laughs on the way – and the fingers up to Western patronisation of Africa is gorgeous.

I also saw Othello at the National, which is much the best version of that tricky play I've seen, largely because, for once, the two main men are so balanced. It's a masterclass in how to make Shakespeare ring out now, lucid and funny and gripping.


I finally got round to Shame, directed by Steve McQueen, which I liked very much; I had also enjoyed his Hunger, but this is a more fully achieved film for me somehow: less self-conscious.


I'm reading Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin, because I'm directing a play by him (The Amen Corner). He is wonderful, I am utterly lost in it, and keep missing my tube stops.


I'm listening to a lot of gospel, for the Baldwin play. I'm working with the London Community Gospel Choir. When you're up close, those guys make your hair stand on end.

Rufus Norris directs 'Table' (until 18 May) and 'The Amen Corner' (from 4 June), both at the National Theatre, London SE1 (