In 1938, Joseph Stalin commissioned the gadfly author Mikhail Bulgakov to write a play. The subject was to be the Soviet leader’s early years. A professional hangman couldn’t have fashioned a neater noose.
The ostensible mystery at the heart of the play “Onassis” concerns a suggestion that shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis paid for the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy . The real mystery, though, is how such a clunky, amateurish piece sailed into London’s West End.
If someone like Peter Hall can heckle “Downton Abbey” star Laura Carmichael, perhaps it’s O.K. now for the rest of us too. Alan Bennett’s new comedy “People” at London’s National Theatre may be a good place to start.