178 posts categorized "West End" Feed

Review: The Man In The White Suit, Wyndhams Theatre - Does this Ealing comedy adaptation revive the laughs

Foley has injected the odd contemporary quip about proroguing parliament, Brexit and capitalism which landed well with the audience.

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Stephen-Mangan in The Man in the White Suit. Photo: Nobby Clark

The woman sat behind me at Wyndham's Theatre for The Man In The White Suit, last night, had a very distinctive laugh. It was the sort of laugh that is infectious, it made me chuckle more than once.

She was obviously enjoying Sean Foley's adaptation of the 1950s Ealing comedy which stars Stephen Mangan as clever but hapless scientist Sidney and Kara Tointon as Daphne, a posh, mill owner's daughter.

The physical comedy and slapstick, in particular, made her guffaw as did the way Daphne walked with an exaggerated, seductive swagger.

Loud chuckles

Sidney's 'farting' lab equipment, explosive experiments and the way food and drink seemed to gravitate towards crotches were also afforded loud chuckles.

The story centres around his invention of an indestructible, dirt-proof cloth. Unable to absorb coloured dye, Sidney has the cloth made into a white suit to demonstrate its unique qualities.

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Review: A Day In The Death of Joe Egg, Trafalgar Studios - old attitudes and familiar struggles

Peter Nichol's 1967 comedy A Day In The Death of Joe Egg demonstrate both how far we've come in our treatment of and attitudes towards disability but equally how the moral dilemmas and struggles remain.

A Day in the Death of Joe Egg - (L2R) Lucy Eaton  Claire Skinner  Storme Toolis  Patricia Hodge  Toby Stephens  Clarence Smith. Photographer Credit - Marc Brenner
A Day in the Death of Joe Egg - (L-R) Lucy Eaton, Claire Skinner, Storme Toolis, Patricia Hodge, Toby Stephens and Clarence Smith. Photographer - Marc Brenner

Fifteen-year-old Joe (Storme Toolis) has cerebral palsy, is wheelchair-bound and can't communicate. 

To cope, her parents Bri (Toby Stephens) and Sheila (Claire Skinner) use humour, creating a persona for Joe but it is putting a strain on their marriage.

Bri and Sheila (and later other characters) break the fourth wall telling the audience their thoughts on each other and their life, revealing not only the history of their relationship and raising Joe but also their inner struggles.

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Booking for James McAvoy's Cyrano de Bergerac - and a warning

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 warning

Cyrano de Bergerac opens for previews at the end of November, for more details on dates and booking head to the ATG website.


Review: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' Appropriate, Donmar Warehouse - family drama that hits a nerve

An Octoroon was the first play of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins I saw and it blew me away.

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He has such an imaginative and bold approach to difficult themes I rushed to get tickets to another of his plays, Gloria, at Hampstead Theatre. Again I wasn't disappointed.

So I had great expectations as I walked into the Donmar to see Appropriate which is receiving its UK debut.

Set in a crumbling plantation house in Arkansas, the Lafayette family has gathered to sort out their late father's belongings and sell the estate.

Emotional baggage

They all bring emotional baggage and scars of past events.

Older sister Toni (Monica Dolan) is recently divorced, has a teenage son who has been in trouble for dealing drugs, was close to her Dad and executor (and chief visitor) of her father as he became a recluse and required day to day care.

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Review: The Night of The Iguana, Noel Coward Theatre, modern women and a minister on the edge

The women of Tennessee Williams' play The Night of the Iguana were in many senses ahead of their time.

Night of the iguana poster

Based on Williams' 1948 short story and set in 1940s Mexico, the play's central character Rev Lawrence Shannon (Clive Owen) is enveloped in a scandal. On an official break from his ministerial duties after preaching atheistic sermons, he's taken work as a tour guide but after sleeping with an underage girl on his tour, the group has turned against him. 

