Book review: Time To Act – Simon Annand

Simon Annand’s Time To Act is a beautiful book of photos capturing actors in the minutes before they go on stage

Tackling the constraints of the pandemic in its own way, Simon Annand’s fantastic new book of photos Time To Act has launched a virtual exhibition of some of the photographs which has now been extended to until Christmas. It’s an ingenious way of sharing some of the hundreds of images from the book and should surely whet the appetite for either just buying it now or putting on your list for Santa to collect soon.

Continue reading “Book review: Time To Act – Simon Annand”

Winners of the 2020 Olivier Awards

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical                                          
David Bedella for & Juliet at Shaftesbury Theatre – WINNER
Stewart Clarke for Fiddler On The Roof at Playhouse Theatre
Jack Loxton for Dear Evan Hansen at Noël Coward Theatre
Rupert Young for Dear Evan Hansen at Noël Coward Theatre                          

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical
Lucy Anderson for Dear Evan Hansen at Noël Coward Theatre
Petula Clark for Mary Poppins at Prince Edward Theatre
Cassidy Janson for & Juliet at Shaftesbury Theatre – WINNER
Lauren Ward for Dear Evan Hansen at Noël Coward Theatre                

Continue reading “Winners of the 2020 Olivier Awards”

Winners of the 2020 Black British Theatre Awards

BEST DIRECTOR AWARD FOR A PLAY OR MUSICAL
Clint Dyer, Death of England, National Theatre
Nadia Latif, Fairview, Young Vic Theatre – WINNER
Ola Ince, Appropriate, Donmar Warehouse
Roy Alexander Weise, Master Harold &… and the boys, National Theatre

BEST PRODUCER AWARD
Adrian Grant, Thriller Live, Lyric Theatre – WINNER
Nicole Raquel Dennis and Ryan Carter, Turn Up, Cadogan Hall
Tobi Kyeremateng, My White Best Friend (and Other Letters Left Unsaid), Royal Court
Theatre Continue reading “Winners of the 2020 Black British Theatre Awards”

Review: First Date – the Musical

Samantha Barks and Simon Lipkin lead a terrific ensemble in this innovative, virtual production of First Date – the Musical – shame about the show itself…

“It’s only a first impression
And though the impression is strong
It never can hurt to question
Though I doubt this will lead to romance”

There’s so much to commend in this virtual production of First Date – the Musical. Directed by Dean Johnson in the elegant surroundings of the Crazy Coqs, there’s a really clever use of video inserts to enhance this show about an unlikely blind date and make it stand out in the ever-crowded market of livestreams that are available.

Johnson’s videography is genuinely high-quality and provides a constant stream of laughs, as moody black and white segments will awkward pauses and fantasy sequences support the main event. And with Simon Lipkin and Samantha Barks leading the cast, and Oscar Conlon-Morrey, Nicholas McLean and Danielle Steers making up an ensemble of dreams, signs look good. Continue reading “Review: First Date – the Musical”

Review: Betrayal, Theatre Royal Bath

An hour plus of a straight white man justifying his affair or a modern classic? I go in for more Betrayal at the Theatre Royal Bath

“I thought it might be something like that. Something along those lines”

The things I do for the actresses I love. Despite the Herculean efforts of the Pinter at the Pinter festival, I still can’t say I am Harold’s biggest fan. But the announcement of Nancy Carroll in a play, alongside Ed Bennett and Joseph Millson, in these theatre-starved times was one I found hard to resist.

So I made the trip into the safe havens of Tier 1 from Tier 2 to see Jonathan Church’s production of  Betrayal at the Theatre Royal Bath. And once again, I kinda thought ‘huh, this is a modern classic?’. With the memories of Jamie Lloyd’s fresher take still bold too, the choice to keep it firmly in the 70s didn’t click for me. Continue reading “Review: Betrayal, Theatre Royal Bath”

Album Review: Laura Benanti – Laura Benanti

A canny choice of material means you’re as likely to find Selena Gomez as showtunes on Laura Benanti’s excellent debut studio album Laura Benanti

“I wish there was something I could do to make you smile again”

Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti has long been a performer I’ve loved, I’m always a sucker for such a legit soprano, so it was a bit of a surprise to clock that Laura Benanti is actually her debut studio album. Over the years she’s been a part of some top cast recordings and released a cracking live set, but with this release, she has created a marvellous album that feels equally at home in the cabaret club as it does reclining at home on your chaise longue with a Manhattan in hand.

It’s a varied selection of tracks to be sure, with musical references from Rufus Wainwright to Rosemary Clooney, Sondheim to Selena Gomez, Julie London to the Jonas Brothers. But remarkably, it all feels so beautifully, smoothly cohesive, a collection truly united by the interpretative skill of a genuinely engaged and engaging performer. Continue reading “Album Review: Laura Benanti – Laura Benanti”

Review: Now. Here. This., Golden Goose Theatre

The newly opened Golden Goose Theatre brings some interesting musical theatre to Camberwell with Now. Here. This.

“Why are there lipmarks all over the TV set?”

Truth be told, my first thought on hearing that a new theatre was opening in London was ‘do we really need another one?’. Then I clocked the address in Camberwell and realised that I could add it to the list of theatres that I can walk to in under 10 minutes (the White Bear, the Blue Elephant, the Ovalhouse as was…) which kinda goes to my first point there…

And you do have to admire the gumption that goes with opening a new venue in the middle of a pandemic (I recommend this article on that topic) and so I happily made my way to the Golden Goose Theatre to catch their second ever show Now. Here. This.. All credit to the staff for ensuring a safe and friendly environment and even with its capacity reduced, the new auditorium feels ripe with potential, particularly with a pleasingly large, high stage which immediately sets it apart from many a fringe venue. Continue reading “Review: Now. Here. This., Golden Goose Theatre”

News: Friday theatre update from the National Theatre, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and Roles We’ll Never Play

Friday theatre news from the National Theatre, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and Roles We’ll Never Play

In a canny move, the National Theatre is bringing panto to its main stage as Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd’s hilarious and heartfelt version of Dick Whittington, first staged at Lyric Hammersmith in 2018 and freshly updated for 2020, will open in the socially distanced Olivier theatre on 11th December.  

Directed by Ned Bennett, this wild and inventive production explores what it is like to come from a small town and arrive in a big city today, exploring the ideas of community and togetherness. Initial casting includes Dickie Beau, Amy Booth-Steel, Lawrence Hodgson-Mullings​, Georgina Onuorah, and Cleve September 

They have also announced the next show to open as part of the Olivier in-the-round season in February 2021 is Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, in a co-production with Fictionhouse. Directed by Dominic CookeKramer’s largely autobiographical play about the AIDS crisis in 1980 New York has not been performed professionally in London since its European premiere in 1986. Ben Daniels will perform the role of Ned Weeks, the co-founder of an AIDS advocacy group fighting to change the world around him, with Danny Lee Wynter as Tommy Boatwright, Daniel Monks as Mickey Marcus and Stanley Townsend as Ben Weeks. Vicki Mortimer is Set Designer and Paule Constable is Lighting Designer.  

Tickets for The Normal Heart will go on sale from the end of November.  Continue reading “News: Friday theatre update from the National Theatre, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and Roles We’ll Never Play”