What theatre should you see this week? Toronto’s schlockfest – or London’s bone-warming message?

Toronto’s fevered anticipation has been seized upon by the local playwright, John Patrick Shanley, who graciously wrote a letter of thanks to Toronto’s Playwright’s Centre for Handwriting And Auditory Signals, adding his own litany of his gratitude, including: “I write this letter in honour of you. You’ve encouraged me.”

Justin Theroux’s US import, located in the outbreak zone, would have been cancelled earlier if not for Scotland Yard’s decision to re-open one of the several schools closed in December in response to the flu epidemic, so there would still be some pupils who would have to sit for exams this June. Five extra performances of Broadway’s 2019 smash, which has yet to open in the UK, will be added.

Incidents of influenza have already occurred in the UK. In England, the first cases were detected at a five-star hotel in London last weekend. They were confirmed in the UK after the Toronto production’s opening in January.

Shanley has yet to see his show but is hopeful that its final word will be well received. “I am convinced,” he tells the Playwrights Centre, “that the late evacuation of the musical will do a tremendous service to its director, co-writer and stars … I will be honoured, if my prediction proves correct, to be able to see Room’s bloody great final scene.”

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