I realise I’m just adding (belatedly) to the plethora of 2015 features already published but so many of them trod the boringly familiar ground of forthcoming West End shows (and in the Evening Standard’s case, managed to recommend booking for three shows already sold out from their list of six). So I’ve cast my net a little wider and chosen a few random categories for just some of the shows I’m recommending and looking forward to in 2015.
“That is one exceptionally clever squirrel”
A slightly odd addition to the festive film slate, Christopher Smith’s Get Santa has a strangely muted sense of Christmas spirit, which viewed through these Brit flick lenses, never really takes off. Rafe Spall’s failed getaway driver Steve is just out of jail and all he wants is to spend Christmas with his son Tom, a cute Kit Connor. But partner Alison has a new fella, his parole officer is out for blood and his kid seems more preoccupied with the bearded man in a red suit he’s found in the shed.
Of course that turns out to be the real Santa, aka Jim Broadbent, who has crashlanded in Richmond Park taking his sleigh for a test run. And in the course of trying to rescue his reindeer from the pound, he ends up in prison (allowing for the film’s one 24 carat joke as the resident barber does his hair and beard up gang-style to help him blend in) and so it is left to Steve and Tom to save Christmas, even if it means breaking his parole. Continue reading “Film Review: Get Santa”
“Is it possible that some people just aren’t supposed to be married”
Joseph Millson having a threesome and Jane Asher swearing are the main high points in Dan Mazer’s I Give It A Year, a film that could do with a whole lot more. The sheen on Nat and Josh’s whirlwind marriage has worn off a little, leaving them facing serious questions as they approach their one year anniversary. With former loves reappearing, new current attractions popping up and friends and family placing bets on whether they’ll make it to the landmark 12 months, the odds seem unlikely.
Which adds up to the film’s major problem, a distinct lack of any real dramatic imperative in hoping that Nat and Josh stay together. Rose Byrne does her best with a thanklessly constructed part who seems solely designed to frustrate Rafe Spall’s hangdog novelistic intentions but as the film opens with a fast-forward through the heady days of early romance, we’re not left with anything to convince us that we should be rooting for them to actually make it to a year, hell, even the end of the film! Continue reading “DVD Review: I Give It A Year”
“I smoke fish…all the time”
The Guardian have partnered with the Royal Court to create a series of what they are calling microplays (short films by any other name, and I assume they’re trying to differentiate this from the short films that are being done in collaboration with the Young Vic…) on a range of six subjects. Each one – food, fashion, music, sport, education and politics – has seen a Guardian journalist work with a playwright to gain inspiration to create a minutes-long microplay which is then rapidly brought to life by some high-class directors and actors and hosted on the Guardian’s website.
Call Register is the perfect film for anyone who has issues about what mobile telephones have done to our lives. Martin Freeman’s Kevin borrows his best mate’s phone to make a call, James Lance’s Julian, as he wants to set up a date with a girl he’s just met, Neve McIntosh’s Amanda. But Julian’s phone recognises the number and through an series of short phone calls, writer and director Ed Roe details much of the awkwardness around dating, especially when a friend has already been there first, and also adroitly explores the uniquely modern perils that mobiles have brought to the way in which we communicate. There’s much to enjoy here, not least the understated charm of all three actors, and also much that will be painfully familiar to anyone who’s ever called someone up for a date. Continue reading “Short Film Review #24”
Does God Play Football? is utterly heart-warming – it’s northern, has Helen McCrory, a cute moppet and a sexy ginger priest. What more do you want? Continue reading “Short Film Review #21”
“The moral hypocrisy of the land-owning upper classes…”
There’s not really much I can say about Douglas M Ray’s short film Get Off My Land apart from just watch it. It’s less than 5 minutes long, stars Ruth Wilson and Rafe Spall as a couple going for a country walk and looks absolutely gorgeous, filmed just as sunset is about to start. DoP George Steel does an amazing job of capturing the stunning light, framing some beautiful tight shots, particularly of Wilson, and whilst Ray’s hard-hitting humour may not have huge amounts to say that haven’t been said before, it can rarely have looked this good.
