Nominees for The Stage Debut Awards 2020

An interesting set of nominations from The Stage which range from the inspired to the incredible (in the bad sense) – trying to encompass all theatre will always have its trials but who in the world thought Robbie Williams deserved the nod here?!

Best performer in a play – sponsored by Audible
• Saida Ahmed for Little Miss Burden at the Bunker, London
• Katie Erich for Oliver Twist at Leeds Playhouse (in a co-production with Ramps on the Moon)
• Brooklyn Melvin for Oliver Twist at Leeds Playhouse (in a co-production with Ramps on the Moon)
• Daniel Monks for Teenage Dick at the Donmar Warehouse, London
• Rachel Nwokoro for Little Baby Jesus at the Orange Tree Theatre, London
• Jessica Rhodes for The Sugar Syndrome at the Orange Tree Theatre, London
• Khai Shaw for Little Baby Jesus at the Orange Tree Theatre, London
• Bobby Stallwood for Faith, Hope and Charity at the National Theatre, London Continue reading “Nominees for The Stage Debut Awards 2020”

Review: The Story / Hela, Theatre503

The Other Room’s The Story and Hela make a delightful and daring double bill of Welsh drama at Theatre503

Do’s dim hawl ’da ti adael,
You don’t get to leave,
Do’s dim hawl ’da ti anghofio pwy wyt ti
You don’t get to forget who you really are”

A brilliant idea this – Cardiff’s OG pub theatre The Other Room has gathered up the three plays that made up their recent The Violence Series and sent them out on tour. They’re mainly visiting Welsh venues but there’s also a stop at Theatre503, allowing London audiences a highly tempting taster of the quality of work available at the other end of the M4.

I caught two of the three – The Story and Hela being presented in a double bill, Matthew Bulgo’s American Nightmare making up the set of dystopian dramas. That said, you have to wonder at what point we stop calling it dystopia and simply call it tomorrow, a pressing sense of disturbing resonance and relevance that is particularly brought out in Tess Berry-Hart’s The Story. Continue reading “Review: The Story / Hela, Theatre503”

Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream – A Play For The Nation, Royal Shakespeare Theatre

“Nor doth this wood lack worlds of company”

Surtitled A Play For The Nation, Erica Whyman’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the RSC has fully embraced the communal spirit that the best theatre can summon and across its UK tour over the next few months, will undoubtedly prove a wonderful tribute for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. For at each stop across the land, different local amateur theatre companies will take on the part of the Rude Mechanicals and local primary schools will make up the numbers of Titania’s fairy train, getting their moment to shine in a repurposed final scene.

It’s a rather lovely way to share the warmth of this most loveliest of plays and in Whyman’s hands, it really does succeed. Key to its inclusiveness is the relocation to 1940s Britain and a design from Tom Piper that subtly evokes the Tower of London poppies installation on which he collaborated, the suggestion of a society pulling together permeating every aspect of the show, even Oberon’s fairies muck in as live musicians. And the social disruption of the time allows for an interesting reading of the text which, while emphasising English bumptiousness over sexuality, is witty throughout. Continue reading “Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream – A Play For The Nation, Royal Shakespeare Theatre”