Cultural Life: Joe Penhall, playwright

 

Theatre: Arnold Wesker's 'The Kitchen' is one of my favourite plays. I saw a matinee of Bijan Sheibani's revival at the National and was transported. It's a warm, penetrating study of working life and the bonds that hold society together. It's also a very funny, moving portrait of migrant life in London,not long after the Second World War.

Books: I just bought Haruki Murakami's 'IQ84: Books 1 and 2.' In it he alludes to a mysterious cult-like organisation, using material he gleaned while writing his non-fiction masterpiece 'Underground', which is about the Tokyo gas attack in the Nineties. He writes about people who've reached the limits of their imagination and want something to transport them into a different realm.

Films: I saw 'Snowtown' at the London Film Festival and now it's on general release. It's as hard as nails and nerve-shreddingly, suffocatingly tense. It's also an incredibly visceral insight into a broken, failed community and the ravages of poverty. Australian cinema is producing some really gritty hard-boiled, honest film-making right now.

Music: I love the recent Grinderman album, 'Grinderman 2', and see them whenever they're in town. In concert, the band is a searing wall of noise, like a fried Stooges. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are also blistering live. They stir me up, make me laugh and fill me with optimism.

Visual Arts: The Vigo Gallery in Old Bond Street has the best contemporary painters. I saw an exhibition of Paul Simonon's paintings there and bought a landscape of Goldborne Road in West London. The sky is exactly like the sky viewed from my house.

'Haunted Child' by Joe Penhall is at the Royal Court Theatre, London, until 14 January. www.royalcourttheatre.com

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