72 posts categorized "Donmar Warehouse" Feed

Review: The York Realist, Donmar Warehouse or why 2 men flirting is sexiest thing on the stage

Sexy, funny, full of heart and great characters with the added comfort of one of them always putting the kettle on

There is a moment in The York Realist which reminded me of that shower scene with Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus.

It involves Yorkshire farmhand George (Ben Batt) stripped to the waist and washing in the kitchen sink after a hard day's work but while Hiddleston's shower scene was calculated to show the weary and battle-injured Coriolanus, this scene was all about the look on the face of an observer. 

Ben Batt (George) and Jonathan Bailey (John)  in The York Realist at the Donmar Warehouse  directed by Robert Hastie. Photo by Johan Persson
Ben Batt (George) and Jonathan Bailey (John) in The York Realist at the Donmar Warehouse. Photo by Johan Persson

John (Jonathan Bailey) is the assistant director on an amateur production of the Mystery Plays in nearby York who has come to persuade George to return to rehearsals.

When he catches a glimpse of George's damp, muscular torso it leaves you in no doubt about his feelings.

Another parallel that sprung to mind was last year's film God's Own Country which was also a gay love story set in rural Yorkshire.

The York Realist is far less explicit than God's Own Country, it is all flirtation, all expectation but boy is it sexy. The invisible chemistry is electric. Lines about Vaseline got extra laughs, I'm sure, to ease the tension. 


Continue reading "Review: The York Realist, Donmar Warehouse or why 2 men flirting is sexiest thing on the stage" »

January theatre round up: Big (big) name castings, highs, lows and lots of actor spots.

The Inheritance Young Vic
Vanessa Redgrave joins the cast of The Inheritance, Young Vic

Theatre gets me through the dark days of January, here are my highlights from the new play and casting announcements, favourite things I saw (and the low moment).  And, thanks to the Julius Caesar press night, there was a bumper crop of actor, director and writer spots too...

* Forbes Mason, who will forever be known as the Lucifer in pants, thanks to Jamie Lloyd's Doctor Faustus, has been cast in the Almeida's Summer and Smoke which opens later this month. Did I mention how much I'm looking forward to seeing Patsy Ferran, who also stars, in that?

* Josie Rourke announced she is stepping down as artistic director at the Donmar Warehouse next year after eight years in the role. My highlights of her tenure, if you were to ask me for the first things that spring to mind, would be the Tom Hiddleston Coriolanus (incidentally my review of that is my most popular post and has been viewed nearly 15,000 times), the all women Shakespeare series and James Graham's Privacy. There are plenty of others but those are what stick most in my mind.

* Vanessa Redgrave (yes Vanessa Redgrave!) has been cast in The Inheritance at the Young Vic which opens next month. I could listen to her voice for hours. Also announced in the cast are Stan-fav's Kyle Soller, Michael Marcus and Luke Thallon plus a whole bunch of new names I’m looking forward to getting to know over a double play day.

Continue reading "January theatre round up: Big (big) name castings, highs, lows and lots of actor spots." »

Rehearsal photos and hoping for third time lucky with The York Realist, Donmar Warehouse

The York Realist will be the third Peter Gill play I've seen at the Donmar Warehouse.  I didn't think much of the first two, Small Change and Versaille, so I'm hoping for third time lucky.

It's got a great cast but that has never really been my problem, it's always been the plays.

This one has promising sounding synopsis: A love affair between two young men in 1960s Yorkshire. I will know in a few week's time if I'm a convert.

In the meantime here are the rehearsal photos and the play is at the Donmar Warehouse from 8 February to 24 March.



10 plays I'm really looking forward to seeing in London 2018

Julius Caesar, Bridge TheatrePrompted by the Daily Telegraph's rather uninspiring and quite frankly lazy list of upcoming theatre treats - three plays which have already opened? Oh come on - here's my list of what I'm already really excited about seeing in the first half of 2018*.

1. My Mum's A Twat, Royal Court Theatre - Patsy Ferran, I love Patsy Ferran and this is the first of two plays she's doing in 2018 and it's a solo piece *insert big smile here*

2. Julius Caesar, Bridge Theatre - Ben Whishaw playing Brutus alongside David Morrissey and Michelle Fairley and the chance to mingle with the Roman mob? Already booked to see it twice.

3. The Brothers Size, Young Vic - Written by Tarell Alvin McCraney who also penned Oscar best picture winner Moonlight (which I loved) and starring Sope Dirisu who was brilliant in One Night In Miami at the Donmar and the RSC's Coriolanus.

Continue reading "10 plays I'm really looking forward to seeing in London 2018 " »

Review: The Lady From The Sea, Donmar Warehouse or what I remember

ImageSaw this back in October and normally I write up my thoughts within a few days, while everything is still fresh but work, then a holiday got in the way.  However, it is actually proving an interesting exercise, reflecting after nearly a month, on what has stayed with me - and some stuff has, which is a good sign at least, we've all seen those easily forgettable plays.

Ibsen's Norway mountains setting has been swapped for the Caribbean which works well in the main - references to the end of the summer and coming of colder weather did jar a little. Ellida (Nikki Amuka-Bird) is the new wife of widower Dr Wangel (Finbar Linch) who has two teenage daughters Hilde (Ellie Bamber) and Bolette (Helena Wilson) from his first marriage.

She grew up by the sea and swims everyday with a dedication and a fervour that hints of emotional disquiet. Two things haunt her: A former romance with a sailor and a recent tragedy. Worried, Wangel invites his Bolette's former tutor Arnholm (Tom McKay) to visit in the hope it will distract her but her sailor also makes an appearance.

