Jumpers for Goalposts as my Show of the Year, and Barking In Essex as the worst of the worst. But before we get to that, I'm going to babble on about what's caught my eye this year. Don't worry, there'll be pretty pictures to keep you from falling asleep.
Writing down what I think about theatre I've seen in That London, whether I've been asked to or not.
Wednesday, 31 December 2014
Monday, 29 December 2014
Theatre review: Treasure Island (National Theatre)
Sunday, 28 December 2014
Theatre review: Almost, Maine
Our Town arrive in North London, a rare visitor to these shores but one of the most performed plays in America. It seems in the last decade it's acquired a new rival though, John Cariani's Almost, Maine having apparently already notched up over two thousand productions in the US despite only premiering in 2005. I can see how it would be popular for local and amateur companies - it's another slice of small-town Americana with a large collection of characters, although as the majority of scenes are two-handers Simon Evans' UK premiere production can manage with just three male and three female actors playing all the roles. A portmanteau rom-com along the lines of something like Love, Actually, Almost, Maine takes place in a cold winter in the titular Northern Maine town - although as its name suggests it's almost-but-not-quite a town, a vaguely-connected community that's never quite got its act together enough to formalise its borders.
Tuesday, 23 December 2014
Theatre review: City of Angels
Posted by nick730 at 23:22 No comments:
Labels: Cameron Cuffe, Cy Coleman, Duncan McLean, Hadley Fraser, Howard Harrison, Josie Rourke, Kadiff Kirwan, Katherine Kelly, Peter Polycarpou, Rebecca Trehearn, Robert Jones, Rosalie Craig, Samantha Barks, Tam Mutu
Monday, 22 December 2014
Theatre review: Tiger Country
Sunday, 21 December 2014
Re-review: The Knight of the Burning Pestle
You can read my original review here, from which you can probably tell I was glad of the chance to revisit it, and most of the original cast have returned with it. New additions are Paul Brendan as the giant, Louise Ford as Luce, and Jolyon Coy as Jasper (sporting what I think may be his actual hair colour, a rare occasion indeed!) Aside from a couple of new faces and the addition of a few Christmassy touches, the major obvious change from earlier this year is that one of the short interludes has been cut, leaving just one in the first half and one in the second; a good choice, as the only major fault with the show remains that it's too long, and already has too many pauses for a musical number.
Posted by nick730 at 23:26 No comments:
Labels: Adele Thomas, Dean Nolan, Dennis Herdman, Dickon Tyrrell, Francis Beaumont, Giles Cooper, Hannah McPake, Jolyon Coy, Louise Ford, Matthew Needham, Paul Rider, Pauline McLynn, Phil Daniels, Samuel Hargreaves
Saturday, 20 December 2014
Theatre review: The Shoemaker's Holiday
Posted by nick730 at 20:51 No comments:
Labels: Daniel Boyd, David Troughton, Hedydd Dylan, Jack Holden, Jamie Wilkes, Joel MacCormack, Josh O’Connor, Max Jones, Phillip Breen, Stratford-upon-Avon, Thomas Dekker, Thomasin Rand, Vivien Parry, William Gaminara
Thursday, 18 December 2014
Theatre review: Henry IV Part 2 (RSC / Barbican)
Part 1 left off: King Henry's forces have beaten the rebels led by Hotspur, but the unrest hasn't died with him, and the Archibshop of York (Keith Osborn) plans to lead a fresh wave of rebellion. But unlike the battle scenes of the first play, this insurgence will be beaten down with politics, and the machinations of Prince John of Lancaster (Elliot Barnes-Worrell.) His older brother Hal (Alex Hassell,) meanwhile, is about to show his own true colours as well: Henry IV (Jasper Britton) is dying, and while Hal is still keeping up the image of the playboy prince slumming it in an Eastcheap tavern, his mind is already on what kind of king he's going to be. As for Falstaff (Antony Sher,) more civil wars on the horizon mean more opportunities to line his own pockets under the pretext of recruiting soldiers.
