Just wanted to spotlight this photo feature in the Guardian, looking at various Royal Shakespeare Company queens from across the ages. Costume, hair and design really do bring it when it comes to Cleopatra eh?!
We’re beginning to see the fruits of some more of the lockdown programming that has seen theatres across England respond in a variety of impressive ways
Nottingham Playhouse’s Unlocked Festival continues to rocket up the must-see list as it announces more details. Their local writing commission has ended up with two winners – Wayward Thread’s Hand Me Down and Lapelle’s Factory’s Shuck, both of which will now receive work-in-progress performances as part of the festival.
Casting has also been announced for James Graham’s Bubble, which will star the marvellous Pearl Mackie and the equally marvellous Jessica Raine. They join the likes of Mark Gatiss and Jade Anouka reading ghost stories on
Halloween, new work from Naomi Obeng and a concert starring Rosalie Craig, Sandra Marvin and Jodie Prenger. Continue reading “News: October UK theatre news update”
The Ian Charleson Award celebrates performances by actors under 30 in a classical role and is dedicated to Scottish actor Ian Charleson, who died in 1990 aged just 40. Whilst I remain unconvinced that this is a category that merits special consideration, especially if it isn’t going to reach out to the fringes, it is still good to see a pleasing range of actors being recognised here.
Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo for Abosede in Three Sisters at the National Theatre
Hammed Animashaun for Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Bridge Theatre
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
Heledd Gwynn for Hedda in Hedda Gabler at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff and Hastings and Ratcliffe in Richard III for Headlong
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
Duelling, but equally lovely, renditions of the Matilda classic ‘When I Grow Up’ see members of the original and current casts doing their bit to make lockdown bearable
The Royal Shakespeare Company have announced Sonnets in Solitude, a selection of Shakespeare’s sonnets self-recorded by RSC actors while in lockdown.
Many of the actors were working with the RSC at the time of the theatre’s temporary closure on 17 March and have been unable to perform or rehearse since.
RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran said,
“The sonnets are so intimate, confidential and direct, and watching them being performed in this way captures that immediately. Perhaps after 400 years, the form has finally found its ideal format”.
The RSC will release 90 of the 154 sonnets over the coming weeks which will be available to view via the RSC’s You Tube channel Miles Jupp, Alexandra Gilbreath, Antony Sher, Emma Fielding and Rosie Sheehy are just some of the actors involved in Sonnets in Solitude. Continue reading “News: The RSC launch Sonnets in Solitude”
Some seriously big names – David Walliams and Robbie Williams – can’t save the RSC’s new musical The Boy in the Dress at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre
“Don’t eat my cheese”
There’s no lacking for big names behind the RSC’s big new musical The Boy in the Dress. Based on the novel by David Walliams and adapted by Mark Ravenhill, and with a score by Robbie Williams, Guy Chambers and Chris Heath, the pedigree is certainly there in this story about Dennis, a young football-crazy boy who decides, one day, that he’d quite like to go to school wearing a dress. But Gregory Doran’s production ends up hitting the crossbar – literally so… – and it is a little difficult to work out exactly why.
Is it in Walliams’ book, where absent mothers get entirely short shrift (as do most women, the character of Darvesh’s mum, who even gets a song, is called…Darvesh’s mum) and notions about celebrating difference only go so far – it’s OK for boys to wear dresses and win football matches, but if you buy a copy of Vogue, then you’re the target for homophobic jokes in the script. Or is it in the score which is full of strangely low-impact numbers, until an Indian man appears – cue the Bollywood song! Or someone puts on a dress – cue the disco number! It can feel that there’s not much sophistication at work here. Continue reading “Review: The Boy in the Dress, Royal Shakespeare Theatre”
I find much to enjoy in Kimberley Sykes’s production of As You Like It for the RSC at the Barbican, particularly Lucy Phelps’ epic Rosalind
“Then, heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly”
The critical reception for Kimberley Sykes’ production of As You Like It for the RSC was a little lukewarm this summer, all 3 stars and grudging praise. But I found myself really rather seduced by its many charms, as it opens the winter residency for them at the Barbican. And in Lucy Phelps, a Rosalind full of big dyke energy for the ages. Read my four star review for Official Theatre here.
Running time: 2 hours 50 minutes (with interval)
Photo: Topher McGrillis
As You Like It is booking in rep at the Barbican until 18th January
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 Continue reading “September theatre round-up”
So pleased to have one of my favourite actresses take on the 10 questions for 10 years challenge – all hail Noma Dumezweni!
Although she was already an Olivier award-winning actor by the time I started blogging, there has been a particular thrill in seeing Noma Dumezweni’s star rise the way it has over the last decade. A thrilling Paulina and Nurse wherein I first fell in love, absolutely bossing the Royal Court, even taking the time to make her mark in Doctor Who. Oh and the small matter of her mind-expanding Hermione, a triumph onstage naturally but also showing off a grace on social media that we would all do well to emulate.
It is the intimacy of A Human Being Died That Night that sticks most in my mind and Noma kindly shared some thoughts around that production:
“Apart from sharing the stage with ’The Marsh’ – that show put me contact – via a confluence of timings and moments – with my father in SA, after over 30 years… so, it’ll always be special, let alone getting to meet the real life people Matthew and I portrayed in that piece. It was a pretty awesome time.”
Where were you 10 years ago?
Working on the last two year ensemble at the RSC – I finished bruised, grown and elated with the whole experience. Final shows were at The Armory in NY.