Lots of exciting news in the National’s new season announcement, taking us up to January 2018, rather putting the lie to the cries of “crisis” that pop up far too easily when a less-than-well-received show (or two) takes up residency there.
Highlights for me include the perfection of this production pic:
Book by James Goldman
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Previews from 22 August
Tracie Bennett, Janie Dee and Imelda Staunton play the magnificent Follies in Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical. Featuring a cast of 37 and an orchestra of 21, the production is directed by Dominic Cooke (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom).
Saint George and the Dragon
A new play by Rory Mullarkey
Previews from 4 October
John Heffernan plays Saint George; the cast also includes Paul Brennen, Richard Goulding, Tamzin Griffin, Conor Neaves, Amaka Okafor, Daniel Ryan and Grace Saif. Directed by Lyndsey Turner (Chimerica, Light Shining in Buckinghamshire). Hundreds of Travelex tickets at £15 available per performance.
by Peter Shaffer
Previews from 11 January
Following a sell-out run last year, Amadeus returns to the Olivier in 2018. Michael Longhurst’s acclaimed production of Peter Shaffer’s iconic play features live orchestral accompaniment by Southbank Sinfonia. Adam Gillen and Lucian Msamati reprise the roles of Mozart and Salieri. Further casting to be announced.
Queer Theatre: LGBT+ Stories and Social Change
in partnership with Pride in London
To mark 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales, the NT looks at how theatre has charted the LGBT+ experience. Events include a debate on LGBT+ rights, talks on Queer Stages, Trans Culture and Drag as an Art Form, and film screenings of Paris was a Woman, Bette Bourne: It Goes with the Shoes and Tangerine. The series features rehearsed readings in the Lyttelton Theatre with full casting to be announced. Post show talks will follow each of the readings.
Neaptide by Sarah Daniels, directed by Sarah Frankcom | Thu 6 July, 7.30pm
Wig Out! written and directed by Tarell Alvin McCraney | Fri 7 July, 7.30pm
Certain Young Men written and directed by Peter Gill | Sat 8 July, 7.30pm
Bent by Martin Sherman, directed by Stephen Daldry | Sun 9 July, 2.30pm
The Drag by Mae West, directed by Polly Stenham | Mon 10 July, 7.30pm
a new play by J.T. Rogers
The Lincoln Center Theater production
Previews from 5 September
Bartlett Sher’s Tony Award-winning production of this new play by J.T. Rogers comes to the National Theatre following a sell-out run in New York. It then transfers to the Harold Pinter Theatre in the West End from 30 September. Cast to be announced.
based on the novel by Charlotte Brontë
devised by the original company
a co-production with Bristol Old Vic
Previews from 26 September
Following a critically-acclaimed season at the National Theatre and a 21 city UK tour, Jane Eyre returns this September. This innovative reimagining of Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece is a collaboration between the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic and is directed by Sally Cookson.
adapted by Lee Hall
based on the Paddy Chayefsky film
Previews from 4 November
The iconic film by Paddy Chayefsky won four Academy Awards in 1976. Now, Lee Hall (Billy Elliot, Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour) and director Ivo van Hove (Hedda Gabler) bring his masterwork to the stage for the first time, with Bryan Cranston making his UK stage debut in the role of Howard Beale.
by Dennis Kelly
With songs and score from the Walt Disney film by Leigh Harline, Ned Washington and Paul J Smith
adapted by Martin Lowe
Previews from 1 December
For the first time on stage, featuring unforgettable music and songs from the Walt Disney film including ‘I’ve Got No Strings’, ‘Give a Little Whistle’ and ‘When You Wish upon a Star’ in dazzling new arrangements, Pinocchio comes to life as never before. This spectacular new production brings together the director of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the writer of Matilda the Musical.
Half-price tickets for under-18s are available for all performances (excluding £15 tickets). Additional family tickets for the run will be released in a ballot closer to the performance dates.
Cast includes Joe Idris-Roberts (Pinocchio), Audrey Brisson (Jiminy Cricket), Annette McLaughlin (Blue Lady), David Langham (The Fox), David Kirkbride (Coachman), Dawn Sievewright (Lampy), Chris Jarman (Stromboli) together with Stuart Angell, Trieve Blackwood-Cambridge, Stephanie Bron, James Charlton, Rebecca Jayne-Davies, Sarah Kameela Impey, Anabel Kutay, Michael Lin, Jack North, Clemmie Sveaas, Michael Taibi,Scarlet Wilderink and Jack Wolfe.
by Lucy Kirkwood
Previews from 18 July, continuing in repertoire until 28 September
Mosquitoes by Lucy Kirkwood will have its world premiere in the Dorfman Theatre in July. Rufus Norris will direct this new play about families and particle physics with Olivia Williams in the role of Alice and Olivia Colman as her sister Jenny. Cast also includes: Amanda Boxer, Cait Davis, Vanessa Emme, Yoli Fuller, Paul Hilton, Joseph Quinn and Sofia Stuart.
a new play by Rob Drummond
Previews from 11 August
Following the acclaimed run of Bullet Catch in The Shed, Rob Drummond returns to the National with a new one-man show about democracy, directed by David Overend. Originally co-commissioned with The Arches, Glasgow.
a new play by David Eldridge
Polly Findlay directs this new play by David Eldridge (Market Boy, Under the Blue Sky, In Basildon). Tender and funny, it’s an intimate look at the first fragile moments of risking your heart and taking a chance. Justine Mitchell plays Laura, Sam Troughton plays Danny.
