The latest venue to announce the opening of their digital archive in order to satisfy our theatrical cravings is the Hampstead Theatre who, in partnership with The Guardian will re-release the live stream recordings of Mike Bartlett’s Wild, Beth Steel’s Wonderland and Howard Brenton’s Drawing the Line for free.
Available to watch on theguardian.com and hampsteadtheatre.com, the three productions will be made available, on demand, over three consecutive weeks as part of the theatre’s #HampsteadTheatreAtHome series and the first of these – Wild – is available now. And once you’ve watched it, take a look at the ways you can support the Hampstead Theatre here. Continue reading “News: #HampsteadTheatreAtHome launches this week”
I like spy dramas, and Sarah Woodward and Sirine Saba, but The Haystack, at the Hampstead Theatre, is not the one
“Yes, we’re geeks, yes, we sit at computers all day, yes, we barely leave Cheltenham, but we are still, when it comes down to it, spies”
Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes (with interval)
Photo: Ellie Kurtz
The Haystack is booking at the Hampstead Theatre until 12th March
Blanche and Britney ought to be a winning combination bur Botticelli in the Fire at the Hampstead Theatre is a damp squib
“They’re going to kill you. They’re going to worship you, don’t get me wrong. But they are going to kill you”
I’ve long been a fan of Blanche McIntyre and so appreciate any opportunity to see her direct away from the RSC. Jordan Tanahill’s knowingly chaotic Botticelli in the Fire is full of all kinds of riotous energy and queer representation but for me, it just wasn’t the one.
Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes (with interval)
Photo: Manuel Harlan
Botticelli in the Fire is booking at the Hampstead Theatre until 23rd November
Probably best not to read this beforehand if you’re planning to see Game of Thrones’ star Maisie Williams in her stage debut in I and You at the Hampstead Theatre…
“I don’t know, what the hell?”
I could try and write about Lauren Gunderson’s play I and You without giving away the twist, or even the fact that there is a twist, but I don’t want to. Perhaps, I won’t reveal specific details but in some ways, just knowing there’s a rug-pull on the way can significantly alter the way you experience a show (whether on stage or on screen – it will be a job and a half trying to get through GoT’s final season free from any spoileriffic noise).
But back to the Hampstead, and this slight two-hander with its substantial delusions of grandeur. Picking at overworked teen-movie tropes, Caroline and Anthony are two teenagers whose growing connection forms the bedrock of the play. She’s waiting for an organ transplant and so not going into school; he’s got her latest poetry homework assignment and though they don’t know each so well, they’re destined to get on in a heady mix of hormones and Walt Whitman. Continue reading “Review: I and You, Hampstead”
Better than Eclipsed??!! The Humans leave me disappointed at the Hampstead Theatre
“You can never come back”
Huh. The Humans arrived at Hampstead Theatre with the glow of its 2016 Tony Award for Best Play still shining, particularly as its original cast have come over the Atlantic with it. And while I’m hugely appreciate of the opportunity to see another member of The Good Fight cast onstage, and the cast as a whole really were excellent, the play left me somewhat cold and unconvinced of its prize-winning pedigree.
On entering, the heart sinks at the realisation that we’re relying on the much-abused trope of a family coming together around the dinner table and sure enough, beneath the façade of familial jokes and enforced holiday bonhomie (it’s Thanksgiving natch), there’s a whole world of secrets and lies waiting to burst forth. Writer Stephen Karam also layers in a trip to a whole other genre which certainly grabs the attention, but that’s not to say that it works. Continue reading “Review: The Humans, Hampstead Theatre”
I’m left unmoved by The Strange Death of John Doe, running at the newly press-covered Hampstead Downstairs
“I mean, where does a person begin and end, and when did they stop being a person?”
So it looks like the Hampstead Theatre’s policy of not having its downstairs shows ‘officially’ reviewed has been well and truly junked asThe Strange Death of John Doe is the second show to get the full press treatment after The Phlebotomist. And perhaps it’s just a coincidence that this one is directed by Edward Hall himself…
As it is, the Hampstead Downstairs’ remit as an experimental space has always been a bit of an iffy one, in reality this is more of a Royal Court Upstairs kind of theatre, and Fiona Doyle’s new play is no exception. An intriguing take on a horrific but underexplored aspect of the refugee crisis, vividly staged with movement by the late Scott Ambler. Continue reading “Review: The Strange Death of John Doe, Hampstead Downstairs”
An excellent Jade Anouka leads the cast of Ella Road’s debut play The Phlebotomist at the Hampstead Downstairs
“All these people are getting their dating profiles blood-verified. You know, shouldn’t we just go for the people we fancy?”
The Phlebotomist may be a little
but it’s also
in the way that it takes a scalpel to a near-future obsession with eugenics that is less dystopian than creepily credible.
Running time: 2 hours (with interval)
Photo: Johan Persson
The Phlebotomist is running at the Hampstead Downstairs until 19th May
With the magnificent Sharon D Clarke at the helm, Caroline, or Change transfers to the Hampstead Theatre London with all its power intact
“Dressed in white and feelin’ low,
talkin’ to the washer and the radio”
Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s complex and challenging civil rights musical Caroline, or Change makes its long-awaited London return to the Hampstead theatre, more than a decade after its well-received National Theatre production took the Olivier for Best New Musical but found no further life.
Michael Longhurst’s production was first seen in Chichester last May (here’s my review) and whilst it is a shame that that original cast aren’t all present here (the glorious Nicola Hughes, Gloria Onitiri, Jennifer Saayeng all now elsewhere), it holds on to the titanic talents of Sharon D Clarke as Caroline Thibideaux. Continue reading “Review: Caroline, or Change, Hampstead”
There’s all sorts of big productions arriving in the months to come (Long Day’s Journey Into Night, the return of Amadeus, PATTI LUPONE!) but I’m using this spot to highlight some of the shows on the London fringe and around the UK (and Amsterdam…) that have piqued my interest and which I hope to get to review.
So in no particular order… Continue reading “20 shows to look forward to in 2018”
“What does one do with the pickled walnut?”
The Hampstead’s failure to engage properly with issues of female creative representation on its main stage (out of seven shows for 2017, only one was written by a woman and none were directed by women) has meant it has dropped off my must-see list of theatres. But on reading the synopsis of Patrick Hamilton’s The Slaves of Solitude – adapted by Nicholas Wright, directed by Jonathan Kent, designed, lit and sounded out by men too natch – with its lead female protagonist, I was persuaded to revisit my stance.
And in some ways, I’m glad I did. For that leading character, Miss Roach, is played by the ever-marvellous Fenella Woolgar and she’s partnered by Lucy Cohu, another favourite actress, and there are moments in this gently played Second World War-set story that shimmer with effectiveness. Bombed out of her home by the Blitz, Miss Roach (“I do have a first name, but I don’t encourage people to use it”) finds herself swept up in a different type of conflict at the Henley-on-Thames boarding house where she now resides. Continue reading “Review: The Slaves of Solitude, Hampstead”