Review: A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing, Young Vic (and the Cleansed comparison)
Review: The hilarious and inventive A Midsummer Night's Dream, Lyric Hammersmith

That was February in London theatre - news, views and celeb spots

John Hurt_photo credit BAFTA Ian Derry
John Hurt, photo courtesy of BAFTA Ian Derry

It's been a month of highs, lows, laughs and grumbles:

* Well the theatre news of the month had to be the announcement that Andrew Garfield is to tread the boards at the National Theatre next year in Angels in America. He's on my list of actors I'm desperate to see on stage. Already saving my pennies as one viewing is almost certainly not going to be enough.

* The Andrew Garfield casting news was part of package of exciting names attached with forthcoming productions at the National - Rory Kinnear, Ralph Fiennes, Ivo Van Hove, Robert Icke, Lucian Msamati, Anna Chancellor, Tamsin Greig plus a new play by Alexi Kaye Campbell and an adaptation of the Threepenny Opera by Simon Stephens. I had to sit in a dark room for a bit. 

* And then following that it was announced Glenda Jackson is to return to the stage after 25 years to play King Lear at the Old Vic and John Hurt is to star opposite Kenneth Branagh in The Entertainer. Can't wait to hear John Hurt's distinctive gravelly voice live.

* Was hoping that missing Ma Rainey at the National last month was going to be a one off but I ended up missing two plays this month - Uncle Vanya because its long running time would mean a very late night for a weekday (boo hiss to the Almeida's bad scheduling). And then I missed Complicite's Encounter at the Barbican because I was laid low with a cold. I've heard very good things about both, typical.

* The Almeida's bad scheduling was just one of three grumbles I had with theatre land this month. The Donmar and Young Vic are also in my bad books for bad  staging and bad communication about booking periods.

* My viewing highlights of the month include the hilarious Hand To GodA Girl Is A Half Formed Thing and Cleansed although that latter is for reasons of notoriety rather than anything else.

* Nominations are still open for theatre hottie of the month for February.

Celeb spot corner: Thanks to press night tickets for Hand To God I got to stand next to Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) albeit briefly. Missed Harry Melling's Harry Potter mummy Fiona Shaw who was also there, unfortunately. Love Fiona Shaw. Did spot Robert Lindsay (again) and Tamsin Outhwaite in a big hat. And I also keep bumping into George MacKay when I'm on my lunch time walk. He's always in the same spot, smoking a fag, presumably making the most of a break in rehearsals for The Caretaker. No sign of Daniel Mays or Timothy Spall yet.

...and three things I'm particularly looking forward to in March: Jonathan Broadbent wearing lycra in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Lyric Hammersmith, Maids at the Trafalgar Studios, which seems to be getting the Twittersphere excited and The Caretaker at the Old Vic mainly because of the fab cast.