An Octoroon, if not as much as everyone else seemed to, while being less convinced by Gloria, but it was hard to deny the obvious potential. For my money this is the one where that potential is realised (albeit in a play written five years ago,) as the Donmar Warehouse stages the UK premiere of Appropriate. On the surface this is the playwright’s most conventional play to date, being his take on That American Play Where An Extended Family Gets Together After A Long Time, Preferably At Thanksgiving But That’s Optional. Six months after the death of their reclusive father, the Lafayette siblings and their families go to his plantation house in Arkansas; he was a hoarder who left half a million dollars in debt, so they have a lot of work to do clearing the place up so that his belongings can be sold in an estate sale, and the house and land sold at auction.
Thursday 29 August 2019
Wednesday 28 August 2019
Peter Gynt has a stint up at the Edinburgh Festival the National does a straight swap, with the Sydney Theatre Company’s visiting production of The Secret River coming to the Olivier for a couple of weeks’ run (minus its narrator Ningali Lawford-Wolf, who died suddenly during the Edinburgh run; Pauline Whyman has been flown over to read in the role.) Andrew Bovell’s play adapts Kate Grenville’s novel about the bloody origin story of modern Australia, one that mirrors the treatment of the Native Americans but is arguably less well-known internationally. William Thornhill (Nathaniel Dean) has had his death sentence for theft commuted to transportation, and his wife Sal (Georgia Adamson) and sons have followed him to Australia. Once his sentence is up, Sal wants them to go straight back to London but William asks her to wait five years so they can build up enough money through farming to return in more comfort than they left.
Thursday 22 August 2019
Oresteia, Mary Stuart and Uncle Vanya, he bows out with a more obscure work, Arthur Schnitzler’s Professor Bernhardi. It’s not one I’d heard of before but apparently it’s a classic clash between science and medicine, Christian and Jew; in Icke’s hands it becomes a clash between much more – and so much more than we can even see. Ruth Wolff (Juliet Stevenson) is founder and head of a private hospital specialising in dementia research, and a familiar figure from medical dramas – the brilliant but not-particularly-likeable, abrupt and no-nonsense surgeon.
Thursday 15 August 2019
Bring It On, youth musical theatre company the British Theatre Academy returns for a second summer season at Southwark Playhouse, the centrepiece a revival of Lynn Ahrens (book and lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty’s (music) 1990 fable Once on This Island. Taking its themes (very loosely) from The Little Mermaid and applying them to a story about the legacy of colonialism, it’s set on an island in the French Antilles divided starkly along both geographical and racial lines – there are the black “peasants,” and the white “grands hommes,” descendants of the French colonisers. Orphan Ti Moune (Chrissie Bhima) is discovered in a tree after a tropical storm and rescued by peasants. When she grows up and witnesses a car crash, she believes that the reason she was saved from the storm as a child is so that she can in turn save the driver’s life.
Tuesday 13 August 2019
Saturday 10 August 2019
Tuesday 6 August 2019
Gently Down the Stream, and is now the inspiration for Max Vernon’s musical The View UpStairs. In the present day, entitled influencer Wes (Tyrone Huntley) buys a burnt-out building in New Orleans’ French Quarter with the intention of gutting it and turning it into the flagship store for his new fashion line. It is, of course, the building that once house the UpStairs Lounge, and when he’s alone the ghosts of the bar’s owner Henri (Carly Mercedes Dyer) and her clientele appear.
Friday 2 August 2019
Thursday 1 August 2019
Orpheus Descending and The Night of the Iguana are comparatively infrequently produced then the two one-act plays paired up by the King’s Head as Southern Belles are outright obscurities. Both deal with queer stories with varying levels of directness, and correspondingly varying levels of success. In Something Unspoken, Southern Grand Dame Cornelia (Annabel Leventon) is at home sitting by the phone, pointedly avoiding a meeting of the local chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy at which a vote is being held. Her hope is that she’s so well-respected within the society that she’ll finally be elected to the highest position of Regent unopposed: But she’s so nervous that things might not work out that way that she’s feigning illness and staying at home; and her fears are well-founded, as her mole keeps calling from the election with unpromising updates.