Canadian soprano and OG Cosette, Rebecca Caine takes on the Ten Questions for Ten Years challenge
Rebecca Caine may have been in a couple of musicals you’ve heard of before, but my introduction to her was through Tête à Tête’s inspired take on Salad Days at the old Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, recollections of which below. She’s also one of the more entertaining people to follow on Twitter, just don’t mention anyone called Jonas…
“Salad Days! Such a lovely production. I used to love pulling people out to dance with, some would dance me off my feet, as a Don in the pre show, seating Cameron Mackintosh, calling him Mackintosh Minor and telling him to pull his socks up and watching the happiness of the audience at the end when they were just happy to be silly on a sunny day in 1954 Hyde Park.”
Continue reading “10 questions for 10 years – Rebecca Caine”
So much goodness! The National Theatre have just announced details of productions stretching deep into 2020, and with writers like Lucy Kirkwood, Kate Tempest, Roy Williams and Tony Kushner, and actors like Lesley Manville, Maxine Peake, Conleth Hill, Cecilia Noble and Lesley Sharp, it is hard not to feel excited about what’s ahead.
Following a sell-out run at Rose Theatre Kingston, the acclaimed two-part adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s MY BRILLIANT FRIEND by April De Angelis is reworked for the Olivier stage by Melly Still (Coram Boy). When the most important person in her life goes missing without a trace, Lenu Greco, now a celebrated author, begins to recall a relationship of more than 60 years. Continue reading “News: the National Theatre announces 15 new productions for 2019 and 2020”
With nary an emoji in sight, Megan Vaughan answers Ten Questions for Ten Years with characteristic frankness
One thing Megan Vaughan and I have in common is that we both have quotes from Andrew Haydon on our websites – safe to say though, that hers is substantially more positive than mine! But he did have a point for once, Vaughan was (at least partly) instrumental in changing the conversation about online reviewing and not only that, she’s writing a bloody book about it. One to look out for I reckon…
Nicholas Hytner gives us an utterly inspired take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Bridge Theatre, with Gwendoline Christie in stupendous form
“Come now; what masques, what dances shall we have”
You can tell a lot about a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream from the way it treats its Hippolyta. Possessed of so few words, her presence is nevertheless vital for setting the tone of the play and from the moment you walk into the Bridge Theatre, you just know Nicholas Hytner has got it right. This conquered queen is caged in a glass box, as if an artefact in some grotesque museum and as an impassive Gwendoline Christie fixes us with her stare, it’s a definitive commentary on the gender politics here before we’ve even started.
But even once the play starts, her power is no less unremarkable. As Hermia claims she knows not by what power she is made bold, one look at Hippolyta’s hand against the glass leaves you in no doubt of the source of her new found confidence. Small but powerful changes that set the scene perfectly for Hytner’s most striking innovation which, as it reveals itself in the following act, proved to be one of the most thrilling ways to re-infuse excitement into this oft-performed classic. Continue reading “Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bridge Theatre”
Original History Boy Samuel Barnett takes on the 10 Questions for 10 Years challenge
Even though I demurred from seeing The History Boys
on stage, I’ve loved much else of Samuel Barnett’s work in so many ways. London was cruelly cheated of his Viola
but it was in some of his earlier plays that he really stood out for me.
“I really enjoyed that kabuki drop at the beginning…and I loved playing Witwoud. It was a joy to play a character who is so much funnier, brighter and wittier than I am. I loved the cast too. ”
“That remains one of my favourite jobs. The writing, the cast, our amazing director James Grieve, and playing in the old Bush theatre: it was one of those rare jobs where everything came together so perfectly. I adored working so closely with Kate O’Flynn, who is just phenomenal. Perhaps my favourite bit was the last few lines about the colour of love, and the snow falling. Got me every time.”
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Internationaal Theater Amsterdam’s Hans Kesting was my first ever Best Actor award winner and has continued to be one of the most interesting actors around, in any language
Seeing Roman Tragedies for the first time, in my first year as a blogger, proved to be epochal, a true light-bulb moment about the power and potential of theatre far beyond the London playhouses I’d been visiting up to then. And at the heart of a magnificent ensemble was Hans Kesting, delivering his Mark Antony from a wheelchair after injuring himself the week before – anyone know the Dutch for ‘the show must go on…’?!
Despite his hectic schedule, Hans kindly spoke to me about that time:
“The first time we were due to play Roman Tragedies in London, I broke my ankle during the show on Friday night in Amsterdam. The following week we would perform at the Barbican – everybody was thrilled to go there but I was afraid that it was game over for me. Fortunately I met a theatre loving orthopaedic surgeon who told me that he would operate on me and make sure that I would be able to play my part in a wheelchair and on crutches in London. So I got operated on Monday, flew to London on Wednesday, did one run-through on Thursday and Thursday night we opened. And everything went perfectly well, it just seemed that it was a directorial choice of Ivo having Marc Antony in a wheelchair, the soldier who got wounded in a war . But I must say all the times that I spoke that famous monologue of his it was a truly special moment.” Continue reading “10 questions for 10 years – Hans Kesting”
The outgoing Evening Standard theatre reviewer Henry Hitchings takes a little time to reflect with 10 easygoing questions
We actually did this Q&A before the Evening Standard made their shocking decision to axe one of the country’s best theatre critics due to cost-cutting measures. So there’s a little poignancy to some of the answers here, as well as a potential business plan for the future… In all seriousness though, Henry was and is a real inspiration as a writer and a huge support in making me – and others – feel part of a critical community that too often felt (feels?) resistant to newcomers. I look forward to his next steps and to continuing to read his words.
Where were you 10 years ago?
Sitting on a park bench waiting for someone enchanting to walk by. One thing theatre taught me long ago is that if you want to have a magical encounter you need to spend as much time as possible sitting on park benches. This was before Tinder, obviously! Continue reading “10 questions for 10 years – Henry Hitchings”
How many of us can say we’ve inspired some branded condoms?! Find out more as Tom Wells becomes the first person to answer 10 questions for 10 years
From Me, As A Penguin to The Kitchen Sink to Jumpers for Goalposts and much more besides, Tom Wells has perfected the art of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. His wry observations and relatable characterisations lead to an often profound beauty that makes him, for my money, one of our most important playwrights, LGBT+ or otherwise.