News: Peter Forbes joins the cast of National Theatre’s Jack Absolute Flies Again

Rehearsals have started for Jack Absolute Flies Again, a riotous and comedic new version of Sheridan’s The Rivals, co-written by Richard Bean (One Man, Two Guvnors) and Oliver Chris (Emma) that will play in the Olivier theatre from 2 July.

July 1940. After an aerial dog fight, Pilot Officer Jack Absolute flies home to win the heart of his old flame, Lydia Languish. Back on British soil, Jack’s advances soon turn to anarchy when the young heiress demands to be loved on her own, very particular, terms. Continue reading “News: Peter Forbes joins the cast of National Theatre’s Jack Absolute Flies Again”

News: National Theatre reveal 2 new production and a tour

The National Theatre today announces two new productions, and the booking dates of two previously announced productions, to be performed on all three South Bank stages this Autumn, as well as the UK and Ireland tour of The Ocean at the End of The Lane.

Lyndsey Turner (Under Milk Wood) will direct Arthur Miller’s The Crucible in the Olivier theatre in September. A gripping parable of power and its abuse, this urgent new staging will see Brendan Cowell (Yerma) make his National Theatre debut as John Proctor alongside Erin Doherty (The Crown, My Name is Rachel Corrie) playing the role of Abigail. Further casting includes Fisayo Akinade, Rachelle Diedericks, Nick Fletcher, Karl Johnson, Gracie McGonigal, Matthew Marsh and Eileen Walsh

With set design by Es Devlin, costume design by Catherine Fay and lighting design by Tim Lutkin. Sound design by Tingying Dong (content design) and Paul Arditti (system design). Staff director is Blythe Stewart, and dialect coaches are Majella Hurley and Hazel Holder. Continue reading “News: National Theatre reveal 2 new production and a tour”

Review: Middle, National Theatre

Often painfully funny writing collides with the traumatic prospect of a marital split in David Eldridge’s Middle at the National Theatre

“I don’t think they have conscious uncoupling in Essex. Unconscious coupling yes…”

First there was a Beginning, and now there is a Middle. We’re 12 or so years into a well-heeled marriage and the thrill of tipsy late-night fish finger sandwiches has given way to insomnia-driven mugs of hot milk at 4 in the morning. And pretty soon we’re well aware that Maggie is gearing up for a tricky, potentially life-altering conversation with husband Gary.

Middle isn’t a formal sequel to Beginning, but rather the second instalment in a loosely conceived trilogy from David Eldridge about the life cycle of relationships. And played out over 100 uninterrupted minutes, he probes into the dissatisfaction of middle age and the marital discord it can provoke, with an unsparing dissection of how disappointments eat us from the inside. Continue reading “Review: Middle, National Theatre”

Critics’ Circle Awards 2022: the winners in full

Best new play
Best of Enemies, Young Vic Theatre, London

Best musical
Spring Awakening, Almeida Theatre, London

Best actor
Ben Daniels for The Normal Heart, National Theatre, London

Best actress
Jessie Buckley for Cabaret, Playhouse Theatre, London

Best Shakespearean performance
Cush Jumbo for Hamlet, Young Vic Theatre, London

Best director
Rebecca Frecknall for Cabaret, Playhouse Theatre, London

Best designer 
Tom Scutt for Cabaret, Playhouse Theatre, London

Most promising playwright
Zadie Smith for The Wife of Willesden, Kiln Theatre, London
Igor Memic for Old Bridge, Bush Theatre, London

Most promising newcomer
Stuart Thompson for Spring Awakening, Almeida Theatre, London
Samuel Creasey for The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, Bridge Theatre, London

Commendations for exceptional theatremaking during lockdown
National Theatre
Jermyn Street Theatre
Original Theatre Company
Old Vic Theatre
Nica Burns 

Photos: Nicola Walker in rehearsals for The Corn is Green

Photos of Nicola Walker in rehearsal for The Corn is Green at the National Theatre have been released today. The Corn is Green by Emlyn Williams, and directed by Dominic Cooke, opens in the Lyttelton Theatre on 9 April, and runs until 11 June.  

Emlyn Williams’ semi-autobiographical play is given a bold new staging in its first London revival for over 35 years. Nicola Walker will lead the company playing the role of Miss Lily Moffat, a teacher newly arrived in rural North Wales, determined to help young local miners out of poverty by teaching them to read and write. Continue reading “Photos: Nicola Walker in rehearsals for The Corn is Green”

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”

Plays update for March

So much play casting news!

