News: Full casting for Company announced – but what does this really mean for a gender-switched production

Full casting for Elliott Harper’s Company announced – but what does this really mean for a gender-switched production. I crunch some numbers…

The full castlist for Marianne Elliott’s revival of Company has now been revealed, Jonathan Bailey’s casting as Jamie a late twist in the tale in a production trading on the interest of its gender-switching. Making Amy Jamie finally has the impact of queering the show as he remains partnered to Paul; but the rest of the show looks like it merely reinforces the heteronormativity of the world in general. Continue reading “News: Full casting for Company announced – but what does this really mean for a gender-switched production”

Re-review: The Ferryman, Gielgud

Just a couple of weeks left to catch The Ferryman at the Gielgud Theatre, and it remains entirely worth it

“That is what it takes. Thatis the cost of freedom. The price is unimaginable. And here is a man who knows that. And is willing to pay it.”

Time is so, so relative in theatres isn’t it – the mere thought of a running time that exceeds three hours can send chills running down the spine. But sometimes it is a 70 minute show that can feel like a cruel eternity and in the arms of a brilliant play, you barely even notice the hours passing by, even with Edwardian-levels of leg-room available to you. 

With just a couple of weeks left to catch The Ferryman in the West End and the chance to see Rosalie Craig in a non-musical role for once, the offer to return to the Gielgud was one I couldn’t refuse. And though it is the third time I’ve seen the show, it remains a phenomenal piece of theatre in which Jez Butterworth manages that not-inconsiderable feat of making time fly. Continue reading “Re-review: The Ferryman, Gielgud”

Round-up of news and treats and other interesting things

So much news, about so many exciting women, that I had to put together a second bulletin for this week…
Chief among them is the confirmation of Marianne Elliott’s reworking of Company, featuring the return of the glorious Patti LuPone to the London stage, playing Joanne to Rosalie Craig’s gender-swapped Bobbi. Initial reports suggest less of an interesting queering of the material and more of a straight gender-flip but it still seems set to be a highlight of next autumn.
(c) Dan Kennedy

Continue reading “Round-up of news and treats and other interesting things”

Round-up of news and treats and other interesting things

In Bechdel Testing LifeBechdel Theatre presents four short plays by Isley Lynn, Rabiah Hussain, Guleraana Mir, and Lizzie Milton. Each play is inspired by a real-life conversation between women.
 
The Experiment:
Inspired by the famous Bechdel Test, which asks: “Are there two female characters? Do they talk to each other? About something other than a man?”, women were asked to record their own conversations with each other – to pass the Bechdel Test in real life.
 
Their recordings were then given to a team of fantastic female playwrights.
 
The Result:
Four new plays exploring the relationships that make up our daily lives but are less often represented in fiction.
 
Bechdel Testing Life is a celebration of the complex, intimate, hilarious, and genius conversations that take place when women get together. It plays at the Bunker Theatre on 22nd and 23rd July.

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News (and photos): National Theatre gala (plus actors in suits!)

The National Theatre last night hosted its biennial fundraising gala, Up Next, raising over a million pounds to support access to the arts for children and young people across the country. I think they forgot to invite me though… 😜

 

Performances commissioned especially for the event included a new piece by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, alongside performances by Sir Lenny Henry, Anne-Marie Duff and hundreds of talented young people from across London.

Continue reading “News (and photos): National Theatre gala (plus actors in suits!)”

Round-up of news and treats and other interesting things

Marianne Elliott wasted no time in making headlines twice over last week – after the announcenement of her departure from the National Theatre, it was officially been announced that she has teamed up with theatre producer Chris Harper to set up Elliott Harper Productions which will produce new work throughout 2017. The first play in the season will be Simon Stephens’ Heisenberg which will be directed by Elliott and run at a yet-to-be confirmed venue in Autumn 2017. This will be followed by Oedipus to Antigone in a new adaptation by Yael Farber who will also direct. 
 
But the highlight of the season looks set to be a modern revival of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s musical Company which will see the glorious Rosalie Craig take on the role of Bobbie, in a gender-reversed version of the musical about a confirmed bachelor that has been specially approved by Sondheim, once again directed by Elliott.
 
Not much else is known about the production or even the season, but watch this space!

Continue reading “Round-up of news and treats and other interesting things”

CD Review: Lord of the Rings (2008 Original London Production)

“Eä, Arda, Ainulindalë.
Aratar, Maiar, Rána, Nénar”

Believe it or not, there was a time when I lived in London and I only saw a handful of shows a month, actually making considered decisions about what I wanted to see. And I have to say the musical of Lord of the Rings did not make the cut (obvs I wasn’t aware of who Rosalie Craig was at that point, or else I would have gone!). The show lasted just over a year at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and probably lost a shit-ton of money (it allegedly cost £12 million to make) but we do have a cast recording to remember it by.
 
