News: cast and creatives announced for The Fellowship

Hampstead Theatre is delighted to announce the full cast and creative team for the world premiere of The Fellowship, an electrifying, hilarious and gripping new play by Roy Williams.  Directed by Paulette Randall, The Fellowship will run from 17 June until 23 July 2022. 

Set in modern Britain, The Fellowship cast comprises of Rosie Day (Instructions for a Teenage Armageddon, Southwark Playhouse; Microwave, National Theatre), Ethan Hazzard (Raised by Wolves, HBO; The Long Song, BBC One)Trevor Laird (Small Island and One Man, Two Guvnors, National Theatre), Suzette Llewellyn (Running with Lions, Lyric Hammersmith; EastEnders, BBC One), Cherrelle Skeete (Fun Home, Young Vic; The Phlebotomist, Hampstead Theatre), and Lucy Vandi (An Unfinished Man, The Yard; Tina – The Tina Turner Musical, Aldwych Theatre). Continue reading “News: cast and creatives announced for The Fellowship”

Review: Rabbit Hole, Union Theatre

Tenderly truthful, David Lindsay-Abaire’s examines parental grief with quiet understanding in Rabbit Hole at the Union Theatre

“We know that there’s no sensible explanation”

There’s fifty shades of grey dominating Ethan Cheek’s set design for Rabbit Hole at the Union Theatre but the chief emotion being explored here is grief rather than any kinky. The only splashes of colour come from the few items left belonging to four-year-old Danny who has tragically lost his life in an accident, leaving behind parents Becca and Howie whose lives have been essentially greyed out almost entirely. 

David Lindsay-Abaire’s play is certainly heavy thematically and curiously uneventful in its plotting. But in the way that he explores how life does – and must – go on after tragedy, in the acknowledge of the sheer messiness it leaves behind, in the difficulties of the piecing back together of any sense of normality, there’s a quiet yet compelling understanding about human endurance. Continue reading “Review: Rabbit Hole, Union Theatre”

Review: The Fever Syndrome, Hampstead Theatre

An excellent design and a great cast can’t help cure the ills of The Fever Syndrome at the Hampstead Theatre

“We are all slaves to our genes. Worse than that; we are all slaves to our parents’ genes”

Lizzie Clachlan’s set design for The Fever Syndrome is inspired. A cutaway of a New York brownstone reveals multiple rooms framed like a doll’s house, the perfect setting for the multi-layered conversations of an extended family gathering for a special occasion. It dominates the stage of the Hampstead Theatre perfectly.

And the cast of Roxana Silbert’s production is a great one. Robert Lindsay riding high from Anything Goes, one of my all-time faves Alexandra Gilbreath, a rare stage return for Lisa Dillon plus the dishy Bo Poraj among others. It’s just a shame that Alexis Zegerman’s play doesn’t quite match up to its cast and creatives. Continue reading “Review: The Fever Syndrome, Hampstead Theatre”

2022 Laurence Olivier Awards nominations

Not a lot to complain about for once (The Drifters Girl aside), this set of Olivier Award nominations read pretty much OK, though you do wish they’d open the categories to five nominees given how much talent there is to recognise. Anyone you would have added?

Best revival
A Number at the Old Vic
Constellations – Donmar Warehouse at Vaudeville Theatre
The Normal Heart at National Theatre – Olivier
The Tragedy Of Macbeth at Almeida Theatre

Best entertainment or comedy play
The Choir Of Man at Arts Theatre
Pantoland at the Palladium at the London Palladium
Pride And Prejudice* (*Sort Of) at Criterion Theatre
The Shark is Broken at Ambassadors Theatre Continue reading “2022 Laurence Olivier Awards nominations”

2021 BroadwayWorld UK Awards Shortlist

Best Leading Performer in a New Production of a Musical
Arinzé Kene, Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, Lyric Theatre
Beverley Knight, The Drifters Girl, Garrick Theatre
Carrie Hope Fletcher, Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre
Dianne Pilkington, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, UK Tour
Eddie Redmayne, Cabaret, Playhouse Theatre
Ivano Turco, Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre
Jessie Buckley, Cabaret, Playhouse Theatre
Julian Ovenden, South Pacific, Chichester Festival Theatre
Olly Dobson, Back to the Future: The Musical, Adelphi Theatre
Stephanie McKeon, Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Sutton Foster, Anything Goes, Barbican
Tom Francis, Rent, Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester Continue reading “2021 BroadwayWorld UK Awards Shortlist”

Review: The Forest, Hampstead Theatre

Like being given a jigsaw with no corner pieces, the challenges of putting together what is happening in Florian Zeller’s The Forest means it is hardly worth the trip to the Hampstead Theatre

Apparently you’ve no objection to telling stories yourself”

You might not have picked Florian Zeller to be the writer who arguably one of the most regularly produced in London over the last few years but theatres have fallen hard for the French playwright (indeed, cinemas too as his Academy Award for The Father last year attests). His latest new play The Forest arrives now at the Hampstead Theatre but despite the quality cast, I found it hugely disappointing.

