Saturday, 30 November 2019
Thursday, 28 November 2019
The Brothers Size and Barber Shop Chronicles, The Arrival looks at the relationship between two men who only find out in their late twenties that they’re brothers. Tom’s (Scott Karim) biological father had Middle Eastern heritage, so he always knew his white parents had adopted him; what was a surprise, when he eventually sought out his birth parents, was that they were still married, and had had two more children, who they kept. His sister now lives in Germany but his brother Samad (Irfan Shamji) has, by coincidence, moved to the same part of London as him, and when the two meet up they instantly get on. The play opens as they start to spend time together and get to know each other.
Saturday, 23 November 2019
Aladdin ended its run than Mary Poppins is back at the same theatre where this version of P L Travers' stories debuted in 2004. This is the Julian Fellowes adaptation which uses familiar songs from the film by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, rearranged by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe who also provide a few new numbers of their own. Zizi Strallen (part of the Z-series of Strallens that also includes Zeppo, Zumba and Zermajesty) takes over the iconic title role of the magical nanny who flies in out of nowhere one day to take care of Jane (Ellie Kit Jones, alternating with Adelaide Barham, Imogen Bourn, Charlotte Breen and Nuala Peberdy) and Michael (Edward Walton, alternating with Joseph Duffy, Samuel Newby, Gabriel Payne and Fred Wilcox) Banks.
Thursday, 21 November 2019
- Runs off with a suspicious stranger who offers her cake.
- Takes her siblings to Narnia in the full knowledge it'll put them and Mr Tumnus in danger.
- Is a PreCIOUs pRiNCEss.
- Runs off with a suspicious stranger who offers him Turkish Delight.
- Betrays his siblings only because he's enslaved by magic.
- Is a nasty little traitor who's probably going straight to Hell LOL.
Yes, it's one of the most famous stories of Christians living in the closet, C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe getting a new staging as the Bridge Theatre imports Sally Cookson's Leeds Playhouse production. And no, I'm not sure why I booked again to see a story I mainly grumble a lot about, except I probably quite like grumbling about it.
Wednesday, 20 November 2019
Henry VI to play the deranged lead in Richard III. After the first play in this pairing I wondered if Ilinca Radulian and Sean Holmes would take a completely different tack with the Henriad's conclusion or follow right on from where they left off; the graffitied, muddy stage we open with immediately shows it's the latter, although as the play goes on it develops some new flourishes of its own. Playing Richard III as an immediate continuation of the Wars of the Roses has an effect on how Richard is played: The York family were happy to indulge Richard's psychotic side to do their dirty work, resulting in Edward IV (Sarah Amankwah) in power; their mistake was assuming that would be enough for him. Instead Richard wants the spoils for himself - so what if the only people left in his way are his own family?
Tuesday, 19 November 2019
Richard II was the start of the complete Henriad cycle being performed on their stages this year was something to get excited about but also came with the inevitable problem for the company: The first tetralogy is full of popular hits but while the second ends on another crowd-pleaser in Richard III, the three Henry VI plays that precede it are a much harder sell. Peter Hall and John Barton's Wars of the Roses trilogy compressed them into two plays, and as it turns out the Globe Ensemble's way around the issue is even more drastic, chopping and changing them into a single three-and-a-half hour epic. In reality, and entirely unsurprisingly, if there is such a thing as a massive fan of Part One they should probably not get their hopes up - the fact that King Henry (Jonathan Broadbent) is already old enough to walk and talk as the play begins should be a clue that the largely unrelated prequel wouldn't figure, and we open with the introduction of the figure who will haunt the whole second tet, his queen Margaret (Steffan Donnelly.)
Saturday, 16 November 2019
Thursday, 14 November 2019
Wednesday, 13 November 2019
Monday, 11 November 2019
Preludes another Dave Malloy musical makes its London debut, as does the venue where it plays: The Boulevard Theatre is built on the site of a long-lost theatre of the same name in central London; the website says the Boulevard “sits in the centre of Soho’s infamous streets and alleyways,” and I don’t know that I would have personally led with a reminder of the chances of getting mugged but hey, you do you. The building was formerly the Raymond Revue Bar and still has a massive sign for it on the wall, but once you run the gauntlet of shops selling poppers and Viagra the inside is less tits’n’minge, more the looking-like-a-mid-range-hotel feel that the front of house areas of new-build theatres always go for these days. The auditorium itself is promising though – the seats are comfortable with actual leg room, and the venue looks well-equipped and flexible: Simon Kenny’s design puts us in the round but it looks like various other layouts would be possible without losing the good sightlines.
Friday, 8 November 2019
Thursday, 7 November 2019
last week’s debacle I was hoping the other show alternating in the National Youth Theatre’s rep at Southwark Playhouse would actually give the young people it’s meant to be showcasing something to work with; and while on paper I’m not a great fan of Charles Dickens, Great Expectations proves a much more successful evening. In stark contrast to Frankenstein tying itself in knots, Neil Bartlett streamlines Dickens’ story of social climbing and a poor young boy given a glimpse of a world (and a girl) he’s not willing to say goodbye to. Its children may not be quite as blatantly abused as in other Dickens books but in Great Expectations they’re very much a commodity to be handed around at adults’ whims – Pip (Joseph Payne) begins the story as an orphan in the care of his sister, and the most exciting event of his life was discovering the escaped convict Magwitch (Jemima Mayala) in the marshes and helping him.