Round-up of March theatre news

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Everyone loves a ghost story and audiences have really loved 2:22 – A Ghost Story as it returns to the West End once again for a third season. And it continues to attact strong casts as Tom Felton (Sam), Mandip Gill (Jenny), Beatriz Romilly (Lauren) and Sam Swainsbury (Ben) will take on the challenge of trying to scare the crap out of people. The show opens at the Criterion Theatre from 7th May. Continue reading “Round-up of March theatre news”

TV Review: Killing Eve Series 2

Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer continue their great work but it’s hard not to see Series 2 of Killing Eve as a slight downturn on the first season 

“It’s OK if you feel weird. You just killed someone for the first time. With an axe.”

After such a strong opening season, there was perhaps an inevitability to Series 2 of Killing Eve not quite matching up to it. After all, in a game of cat-and-mouse, where do you go when they’ve met (and the mouse has stabbed the cat)?  It’s a question that new head writer Emerald Fennell never quite seems 100% sure of, even as she creates an entertaining journey along the way.

So after Eve stabs Villanelle, she’s recruited by MI6 to look into another serial killer, another woman working for The Twelve, whilst also dealing with the fallout of pushing her relationship with Villanelle to a new level. They continue to spar but the way in which the show engineers bringing them together doesn’t quite come off right. Killing Eve is at its best when completely unpredictable and this series doesn’t always hit that mark. Continue reading “TV Review: Killing Eve Series 2”

BBC Audio Drama Awards 2022 finalists

Best Actor 
Edmund Davies, The Pursuits Of Darleen Fyles. Director Pauline Harris, BBC Audio Drama North
Simon Russell Beale, Folk. Director Sue Roberts, BBC Audio Drama North
Giles Terera, The Meaning Of Zong. Director Tom Morris, Jonx Productions

Best Actress
Juliet Aubrey, Dead Weather. Director Nicolas Jackson, Afonica
Jasmine Hyde, Little Blue Lines. Director Gemma Jenkins, BBC Audio Drama London
Amanda Lawrence, Folk. Director Sue Roberts, BBC Audio Drama North Continue reading “BBC Audio Drama Awards 2022 finalists”

News: Exeunt – The Stage Door Project book announced

In 2020, for the first time in centuries, heavy red curtains swept closed on stages across the West End; all theatres were closed. Two actors – Lloyd McDonagh and Salvatore Scarpa- keenly feeling the loss of their theatre homes, turned to a form of art that could still thrive over the following months, and set about photographing the stage doors of the deserted city.

An extraordinary collaborative project almost two years in the making, Exeunt – The Stage Door Project collects together these moving images, alongside anecdotes from some of the world’s leading luminaries who have trodden the boards of the pictured theatres. Continue reading “News: Exeunt – The Stage Door Project book announced”

TV Review: The Windsors, Series 3

Series 3 of The Windsors sees the show tailing off just a little, as it struggles to work out how fit Meghan in as a comic character

“There could be tanks on the streets of Kensington and Chelsea”

After a couple of years off-air, Series 3 of The Windsors returned with an avowed aim of real topicality but given the way that Harry and Meghan’s departure from royal life and the subsequent revelations have played out, it can sometimes be a tricky watch (if you’re pro-Meghan that is…).

I’d argue that the series does best when cutting a little looser from this territory too. Charles and Camilla’s visit to the Middletons’ is inspired as is the dip into accidental Satanism, Fergie choosing between Eugenie and Beatrice at Glastonbury is hilarious as is their diversion to chalet life in Verbier. Continue reading “TV Review: The Windsors, Series 3”

Review: Still Life: Untold Stories of Nottingham Now

Julie Hesmondhalgh and Frances De La Tour, among others, star in the heartbreakingly excellent Still Life: Untold Stories of Nottingham Now

“So, this is where the magic happens”

At a moment when theatreland is full of news of planned reopenings and hopes for the future, it is good to still be able to look at the cultural contributions that reflect on the recent past. Still Life: Untold Stories of Nottingham Now does just that by offering up 5 short tales of what life in Nottingham during lockdown has been like, stories that speak to the human impact of a global pandemic.

