#AdventwithClowns Day 8 – Beat the Devil

David Hare adapts and directs his own Beat the Devil with a strong Ralph Fiennes once again but suffers this time in the face of stronger Covid dramas

“It’s almost medieval what we’re seeing”

It is probably fair to say that Beat the Devil got a kinder reception than it might otherwise have done normally, being as it was one of the first shows to open in London after the first lockdown. I’m as guilty of that as anyone, finding that it did “does just about everything you’d expect a David Hare monologue to do” without really pulling him up on it because, well, it wasn’t really the time.

Being David Hare, he has managed to wangle a TV adaptation out of this Covid-19 monologue, delivered once again by Ralph Fiennes, but onscreen it feels slighter, less significant, not least because it now has to compete a raft of other cultural responses to Covid, including those written specifically for TV like Jack Thorne’s scorching Help for Channel 4. Continue reading “#AdventwithClowns Day 8 – Beat the Devil”

Review: The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage, Bridge Theatre

Nicholas Hytner returns to the world of Philip Pullman with an impressively atmospheric take on The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage at the Bridge Theatre

“I need to know why the baby is so important”

Nicholas Hytner’s stunning reworking of the world of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials for the National Theatre remains one of my all-time top theatrical experiences, so the news that he would be returning to that universe filled me with excitement and trepidation in equal measure. Fortunately, The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage finds its own kind of festive magic to weave over audiences this Christmas.

The Bridge Theatre may not be blessed with the revelatory wonder of the Olivier’s drum revolve but with co-directors Emily Burns and James Cousins, Hytner has conjured something special with Barnaby Dixon’s austerely beautiful puppety, Luke Hall’s highly effective video work and designer Bob Crowley. From genial pubs to haunting convent halls (those illuminated habits!) to raging floodwaters, we’re joyously submerged in the thrills and terrors of this parallel universe once again. Continue reading “Review: The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage, Bridge Theatre”

News: National Theatre Live relaunches with new programme of four productions in cinemas worldwide

The National Theatre today announces the return of National Theatre Live with a new programme of four productions to be broadcast to audiences worldwide in cinemas, starting in the UK and Ireland in January, and with tickets now on sale.

The productions are Tom Stoppard’s Olivier-Award winning play Leopoldstadt from Sonia Friedman Productions in the West End which will be broadcast to cinemas from January; Bryony Lavery’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage from the Bridge Theatre in February; Tanya Ronder, Jim Fortune and Rufus Norris’ new musical Hex from the NT will be broadcast in March and the Donmar Warehouse’s production of Henry V starring Kit Harington will be in cinemas from April.

Since March 2020, National Theatre Live has broadcast in cinemas with special encore screenings of Follies from 2 September 2021 and the NT’s feature film Romeo & Juliet was also broadcast to cinemas from 28 September 2021.

The NT’s next feature film Death of England: Face to Face will be in Curzon cinemas on Tuesday 2 November. The film will then be broadcast, for free, on Sky Arts at 9pm on Thursday 25 November (Freeview channel 11).

Sky Arts is the Headline Partner of National Theatre Live in the UK. Continue reading “News: National Theatre Live relaunches with new programme of four productions in cinemas worldwide”

Some theatre news from the last week

New interview series from the NT, Julius Caesar and Sunset Boulevard reappearing digitally and Hushabye Mountain coming to the Hope Mill

© Louise Haywood-Schiefer

The National Theatre announced a new interview series Life in Stages, profiling some of the biggest names in British theatre. The series, which will be free to watch, will launch on the National Theatre’s YouTube channel on Thursday 22 April at 7pm BST with each new episode added at the same time every Thursday.  

