111 posts categorized "Coming soon" Feed

National Theatre Live Trailer: Sally Field and Bill Pullman All My Sons, Old Vic - does it do the play justice?

Trailers for plays are generally a bit rubbish, aren't they? Film trailers give too much away and play trailers often tell you virtually nothing.

This trailer for the National Theatre Live screening of All My Sons at the Old Vic feels like a small step in the right direction - I wonder whether the fact that it will be shown alongside film trailers in cinemas to promote the event has focused attention on its purpose?

There is a hint of the story - family tension/marital tension - but if you know nothing about the play would it intrigue you enough to want to see it?

Or is the Old Vic and National Theatre Live relying on the star pull of Sally Field and Bill Pullman?

This is a play about truth, lies, love, loss and fatal decisions and you get little of that.

What do you think?

 


Some starry West End casting news to round off the week

She may be in a distinctly chilly New York but that didn't stop @polyg spotting the announcement that one of my favourite actors, Clive Owen, is taking to the West End stage in the Summer.

His last stage outing pre-dates my obsession with theatre but I've been a huge fan of his screen work since Chancer and Close My Eyes back in the early 90s.

To make this announcement even more exciting he is co-starring alongside the fantastic Lia Williams and it's a Tennessee Williams play I've yet to see - The Night of the Iguana.

It opens on 6 July at the Noel Coward Theatre with tickets on sale from Feb 5 according to What's On Stage.

But there is more.

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Happy New Theatre Year: 9 plays I'm particularly looking forward to seeing in 2019

Starting off 2019 with plenty of theatre in the diary, these are the nine plays I'm particularly looking forward to seeing (in date order):

RG-3X9vs_400x400Kompromat, Vault Festival (23-27 Jan)

What the website says: Inspired by the still-unsolved 2010 murder of GCHQ agent Gareth Williams, Kompromat is a tense drama of double agents and our capacity for self-deception played out against a high-stakes game of love.

Why I'm excited: Having read an early draft a couple of years ago and then attended a rehearsed reading at the Arcola I've got a good feel for what this might be like.

Tartuffe, National Theatre (9 Feb-30 Apr)

What the website says: A scalpel-sharp comedy looking at the lengths we go to find meaning – and what happens when we find chaos instead.

Why I'm excited: Tartuffe is one of the classics I've long wanted to see, John Donnelly has done the adaptation and Olivia Williams is in it. I love Olivia Williams.

Jesus Hopped The 'A' Train, Young Vic (14 Feb-30 Mar)

What the website says: From Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Adly Guirgis (The Motherfucker with the Hat), comes this critically-acclaimed dark comedy about the American justice system and the contradictory nature of faith. 

Why I'm excited: I loved The Motherfucker With the Hat when I saw it in 2015 at the National and I've been waiting for another Stephen Adly Guirgis play to hit London ever since.

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2018 theatre review: My favourite plays of the year (and my first six star play)

So I've published my favourite fringe plays list and my least favourite plays list, time now for my best plays of 2018 overall, gleaned from everything I've seen - large productions and small, commercial theatres, subsidised and fringe:

via GIPHY

Misty, Trafalgar Studios

A play which put the pulse back into the West End and as a result was a breath of fresh air.

A Monster Calls, Old Vic

I was nervous about seeing a stage adaptation of a much-loved book but the creativity with which it was staged combined with the performances meant I was an emotional wreck by the end. So much of an emotional wreck, I had to walk around for a bit afterwards to compose myself.

Queens of Sheba, Underbelly, Edinburgh Fringe

A play about the dual prejudice of sexism and racism encountered by black women that succeeded in being both angry, uplifting and empowering.

It left me feeling teary in a happy/sad/exhilarated way and ready to march if the call came.

There is another chance to see it at the New Diorama Theatre, Jan 30-Feb 3 as part of the Vault Festival.

Notes from the Field, Royal Court

It was an uncomfortable, seat-squirming, horrifying joy to sit and experience and I gave it an unprecedented six stars. Yes, six stars.

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3 brilliant Edinburgh Fringe shows to see in London

LADY KILLERSome great Edinburgh Fringe shows are heading to London, here are three I saw that I can highly recommend.

The Fishermen, Arcola (until 1 December) 

Based on a Man-booker listed novel, The Fishermen is about four brothers who go fishing somewhere they aren't supposed to and the consequences of that fateful night.

It is fast-paced, the narrative rich with detail, the characters beautifully drawn.

Read my full The Fishermen review here. 

Ladykiller, Pleasance Theatre (30 Nov - 1 Dec)

A hotel room, a dead body, a maid covered in blood with a knife in her hand. This isn’t what it looks like, it definitely isn’t.

'Her' is a perverse figurehead for female empowerment and it is that contradiction and the darkness that I loved.

Read my full Ladykiller review here.

Angry Alan, Soho Theatre (5-30 March 2019)

An ordinary American man comes across a men's rights campaigner who seems to have answers to all his problems. It won awards at the Fringe and for good reason.

You'll laugh, scoff and roll your eyes at the irony of what Roger says but the final blow is a tragic irony.

Read my full Angry Alan review here.


Tom Hiddleston returns to the stage - what are the chances of getting a ticket?