Writers Olu Alakija, Nathan Ellis, Amy Guyler and Emteaz Hussain take us through the full gamut of experiences – from volunteering at food banks to life as a delivery driver, students dealing with disrupted schooling and the strange ballet of getting a COVID safe Uber. And not only that, there’s a special short but spiky sketch from Alan Bennett performed by the luminous Frances De La Tour. Continue reading “Review: Still Life: Untold Stories of Nottingham Now”

News: Nottingham Playhouse reveals a Spring Loaded season of 23 events

Nottingham Playhouse has announced a season of live and digital productions that celebrate local stories and support East Midlands’ talent. The shows and events range from dance, music, drama, and Bollywood to horror, comedy and romance. Most the productions will be available to rent for On Demand viewing over five days, with others livestreamed. Prices start from just a small suggested donation to its Curtain Up appeal, to £20 per household. Bookings for live events will go on general sale on Tuesday 23 March. On Demand productions will steadily become available for rental from 16 March 2021 through to June 2021. Continue reading “News: Nottingham Playhouse reveals a Spring Loaded season of 23 events”

Winners of the 2020 Olivier Awards

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical                                          
David Bedella for & Juliet at Shaftesbury Theatre – WINNER
Stewart Clarke for Fiddler On The Roof at Playhouse Theatre
Jack Loxton for Dear Evan Hansen at Noël Coward Theatre
Rupert Young for Dear Evan Hansen at Noël Coward Theatre                          

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical
Lucy Anderson for Dear Evan Hansen at Noël Coward Theatre
Petula Clark for Mary Poppins at Prince Edward Theatre
Cassidy Janson for & Juliet at Shaftesbury Theatre – WINNER
Lauren Ward for Dear Evan Hansen at Noël Coward Theatre                

Continue reading “Winners of the 2020 Olivier Awards”

Film Review: Notes on a Scandal (2006)

A marvellously against-type Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett score a huge hit in Notes on a Scandal

“Lasagne irritates my bowels, I’ll ask for a small portion”

Intelligently adapted from Zoë Heller’s novel by Patrick Marber, you get the feeling that Notes on a Scandal would be good even if anyone was acting in it. But since Richard Eyre’s film boasts Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett as its leads, it is something extraordinary.

Barbara and Sheba both teach at the same Islington secondary school. Barbara a long-serving history teacher, Sheba a brand new recruit to the art department, an unlikely friendship develops between the pair, one which detonates when the latter starts an affair with a pupil. Continue reading “Film Review: Notes on a Scandal (2006)”

Film Review: Dirty Pretty Things (2002)

Written by Peaky Blinder maestro Steven Knight and directed by Stephen Frears, Dirty Pretty Things remains a pretty darn great movie

“You are a refugee. You have no position here. You have nothing, You are nothing.”

There’s no doubting that Steven Knight is a pretty decent writer, the enormous success of Peaky Blinders shows us that, but he’s also a dab hand at films too, with credits that include Locke and Dirty Pretty Things. Dating back to 2002, the latter is powerfully effective, reminding us of the hypocrisy of a London economy that relies so heavily on exploited immigrant labour whilst mandating so hostile an environment for them.

Stephen Frears’ film is far more than a treatise on asylum seekers. Rather, it is a thriller, almost a heist movie in the end, which carries the reality for immigrant workers as its backdrop. Okwe is Nigerian and Senay is Turkish, both here without paperwork and both barely scratching a living through the most menial of jobs in taxi firms, sweatshops and shady hotels. It is at this last one where they meet and where they get swept up into a right rollicking time. Continue reading “Film Review: Dirty Pretty Things (2002)”