#AdventwithClowns Day 2 – Joe Penhall’s Birthday

Today’s Advent treat is this TV version of Joe Penhall’s Birthday, making it a belated Roger Michell tribute first seen at the Royal Court

“Men can take the pain”

Joe Penhall’s Birthday was first seen onstage at the Royal Court back in 2012 and, in the strange way of these things, was chosen for televisual adaptation as part of Sky Art’s Playhouse Presents… programme in 2015. Roger Michell returned to direct with three-quarters of the original cast, only replacing Lisa Dillon with Anna Maxwell Martin (a mildly interesting decision given that’s his wife…!). 

Birthday follows a couple in the final stages of pregnancy. The only thing is it is Ed who is nine months pregnant and Lisa who is pacing the hospital corridors and forgetting to pack the raspberry leaf tea. This is a world where men can have artificial wombs implanted but despite those advances, the often patronising manner that so many pregnant people experience remains very much intact. Continue reading “#AdventwithClowns Day 2 – Joe Penhall’s Birthday”

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”

Film Review: random (2011)

I revisit debbie tucker green’s random, this time on screen, 13 years after seeing it onstage, and am still blown away by Nadine Marshall’s talent and the delicious Mariah Carey shade

“Never trouble trouble til trouble trouble you”

debbie tucker green’s play random has a special place in my heart as it was the first show I ever saw at the Royal Court, back in 2008. I may have liked rather than loved it at the time but the urgency of Nadine Marshall’s solo delivery lingered long in the mind, particularly in the way her performance encapsulated several members of the same family, first going about their daily business and then reeling from a traumatic shock, a random act of violence.

tucker green directs her own adaptation here and finds an intriguing way to blend that monologue form with a wider visual representation of the world it depicts. Marshall returns as Sister, who once again inhabits all the dramatis personae of the story, but tucker green intersperses her backstage-set delivery with on-location shots featuring those characters, sometimes even letting them speak their own lines. Continue reading “Film Review: random (2011)”

Nominations for the 2021 Black British Theatre Awards

The Black British Theatre Awards (BBTAs) is the UK’s first award show to celebrate the excellence and influence of Black performers and creatives within the UK theatre industry.

CREATIVES GROUP

BEST DIRECTOR AWARD FOR A PLAY OR MUSICAL
Anthony Simpson-Pike, Lava, Bush Theatre
Miranda Cromwell, and breathe…, Almeida Theatre
Tinuke Craig, The Color Purple – at Home, Curve, in association with Birmingham Hippodrome

BEST MUSICAL DIRECTOR
Femi Temowo, and breathe…, Almeida Theatre
Ian Oakley, From Here, Chiswick Playhouse
Nadine Lee, Bagdad Cafe, The Old Vic

BEST PRODUCER AWARD
Almeida Theatre, and breathe
Chris Steward and Shanay Holmes, West End Musical Celebration at Palace Theatre
Tanisha Spring, A Killer Party

BEST CHOREOGRAPHER AWARD
Dannielle ‘Rhimes’ Lecointe, The Sun, The Moon and The Stars, Theatre Royal Stratford East
Ingrid Mackinnon, Romeo and Juliet, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Sarah Golding, Cruise, Duchess Theatre Continue reading “Nominations for the 2021 Black British Theatre Awards”

Review: Is God Is, Royal Court

Aleshea Harris’ vengeance-soaked Is God Is is a ferocious breath of fresh air at the Royal Court, with yet another memorable performance from Cecilia Noble

“She made us

Even as you count off the cultural reference points from Greek tragedy through McDonagh and Tarantino, Aleshea Harris’ Is God Is is a ferocious breath of fresh air at the Royal Court. As it falls in the honourable tradition of many a vengeance thriller, its unique take and razor-sharp perspective makes for a real theatrical surprise. 

