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
Thursday, 24 March 2022
Saturday, 19 March 2022
Thursday, 17 March 2022
You're subconsciously trying to prove something, and we won't blame you for that, but you have to understand it has consequences for the people involved. Parklife!
Sunday, 13 March 2022
Thursday, 10 March 2022
Measure for Measure, Hamlet and The Merchant of Venice doesn't sound like the most exciting season imaginable on paper, but the Swanamaker has been firing on all cylinders this winter, and in what could have been the least promising offering of all it turns out they've saved the best till last: Abigail Graham's is probably the best Merchant I've ever seen, and not just because she's cut the entirety of Act 5. In fact, as we've come to expect from the Globe, it's not a production that's precious with the text, cutting and reshuffling to serve its purpose. In this instance, it's to set the action in the high-risk, masculine, bullying culture of modern-day city traders, so we open with Aaron Vodovoz' geeky Launcelot Gobbo asking for a job with Bassanio (Michael Marcus.) He's made to play a drinking game as part of his application, which mainly involves a penalty every time he says the word "Jew" - and as he's talking about wanting to leave his current employer, the Jewish moneylender Shylock, he says it a lot. He ends up very drunk and humiliated, but gets the job.
Tuesday, 8 March 2022
really should have realised aren't his forte by now, and sees young couple Nick (Sam Frenchum) and Ruth (Francesca Carpanini) take a break at the remote cabin Nick inherited from his family. City girl Ruth is charmed and endlessly fascinated by the rural setting but Nick, who spent a lot of time at the cabin as a child, seems to associate the place with bad memories and be frightened of almost everything about the surrounding woods and lakes, to the point that you have to wonder why he ever agreed to return there in the first place. What he's probably really afraid of is being with his girlfriend in a place with no distractions, and having to confront what his actual feelings are.
Saturday, 5 March 2022
Thursday, 3 March 2022
Best of Enemies; for Anthony McCarten's The Collaboration he takes centre stage. But where the 1960s Warhol we saw last year was at the height of both his creativity and his celebrity, the 1984 Warhol (Paul Bettany) we meet now is all too aware that - while still a big name - his work has become predictable, his prices are falling, and the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat (Jeremy Pope) are the names on everyone's lips now: Warhol still hangs out with Yoko Ono, but Basquiat gets photographed with (and may or may not be sleeping with) Madonna. The two wildly different artists do share an agent, Bruno (Alec Newman,) and he sees the idea of an unlikely collaboration between the two as a way both of propelling his up-and-coming client even further, and of revitalising the established one's flagging creativity.