Mike Bartlett’s political comedy The 47th opens at the Old Vic on 29th March. Joining the previously announced Bertie Carvel as Donald Trump, Tamara Tunie as Kamala Harris and Lydia Wilson as Ivanka Trump will be James Cooney as Charlie Takahashi, James Garnon as Ted Cruz, Richard Hansell as Steve Richetti, Oscar Lloyd as Donald Junior, Jenni Maitland as Heidi Cruz, Freddie Meredith as Eric Trump, Ben Onwukwe as Barack Obama, Cherrelle Skeete as Tina Flournoy, Ami Tredrea as Rosie Takahashi and Simon Williams as Joe Biden, with all other parts played by the company. 

Directed by Rupert Goold, with set design by Miriam Buether, costume design by Evie Gurney, lighting by Neil Austin, sound by Tony Gayle, original music and sound score by Adam Cork, video by Ash J Woodward, movement by Lynne Page, wigs, hair and make-up by Richard Mawbey, casting by Jessica Ronane CDG, US casting by Jim Carnahan, voice by Joel Trill and dialect by Brett Tyne. Continue reading “Plays update for March”

News: National Theatre announces Summer 2022 season

The National Theatre has announced new productions for all three South Bank stages this summer: Jack Absolute Flies Again in the Olivier theatre, Much Ado About Nothing in the Lyttelton theatre and All of Us in the Dorfman theatre with tickets on sale to the public from Thursday 10 March.  

Jack Absolute Flies Again a riotous and comedic new version of Sheridan’s The Rivals, co-written by Richard Bean (One Man, Two Guvnors) and Oliver Chris (Emma), will play in the Olivier theatre in July. Originally due to open in April 2020, Emily Burns (The Comeback) will direct Laurie Davidson (Cats) as Jack Absolute alongside Caroline Quentin (Jonathan Creek) as Mrs Malaprop, Natalie Simpson (Three Sisters) as Lydia Languish, Kelvin Fletcher (Emmerdale) as Dudley Scunthorpe and Kerry Howard (Him & Her) as Lucy, James Corrigan, Theo Cowan, Jordan Metcalfe, George Kemp, Akshay Sharan, Tim Steed, Geoffrey Towers, Shona White and Helena Wilson also join the company.  

Set and costume design is by Mark Thompson, lighting design by Tim Lutkin, composer is Paul Englishby, sound design by Paul Arditti and video and projection design by Jeff Sugg. Physical comedy director is Toby Park and choreography is by Lizzi Gee. Staff director is Cara Nolan.  Continue reading “News: National Theatre announces Summer 2022 season”

Review: Wuthering Heights, National Theatre

Emma Rice dips into her usual bag of theatrical tricks for a highly expressive take on Wuthering Heights but possibly to diminishing returns

“Let the chaos take you”

First seen late last year, Wuthering Heights arrives at the National Theatre as a co-production with Wise Children, Bristol Old Vic and York Theatre Royal. But though Emma Rice’s adaptation of Emily Brontë’s famous novel is full of the expressive theatricality on which she has built her reputation, it is hard to shake the feeling that it just doesn’t work as well here. 

So there’s broad humour aplenty (the screaming wind is inspired) and irreverent musical interventions (Cathy goes full-on miked up rock chick at one point). But there are elements that feel tired – a huge screen used for nothing but skyscapes, meaningless runs out into the audience, books as birds, puppet kids, it just feels like a lack of fresh inspiration. Continue reading “Review: Wuthering Heights, National Theatre”

Some February casting news

Casting announced for But I’m A Cheerleader: The Musical, the Six the musical tour and the National’s touring Hamlet plus the line-up for Roles We’ll Never Play


Photo © Mark Senior

The cast of the Turbine Theatre’s soon-to-arrive But I’m A Cheerleader: The Musical has been announced. Alice Croft leads the cast as high school cheerleader Megan Williams who goes through a sexual awakening and self-realization at the rehabilitation camp where her parents send her when they suspect she is a lesbian.

Joining her are Oliver Brooks (Dad/Larry), Edward Chitticks (Jared/Rock), Damon Gould (André), Tiffany Graves (Mary Brown), Jodie Jacobs (Mom/Lloyd), Lemuel Knights (Mike), Evie Rose Lane (Graham), Harry Singh (Jalal), Jodie Steele (Kimberly/Hilary), Aaron Teoh (Dolph) and Kia-Paris Walcott (Sinead). Continue reading “Some February casting news”