News: Uncle Vanya to receive broadcast release

Sonia Friedman Productions has announced that Ian Rickson’s highly acclaimed production of Conor McPherson’s new adaptation of Uncle Vanya has been filmed on stage at the Harold Pinter Theatre in partnership with Angelica Films. The new film version of the production will be shown in cinemas ahead of broadcast on the BBC (date tbc) with further distribution details to be announced soon. This makes it the first UK stage production closed by the Coronavirus pandemic to have been filmed and produced for the screen.

Directed for screen by Ross MacGibbon, the film reunites nearly all of the original cast of the production that was in its final weeks (read my review here) when the country went into lockdown in March and theatres were forced to close. Only Ciarán Hinds was unavailable and his role has now been taken by Roger Allam. Continue reading “News: Uncle Vanya to receive broadcast release”

Nominees for The Stage Debut Awards 2020

An interesting set of nominations from The Stage which range from the inspired to the incredible (in the bad sense) – trying to encompass all theatre will always have its trials but who in the world thought Robbie Williams deserved the nod here?!

Best performer in a play – sponsored by Audible
• Saida Ahmed for Little Miss Burden at the Bunker, London
• Katie Erich for Oliver Twist at Leeds Playhouse (in a co-production with Ramps on the Moon)
• Brooklyn Melvin for Oliver Twist at Leeds Playhouse (in a co-production with Ramps on the Moon)
• Daniel Monks for Teenage Dick at the Donmar Warehouse, London
• Rachel Nwokoro for Little Baby Jesus at the Orange Tree Theatre, London
• Jessica Rhodes for The Sugar Syndrome at the Orange Tree Theatre, London
• Khai Shaw for Little Baby Jesus at the Orange Tree Theatre, London
• Bobby Stallwood for Faith, Hope and Charity at the National Theatre, London Continue reading “Nominees for The Stage Debut Awards 2020”

News: 2020 Platform Presents Playwright’s Prize

Aimee Lou Wood, Dianna Agron, Kyle Soller, Phoebe Fox, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Aki Omoshaybi and George MacKay have self-filmed video excerpts from the finalist plays for the 2020 Platform Present Playwright’s Prize in isolation during lockdown

My Dad’s a Cunt by Anoushka Warden – Aimee Lou Woods

Aimee Lou Wood played Aimee Gibbs, a central character in two seasons of the Netflix comedy series Sex Education. She will soon to be seen in the feature film Louis Wain alongside Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy.

Continue reading “News: 2020 Platform Presents Playwright’s Prize”

News: stars come out to support the Jermyn Street Theatre

Stars of stage and screen including Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter, David Suchet, Dame Penelope Keith, Timothy West, Jamael Westman, Tobias Menzies, Aimee Lou Wood, Grace Saif, Dame Penelope Wilton, and Julie Hesmondhalgh have joined forces to perform Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets for Jermyn Street Theatre, a 70-seat studio in London’s West End.

The Sonnet Project launched on the theatre’s social media channels on 21 March, when Hannah Morrish performed Sonnet 1. One sonnet has appeared every day since then, with the cycle due to complete with Sonnet 154 in late August. David Suchet, star of Agatha Christie’s Poirot but also a veteran of numerous Royal Shakespeare Company productions, performed Sonnet 34 on Shakespeare’s birthday. Continue reading “News: stars come out to support the Jermyn Street Theatre”

Review: Uncle Vanya, Harold Pinter Theatre

Conor McPherson’s adaptation of Uncle Vanya featuring Toby Jones and Richard Armitage at the Harold Pinter Theatre is so good you can forgive the “wanging on”

“I mean what I mean when I say what I say”

Above everything, the thing that stands out most about Conor McPherson’s adaptation of Chekhov’s evergreen Uncle Vanya is his use of the phrase “wanging on”, twice. It’s such a random thing but it rings out like a bell, both times, more so than any of the usages of contemporary language that pepper the script. Running it a close second though, is just how vital and vibrant Ian Rickson’s production proves.

From stacking his cast with real, proper talent (imagine your bit players being of the ilk of Anna Calder-Marshall, Peter Wight and Dearbhla Molloy) to reuniting with Rosmersholm designer Rae Smith, this is a finely tuned piece of theatre which ultimately, doesn’t do too much that is radical (though the fourth wall breaking-bits are smashing), but rather distils its Chekhovian spirit just so. Or maybe that it’s the first production of the play I’ve seen since turning 40 and its midlife crises suddenly have new resonance…! Continue reading “Review: Uncle Vanya, Harold Pinter Theatre”

Review: Downstate, National Theatre

Frequently shocking in its daring and detail, Bruce Norris’ Downstate is a tough watch at the National Theatre

As if life isn’t hard enough without us being deliberately hurtful and cruel to each other”

Yeesh! Bruce Norris’ Downstate arrives at the National Theatre as a co-production with Steppenwolf Theatre Company and as you might expect from this award-winning agent provocateur, this play about paedophilia and rehabilitation is frequently shocking in its daring and detail.

Norris asks the question what should society do with those who have been found guilty of sex crimes against minors but having raised the unconscionable spectre of such people, proceeds to try and make us care for them, disaggregating the individual stories from the amorphous, horrific whole. Continue reading “Review: Downstate, National Theatre”

News from the National Theatre Autumn 2018 Press Conference

All sorts of goodies were announced today for the upcoming slate of productions at the National Theatre, including Small Island, Peter Gynt, and Top Girls 

Olivier Theatre

Small Island, a new play adapted by Helen Edmundson from Andrea Levy’s Orange Prize-winning bestselling novel, will open in the Olivier Theatre in May. Directed by Rufus Norris, the play journeys from Jamaica to Britain through the Second World War to 1948, the year the HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury. Small Island follows the intricately connected stories of Hortense, newly arrived in London, landlady Queenie and servicemen Gilbert and Bernard. Hope and humanity meet stubborn reality as, with epic sweep, the play uncovers the tangled history of Jamaica and the UK. Hundreds of tickets for every performance available at £15. Small Island will be broadcast live to cinemas worldwide as part of NT Live. Continue reading “News from the National Theatre Autumn 2018 Press Conference”