Best New Play
Constellations by Nick Payne – Duke of York’s Theatre
The Audience by Peter Morgan – Gielgud
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Simon Stephens, adapted by Mark Haddon – National Theatre Cottesloe / Apollo
This House by James Graham – National Theatre Cottesloe / Olivier
Best New Musical
Loserville – Garrick
Soul Sister – Savoy
The Bodyguard – Adelphi
Top Hat – Aldwych
Long Day’s Journey into Night – Apollo
Macbeth – Trafalgar Studios
Old Times – Harold Pinter
Twelfth Night – Globe / Apollo Continue reading “2013 Laurence Olivier Awards nominations”
|Best Actress in a Play||Kate O’Flynn, Lungs||Laurie Metcalf, Long Day’s Journey Into Night||Hattie Morahan, A Doll’s House
Helen McCrory, Last of the Haussmans
Cate Blanchett, Big and Small
Sally Hawkins, Constellations
|Best Actor in a Play||Luke Treadaway, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time||Rafe Spall, Constellations||Billy Carter, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me
David Suchet, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Hugh Ross, A Life
Dominic Rowan, A Doll’s House
|Best Supporting Actress in a Play||Niamh Cusack, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time||Laura Howard, Lost in Yonkers||Ruth Sheen, In Basildon
Nicola Walker, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Katie Brayben, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Open Air)
Fenella Woolgar, Hedda Gabler
|Best Supporting Actor in a Play||Paul Chahidi, Twelfth Night (Globe)||Charles Edwards, This House||Robin Soans, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me
Rory Kinnear, Last of the Haussmans
Cyril Nri, Julius Caesar
Olly Alexander, Mercury Fur
|Best Actress in a Musical||Carly Bawden, My Fair Lady||Janie Dee, Hello, Dolly!||Caroline O’Connor, Gypsy
Anna Francolini, Victor/Victoria
Rosalie Craig, Ragtime
Jenna Russell, Merrily We Roll Along
|Best Actor in a Musical||Simon Russell Beale, Privates on Parade||Mark Umbers, Merrily We Roll Along||Richard Dempsey, Victor/Victoria
Julian Ovenden, Finding Neverland
Will Young, Cabaret
Dominic West, My Fair Lady
|Best Supporting Actress in a Musical||Clare Foster, Merrily We Roll Along||Bonnie Langford, 9 to 5||Josefina Gabrielle, Merrily We Roll Along
Debbie Kurup, The Bodyguard
Helena Blackman, A Winter’s Tale
Laura Pitt-Pulford, Hello, Dolly!
|Best Supporting Actor in a Musical||Michael Xavier, Hello, Dolly!||Damian Humbley, Merrily We Roll Along||Alistair Brookshaw, A Winter’s Tale
Stuart Matthew Price, Sweet Smell of Success
Ben Kavanagh, Boy Meets Boy
Oliver Boot, Finding Neverland
Best Actor in a Play
Luke Treadaway, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
I imagine Treadaway will be appearing in many award list, both of bloggers and more official awarding bodies, but sometimes the hype is just correct. It’s all the more impressive given that the condition from which his protagonist suffers is never actually named, yet in his hands it doesn’t matter a single jot as the play becomes about a journey through someone else’s eyes, a uniquely different take on life and one which is a genuine pleasure to discover and watch. See it when it transfers.
Honourable mention: Rafe Spall, Constellations
Although my abiding memory of the play is weeping like a buffoon at the end, a close second is the proposal scene(s) in which Spall played and replayed a pre-prepared speech with varying degrees of success as far as the character was concerned, but always superbly affecting to watch and so very easy to connect with.
Best Actor in a Musical
Simon Russell Beale, Privates on Parade
I’ve already taken a bit of stick for this as we’re in ‘play with songs’ territory but to my mind, Privates… is closer to a musical than a play, some of the songs are actually narrative-driven and it’s my blog so my rules. In any case, this was the first time that I came close to actually seeing why people rate Russell Beale so much with a performance that felt essentially so very true in every single aspect.
Honourable mention: Mark Umbers, Merrily We Roll Along
An ineffably charming onstage presence, Umbers was perfectly cast as the central figure whose journey from appealing dreamer to jaded sell-out is the heart of the show and told in reverse, it provided the ideal showcase for his considerable acting skill alongside a powerful voice.