Andrew Lloyd Webber's latest musical, when the house lights went down and "Music of the Night" started to play. The love song from Phantom recurs over the next 75 minutes as the backdrop to another unhealthy relationship in Vicky Jones' The One. University lecturer Harry (Rufus Wright) and his long-term girlfriend - originally his student - Jo (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) are staying up throughout the night, waiting for news of Jo's sister, who's gone into labour. Prompted by a late-night visitor, the couple confront each other and their relationship, revealing it to be a viciously antagonistic one that seems to thrive on them permanently goading each other into obnoxious behaviour, and with a sexual power play that's uncomfortable to watch.
Friday 28 February 2014
Thursday 27 February 2014
The Duchess of Malfi, Shakespeare's Globe explored the possibilities for atmospheric lighting in their new candlelit venue. For the second full production in the Swanamaker, it's the dynamics of the space that are put to the test: Even more than the main house, the indoor playhouse feels as if the actors and audience are on top of each other, so what better way to exploit that than in a play that blurs the lines even further, Francis Beaumont's The Knight of the Burning Pestle. It seems post-modernism, despite the name, predates modernism, and was alive and well in the 17th century, when a Grocer (Phil Daniels) and his wife (Pauline McLynn) sit in the front row to watch a light romance called The London Merchant. But the pair have very specific ideas about what they'd like to see, and they go on go on go on go on go on go on go on go on go on to wreak havoc.
Wednesday 26 February 2014
panto the Lyric Hammersmith's Secret Theatre returns with one notable change: The secret is now revealed slightly earlier, the sheet with title, writer, cast and creative details being handed out before the show rather than after. But for the purposes of this review I'll be sticking to the same format as before: If you're planning to see Show 4 and don't want spoilers, stop reading now.
Tuesday 25 February 2014
Monday 24 February 2014
PREVIEW DISCLAIMER: The press get invited in tomorrow.
via Matt Lucas) on The Full Monty, the 1997 film comedy that permanently changed the meaning of the title phrase: "The full monty" used to be a generic expression similar to "the whole hog" or "all the way," but now it exclusively means full-frontal nudity. And I just can't imagine why that sort of thing would be of interest here. There's already been a (not very highly-regarded) musical adaptation, which may explain why it took until 2013 for another attempt to stage it. But Daniel Evans went back to original screenwriter Simon Beaufoy for his Sheffield production last year, which then toured the UK; and that's the version that's now made it to the West End.
Sunday 23 February 2014
Friday 21 February 2014
Thursday 20 February 2014
The Complaint, Nick Whitby returns to Hampstead Downstairs with something pretty different in The Mystae. An August night in a Cornish cave near the sea, just after the A'Level results have come out, and Ina (Beatrice Scirocchi) has told her boyfriend Holman (Adam Buchanan) about an ancient Eleusinian ritual that they plan to reenact. A ham pastie replaces the slaughtered pig, and a bar of Cadbury's Fruit and Nut represents the bounty of the Earth, but the powerful hallucinogens they've got hold of are authentic. Before they can get started though there's another arrival - Holman told his friend Tre (Alex Griffin-Griffiths) where they'll be, in case they need rescuing. Tre has decided to join them instead, and the third wheel's not too welcome an addition for Ina, who thinks Holman's best friend fancies her.
Wednesday 19 February 2014
Tuesday 18 February 2014
Monday 17 February 2014
Sunday 16 February 2014
Outbox, a company that stages work from all-LGBT writers, creatives and actors. Don't Cock It Up by Frazer Flintham is a bit of a dig at gay theatre in general, in which a playwright tries to make a commentary on how gay plays are shallow and focused on just sex; only to have the producers remove the commentary and make his play just about sex. Frog Stone's Waiting for Yoko sees two women who don't know each other well, waiting for their mutual friend to arrive so they can go to the titular concert. While they wait for her, Alex (Victoria Jones,) tries to put Jen (Stella Taylor) off dating the woman she herself is still clearly in love with. Then comes the reason that I and three of my Twitter friends dragged ourselves to Dalston on a Sunday night, a new Tom Wells monologue, My number 1 favourite lesbian.
Saturday 15 February 2014
Wolf Hall left off. That play saw Henry VIII (Nathaniel Parker) saddled with a wife he's gone off and who can't bear him sons, and wanting heaven and earth to be moved so he can replace her with a younger model. He got what he wanted but at the start of Bring Up the Bodies his situation feels remarkably familiar. Anne Boleyn (Lydia Leonard) has produced the future Queen Elizabeth I but a son still eludes her, yet she continues to throw her weight around at court, blind to the potential danger. With Anne wildly unpopular, there's an opportunity to satisfy a lot of people's agendas by getting rid of her when the King's gaze starts to stray towards the silly, timid Jane Seymour. And having been instrumental in securing the second wife, Cromwell knows he has to be similarly useful with marriage number 3.
Friday 14 February 2014
The Island in the Clare, the Young Vic had a short run of another of his plays (also co-devised with John Kani and Winston Ntshona.) So short a run in fact that I couldn't fit it into my schedule, and it also sold out very quickly. But its popularity didn't go unnoticed so the theatre has brought Sizwe Banzi is Dead back to the Maria for a longer run, and the story of black South Africans making their way in the world of work while navigating the labyrinthine system of paperwork and arbitrary restrictions proves worthy of the attention. But before we get to the show itself, Matthew Xia's production manages something of a first: I've never before seen what could legitimately be called a coup de théâtre pulled off 20 minutes before the play even started. In case you're trying to stay spoiler-free I'll save it for the next paragraph, after the text break.
Thursday 13 February 2014
certain comedies I could mention. The central pairing from A Lady of Little Sense is reunited as a more tragic set of lovers, Nick Barber playing the illegitimate son Federico, who's always been promised he'd inherit his father's dukedom.