September theatre round-up

A quick round-up of the rest of September’s shows

Mary Said What She Said, aka how far I will go for Isabelle Huppert
The Provoked Wife, aka how far I will go for Alexandra Gilbreath
A Doll’s House, aka if we must have more Ibsen, at least it is like this
Falsettos, aka finding the right way, for me, to respond
The Comedy Grotto, aka a sneaky peak at Joseph Morpurgo
The Life I Lead, aka something really rather sweet
Blues in the Night, aka all hail Broadway-bound Sharon D Clarke (and Debbie Kurup, and Clive Rowe too)
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, aka well why not go again

Mary Said What She Said, Internationaal Theater Amsterdam

Photo © Lucie Jansch

We all know enough by now that an Isabelle Huppert appearance onstage is rarely likely to be pedestrian and this proved no exception. A Robert Wilson production of a Darryl Pinckney text constructed from Mary Queen of Scots’ own letters, it is utterly sky-high on atmosphere with any sense of conventional meaning equally stratospheric. Watching it in French with Dutch surtitles naturally didn’t help but chatting afterwards, it was clear confusion transcended national linguistic boundaries. But it kinda didn’t matter in the end, there’s an unearthliness to the piece that defies simple explanation and how often is it, really, that you actually see something unlike you’ve ever seen before. 

The Provoked Wife, RSC

Photo © Pete Le May

Should have trusted my instincts that had kept me from going to Stratford all summer long to see this “Restoration Romp”. What won me over was the presence of the luminous Alexandra Gilbreath but there was far too much fuckery going on around her to make this tolerable, for me.

Falsettos, The Other Palace

Photo © The Standout Company

I ummed and aahed about this. Such a high quality cast in a show whose score I like, but whose genesis was righly called into question and the ensuing response highly unsatisfactory. Representation, of all kinds, is too important to be brushed under the carpet so take a read of those two links and then make your own decision about how you want to engage with this production.

The Comedy Grotto, The Star of Kings

A first time to this King’s Cross comedy night run by Alex Kealy, mainly to catch the superlative wit of Joseph Morpurgo. And it was well worth it. My lips are sealed about Morpurgo as it was a work-in-progress but I loved the variety of the other comics we saw, the freshness of trying out material making for a relaxed but still hilarious atmosphere (but seriously, only sit on the front row if you’re a brave soul!).

The Life I Lead, Wyndham’s

Photo © Piers Foley

Something of an unexpected transfer (of a week) into the West End for this show which originated at the Park Theatre. But a deserved one as it turned out, Miles Jupp finding a delicacy and sweetness to his affectionate portrayal of David Tomlinson which made it really quite engaging.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Apollo

Photo © Johan Persson

A return visit to this most lovely of British musicals which pleasingly seems to have managed to secure its place well on Shaftesbury Avenue. We saw cover Jamie Luke Latchman give a strong account of this striking lead character and Rebecca McKinnis give a great account too before she heads off to Dear Evan Hansen.

A Doll’s House, Lyric Hammersmith

Photo © Helen Maybanks

I can’t lie, the thought of more Ibsen rarely gets the pulse racing, even when it is starring as delectable a morsel as Elliot Cowan. Tanika Gupta’s adaptation, opening Rachel O’Riordan’s artistic directorship here, does take it to an interestingly new place in the height of British imperialism in 19th century India. But I’m not 100% that the hindsight mentality works so in its dealing with racism and sexism, Gupta’s voice sounds so modern that it occasionally feels a touch incongruous (though that could well just be my ignorance).

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