Barber Shop Chronicles
by Inua Ellams
a co-production with Fuel and West Yorkshire Playhouse
Opens in November
Following a sell-out run at the Dorfman this summer, Inua Ellams’ play about stories from barber shops across the globe returns to the National Theatre in November. Tickets go on sale on the National Theatre website from 1pm on Monday 19 June. Casting for November to be confirmed in due course.
Saloméa radical retelling of the Biblical story of one young woman’s political awakening. Written and directed by Yaël Farber.
Broadcast live from the NT on Thursday 22 June.
Angels in America
Marianne Elliott’s new production of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America will be broadcast live from the NT in two parts. Part 1: Millennium Approaches on Thursday 20 July and Part 2: Perestroika on Thursday 27 July.
Billie Piper plays Yerma as a woman driven to the unthinkable by her desperate desire to have a child. Simon Stone creates a radical production of Lorcha’s achingly powerful masterpiece. Broadcast live from the Young Vic on Thursday 31 August (international screenings from 21 September).
Rory Kinnear plays Marx and Oliver Chris, Engels, in this new comedy about Marx’s time as a 32-year-old revolutionary in 1850 London. Written by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman and directed by Nicholas Hytner. Broadcast live from The Bridge Theatre on 7 December.
Ben Whishaw and Michelle Fairley play Brutus and Cassius, leaders of the coup, David Calder plays Caesar and David Morrissey is Mark Antony, who brings Rome back under control after the conspirators’ defeat in this production of Shakespeare’s classic. Directed by Nicholas Hytner. Broadcast live from The Bridge Theatre on 22 March 2018.
“In Whitechapel, they die every day”
When low ratings for series 2 of Ripper Street saw the BBC decide to pull the plug on it, it was something of a surprise to hear Amazon Video would be taking it over (this was 2014 after all) in a deal that would see episodes released first for streaming, and then shown on the BBC a few months later. And thank the ripper that they did, for I’d argue that this was the best series yet, the storytelling taking on an epic quality as it shifted the personal lives of its key personnel into the frontline with a series-long arc to extraordinary effect.
And this ambition is none more so evident than in the first episode which crashes a train right in the middle of Whitechapel, reuniting Reid with his erstwhile comrades Drake and Jackson four years on since we last saw them. A catastrophic event in and of itself, killing over 50 people, it also set up new villain Capshaw (the always excellent John Heffernan) and brilliantly complicated the character of Susan, promoting her to a deserved series lead as her keen eye for business, and particularly supporting the women of Whitechapel, throws her up against some hard choices. Continue reading “DVD Review: Ripper Street Series 3”
Round-up of the 2015 fosterIANs
Best Actress in a Play
Lia Williams, Oresteia
Best Actress in a Musical
Natalie Dew, Bend It Like Beckham
Best Supporting Actress in a Play
Daisy Haggard, You For Me For You
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical
Emma Williams, Mrs Henderson Presents
Best Supporting Actor in a Play
John Simm, The Homecoming
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical
Emmanuel Kojo, Show Boat
And my top 10 plays of the year:
Best Actor in a Play
John Heffernan, Oppenheimer
Many are the ways in which I love Heffernan but the increasingly regularity with which he is scoring leading roles in interesting plays has to be chief among them, as for the many friends who have followed his career for a while now. And as the father of the atomic bomb here, he did not disappoint, bringing his customary diligence and intelligence to bear with the many conflicts of this fascinating character.
Honourable mention: David Morrissey, Hangmen
The perfect exemplar for Martin McDonagh’s portrait of mixed-up masculinity in ’60s Oldham, Morrissey’s former-hangman-turned-pub-landlord was at the same time a blistering paean to the past and a scorching reminder to let go thereof.
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Everyman
Jamie Samuel, Plastic Figurines
Eelco Smits, Glazen Speelgoed
Angus Wright, Oresteia
Ron Cook, The Homecoming; Jason Hughes, Violence and Son; Cal MacAninch, My Eyes Went Dark; Henry Pettigrew, The Effect
Best Actor in a Musical
Giles Terera, Pure Imagination
These awards are about the moments that live strongest in my mind and for me, Terera sweeping me (and the rest of the audience, I suppose!) up into a world of pure imagination and candy bars is right there at the top. Rumours of him heading up a Sammy Davis Jnr musical abound but on this evidence, he should be aiming for Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory itself.
Honourable mention: Matt Henry, Kinky Boots
Derided in some parts as reality show stunt casting when first announced, Henry silenced the doubters and then some with an astonishingly assured performance as Lola, the drag queen taking most of Northampton – and herself – on quite the journey.
Ian Bartholomew, Mrs Henderson Presents
Killian Donnelly, Kinky Boots
Scott Garnham, Grand Hotel
Alex Gaumond, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Dean John-Wilson, Songs For A New World; Alan McHale, The Clockmaker’s Daughter; Haydn Oakley, The Smallest Show on Earth; Simon Paisley Day, The Lorax