The first episode boasts Olivia Colman and Director and Joint Chief Executive of the National Theatre Rufus Norris. The second episode on Thursday 29 April will feature Romeo & Juliet co-stars Josh O’Connor and Jessie Buckley. On Thursday 6 May the third episode puts Adrian Lester and Meera Syal together. Details of further episodes from this series will be announced later this month.  Continue reading “Some theatre news from the last week”

The 30th Ian Charleson Awards

Winner

Heledd Gwynn for Hedda in Hedda Gabler at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff and Hastings and Ratcliffe in Richard III for Headlong

Second Place

Hammed Animashaun for Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Bridge Theatre

Third Place

Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo for Abosede in Three Sisters at the National Theatre

Commendations

Kitty Archer for Mariane in Tartuffe at the National Theatre
Eben Figueiredo for Christian in Cyrano de Bergerac at Jamie Lloyd Company at the Playhouse
Isis Hainsworth for Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Bridge Theatre
Ebony Jonelle for Rosalind in As You Like It for the National Theatre Public Acts/Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch
Ioanna Kimbook for Cariola in The Duchess of Malfi at the Almeida
Racheal Ofori for Udo in Three Sisters at the National Theatre
Billy Postlethwaite for Macbeth in Macbeth at the Watermill Theatre
Ekow Quartey for Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe
Kit Young for Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Bridge Theatre

Want to see A Christmas Carol this winter? You could be in luck

Want to see A Christmas Carol this festive period? Well it looks like you could well be in luck…

The Bridge Theatre has a devised (by Nick Hytner), 3-person adaptation with Simon Russell Beale, Patsy Ferran and Eben Figueiredo

The Dominion Theatre will host a production of Alan Menken, Lynn Ahrens and Mike Ockrent’s musical version with Brian Conley as Scrooge with a cast and orchestra of over 50

Gemma Bodinetz takes her bow as artistic director of the Everyman and Playhouse Theatres with Patrick Barlow’s small-cast iteration with Liverpool panto regular Adam Keast at the helm

And a brand new retelling of the classic family Christmas tale, will be coming to both cinemas and select theatres nationwide from November 20th, as Scrooge looks to help save Christmas. Simon Russell Beale, Martin Freeman, Carey Mulligan, Daniel Kaluuya and Andy Serkis lend their voices to the tale, whilst dance performances are led by former Royal Ballet soloist and BalletBoyz founder Michael Nunn as Scrooge, Jakub Franasowicz, Russell Maliphant, Karl Fagerlund Brekke, Mikey Boats, Grace Jabbari and Dana Fouras.

Review: Beat The Devil, Bridge Theatre

David Hare gets in first with his coronavirus monologue Beat The Devil at the Bridge Theatre, evocatively performed by Ralph Fiennes

“I don’t have survivor’s guilt. I have survivor’s rage”

The inbuilt flexibility of the Bridge Theatre’s auditorium means that it was always going to be a contender for one of the first theatres to be able to reopen. And with this season of monologues, headlined by David Hare’s Beat The Devil, it is indeed now welcoming back socially distanced audiences with a remarkably smooth and efficient FOH operation that should put most any worry at ease.

And rather than go for escapism, we’re in full-on mask-wearing reality as Hare dramatises his experience of contracting Covid-19, exploring the sickness not only of his own body but in the governmental response. The result is an intermittently affecting blend of personal struggle and political outrage. Continue reading “Review: Beat The Devil, Bridge Theatre”

News: the Bridge Theatre plots an autumn season of monologues

The Bridge Theatre has announce a repertoire of twelve one-person plays during September and October, using the theatre’s flexible auditorium to provide around 250 socially distanced seats.

An Evening With an Immigrant by Inua Ellams

Award-winning poet and playwright Inua Ellams left Nigeria for England in 1996 aged 12.

An Evening With An Immigrant is a potent and personal account of life as an immigrant told through poetry and music telling Ellam’s ridiculous, fantastic and poignant story – escaping fundamentalist Islam, experiencing prejudice and friendship in Dublin, performing solo at the National Theatre and drinking wine with the Queen of England – all the while without a country to belong to or place to call home. Continue reading “News: the Bridge Theatre plots an autumn season of monologues”

The winners of the 9th annual Mousetrap Awards

BEST FEMALE PERFORMER AWARD:

WINNER – Laura Baldwin, as Dawn in Waitress
Sophie Evans, as Glinda in Wicked
Leah Harvey, as Hortense in Small Island
Miriam-Teak Lee, as Juliet in & Juliet

BEST MALE PERFORMER AWARD:

WINNER – David Hunter, as Dr Pomatter in Waitress
Laurie Kynaston, as Nicolas in The Son
Wendell Pierce, as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman
Jac Yarrow, as Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Continue reading “The winners of the 9th annual Mousetrap Awards”