Continue reading "Review: The Lady From The Sea, Donmar Warehouse or what I remember" »

Review: The earthy Knives In Hens, Donmar Warehouse

Cw-17962Christian Cooke's buttocks are exposed as he rolls around on a muddy stage with Judith Roddy in an act of love making that is almost primal and animalistic. The audience has barely settled into the opening moments of Knives in Hens and already director Yael Farber has set out her stall for what type of production this is going to be: earthy.

David Harrower's play about ploughman William (Cooke), his wife (Roddy) and their relationship with the local miller (Matt Ryan) isn't a romping yarn of rural life and relationships this is a poetic and gritty exploration of self-awakening and discovery.

When William describes his wife as 'like a field' it has a seismic influence on their relationship. At first the statement jars, she has no place for the figurative but her curiosity and consciousness is pricked, the notion that 'it is what it is', is no longer satisfying. When Miller, a demon figure in the eyes of the community, puts a pen in her hand it seals the fate of all three.

Continue reading "Review: The earthy Knives In Hens, Donmar Warehouse" »

Rehearsal photos: Christian Cooke and the cast of Knives in Hens, Donmar Warehouse

Coming up in August at the Donmar Warehouse is the intriguingly titled Knives In Hens by David Harrower starring Christian Cooke, Judith Roddy and Matt Ryan. Yael Farber directs. Previews start on August 17 and then it runs until 7 October and to whet your appetite here are some rehearsal photos.


That was May in London theatre-land - casting, transfers, an anniversary and another bumper crop of thesp spots

600Gloria_FINAL_landscapeSmall* Stan fav Colin Morgan has been cast with Game of Thrones’ Ellie Kendrick in Gloria at Hampstead Theatre which just happens to be my newest favourite playwright. So lots of excitement for that. Gloria will also be a 10 year theatre anniversary for me and Colin. I first saw him (and mentally tipped him as one to watch) when he played the lead in Vernon God Little at the Young Vic in 2007.

* Keeping up the Game of Thrones thesp count in London’s theatre land is Natalie Dormer who’s been cast with David Oakes in Venus in Furs at Theatre Royal Haymarket from October.

* Colm Meaney joins Sienna Miller and Jack O’Connell in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Apollo Theatre which opens in July.

* Arthur Darvill of Broadchurch fame has been cast in Hir at Bush Theatre which opens on June 15.

* James Graham (This House) has a new political comedy, Labour of Love, coming to the Noel Coward Theatre in September starring Martin Freeman and Sarah Lancashire.

Continue reading "That was May in London theatre-land - casting, transfers, an anniversary and another bumper crop of thesp spots" »

Review: Lenny Henry in the irresistible Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Donmar Warehouse

Lennyhenryw500h500Before I had even taken my seat at the Donmar, I'd spoken to two actors and shaken Lenny Henry's hand. It's all part of the Donmar's transformation for the Bruce Norris adaptation of Brecht's play - The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. The stalls - stage and seating - have been removed and replaced to create a space decked out as a late night jazz cafe complete with wooden tables and chairs to fit the new setting of prohibition era Chicago.

The cast mingle with the audience as they arrive in the building and then in the theatre chatting as if you are cafe customers. The reason behind some of the conversations only becomes apparent as the play properly starts - PolyG and I were asked by Lenny Henry's Arturo Ui if we'd stand up when he requested during the play, naturally we agreed. If you are sat at the front - even in the circle - you may be roped in.

In Norris' adaptation our Brechtian villain is a gangster who wants respect as well as power and will be as ruthless as he needs to be to get there. However this is a far less intimidating Arturo than I have seen in other adaptations. The fact that his protection racket targets grocers and in particular the cauliflower importers and sellers gives you a taste of the tone.

It is an Arturo Ui which is frothy and fun, with unsubtle references to Donald Trump and blatant parallels with the likes of Richard III - Norris also manages to weave in excerpts from several other Shakespeare plays including 'To be or not to be'. There are also tantalising snatches of popular songs sung live in a lounge jazz style, it becomes a game of name that tune - try and guess the song from a verse or two of familiar lyrics sung in an unfamiliar way. Nat King Cole's Nature Boy gets its second stage outing in as many years too (it was the song playing at the start of Benedict Cumberbatch's Hamlet).

Continue reading "Review: Lenny Henry in the irresistible Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Donmar Warehouse" »

Rehearsal photos and irresistible prospect of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui with Lenny Henry, Donmar Warehouse

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui is the play in the Donmar's current season I'm most excited to see. Why? Well, Lenny Henry was one of the iconic TV stars of my childhood. I grew up with Tiswas (which my mum hated us watching), Three of a Kind, the Comic Strip and the Lenny Henry Show and it's been six years since I last saw him on stage in A Comedy of Errors at the National.

So there is that. But it's also the play. It's a brutal satire which I've seen given such a wide variety of treatments including a version with puppets by Marmite director Katie Mitchell at Hampstead Theatre and Cheek By Jowl's bonkers French dinner party at the Barbican. What will the Donmar do? I suspect it won't be quite as radical as those two productions but nonetheless?

At the very least it feels like a wholly appropriate time to have a production of this play about the abuse of power.  It's a new translation by Bruce Norris - the king of uncomfortable laughs with plays such as Clybourne Park - and set in prohibition era Chicago. I'm expecting something powerful, that doesn't hold it's punches and I feel like I need to see some theatre like that.  So fingers crossed for when I get to see it later this month.