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Theatre review: Henry IV Part 1 (RSC / Barbican)
Alanis Morisette. And Britton continues to play him as a man with little that's royal about him, more of a politician with a touch of the warrior than a true-born king. The Percys of Northumberland helped him claim the throne, but when he offends them they mount a new rebellion. The support of the Prince of Wales will be essential to help crush it, but Hal (Alex Hassell) shuns his father's court, spending all of his time getting drunk in Eastcheap with Poins (Sam Marks) and committing petty crime with Falstaff.
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Theatre review: A Christmas Carol (Old Red Lion)
Charming, a 9:30pm start time clearly isn't aimed at getting a big kiddie audience in. Instead this version reveals A Christmas Carol as an all-too-contemporary story by stripping it back to its original political message.
Theatre review: Charming - A Farcical Fairytale
Monday, 15 December 2014
Theatre review: Elephants
Friday, 12 December 2014
Theatre review: Fear in a Handful of Dust
Thursday, 11 December 2014
Theatre review: Golem
The Animals and Children Took to the Streets, 1927's Golem is based on a novel by Gustav Meyrink and follows a bullied, socially awkward young man called Robert, who finds a job manually backing up binary data where he makes similarly-geeky friends and even a possible girlfriend. One day, though, his inventor friend Philip manages to create real Golems - the mythical clay men who obey their owners' every command - and sell one to Robert. Golem not only helps with work but has handy hints for a better social life as well, but when a sinister corporation buys out Philip's company, Golem first finds the power of speech, then starts to use it to tell his owner what to do. As more people buy Golems, the slaves start to become the masters and homogenise the world in their own image.
Posted by nick730 at 21:57 No comments:
Wednesday, 10 December 2014
Theatre review: Assassins
Posted by nick730 at 23:04 No comments:
Labels: Aaron Tveit, Andy Nyman, Carly Bawden, Catherine Tate, David Roberts, Harry Morrison, Jamie Lloyd, Jamie Parker, John Weidman, Mike McShane, Simon Lipkin, Soutra Gilmour, Stephen Sondheim, Stewart Clarke
Monday, 8 December 2014
Theatre review: Hope
vampires seem positively festive in comparison. Hope follows the year 2014 in the life of the Labour council of an unnamed, working class town (everyone in the cast keeps their own accent, so it could be pretty much anywhere.) The actual business of running the town doesn't get a look-in though, as the Government's austerity measures have seen their budget slashed by £22 million a year, and everyone's primary concern is to determine which essential services have to be cut. Thorne's play identifies Government policy as a cynically genius plan: Slash budgets from the top but leave the details, and all the resulting ill-feeling, to the local, opposition councils.
Saturday, 6 December 2014
Theatre review: The Christmas Truce
Love's Labour's Lost and Won take us either side of the war, Phil Porter's The Christmas Truce puts us in the thick of it. Part of the inspiration was a local Stratford celebrity other than the usual one: Bruce Bairnsfather was an electrician who helped set up the electrics of the original Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, and lit some early productions. But once war broke out he became famous for a different talent, as the comic cartoons he submitted to magazines became hugely popular. He was considered such a morale-booster that once injured he wasn't allowed to return to the front, so he could keep the nation's spirits up writing full-time. But before that he was also present at an event at Christmas 1914 that would become legendary.
Friday, 5 December 2014
Theatre review: Dick Whittington and his Cat (Lyric Hammersmith)
Andy Rush's Dick, but this version is the country boy - or, this being the Tom Wells take on the story, he's from Hull and comes complete with flat-cap - who travels to London to seek his fortune. With help from a trainee fairy called Bauble (Rebecca Craven) he finds his sidekick, a belligerent Cat (Delroy Atkinson) who's lost his meow. On arriving in London they quickly make an enemy of the evil mayor, Queen Rat (Tiffany Graves,) whose plans to give rats the vote will see her running the city forever. With a quick detour to the North Pole to fight a Yeti and get Cat's meow back, they hatch a plot to help love interest Sooz (Aretha Ayeh) beat Queen Rat in the upcoming election.
