14 posts categorized "Barbican" Feed

Review: Robert Sean Leonard is Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird, @BarbicanCentre

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Milo Panni (Dill), Rosie Boore (Scout), Billy Price (Jem). Photo Christopher Akrill

Harper Lee's classic novel was one of a small handful of books read during my formative years that has left an indelible mark so I was mixture of excitement and nerves going to see this stage version.

This production of Christopher Sergel's adaptation, directed by  Timothy Sheader, originated at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in 2013, where it sold out two runs before touring and this residence at the Barbican - so the signs were good. It also stars Robert Sean Leonard of House and Dead Poets Society fame.

Leonard plays Atticus the lawyer chosen to defend Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman in 1930's small town Alabama.

The story in the book is told the through the eyes of his young daughter Scout (Rosie Boore*) who, together with her older brother Jem (Billy Price) and friend Dill (Milo Panni) obsess about the reclusive Boo Radley who lives next door and plot to try and get him to come out.

It is so with the stage production but Scout's voice doesn't come just from Boore but also the ensemble who each carry a copy of the novel from which they take turns to read passages. The result is an intoxicating mixture of story time and acting,  blending seamlessly the enduring charm of reading the novel with the thrill of watching live theatre.

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Review: Hugo Weaving is Waiting For Godot, Barbican Theatre

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Hugo Weaving and Richard Roxburgh in Waiting for Godot

I've been waiting for Godot (sorry) to return to London for six years. Samuel Beckett's surreal, existential tragicomedy is a Marmite play, I know, but I think it's a great piece. It is a play that tests both actors and audience and one which always gives up something new.

This is a Sydney Theatre Production which is in residence at the Barbican for just over a week and sees Hugo Weaving take on Vladimir and Richard Roxburgh Estragon with Philip Quast as Pozzo and Luke Mullins as Lucky.

Their back drop are the walls of a what looks likes a former industrial building and yet there is proscenium arch of sorts which also looks likes a dressing room mirror frame with most of the bulbs around its perimeter either missing or broken. And of course there is the tree, just a long trunk disappearing off into the flies and one branch.

It is evocative of economic decay, the passing of good times and a reflection of ourselves and the human condition. The latter is an irony that is really brought to the fore in this production. It feels like the play is often poking fun at the audience; as Vladimir and Estragon entertain themselves to pass the time so we are similarly entertained. There is a bleakness and tragedy in everything but equally there is something very warm and comforting. This is a production with no half measures.

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Review: Cheek By Jowl's Russian invasion at the Barbican with Measure for Measure

Alexander Arsentyev, Anna Khalilulina. Photographer - Johan Persson
Alexander Arsentyev, Anna Khalilulina in Measure for Measure. Photographer - Johan Persson

Cheek By Jowl have done it again. This time they've brought a Russian flavour to Shakespeare's Measure For Measure. It's a Russian cast, performed in Russian* and it's rather taken me prisoner.

The run time is trimmed down to around two hours 10 straight through -  longer than one hour 45 minutes it says on the website - and opens with the Duke (Alexander Arsentyev) leaving Angelo (Andrei Kuzichev) in charge.

All the cast are on stage and move as one like a swarm of insects with the Duke gradually becoming separated. No words are spoken but this feels like part rejection, part ejection and part choice.

And so the scene is set for his disguised return and his journey back to the path of leadership. It is a journey of revelations and lessons through the injustice, immorality and corruption that he witnesses.

Angelo in deciding to follow the law to the letter has had Claudio (Peter Rykov) imprisoned and sentenced to death for getting a woman pregnant outside marriage.

Claudio's sister Isabella (Anna Khalilulina), who is about to take Holy Orders, is persuaded to try and intervene and get the sentence overturned. It pits compassion, leniency and purity against lust and corruption. Angelo holds the power of justice but uses it to try and satisfy his own desire.

I've not seen Measure For Measure before but director Declan Donellan has created a world that is dark, grubby and dictatorial but all the more dangerous for being conducted under the banner of justice.

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Review: Juliette Binoche is a considered Antigone in a subtle production

 

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Juliette Binoche as Antigone. Photograph: Jan Versweyveld

Ivo van Hove who brought us the emotionally charged A View From The Bridge at the Young Vic last year (and now transferred to the West End) has taken quite a different tack with Greek tragedy Antigone.

The stage is slightly more dressed but this is play that despite being cut to an hour and 40 minutes straight through feels considered and unrushed. The actors take their time so that you become just as absorbed in what they are doing - where a hand falls, a posture or gesture - as you are in what they are saying.

When Antigone (Binoche) appears, walking slowly in a wind which ruffles her lose clothing and sends rubbish shuffling across the stage, it is emblematic of the quiet battle to come with Creon over the burial of her traitorous brother.

Once she sets in motion events by telling her sister she will bury Polynices, against Creon's wishes, a huge sun like disc appears, marking a slow time to her tragic demise and Creon's downfall. Images are projected against the back drop, ordinary scenes of people from different parts of the world, a reminder of life going on that is cemented in the final scene when we get a snippet of Lou Reed's Heroin.

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