Archive for the ‘Theatre’ Category

IMG_0773Did a couple of things last weekend which you can no longer do as they’ve ended so for my blog record:
North Fashioning Identity at Somerset House: great show with music, clothing, photos, painting and lots of audio. Felt very at home listening to northern voices talking about post punk and the dulcet sounds of colliery bands.
Last night of Belleville at the Donmar with James Norton and Imogen Poots in an Amy Hertzog play about the disintegration of a young couple’s marriage. Arguments, depression, suicide – pretty uplifting evening. Over the top ending but terrific acting; very different to the potential Bond role he is tipped for.

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Fantastic Julius Caesar at the Bridge Theatre.  Not only do you get to see Lady Stark (Michelle Fairley playing Cassius), The Governor (David Morrissey playing Mark Anthony) but also Paddington (Ben Whishaw playing Brutus).  All the actors are terrific but the clever staging is the star of the production.  If you get a chance to go stand in the area downstairs (it is only 2 hours with no interval)  but you are in the thick of the action. It starts with a band (actors) before the play gets going covering Eye of the Tiger and Seven Nation Army to get us in election campaign mood.  There are marshalls moving the audience around to get the actors in and out and it all goes so smoothly with a series of small stages coming up out of the ground.  The battle scenes are so well done and really exciting.  Long time since I sat leaning on the rail taking it all in.  The place erupted into prolonged applause at the end.  Great production.DSC_1835

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rnt_pp_2_2_393I have been looking forward to seeing this one for some time at the NT and it lived up to expectations.  This play is a stage version of the film Network and is 2 hours in length without an interval, so movie length.  The staging is interesting with members of the public eating dinner live on the stage with real chefs in the background. And at one point cast members are outside being filmed and then come back onto stage still talking.

The cast is great.  Bryan Cranston is marvellous as Howard Beale, the news anchor having a breakdown on stage and turning into a ranting celebrity guru.  Michelle Dochery is a revelation as I always thought her so wooden as Lady Mary and Douglas Henshall always turns in a solid performance.   I don’t want to given anything away so will say no more other than try to get tickets on a Friday until 22nd March.

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Visited the new Bridge Theatre for the first time on Saturday to see Young Marx.  Firstly, the building.  Great sign outside with the sloping “I” in Bridge; lovely lighting and nice cheese straws.  Great lines of sight from around the auditorium of the stage and reasonable leg room.  But the play.  Great cast with Rory Kinnear, directed by Nicholas Hytner and written by Richard Bean of One Man, Two Governors, a play I’d loved.  All I can say is oh dear.  A bit too slapstick without the laughs – we left in the interval and went to see the Lord Mayor’s Show fireworks instead which were great.

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New York, 1971. There’s a party on the stage of the Weismann Theatre. Tomorrow the iconic building will be demolished. Thirty years after their final performance, the Follies girls gather to have a few drinks, sing a few songs and lie about themselves.

Fantastic performances, huge and talented cast and longest round of applause I’ve seen at the National Theatre. I didn’t know the play, didn’t recognise a single song by Sondheim and only recognised Imelda Staunton but I really enjoyed it.  Dominic Cooke’s direction made the play sad, witty and bleak all at once.   Favourite character and song: Phyllis Thumbnail+Ticketsolvesinging Could I leave you?  Janie Dee was superb.  Who’s that Woman sung by all the women, older and younger, makes for a great chorus line.

Having their former selves appear in their sequined costumes and on stage nearly all time, either in flashbacks or watching their older selves, adds poignancy to the play. We saw it last week but tickets are now in short supply but try and get one.  It deserved the applause.





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IMG_2845The play sounds a bit dry and  maybe a tad dull:

In 1993, in front of the world’s press, the leaders of Israel and Palestine shook hands on the lawn of the White House. Few watching would have guessed that the negotiations leading up to this iconic moment started secretly in a castle in the middle of a forest outside Oslo.  Oslo tells the true story of two maverick Norwegian diplomats who coordinated top secret talks and inspired seemingly impossible friendships. Their quiet heroics led to the groundbreaking Oslo Peace Accords.

But it is a great play, much funnier than expected, with dark humour and a thought-provoking ending.  And even though we know they shook hands it does not stop the tension building throughout.  Rod-Larsen and his wife enabled the delegations to meet in private to come to an agreement, which is quite an extraordinary story. The chief negotiators, Ahmed Qurie (Peter Polycarpou) and Uri Savir (Philip Arditti), create the best moments in the play.  But all the cast are very good and have to mention Toby Stephens as Rod-Larsen as his mum was in to watch the performance.  The ending is poignant as you realise how close they came to compromise and how far they have moved from that since – moving to discover the Qurie and Savir never lost touch.  It is tranferring to Harold Pinter Theatre from 2nd October so go and see it; deserved the Tony Award for Best Play that it received in the States.

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Olivia Williams (Alice) and Olivia Colman (Jenny) are quiteIMG_2751 believable as sisters in the Lucy Kirkwood play, Mosquitoes.

Alice is a scientist. She lives in Geneva. As the Large Hadron Collider starts up in 2008, she is on the brink of the most exciting work of her life, searching for the Higgs Boson.  Jenny is her sister. She lives in Luton. She spends a lot of time Googling.  When tragedy throws them together, the collision threatens them all with chaos.

This is a play that would work without the science and maybe that element adds in too many ideas.  But portraying Alice as a scientist caught up in her work, serves to make her seem inept at managing the relationships outside of her work where emotion is involved, with her disturbed son, her mother and Jenny.  Jenny is spoken about by Alice and her mother as being the not so bright one and she is much more emotional and angry due to the death of her daughter.  But she is the sensible one who manages the issues with her mother and nephew better than Alice.

There is humour in the play as well as tragedy and it is beautifully acted by the two Olivias.  Well worth the wait as I turned up a day early in error.

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