And what a rather odd-sounding show it is, little surprise really when you consider that producer Kevin Wallace brought on three different composers to complement the book and lyrics by Matthew Warchus and Shaun McKenna. So Bollywood supremo A. R. Rahman, Finnish folk group Värttinä and Lloyd Webber-wannabe Christopher Nightingale all contributed to an altogether epic score, but one which sprawls in an unwieldly manner as these three strands struggle to cohere into an effective whole.

Continue reading “CD Review: Lord of the Rings (2008 Original London Production)”

Review: The Threepenny Opera, National

“There will be no moralising tonight”
 
Whatever you think a national theatre should be for, I bloody love that Rufus Norris seems to determined to keep diversity near the top of the billing. Whilst it is curious that he’s only committed to ensuring gender equality in terms of the directors and living writers the National Theatre uses by 2021 (I’m sure there’s a reason it takes 5 years), there’s also change happening now in this new production of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera.
 
The first actors we see and hear are George Ikediashi and Jamie Beddard. So what you might say? But they are respectively a cabaret artist better known as Le Gateau Chocolat and a wheelchair-using director, writer, actor, consultant, trainer and workshop leader who has worked across the arts, educational and social sectors (his website). And you begin to see one of the ways how Norris is opening up this venue in an important and hopefully lasting manner.

Continue reading “Review: The Threepenny Opera, National”

2016 What’s On Stage Award nominations

Best Actor In A Play Sponsored By Radisson Blu Edwardian:
Benedict Cumberbatch, Hamlet
James McAvoy, The Ruling Class
Bradley Cooper, The Elephant Man
Mark Rylance, Farinelli and the King
Alex Hassell, Henry V

Best Actress In A Play Sponsored By The Umbrella Rooms:
Nicole Kidman, Photograph 51 
Denise Gough, People, Places and Things
Lia Williams, Oresteia
Rosalie Craig, As You Like It
Harriet Walter, Death of a Salesman Continue reading “2016 What’s On Stage Award nominations”

The 2015 London Evening Standard Theatre Awards

Best Actor

WINNER James McAvoy, The Ruling Class, Trafalgar Studios
Simon Russell Beale
, Temple, Donmar Warehouse
Kenneth Cranham, The Father, Ustinov Bath, Tricycle Theatre & Wyndham’s Theatre
Ralph Fiennes, Man And Superman, National Theatre’s Lyttelton

Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress

WINNER Nicole Kidman, Photograph 51 , Noël Coward Theatre
Denise Gough
, People, Places and Things, National Theatre’s Dorfman
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nell Gwynn, Shakespeare’s Globe
Lia Williams, Oresteia, Almeida Theatre & Trafalgar Studios

Best Play

WINNER The Motherfucker With The Hat (Stephen Adly Guirgis), National Theatre’s Lyttelton
Hangmen
(Martin McDonagh), Royal Court Theatre
The Father (Florian Zeller, translated by Christopher Hampton), Ustinov Bath, Tricycle Theatre & Wyndham’s Theatre


Milton Shulman Award for Best Director

WINNER Robert Icke, Oresteia, Almeida Theatre & Trafalgar Studios
Jamie Lloyd
, Assassins, Menier Chocolate Factory
Indhu Rubasingham, The Motherfucker With The Hat, National Theatre’s Lyttelton

Best Design

WINNER Anna Fleischle, Hangmen, Royal Court Theatre
Tim Hatley
, Temple, Donmar Warehouse
Robert Jones, City of Angels, Donmar Warehouse

Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright

WINNER Molly Davies, God Bless The Child, Royal Court Upstairs
Alistair McDowall
, Pomona, Orange Tree Theatre & National Theatre’s Temporary Space
Diana Nneka Atuona, Liberian Girl, Royal Court Upstairs (Peckham & Tottenham pop-up venues)

Emerging Talent Award in Partnership with Burberry

WINNER David Moorst, Violence And Son, Royal Court Upstairs
Calvin Demba
, The Red Lion, National Theatre’s Dorfman
Patsy Ferran, Treasure Island, National Theatre’s Olivier

Best Musical Performance

WINNER Imelda Staunton, Gypsy, Savoy Theatre
Katie Brayben, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Aldwych Theatre
Rosalie Craig, City of Angels, Donmar Warehouse
Killian Donnelly, Kinky Boots, Adelphi Theatre

Newcomer in a Musical

WINNER Gemma Arterton, Made in Dagenham, Adelphi Theatre
Ellie Bamber
, High Society, Old Vic
Natalie Dew, Bend It Like Beckham the Musical, Phoenix Theatre

Evening Standard Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical (voted for by the public)

WINNER Kinky Boots, Adelphi Theatre
Assassins
, Menier Chocolate Factory
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Aldwych Theatre
Bend It Like Beckham the Musical, Phoenix Theatre
Gypsy, Savoy Theatre

Beyond Theatre Award

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty Exhibition


Editor’s Award in partnership with The Ivy

Vanessa Redgrave


Lebedev Award

Stephen Sondheim