Screen-Shot-2018-11-15-at-10.27.14-e69c5d5The last time Tom Hiddleston took to the stage it was playing Hamlet to raise funds for RADA and tickets were only available to the lucky few who got chosen in a ballot.

Before that, he played Coriolanus at the Donmar Warehouse which has a mere 250 seats - although it was broadcast via NT Live which did mean more people got the chance to see it.

Third time lucky, perhaps, for the post-Loki Hiddleston fans as he's not only returning to the stage but this time it's a big West End Theatre. 

Bigger capacity theatre

He's appearing in Betrayal next year, which will conclude Jamie Lloyd's Pinter at the Pinter season  - and the good news is that the Harold Pinter Theatre has a capacity of nearly 800.

Tickets go on sale at the end of the month* no doubt generating a ticket-buying scramble (details via the official Pinter at the Pinter website).

Will it be as fast-selling as Benedict Cumberbatch's 2016 Hamlet at the Barbican which sold out in record time? The Harold Pinter is a smaller theatre than the Barbican which has a capacity of more than 1,100 but Betrayal is a less well-known play which may take a bit of heat out of the demand.

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From scratch to full production, a fringe play to look out for in London next year

 

Lipstick Production Shot_Credit Flavia Fraser-Cannon
Lipstick: A fairy tale of Iran. Photo: Flavia Fraser-Cannon
[Lipstick: A fairy tale of modern Iran] is a colourful, vibrant piece with darker edges utilising various genres from boylesque, drag, Vaudeville and storytelling.

I was invited to a scratch performance of Sarah Chew's Lipstick: A fairy tale of modern Iran back in March and loved it. I wrote then that I wanted to see a fully fleshed out production and now I'll get the chance.

It's returning to the Omnibus Theatre in Clapham from Feb 26 to Mar 24 as part of the 96 Festival which is a celebration of queerness and theatre. 

The play is based on Sarah Chew's own experiences while on a theatre residency in Iran in 2010 just as riots were breaking out over a contested election and I can highly recommend it.

Related reading:

Thoughts on the scratch performance.

Interview with Sarah Chew

 


3 London theatre stories that caught my attention this week - and an actor encounter

SWEAT Donmar Warehouse Picture Spencer Platt  Getty Images1. Exciting casting announcement at the Donmar 

One of my favourite films growing up in the 80s was The Goonies so imagine my excitement when learning that Martha 'Stef' Plimpton is going to be starring in the Donmar Warehouse's production of Sweat (previews from Dec 7).

The Pulitzer Prize-winning play was written after playwright Lynn Nottage starting spending time in Reading, Pennsylvania - one the poorest cities in America.

2. Trevor Nunn returns to the Jermyn Street Theatre

The Jermyn Street Theatre announced its Spring/Summer 2019 season which sees the return of Trevor Nunn who is directing Agnes Colander, Harley Granville Barker’s play exploring love, sexual attraction and independence.

The play was written in 1900 but was only discovered at the British Library 100 years later and is described as a 'hidden gem'.

It's a revival of a production that ran at the Ustinov Studio at Theatre Royal, Bath earlier this year. Jermyn Street Theatre 12 Feb - 16 Mar.

 

 

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3 London theatre stories that caught my attention this week - and some belated actor spots

Twilight-zone-ctt-480wx280h-15389888801. The Twilight Zone to get a West End run

I described the Almeida's Twilight Zone as 'sinister and silly fun' when I saw it in December last year and now it's getting a stint in the West End. It will run from 4 March to 1 June at the Ambassadors Theatre and even if you haven't seen the TV series (I hadn't) it's worth seeing if you want something a little surreal, silly and occasionally thought-provoking.

2. Joe McGann and Josie Lawrence star in US play

The Print Room in Notting Hill will host the first UK production of American literary icon Don DeLillo’s Love-Lies-Bleeding, starring Joe McGann Josie Lawrence.  Described as a perceptive and witty story, it's about a family trying to take death into their own hands and I admit that it had me at 'jet-black humour'. It runs from 9 November to 8 December, find details on the Print Room website.

 

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Rehearsal photos: Clifford Samuel and Douglas Booth, A Guide For the Homesick, Trafalgar Studios

This month sees the European premiere of American playwright Ken Urban’s acclaimed A Guide for the Homesick, starring Douglas Booth and Clifford Samuel and directed by Jonathan O’Boyle.

L-R Clifford Samuel (Teddy) & Douglas Booth (Jeremy) in Rehearsals for A Guide For The Homesick - (c) Helen Maybanks_25
L-R Clifford Samuel (Teddy) & Douglas Booth (Jeremy) in Rehearsals for A Guide For The Homesick. Photo: Helen Maybanks


Described as a tender and bittersweet play about conscience and connection, Samuel plays Teddy who is searching for a friend for the night while Booth plays Jeremy who is searching for a beer.

L-R Douglas Booth (Jeremy) & Clifford Samuel (Teddy) in Rehearsals for A Guide For The Homesick - (c) Helen Maybanks_38
L-R Douglas Booth (Jeremy) & Clifford Samuel (Teddy) in Rehearsals for A Guide For The Homesick. Photo: Helen Maybanks

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