New cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child announced

(c) Manuel Harlan

The new cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has been announced, showing one of the perils of its enormous sell-out success, that the cast playing when you book might not necessarily be the cast you get when you eventually get into the Palace Theatre. The received wisdom is that you shouldn’t be aggrieved at not seeing a particular performer but such a wholesale cast change in such a beloved and prize-garlanded company, I think people are allowed to feel disappointed, even if momentarily. Continue reading “New cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child announced”

Review: Pope Joan – National Youth Theatre of Great Britain at St James’s Church Piccadilly

“Something is happening, something ungodly”

Thickly pungent clouds of incense, masses of supernumeraries dressed as glowering monks, the plaintive drone of the organ interrupted only by the dramatic peals of the church bells – there could hardly be a more atmospheric venue for the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain to launch their autumn season. And in Louise Brealey’s debut play Pope Joan, the ecclesiastical setting of St James’s Church in Piccadilly gains an especial resonance given that even now, over 1000 years since the apocryphal medieval story took place, the Church still doesn’t know how to deal with women. 

Brealey, perhaps unfairly best known as the wretched Molly in Sherlock, has alighted on the ninth century legend of the only woman ever to have (allegedly) become pope and used it to explore the uneasy interface between gender and religion, the way in which the patriarchy has assumed dominance over society and will do anything to protect, and also the journey of one person’s faith and their struggle to be able to pursue it as their spirit dictates. Continue reading “Review: Pope Joan – National Youth Theatre of Great Britain at St James’s Church Piccadilly”