Happy 50th Birthday to the Young Vic

Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director of the Young Vic, has announced the start of the Young Vic’s 50th birthday with a year-long programme of work entitled We are the New Tide, dedicated to the theatre’s milestone birthday.

The 50th birthday year of work begins with three major commissions:

  • YV 50thProjection Project – a projection celebrating the people and productions from across five extraordinary decades, illuminating the front of the Young Vic building each evening, with video design by Duncan McLean – check out just some of those productions in the gallery above.

    From 11 Sept – 4 October, 7.30pm – 10.30pm daily except Sundays, free.

  • The Unforgotten an interactive outdoor art installation commemorating trailblazers Mary Seacole, Marsha P. Johnson and Ulric Cross. Furthering the conversation within the Black Lives Matter movement, the Young Vic community will be invited to contribute to the installation by submitting their own nominations in writing on the side of the building and online, asking us all to (re)consider who we celebrate as our heroes. Created by artists Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey and Anna Fleischle.
    From 11 September, free.
  • The New Tomorrow– for the first piece of live theatre since the pandemic closed UK theatres, this weekend festival of speeches and monologues asks what the next fifty years hold. Writers and artists Jade Anouka, Marina Carr, Jasmine Lee-Jones, Ruth Madeley, Amy Ng, Stef Smith, Jack Thorne, Isobel Waller-Bridge and Steve Waters will explore the change that has come and is coming. Cast to be announced.
    3 & 4 October, 4pm, Main House, free

News: Open air theatre casting news aplenty

St Anne Comes Home, St Pauls Church
29th-30th August

Iris Theatre’s summer season continues with this new folk musical by Jack Miles, which numbers Jordan Castle (The Light in the Piazza), Rebecca McKinnis (Dear Evan Hansen), and Mathew Craig (The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4) in its cast.

C-o-n-t-a-c-t, outdoors in London
31st August – 10th October 

C-o-n-t-a-c-t is an immersive outdoor performance with a 3D sound design which audiences will listen to on their own headphones,The play will see performances from Charles Angiama (The ExoneratedMy Week with Marilyn),  Louis Bernard (Radieuse Vermine), Chloe Gentles (Beautiful – The Carol King Musical)Max Gold (Endeavour; Poldark), Richard Heap (Buried Child; The Summer Before Everything)Aoife Kennan (ITV’s Victoria; For Services Rendered), Katja Quist (Earthquakes In London) and Laura White (The Play That Goes Wrong). The cast will alternate between three London locations; Tower Bridge, Greenwich and Clapham Common.

Roles We’ll Never Play, Turbine Theatre
13th September

The Turbine’s summer season will feature this one-off concert with performers delving deep into their wishlists – the company includes Natalie Paris, Tom Duern, Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky, Rodney Vubya, Lauren Byrne, Bernadette Bangura, Luke Bayer, Idriss Kargbo, Courtney Bowman, Michael Mather, Matthew Croke, Kelly Agbowu, Elander Moore, Eve Norris and Pearce Barron.

The Last Five Years, Minack Theatre
14th-19th September

Omar F Okai’s production of Jason Robert Brown’s two-hander will star Emma Kingston (Evita, In The Heights) as Cathy and Waylon Jacobs (Hamilton, Memphis) as Jamie.

 

Film Review: Been So Long (2018)

A fatally muddled tone means Been So Long ends up less than the sum of its parts, despite glorious lead performances from Arinzé Kene and Michaela Coel

“People don’t want inclusivity mate, they want exclusivity. And something for the gluten-intolerant”

I really wanted to like Been So Long, and can imagine it having worked well on the stage (it played the Young Vic in 2009) but something has definitely been lost in translation with this screen adaptation here. It is mildly curious as the film is written by Ché Walker, scribe of the original play and the subsequent stage musical, but maybe this was a step too far?

One of the main problems for me is that crucial issue of tone. As a love story set in contemporary Camden, and in which Camden plays a central role, there’s a tendency towards gritty naturalism, particularly in showing the home lives of its protagonists, new ex-con Raymond (Arinzé Kene) and single mum of a disabled daughter Simone (Michaela Coel). Continue reading “Film Review: Been So Long (2018)”

TV Review: Years and Years

Years and Years sees Russell T Davies take on dystopian near-future sci-fi to startling effect

“We’re not stupid, we’re not poor, we’re not lacking. I’m sorry, but we’re clever. We can think of something, surely.”

