A new production photo of the principal cast of next year's Uncle Vanya has landed in my inbox. And what a cast:
Uncle Vanya – Toby Jones
Astrov – Richard Armitage
Yelena – Rosalind Eleazar
Sonya – Aimee Lou Wood
Nana – Anna Calder-Marshall
Grandmaman – Dearbhla Molloy
Telegin – Peter Wight
Professor Serebryakov – Ciarán Hinds
Particularly excited to see Aimee Lou Wood who was brilliant in Downstate at the National Theatre and Sex Education on Netflix.
It's a new adaptation by Conor McPherson directed by Ian Rickson and you can see it at the Harold Pinter Theatre from January 14 Jan.
Interview: "It's a bit like being in an episode of The Thick of It... set in 1979" - Owen Kingston on his new immersive show.
Parabolic Theatre’s immersive theatre show Crisis? What Crisis? cracks open the government machine and gives the audience the chance to get hands-on with the levers of power.
I spoke to director Owen Kingston about the show, what immersive theatre adds to the audience experience, how the company prepare for the unexpected and advice for those who are shy about getting involved?
Crisis? What Crisis? Is an immersive experience - how does it work?
All the events of the show take place in a Government office building in 1979.
The country has just been through the “winter of discontent” where strikes brought the country to its knees, and now Jim Callaghan's government is facing a vote of no confidence.
In our shows, the audience is firmly in the driving seat narrative-wise.
We don't go as far as giving our audience specific roles, but we do give them a reason to be present in the world of the show.
In “Crisis? What Crisis?” our audience members are special advisors to government ministers, and they have been gathered together to try and solve some of the big problems facing the country while all the MPs are in parliament debating in advance on the no-confidence vote.
The audience as a whole has to actively engage with these problems and try and solve them.
This can involve negotiating with Union representatives over the phone or in person, persuading MPs to try and vote in a particular manner, or choosing financial policies to enact to try and stabilise the economy.
The whole thing feels like a cross between a theatre performance and a board game, where the decisions taken by the audience affect the direction of the story.
Tackling problems affecting one part of the country might worsen problems in another part, and it is down to the audience to prioritise what to fix and how, and to try and work out what will have the biggest influence on the no-confidence vote, which is the ultimate metric of success or failure.
This is something good to look forward to in the dark days of January and February next year, Stan-fav Richard Armitage and Toby Jones are taking to the stage.
They will appear in a new adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya by Conor McPherson, directed by Ian Rickson. Jones is taking the titular role while Armitage will play Astrov.
It's not a Chekhov play I've seen many productions of - one in fact back in 2012 starring Ken Stott and Samuel West which I very much enjoyed.
Priority booking opened today for James McAvoy's next stage outing and the first of Jamie Lloyd's new season - Cyrano de Bergerac.
Good news is that there are thousands of tickets for first-time theatre visitors, key workers and under 30s.
Bad news if you don't fall into either of those categories, the ticket prices are particularly steep.
I ended up booking restricted view in the upper circle for £32 because anything closer was just too pricey.
The Playhouse has a reputation among regular theatre-goers for bad sightlines which doesn't make the 'cheaper' seats much better value but it is better than nothing and I'm hoping there might be some rush tickets or day seats so I can get a better seat.
Oh and this notice popped up before you buy the tickets, so you have been warned...ahem.
Cyrano de Bergerac opens for previews at the end of November, for more details on dates and booking head to the ATG website.
Love James McAvoy. It was only yesterday I was reminiscing about his knockout performance during a rehearsed reading.
So any announcement that he is returning to the stage is exciting. Except that Martin Crimp, writer of two of my least favourite plays, is involved.
The silver lining is that it's an adaptation, not his own play.
I'm still reeling from having endured When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other earlier this year, not least because that will forever be the first (maybe only) play I've seen Cate Blanchett in.
The vehicle for McAvoy's next stage outing is Edmond Rostand's classic play, Cyrano de Bergerac. How much harm can Crimp do?
Jamie Lloyd is directing which is definitely a plus. He and McAvoy have worked together a number of times before.
If you weren't lucky enough to see Phoebe Waller-Bridge's play Fleabag before it became a TV series and really famous then there is another chance.
Tickets for the West End run at the Wyndhams in the Autumn are going like hot cakes but there are other ways to get tickets - and at a more palatable price.
1. Online lottery - 50 seats at £15 will be available for every performance via TodayTix .
2. Standing tickets - A limited number of £10 standing tickets will be available from the Wyndham’s Theatre box office on the day of each performance
3 Live broadcast - Fleabag will be broadcast live to cinemas around the UK and internationally on 12 September with National Theatre Live.
Fleabag is at the Wyndhams Theatre from 20 August to 14 September.
And yes, I can smuggly say, I did see Fleabag before it was famous. Not at the Edinburgh Fringe but upstairs at the Soho Theatre when it transferred and I remember it vividly and fondly.
My thoughts on it can be found here.
It was an exhilarating watch and sparked a strong emotional response so I'm chuffed to see that it is touring the country in the Autumn.
It's a show I can't recommend enough and if you want to know more, you can read my review here.
You have to understand that I've been a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal's since seeing the film Donnie Darko 18 years ago.
He has appeared on stage in London before but that was back in my non-theatre going days. Hard to believe but they did exist.
I've waited a long time for him to return now that I'm a theatre-goer again. And he is back, in Sunday in the Park With George.
A musical. A musical. I hate musicals. You can read why here, although since writing that post I've realised that I also don't like songs as a form of narrative. I find it difficult to engage with them.
Musicals get under my skin in an irritating way.
Had to leave
I lasted 20 minutes into Hugh Jackman's The Greatest Showman before I had to leave the cinema.
Three songs for Rocketman.
See I do try.
Would I be able to overcome my dislike of musicals for Jake?
A blast from my theatre-going past landed in my inbox today: A production of Equus at the Trafalgar Studios this summer.
It's a transfer of English Touring Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East's production and the play holds a special place in my heart because it is responsible for reigniting my love of theatre.
The Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffith's starring production of 2007 was the first piece of theatre I'd seen in about 15 years and it reminded me why I loved going to the theatre.
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?