Twins Racine and Anaia were both disfigured in a fire that they believe killed their mother 20 years ago but when a letter from She arrives, naming her husband, their father, as the culprit, a quest for revenge is initiated. And as they travel from Arkansas to California, their road movie becomes increasingly bloodsoaked. Continue reading “Review: Is God Is, Royal Court”

News: debbie tucker green’s ear for eye gets release date

ear for eye will world premiere at BFI Southbank on 16 October and exclusively the same evening on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer

The 65th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express has announced a groundbreaking joint launch with the BBC for the much anticipated second feature from filmmaker and playwright debbie tucker green. Her latest film, ear for eye, will world premiere at the BFI Southbank on Saturday 16 October and exclusively the same evening on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer. 

tucker green has adapted her highly acclaimed 2018 Royal Court stage production for the screen, with backing from BBC Film, BBC Two and the BFI, awarding funds from the National Lottery. It’s the second feature film from the BAFTA and Olivier Award-winning writer and director.

Continue reading “News: debbie tucker green’s ear for eye gets release date”

August casting update

 

Linda Bassett and John Heffernan have been cast in Caryl Churchill’s new play What If If Only, which will be directed by James Macdonald. With set design by Miriam Buether, lighting design by Prema Mehta, sound design by Christopher Shutt and assistant direction from Grace Duggan.

What If If Only will run in the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs from Wednesday 29 September 2021 – Saturday 23 October 2021. Performances run Monday – Saturday at 6pm, plus Friday 8, 15 & 22 October 2021 at 10pm. The running time is a lush 14 minutes. Continue reading “August casting update”

Late summer casting news

Vivienne Acheampong, Adelayo Adedayo, Ray Emmet Brown, Ernest Kingsley Jnr, Tamara Lawrance, Rudolphe Mdlongwa, Mark Monero and Cecilia Noble have been cast in the UK premiere of Is God Is written by Aleshea Harris and directed by Royal Court Associate Director Ola Ince. 

Is God Is by Aleshea Harris will run in the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs from Friday 10 September 2021 – Saturday 23 October 2021 with press night on Thursday 16 September 2021, 7.30pm.

With set design by Chloe Lamford, costume design by Natalie Pryce, lighting design by Simisola Lucia Majekodumni, composition by Renell Shaw, sound design by Max Perryment, movement direction from Imogen Knight, choreography by Jordan ‘JFunk’ Franklin and special effects design by Susanna Peretz. The associate designer is Shankho Chaudhuri, the assistant director is Leian John-Baptiste, the dialect coach is Dawn-Elin Fraser and the fight director is Philip D’Orléans. Continue reading “Late summer casting news”

Review: seven methods of killing kylie jenner, Royal Court

Jasmine Lee-Jones’s award-winning seven methods of killing kylie jenner transfers downstairs at the Royal Court

“You knew what you were doing when you posted that tweet”

After a successful run in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs which garnered Alfred Fagon, Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Most Promising Playwright Awards, Jasmine Lee-Jones’ seven methods of killing kylie jenner transfers downstairs at the Royal Court in striking form.

Provoked by a tweet from Forbes declaring Kylie Jenner to be a ‘self-made’ billionaire, Cleo unleashes a tirade via an anonymous Twitter account. As she goes increasingly viral, her pal Kara tries to talk her down off the ledge but it is clear that Cleo is only just getting started. Continue reading “Review: seven methods of killing kylie jenner, Royal Court”

Review: Royal Court’s Living Newspaper #7

Writers between the ages of 14 and 21 get their turn to take over the Royal Court’s Living Newspaper for its seventh and final edition

“Did you see what I done?”

The seventh (and final) part of the Royal Court’s Living Newspaper is actually something of a Brucie bonus, an additional edition

Naomi Lundie-Smith’s existential tube journey in summer friends? sees Jemima Mayala reflect poetically on the passing joys of that particular season. Ruby Stokes’ Paths; Unparalleled speaks of hard-won truths – appropriate to any age – about online dating, delivered with wryly resigned recognition by Frances Mayli McCann.

I also really enjoyed the intertwining narratives of Blessing Adetunji’s Beyond Touch (of a) Screen, enhanced by evocative movement work from Kemi Awoderu andTyrone Huntley. And one of the more reliably entertaining elements of the newspaper format doesn’t disappoint here, with the musical front page Lockdown FM striking in its punchy immediacy.

Photos: Isha Shah
Living Newspaper #7 is streaming via the Royal Court until 9th May