What if…? What if…? What Brexit happens, what if Trump is voted in again and fires a nuclear bomb towards China, what if global warming happens today and not tomorrow, what if Lee from Steps is the most successful one…? Such is the world of Years and Years, Russell T Davies’ latest TV venture, a six-part drama that dares to ask what if it is already too late.

He uses the Lyons family as a prism to explore what the next 15 years of human history might look like, as technological advances make leaps and bounds alongside the political and social upheaval that strikes at the very heart of this sprawing middle-class Manchester-based family. It’s a daring piece of drama, full of Davies’ typically big heart and bold emotional colours and I have to say I rather loved it. Continue reading “TV Review: Years and Years”

News: A version of the London marathon for musical theatre fans

It’s the London Marathon on 23rd April but a week before, The Other Palace invites you to The Musical Marathon – a one-off charity concert bringing together a variety of West End stars in aid of male cancer charity Orchid. All Tickets are £26; £26 for 26 miles, 26 songs and an unmissable night of musical talent at 7pm on Sunday 16th April.


Organised by Paul Taylor-Mills, Artistic Director of The Other Palace and producer of shows including In The Heights and The Wild Party, the show will raise vital funds for Orchid, and their fight against male cancer. The evening will be hosted by Caroline Flack and will feature performances from Louise Dearman, Tyrone Huntley, Zizi Strallen, Oliver Savile, Liam Doyle, Nathan Amzi, Kim Criswell, Liam Tamne, Christina Modesto, Emma Kingston, Lockie Chapman, Shaun McCourt and Idriss Kargbo.
Orchid is the UK’s leading charity working on behalf of anyone affected by male cancer. Established in 1996 by testicular cancer patient, Colin Osborne MBE and the oncologist who saved his life, Professor Tim Oliver, Orchid exists to save men’s lives from male cancer through a range of support services, education and awareness campaigns and a pioneering research programme.

The winners of the 4th annual Mousetrap Awards

  • Best Play: 
    War Horse

  • Best Ensemble: 
    The Scottsboro Boys

  • Fascinating Storyline: 
    Billy Elliot the Musical

  • Best Design: 
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

  • Best Female Performer:
    Gemma Arterton for Made in Dagenham

  • Best Male Performer:
    Martin Freeman for Richard III

  • Musical That Blew My Mind: 
    Les Misérables

  • Show That Split My Sides: 
    The Book of Mormon

  • Most Dazzling Choreography: 
    STOMP

  • Show I’d Sell My Soul To Be In!: 
    Wicked

Review: The Scottsboro Boys, Young Vic

“That’s what we call Southern justice”

The Scottsboro Boys were nine black teenage boys who found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, Alabama in 1931 to be precise, and falsely accused of the rape of two white women, found themselves imprisoned in the hostile Deep South. But theirs was a case that ignited the racial debate in the USA and turned it into something of a cause célèbre, perhaps losing sight of the lives of these young men – some illiterate, all poor – that were irrevocably changed by their experiences. And ironically, that is the same fate suffered in this sharp-edged musical adaptation by Kander and Ebb, their last collaboration, and book writer David Thompson.

The show uses the minstrel form to frame the action, staging its own version of events in the vignettes of a minstrel show led by Julian Glover’s Interlocutor, a benign presence but in the way that some plantation owners were ostensibly nice. But rather than have white men wearing blackface, it is a black cast who play the white characters alongside the tribulations and many trials of the boys as they come up repeatedly against a society that is determined to deny them everything. And using an exaggeratedly vaudevillian style of performance, the truly shocking nature of what they went through is unblinkingly portrayed. Continue reading “Review: The Scottsboro Boys, Young Vic”

Review: Oliver!, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

This review marks a momentous occasion as it features the first appearance of Aunty Jean, one of my most faithful theatre companions, despite living nearly 200 miles from me in Wigan. We try to see at least one thing every time she visits whether for pleasure or work, but it has been a while since she has been down so Oliver marked her first 2009 London theatrical trip.

Fortunately it was well worth it, as this show did not disappoint on any level (and many levels it did have!). The sets for this show were truly awe-inspiring: Fagin’s underground lair was cleverly constructed; the depth of the alleyway for the street scenes was huge so it gave a great sense of scale to the proceedings, one which has been sadly lacking in many large recent productions, cost-cutting I guess, and the lighting from scene to scene could not have been more different, yet still highly effective. This all combined to give great energy and movement to the show, which scarcely needs it due to the highly familiar and zippy score. Continue reading “Review: Oliver!, Theatre Royal Drury Lane”