He has retreated to a hammock at the budget hotel run by his friends Maxine (Anna Gunn) and Fred although the latter has recently died. 

The hotel is perched on a cliff - a brilliantly imposing set by Rae Smith - which puts the protagonist literally and figuratively on the edge.

Finding connection

Here while facing off the ferocious and unrelenting tour leader Miss Fellowes (an unrecognisable Finty Williams) and the sexual advances of Maxine he finds a connection with the whispy spinster Hannah Jelkes (Lia Williams) who is travelling with her aged grandfather Nonno (Julian Glover).

Hannah is devoted to Nonno, has an inner strength and sensibility which both calms and inspires Shannon who is prone to nervous attacks and depression.

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James McAvoy is back on stage but it's not 100% good news

Love James McAvoy. It was only yesterday I was reminiscing about his knockout performance during a rehearsed reading.

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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.

Minimal harm?

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. 

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Three ways to see Fleabag in the West End (and beyond) for less than £20

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.

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Fleabag: Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Photo: Jason Hetherington

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.


Review: Equus, Trafalgar Studios - A thoroughbred production?

Equus holds a special place in my theatre-going past because it was seeing the 2007 production with Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths which reignited my love of the theatre. Would this production live up to its predecessor?

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Ethan Kai as Alan Strang in Equus. Photo: The Other Richard

Peter Shaffer's 1973 play is based on a real incident in which a teenage boy blinded six horses. 

In his play, he explores possible reasons for the horrific act through 17-year-old Alan Strang's (Ethan Kai) sessions with his psychiatrist Martin Dysart (Zubin Varla).

Dysart has to build up trust with the troubled teen before, detective-like, he can unearth what motivated him to carry out such a violent and abhorrent act. 

Scenes from the past

Scenes from Alan's past are re-enacted during his conversations with the psychiatrist.

We see his early encounters with horses, his passionately religious mother and atheist, straight-laced father and his growing pathological obsession with horses. 

It is Alan's zeal and fervour which makes Dysart question his own life and the purpose of what he does - what is he saving the boy from?

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Review: The Illusionists, Shaftsbury Theatre - thrills, laughs and magic fun for grown-ups and kids

The Illusionists are back in London for the summer season with their mix of illusion, thrilling feats, humour and family fun.

The Illusionists programme

Seven illusionists with seven different styles of 'magic' from the nail-biting and seat squirming to the awe-inspiring and gasp-inducing make up an exciting and varied evening's entertainment.

And while you won't find rabbits being pulled out of a hat there is still a lot that is familiar - sleight of hand, female assistants sliced up in boxes, objects disappearing and death-defying escapes.

But The Illusionists has the slickness and gloss of 21st-century sophistication - Paul Daniel's magic show this isn't - mixed with a new style of  'magic' making the most of digital technology for something that you may not have seen before.

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Review: Who won the battle of comedies - Present Laughter (Old Vic) or Noises Off (Lyric Hammersmith)?

London's theatreland is ripe for a good hearty laugh. I mean look at the state of the world, who wouldn't want to bury their head in giggles for a couple of hours?

Present Laughter Old Vic poster

And so we are spoiled by not one but two classic comedies both with stellar casts: Present Laughter starring Andrew Scott and Indira Varma at the Old Vic and Noises Off starring Meera Syal and Daniel Rigby at the Lyric Hammersmith.

But which one is best?

The two plays haven't just got comedy in common, both involve actors playing actors.

Andrew Scott plays Garry Essendine a stage star with his coterie of friends and staff trying to stop him making bad decisions - or are they riding on the coattails of his fame as he believes.

Drama off stage

In Noises Off Meera Syal is one of a troupe of actors touring the regions where the drama offstage threatens to overshadow that on stage.

What the play is most famous for is showing the same scene not only as it appears on stage but also from backstage. You get to see it three times in fact.

Both plays rely on running jokes and a lot of comings and goings, lots of doors, people missing each other and being kept apart.

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