Thursday, 12 May 2022
PREVIEW DISCLAIMER: Press Night for this is next week. This may mean the running time issue I mention later in this review may have been improved a bit by then.
Tuesday, 10 May 2022
Sunday, 8 May 2022
what he deposited on the stage the last time he was here, that's not necessarily the most reassuring thought, but at least Age of Rage comes to the Barbican courtesy of van Hove's regular ensemble at Internationaal Theater Amsterdam, with the promise of following in the footsteps of past epics like Roman Tragedies and Kings of War. In fact, now that Robert Icke has joined the company as a resident director, with shows like The Doctor joining their repertoire, it's surprising that this show was created instead of Icke's Oresteia doing likewise, because in terms of story if not style, Age of Rage follows the same cycle of Greek mythology: The Oresteia, but expanded to take in the beginning of the family feud with the sacrifice of Iphigenia in Aulis.
Friday, 6 May 2022
Thursday, 5 May 2022
Beginning, the hit play about the first couple of hours of a brand-new relationship, was intended as a one-off, until writer David Eldridge decided during previews that it could in fact live up to its title, and begin a cycle of plays about relationships at different stages. So five years later we get a different couple whose marriage is, the title tells us, somewhere in the Middle. Although that's not how it initially feels when Maggie (Claire Rushbrook) gets up in the middle of the night to make herself a hot drink because she can't sleep, and husband Gary (Daniel Ryan) follows her downstairs, asking what's wrong. Her reply doesn't beat around the bush: "I'm not sure I love you any more."
Saturday, 23 April 2022
Richard II, the inevitable end point was the series of Henry VI plays leading up to Richard III. The play usually known as Henry VI Part 1 is probably Shakespeare's least-loved work and the company must have been dreading having to convince people to come see it, so they used the excuse of lockdown to present it as a streamed rehearsed reading, aka Let's Not Stage It And Say We Did. Which does have the added advantage of being able to skip ahead and present a trilogy of plays that were actually intended as such.
Thursday, 21 April 2022
Tuesday, 19 April 2022
Friday, 15 April 2022
Thursday, 14 April 2022
The 47th was a tragicomedy so dark it bordered on the apocalyptic, Scandaltown, opening at the Lyric Hammersmith in a production by Rachel O'Riordan, goes for much less ambiguous laughs, applying the convoluted plots and stock characters of Restoration comedy to 21st century concerns. Phoebe Virtue (Cecilia Appiah) and her twin brother were raised in the country, and are considerate, environmentally conscious and unselfish.
Tuesday, 12 April 2022
King Charles III took Shakespearean themes and language and applied them to an imagined future of the British Royal family. Later this week he'll be premiering his take on Restoration Comedy, but for The 47th he returns to blank verse, also reuniting with director Rupert Goold, and Lydia Wilson on Lady Macbeth duties, although the venue changes to the much larger Old Vic, befitting a lead character who's fond of a rally: As with the previous production, most of the fictionalised characters aren't played as impressions of the real people, but Donald Trump's mannerisms are so pronounced and familiar that it would be odd not to recreate them. And after a few years of TV work where you could actually tell what his face looked like, Bertie Carvel returns to his days as a theatrical chameleon with a comic but creepily uncanny impersonation of the 45th President of the United States.
Saturday, 9 April 2022
himself the beneficiary of a sudden promotion, dropped out just before opening and Luke Wilson (not that one) got the plum role of Benedick. And he makes the most of the opportunity, easily becoming one of the best things in a frankly bizarre production whose high concept design overwhelms it.
Thursday, 7 April 2022
Monday, 4 April 2022
Saturday, 2 April 2022
Macbeth or Romeo & Juliet, and the fact that this thrust is a blasted heath is a clue as to whose turn it is.
Thursday, 31 March 2022
Beat the Devil; that one was a monologue, and while Straight Line Crazy surrounds Fiennes with a large cast, it can sometimes feel just as much of a one-man show. Certainly the true story it tells, of a man whose influence changed the face of America's cities in the twentieth century, seems a fascinating one: Robert Moses (Fiennes) was an urban planner, although he hated the term because it implied a lot of theory, not action, and he was determined to get things done regardless of whether the people they impacted wanted them or not. In the first act we meet him in the 1920s, pushing through his plans for Long Island: A playground for the rich, he intends to open up its parks and beaches to the public of New York by building roads, giving them a break in the leisure time the workers are now starting to see as a right.
Tuesday, 29 March 2022
some of his screen-to-stage adaptations have been positively soporific, and the David Bowie musical is just a baffled question mark in my memory - so while I hope for the best, I don't assume every one of his shows will knock it out of the park. And while his reunion with Ruth Wilson for a Jean Cocteau monologue had a lot of anticipation behind it, sadly it goes very much into the other column of the director's work. In The Human Voice, Wilson plays a woman on the phone to her ex-boyfriend soon after their breakup; he's moved out of her apartment, but she still has a few of his things (including his dog) to send to him. He's also promised her one last conversation - although she found out he was having an affair and anticipated that he would leave her a few weeks before it happened, she's still not adjusted at all to the idea of being without him.
Saturday, 26 March 2022