Thursday, 4 December 2014
Theatre review: 3 Winters
Posted by nick730 at 23:27 No comments:
Labels: Adrian Rawlins, Alex Jordan, Alex Price, Daniel Flynn, Gerald Kyd, Hermione Gulliford, Howard Davies, James Laurenson, Jo Herbert, Jodie McNee, Lucy Black, Sophie Rundle, Susan Engel, Tena Štivičić, Tim Hatley
Wednesday, 3 December 2014
Theatre review: Usagi Yojimbo
Tuesday, 2 December 2014
Theatre review: Silent Planet
Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, but Eve Leigh has a much more intimate take on the subject in her new play Silent Planet. A metal grill raised on breeze blocks forms the thrust stage at the Finborough for Tom Mansfield's production, where Gavrill (Graeme McKnight) has to attend regular sessions with his psychiatrist, Yurchak (Matthew Thomas.) Of course, Gavrill is there because of his anti-Soviet writing, and has a number of former associates who are still at large, so these therapy sessions look suspiciously like interrogations, and in between them there's every chance he'll be given some kind of radical treatment that looks just as suspiciously like torture.
Monday, 1 December 2014
Theatre review: Obama-ology
You got an ology? You're a scientist!
Friday, 28 November 2014
Theatre review: The Green Bay Tree
Thursday, 27 November 2014
Theatre review: Chimera
Wednesday, 26 November 2014
Theatre review: Stink Foot
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Theatre review: Saxon Court
Monday, 24 November 2014
My Night With Reg transfer next year. You can read my original review of Urinetown here; I enjoyed it at the time but probably wouldn't have made a return visit if there hadn't been a very good discount deal at the Last Minute. It turned out to be worth the revisit though, partly thanks to some central recasting. And no, although Nathan Amzi is good as the new Officer Barrel, it's not him I mean.
Saturday, 22 November 2014
Theatre review: Pomona
Friday, 21 November 2014
Almost-a-review: God Bless the Child
The first time I ever went to the Royal Court Upstairs, it had been turned into a pretty realistic B&B room in Scarborough, and this is the most uncanny transformation I've seen there since: Chloe Lamford has turned the attic space into the primary school classroom of Class 4N, who have been chosen to trial a new government teaching initiative.
Thursday, 20 November 2014
Theatre review: Behind the Beautiful Forevers
Wednesday, 19 November 2014
Theatre review: Piranha Heights
Piranha Heights was the first Philip Ridley play I ever saw, and in stark contrast to how big a fan of the playwright I've become in the years since, I didn't like it. I know from experience of introducing others to his work, though, that his very particular style can take a while to get used to, and people don't always respond to the first play of his they see. So I was interested to see what I thought of it the second time around, as Max Barton revives it at the Old Red Lion. Piranha Heights layers its characters on one by one, shifting the tone and upping the peril each time. The setting is a tower block flat whose resident of many years has recently died. Her youngest son Alan (Alex Lowe) hopes the housing association will let him have it next, as he plans to leave his wife and wants somewhere to live afterwards. But when his older brother Terry (Phil Cheadle) returns to sign the paperwork, he has plans of his own for the flat.
Tuesday, 18 November 2014
Theatre review: Not About Heroes
Monday, 17 November 2014
Theatre review: Wildefire
State Red Downstairs. Patrolling a quiet town isn't quite fulfilling enough for Wilde, who at the start of the play transfers to the Metropolitan Police. With stories of her grandfather making a real difference on the same beat, she stays cheerfully optimistic in the face of cynicism from her partner Spence (Ricky Champ,) who keeps an unauthorised informant (Eric Kofi Abrefa) out of his own pocket, and isn't above outbreaks of violence. When things become personal, though, Wilde finds that the pressure soon leads her to even greater extremes than Spence.
Sunday, 16 November 2014
Theatre review: Man to Man
Saturday, 15 November 2014
Theatre review: The Witch of Edmonton
Posted by nick730 at 21:21 No comments:
Labels: David Rintoul, Eileen Atkins, Faye Castelow, Gregory Doran, Ian Bonar, Jay Simpson, Joe Bannister, John Ford, Niki Turner, Shvorne Marks, Stratford-upon-Avon, Thomas Dekker, William Rowley
Friday, 14 November 2014
Theatre review: Far Away
Thursday, 13 November 2014
Re-review: King Charles III
my original review. To start with the whole of the Almeida cast followed the show to Wyndham's, although prior commitments mean Oliver Chris has now been replaced as Prince William by Rory Fleck Byrne, whose portrayal of the next in line to the throne emphasises even more how much of a pawn he is to the Lady Macbeth-like Kate (Lydia Wilson.) And this recasting also means the balance is now redressed to make Richard Goulding's Harry the hotter prince. Unfortunately this isn't the only cast change at the moment as Tim Pigott-Smith has broken his collarbone, so the title role is being understudied by Miles Richardson, with Tim McMullan taking on Richardson's usual role as royal press secretary James.
