Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s Emilia transfers to the Vaudeville Theatre with all of its feminist fire and fun intact
“There’s a woman on the stage”
Is there anything currently on the London stage that is more gracefully eloquent than the moment that the transformative power of grief is writ large at a crucial point a third of the way into Emilia. It’s a rare moment of beautiful subtlety in a play that is more often considerably bolder in its sentiment but it’s also a mark of just how nuanced Nicole Charles’ production and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s writing is, even while some tie themselves in knots trying to square its historical and feminist credentials.
A transfer from Shakespeare’s Globe last summer (officially the 13th best show of the year doncha know) where its short run caught fire, its all-female and wonderfully diverse cast and creative team mean that all three of the Strand’s major playhouses currently have work written by women in them (I wonder when this last happened). And while that ought not to be noteworthy, god knows it still is and it all ties up rather neatly with Lloyd Malcolm’s writing. For though this is a play about a historical woman, it is also a play about all women. Continue reading “Review: Emilia, Vaudeville Theatre”
So much to keep on top of – pics from All About Eve, videos from Waitress, foodie secrets from Gingerline and casting news from Emilia
We’re just three weeks away from All About Eve starting previews and these rehearsal pics ought to whet anyone’s appetite.
And more importantly if you’ve not booked yet, details have been released about day seats and a front row lottery – this will definitely not be one to miss.
Day Seats: Available in person at the Box Office from 10am on a first come, first served basis. Maximum x2 per person. Limited availability. £25.00 per ticket.
Front Row Lottery: In partnership with Today Tix. More information on how to enter will be announced on the All About Eve social media channels from Friday 25 January 2019. Maximum x2 per person. £25.00 per ticket. Continue reading “Some goodies for a cold January Thursday”
“We were both ordinary men, he and I.”
Though Rufus Norris’ tenure hasn’t managed to nail a new writing hit in the Olivier, it has had considerable success in finding revivals to fill this voluminous space. Follies was a standout from last year, particularly in how Vicki Mortimer’s design swelled to magnificent heights and late in 2016, it was a glorious production of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus that rose to the occasion. So it is no real surprise to see that show return to the schedule, indeed the surprise was that it might even have gotten better.
That this is Michael Longhurst’s debut in this theatre makes it all the more impressive and I wouldn’t be surprised if his name doesn’t soon become one of the ones bandied around the round of musical chairs that is London artistic directorships. And his decisions here remain as pinpoint accurate in nailing the psychological torment at the heart of this drama, from the toxicity of Salieri’s jealousy, Mozart’s own struggles in dealing with his genius, and how society also has its difficulties in its treatment of those it elevates. Continue reading “Re-review: Amadeus, National”
Best Actress in a Play
Hattie Morahan/Kate O’Flynn/Adelle Leonce, Anatomy of a Suicide
Best Actress in a Musical
Janie Dee, Follies AND Josefina Gabrielle, A Little Night Music AND Josie Walker, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Best Actor in a Play
Ken Nwosu, An Octoroon
Best Actor in a Musical
Giles Terera, Hamilton
Best Supporting Actress in a Play
Bríd Brennan, The Ferryman
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical
Tracie Bennett, Follies
Best Supporting Actor in a Play
Fisayo Akinade, Barber Shop Chronicles
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical
Jason Pennycooke, Hamilton
And my top 10 plays of the year:
1. The Revlon Girl, Park
2. A Little Night Music, Watermill
3. Barber Shop Chronicles, National
4. Hamilton, Victoria Palace
5. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Crucible/Apollo
6. An Octoroon, Orange Tree
7. Follies, National Theatre
8. Romantics Anonymous, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
9. Hamlet, Almeida
10. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾, Menier Chocolate Factory
Best Actress in a Play
How to split these three? Why would you even want to. Their effortless grace, their ferociously detailed complexity, their heart-breaking connectivity, all three will live long in my mind.
Honourable mention: Victoria Hamilton, Albion
Not far behind in the fierceness stakes was this epic role of near-Chekhovian proportions, tailored by Mike Bartlett for one of his frequent collaborators. Quite why this hasn’t followed Ink into the West End I’m not sure.
