Thursday 30 June 2022
Monday 27 June 2022
Death of England trilogy inadvertently ended up bookending the Covid lockdowns, now turns his hand to a traditional intergenerational family drama at he continues to explore the tensions and contradictions of the children of the Windrush generation. The Fellowship, set in 2019, makes explicit reference to that generation, in the unseen 91-year-old mother of Dawn (Cherrelle Skeete.) She moved into her younger daughter's house when her health started to fail terminally - it's implied if never explicitly stated that her deterioration really began with the Home Office scandal that she got caught up in. Dawn's feelings about a mother who was physically and emotionally abusive are complicated at best, but she's still taken on most of her care compared to older sister Marcia (Suzette Llewellyn,) a barrister and one of a tiny minority of black QCs, whose career has always taken precedence.
Thursday 23 June 2022
All My Sons, and now he returns to the West End to play a more grotesque, but no less scene-stealing character. And he's clearly not a star name who wants all the limelight for himself: After sharing top billing with Sally Field last time, he now shares it with David Harbour at a time when he must have known the latest season of Stranger Things would give him most of the attention. This time Pullman plays Daniel, the patriarch of a dysfunctional family in a small Pennsylvania town, whose wife died of cancer a year earlier, and who's now slowly dying of multiple organ failure himself. He doesn't want to die in a hospice so, with the help of palliative care nurse Lillian (Akiya Henry,) his primary caregiver is eldest son Michael (Harbour.) He's the only one of Daniel's children willing to do it, and it may just be because he needs somewhere to live after spending a year in a mental institution.
Monday 20 June 2022
Saturday 18 June 2022
The Lottery of Love and the latest offering, The False Servant, haven't exactly got my pulse racing. A wealthy young woman (Lizzy Watts) is contemplating a potential suitor, but wants to be sure of his character. Disguising herself as a man and calling herself The Chevalier, she befriends Lelio (Julian Moore-Cook) and immediately finds out why she should avoid the match at all costs.
Friday 17 June 2022
Thursday 16 June 2022
Tuesday 14 June 2022
1910s, 1920s, 1950s and 1980s, Headlong's production at the Old Vic takes us to the 1970s, and the first play in the cycle in order of writing. The next one Wilson wrote was Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and this play shares some similarities in setup: We're in another sunless room with a group of men taking breaks from work. This time it's a cabin that houses an unlicensed cab office: The licensed ones won't go to some of the more dangerous parts of Pittsburgh, which is where Becker's (Wil Johnson) drivers come in. And even they're not willing to stay there too long - one of their mantras to customers who call is "be ready, I won't wait." In between jobs they come back to the office to warm up by the electric fire, and when the phone rings the man who's been waiting longest gets to answer it and take the next fare.
Thursday 9 June 2022
A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof beat it in terms of name recognition, but in my experience The Glass Menagerie is the most frequently-produced Tennessee Williams work; the latest take on it makes five productions I've seen. It was the first Williams play I saw on stage and remains my favourite, although Jeremy Herrin's production seems determined to change that: As lifeless hatchet-jobs on beloved classics go it's not quite on a par with Mark Rylance's energy-sapping Much Ado, but it does share some of that sense of someone just plopping the play onto the stage, and walking away shrugging. In a play whose autobiographical nature is barely disguised, a cramped 1930s St Louis apartment houses what's left of the Wingfield family, scraping by ever since the father abandoned them. Williams' avatar Tom (Tom Glynn-Carney) works in a soul-destroying warehouse job by day, and spends his nights "at the movies."