Wednesday 31 August 2022
Sunday 28 August 2022
The Effect, which starred Damien Molony and Pirate Jessie Buckley. It seems the two actors made the most of their time in the recording studio as at the same time they played Giovanni and Annabella, the incestuous brother and sister in John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore. In a play Pauline Harris' audio version sees as a twisted response to Romeo & Juliet, Giovanni seduces Annabella, and they begin an affair that soon leaves her pregnant.
Thursday 25 August 2022
my end of year review, skipping my usual Top Ten shows and instead offering two #1 shows, one live, one in the quickly-evolving digital format. Jack Holden's Cruise straddled both media, appearing first in a filmed version before being chosen as one of the shows to reopen the West End, in a socially distanced Duchess Theatre. Chez Partially Obstructed View the show got my top spot in the online category - I loved it and would have been happy to see it again, but the original live run came right after I'd seen it digitally, which was a bit too soon to revisit it. Now, helped in part by an Olivier nomination for Best New Play, Bronagh Lagan's production gets another short run, this time playing the Apollo at full capacity.
Tuesday 23 August 2022
Thursday 18 August 2022
a yeast infection, it might have been complementary if the Little had put on a show about beer. Unfortunately the scheduling hasn't worked out quite so on-theme, and instead we get a show about wine: Richard Baker (music & lyrics) and Charlie Ryall's (book & lyrics) Tasting Notes takes place between 7pm on Monday and 7pm on Tuesday in a reasonably successful wine bar, LJ's: The eventful 24 hours, which include the deaths of one cat and one lead character, are played out in song six times, from the differing perspectives of five of the staff and one of the customers. Hassled owner LJ (Nancy Zamit) is exhausted by having to cover for missing staff and a business that's picking up, but not quickly enough to afford some of the necessary improvements. She's essentially good-natured but her tiredness makes her snap at her staff, and to cap it all off she's about to make a grim discovery.
Tuesday 16 August 2022
Thursday 11 August 2022
Sunday 7 August 2022
Friday 5 August 2022
The Toxic Avenger, and now from a green lead we move on to an entirely green cast. Urinetown creators Mark Hollman (music & lyrics) and Greg Kotis (book & lyrics) have come up with an even more surreal theme for a musical than public toilets, by going back to the year 3,000,458,000 BCE and the first single-cell yeast organisms that could be considered life on Earth. Yeast Nation (the triumph of life) has recently been selling itself as "London's most controversial musical," which isn't quite accurate as the term has to be "divisive" - many of the official reviews seem to have completely panned it, and based on the turnout even on a Friday night that seems to have affected ticket sales. But, appropriately enough, the yeast-based substance it's most turned out to resemble is Marmite, because among those who made the trip many have loved it.
Thursday 4 August 2022
The Two Gentlemen of Verona nearly a decade ago, and while that was the start of a major change of direction for his career, he's still bringing that outsider's attitude to one of the most beloved comedies of all. Dialogue has been cut, moved, assigned to different characters, and while it's all Shakespeare's work it doesn't all necessarily originate in this play (there's even the best part of a sonnet bulking up Hero's role.) At heart the play - and its most famous couple - remain the same, but the irreverent treatment of the text yields results in making many of the plotlines and characters less problematic.
Monday 1 August 2022
I've only seen it live in its own right once - and theatres tend to go for some variation of not actually staging it and saying they did. Usually this involves merging it into the other two Henry VI plays, like the Swanamaker's last attempt did particularly ruthlessly, but the RSC chose instead to make a virtue out of necessity and knock this one out as a lockdown project online: Gregory Doran and Owen Horsley directed a professional cast in rehearsals last summer, which were live-streamed for anyone interested in seeing the company's rehearsal process.