Any familiarity with Zeller means that you know nothing is ever straight-forwardly presented in his world. But he pushes that to the extreme here, amping up the levels of disconcertion to a point of almost meaninglessness. There’s naturally no concession to narrative construction but this goes beyond fiendish puzzle building, this is being obtuse for the sake of being obtuse, Zeller trying to outdo his reputation at the expense of all else. Continue reading “Review: The Forest, Hampstead Theatre”

News: Cast for Hampstead Theatre’s The Fever Syndrome announced

Hampstead Theatre has announced the full cast and creative team for the world premiere of Alexis Zegerman’s vivid, new play, The Fever Syndrome, including the marvellous Alexandra Gilbreath

Running from 19th March until 23rd April 2022, The Fever Syndrome will be directed by Roxana Silbert and designed by Lizzie Clachan and features quite the impressive cast.

Lisa Dillon (Cranford, BBC One; Hapgood, Hampstead Theatre), Jake Fairbrother (Skyfall, EON Productions; Hamlet, National Theatre), Alexandra Gilbreath (Not Going Out, BBC One; The Provoked Wife, Royal Shakespeare Company), Robert Lindsay (My Family, BBC One; Anything Goes, Barbican), Sam Marks (Doctor Who, BBC One; Richard II, Royal Shakespeare Company), Bo Poraj (Miranda, BBC One, Raya, Hampstead Downstairs) and Alex Waldmann (The Mikvah Project, Orange Tree; Julius Caesar, Royal Shakespeare Company) will perform in this thrilling portrait of a brilliantly dysfunctional family.  They are joined by Nancy Allsop and Charlotte Pourret Wythe. Continue reading “News: Cast for Hampstead Theatre’s The Fever Syndrome announced”

Plays update November 2021

Casting updates for the Young Vic’s Best of Enemies, Hampstead Theatre’s Peggy For You, audio drama Ghost Walk and the Royal Court’s A Fight Against…

The Young Vic has revealed the complete cast and creative team for James Graham’s bold new play Best of Enemiesdirected by Jeremy Herrin, in a co-production with Headlong.

1968 – a year of protest that divided America. As two men fight to become the next President, all eyes are on the battle between two others: the cunningly conservative William F Buckley Jr., and the iconoclastic liberal Gore Vidal. Beliefs are challenged and slurs slung as these political idols feud nightly in a new television format, debating the moral landscape of a shattered nation. Little do they know they’re about to open up a new frontier in American politics, and transform television news forever…

Charles Edwards plays Gore Vidal and David Harewood plays William F. Buckley Jr. The complete cast also includes Margo Cargill, Emilio Doorgasingh, Clare Foster, Tom Godwin, John Hodgkinson, Justina Kehinde, Syrus Lowe, Kevin McMonagle and Sam Otto. Continue reading “Plays update November 2021”

Review: ‘Night, Mother, Hampstead Theatre

A delve back into the Hampstead Theatre archives offers up a production that should probably have stayed back there in ‘Night, Mother 

“This is how I say no”

Time and time again, I allow my love for actresses to override my better sense of whether I should be booking in for plays. Cush Jumbo in Hamlet, Saoirse Ronan in Macbeth, and now Stockard Channing in ‘Night, Mother, I knew I didn’t want to see these productions and yet off I trotted because I wanted to see them onstage again (I don’t even have the excuse that I haven’t seen any of them before!).

Hampstead Theatre’s 70th anniversary season has seen them revisiting plays from their past – Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play premiered in the UK here back in 1985 – and whilst you can see that it might have had some impact then, it absolutely lacks any of that now. Roxana Silbert’s pared-back production is impressively frippery-free, just until you realise that nothing of import has put in its place. Continue reading “Review: ‘Night, Mother, Hampstead Theatre”

Round-up of August theatre news

Hampstead Theatre has announced its remaining Main Stage productions for 2021. Stockard Channing and Rebecca Night will perform in the Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘night, Mother by Marsha Norman.This astonishing play, which had its UK premiere at Hampstead Theatre in 1985, will be directed by the theatre’s Artistic Director, Roxana Silbert.  ‘night, Mother will run from 22 October until 4 December 2021.

Tamsin Greig will perform in Alan Plater’s raucously funny Peggy For You.  Richard Wilson will direct this Olivier-nominated play, which had its world premiere at Hampstead Theatre in 1999.  Peggy For You will run from 10 December until 29 January 2022. Continue reading “Round-up of August theatre news”