Wednesday, 12 November 2014
Theatre review: State Red
Monday, 10 November 2014
Theatre review: 2071
Sunday, 9 November 2014
Theatre review: Girlfriends
Saturday, 8 November 2014
Theatre review: Jonah and Otto
Making Noise Quietly oppressively boring, but there were parts of Across Oka I thought worked beautifully. On the surface Jonah and Otto is as wilfully oblique as the former play, but in Tim Stark's production at least I found it much more successful.
Friday, 7 November 2014
Theatre review: First Episode
Thursday, 6 November 2014
Theatre review: Made in Dagenham
Posted by nick730 at 23:38 No comments:
Labels: Adrian der Gregorian, Bunny Christie, David Arnold, Gemma Arterton, Isla Blair, Mark Hadfield, Naomi Frederick, Richard Bean, Richard Thomas, Rupert Goold, Sophie Stanton, Sophie-Louise Dann, Steve Furst
Wednesday, 5 November 2014
Theatre/Dance review: JOHN
Can We Talk About This? physical theatre company DV8 return to the National's Lyttelton with another dance piece based on a verbatim text; but this time the majority of the interviews are with one man. JOHN (Hannes Langolf) describes a pretty nightmarish life: A childhood dominated by an abusive father saw his mother commit suicide, his siblings also dead, and John himself with a heroin addiction. Unsurprisingly, he grows up into a life of crime, mostly petty theft to fund his drug habit, but what sends him away for a long stretch is an act of arson he can't even remember, the result of a psychotic episode following an overdose. As well as the drug addiction, he's dealt with his lifelong depression with compulsive overeating, so when he goes into prison he tips the scales at 25 stone. While inside he trades both addictions for an obsessive exercise regime, and he's released a lot fitter, but it's not the only significant change. He likes cock now.
Posted by nick730 at 22:21 No comments:
Labels: Anna Fleischle, dance, DV8
Tuesday, 4 November 2014
Theatre review: Coolatully
Saturday, 1 November 2014
Theatre review: The Rivals
Theatre review: Unidentified Item in the Bagging Area
Friday, 31 October 2014
Theatre review: Grand Guignol
'Tis Pity She's a Whore last night as grand guignol, but here's a play that looks back at the theatre that put that phrase into the vocabulary. Carl Grose's comedy Grand Guignol arrives at Southwark Playhouse from Plymouth in time for Hallowe'en, and despite being played for laughs rather than scares, comes with enough gore and splatter to live up to the name. It's the early days of the Théâtre du Grand-Guignol in Paris, and impresario Max Maurey (Andy Williams) has scored a hit with his formula: An evening of short horror plays, each crammed with madness and violence, and invariably culminating in gory murder and dismemberment. Lead actors Mlle Maxa (Emily Raymond) and Paulais (Robert Portal) have become stars, and the pressure is on writer Andre De Lorde (Jonathan Broadbent) to come up with even bigger extremes for the next season.
Thursday, 30 October 2014
Theatre review: 'Tis Pity She's a Whore
Wednesday, 29 October 2014
Theatre review: Neville's Island
Lord of the Flies. Four middle-managers from a Salford mineral water company are on a team-building expedition in the Lake District, but having elected Neville (Neil Morrissey) as team captain, he misreads the instructions and lands them on a tiny, uninhabited island downriver. Thanks to Angus' (Miles Jupp) seemingly bottomless rucksack they have no end of supplies, except for anything they might actually need - like food. After Roy (Robert Webb) had a nervous breakdown followed by a religious conversion, the others treat him with kid gloves in fear of setting him off again; everyone except Gordon (Adrian Edmondson) that is, whose default reaction to everything is sarcasm and disdain.
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