Review: Timothy Spall in The Caretaker, Old Vic Theatre
Production photos: Timothy Spall, Daniel Mays and George MacKay in The Caretaker, Old Vic

That was March in London theatreland

Jonathan Broadbent as Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo by Tristram Kenton.

More grumbles but also plenty of laughs in March, we needed them what with the weather and everything.

* Endurance play-watching continued in theatreland this month with Les Blancs at the National Theatre clocking in at three hours including an interval and The Caretaker at the Old Vic running for three hours and 15 including two intervals. Both 7.30pm starts. I'm not going to go over old ground but...I'm using it as training for Ivo Van Hove's Kings of War at the Barbican at the end of April, think that hits the four hour mark but at least the start time reflects that.

* March made me realise there isn't enough really good comedy on stage mainly because there have been two really fun plays in the past month. First up was Filter Theatre's A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Lyric Hammersmith during which I got told off for laughing in anticipation of the punchline and then Richard Bean’s snooker-themed The Nap at The Crucible. Haven’t laughed as much since One Man, Two Guvnors.

* Big casting announcements came from the Almeida - not that we hadn't already heard the rumours of course - but yes Andrew Scott officially becomes 2017's hotly anticipated Hamlet with Juliet Stevenson play Getrude (get me a ticket now!). And I'm not normally excited about seeing Ralph Fiennes on stage but he's playing Richard III at the Almeida and I quite fancy seeing him play the Machiavellian king (he was a great Voldemort after all). 

* Celeb spots: Phyllida Law sat next to Poly and I at Reasons To Be Happy at Hampstead and then Poly ‘shared’ the tube with Vanessa Kirby and ‘bumped’ into Damien Molony in M&S at Moorgate. Sadly we just missed Angelina Jolie's trip to see Jack O'Connell in The Nap at The Crucible, she must have read my review as the visit couldn't possibly have had anything to do with him starring in her directorial debut on the big screen.


* Talking of Jack O'Connell he was one of three contenders for theatre hottie of the month in March. He was up against Elliot Cowen in Les Blancs and James Norton in Bug. April has got a lot to live up to on that score.

* And I won't mention any names but a Stan fav actor was spotted rushing into the NT book shop and buying a complete works of Beckett recently. Start speculating now.


Following on from the success of theatre hotties it has been suggested I do something similar for stage blood (as I am a little obsessed with it). So I'm going to trial it here on my monthly reviews and see how it goes. It's a work in progress but this is the inaugural Stage Blood Corner with bloody plays rated thus: Paper cut, Nose bleed, A few stitches, Stabbing, Full on bloodbath.

One contender for March which is Bug at Found 111:

Rating: Nose bleed, no really Kate Fleetwood’s character gets smacked in nose so its the most appropriate.

Also, I need someone to verify this, but it may also get a Stabbing rating because there were apparently spurts from a stabbing later on but I missed all that as it was all happening out of view by the knees of those sitting on the front row.