Shirley Henderson, Girl From the North Country
Cherry Jones, The Glass Menagerie
Justine Mitchell, Beginning
Mimi Ndiweni, The Convert
Connie Walker, Trestle
Laura Donnelly, The Ferryman; Imelda Staunton, Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf; Rosie Wyatt, In Event of Moone Disaster
Best Actress in a Musical
A second three-way tie? Hey, it’s my blog and my rules! From Dee thoroughly owning the Olivier through song and dance, to Gabrielle making me feel like I was hearing ‘Send in the Clowns’ for the first time, to the sheer beauty of Walker’s uncompromising love for her son, this was only way I could reward a banner year for leading female musical performances.
Sadly ineligible to win since her name doesn’t begin with J…, Giselle-Ward nevertheless blew me away at the heart of this gorgeous musical which, if there’s any justice, should continue the Hope Mill’s admirable record of London transfers.
Sharon D Clarke, Caroline or Change
Kelly Price, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾
T’Shan Williams, The Life
Carly Bawden, Romantics Anonymous; Sandra Marvin, Committee; Marisha Wallace, Dreamgirls;
- Amanda Hale being excellent in an all-too-rare excursion to the stage
- Ben Whishaw being Ben Whishaw in his Whishawy way, even if it’s not quite enough to enliven the play
- Whishaw briefly in his pants, if you like that sort of thing
- An intelligently sparse design from ULTZ
- Did I mention Amanda Hale? She comes close to making it all worthwhile
- The running time
- The comparative lack of depth to Christopher Shinn’s writing which in no way justifies the above
- The range of issues which touched upon but not interrogated despite the above
- The structure of the play which exacerbates the above
- The inherent misogyny in the writing which only allows men to talk about these issues, however unsatisfactorily
- The cheap potshots at political correctness, seemingly designed for the Cavendishes and Purves of this world
- Did I mention the running time?
Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes (with interval)
Booking until 30th September
I went back.
I cried again. If not more.
I will try to stay
For as long as I possibly can
Beautiful yet undeniably brutal, Anatomy of a Suicide has all the shimmering disquiet of a half-remembered dream, a blurred imagining of people, places and things that coalesce into something deeply profound. Constructed by playwright Alice Birch and director Katie Mitchell, it revels in a hugely exciting formal inventiveness (even the playtext is stunning to look at) but is also filled with a repressed emotionality that is often bruising to watch.
The play contains three narrative strands, set in different times, which are performed simultaneously on the same stage. Across the decades from the 1970s to the 2030s, the lives of Carol, Anna and Bonnie play out with strange echoes and motifs recurring until we realise how interconnected they are. Anna is Carol’s daughter, Bonnie is Anna’s and it is more than blood that they share, Birch suggests a shared legacy of severe depression.
It’s an uncomfortable (depressing, even) premise but one which pays rich dividends as it provokes in us something primal, something elemental about the truths and conventions we cling onto. The thought that motherhood isn’t always considered a blessing but a trial, the idea that we can easily outrun familial legacies, the notion that what is so, so good for ourselves isn’t necessarily so great for another. As words and actions trickle down through the ages, reverberating back again, shaping and reshaping these lives, something vastly moving occurs.
Hattie Morahan, Kate O’Flynn and Adelle Leonce are simply stunning as the three generations of women at the heart of this story, each meticulously detailed in their performance and painstakingly accurate in the different ways in which mental illness has hollowed them out. And the way in which the intergenerational echoes pop up is unbearably moving, the precision of Mitchell’s direction in complete service of fully fleshed-out storytelling producing something astonishing, especially in the agonising poignancy of one of the final tableaux. An absolute triumph.
Running time: 2 hours (without interval)
Photos: Stephen Cummiskey
Booking until 8th July
I’ve already written of my excitement
for the forthcoming Persuasion
and the announcement of the cast hasn’t lessened the thrill at all. Lara Rossi
takes on the role of Austen’s heroine Anne alongside Samuel Edward-Cook
as Captain Wentworth. The cast is completed by Geraldine Alexander, Antony Bunsee, Helen Cripps, Cassie Layton, Caroline Moroney, Dorian Simpson
and Arthur Wilson.
Directing them is Jeff James, “one of the UK’s most original young theatre makers”, who has adapted and is directing this bold retelling of Jane Austen’s final masterpiece at the Royal Exchange Theatre. Designed by Alex Lowde this contemporary production of Austen’s beautifully crafted novel discards the bonnets and trappings of formal life for a startlingly modern vision of Austen. Developed in collaboration with dramaturg James Yeatman and with sound design from the award-winning Ben and Max Ringham, Persuasion runs from 25 May to 24 June 2017.
Continue reading “Casting news for Persuasion and Anatomy of a Suicide”