Review: The 47th, Old Vic Theatre

Some wickedly funny writing and tremendous work from Bertie Carvel, Tamara Tunie and Lydia Wilson can’t quite make The 47th great again at the Old Vic Theatre

“It’s not a game for gentlemen we’re playing,
Political and civilized.
This is Historic”

Much has been made of Mike Bartlett’s forthcoming omnipresence on London stages. Cock has just been revived in the West End, the Lyric Hammersmith is about to open Scandaltown and the Old Vic now hosts The 47th, all probing at different elements of Bartlett’s skill as a writer. The 47th harks back to King Charles III in some ways, a return to Shakespearean future history play mode, but one is left wondering why now, why this theatre, why this writer?

Bartlett has pressed the fast-forward button just slightly to take us to 2024 and the next US presidential election. The Republican primaries are about to start and Trump has got his beady eye on them, whilst Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are in their own negotiations on the other side. And as the race to the White House heats up once again to insurrectionist levels, a case study of the perilous and precarious state of US democracy is played out in front of us. Continue reading “Review: The 47th, Old Vic Theatre”

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: the Old Vic reveals some of its 2022 plans

Matthew Warchus’ programme for the Old Vic’s 2022 includes an interesting couple of choices and the return of a festive favourite for the sixth year running

The 47th
29 Mar–28 May 2022

The world premiere of Mike Bartlett’s viciously funny new play The 47th, directed by Rupert Goold with Bertie Carvel, Tamara Tunie and Lydia Wilson. A chaotic glimpse into the underbelly of the greatest political show on earth – the next presidential race.

Jitney
09 Jun–09 Jul 2022

The London premiere of Baylis Director Tinuke Craig’s five-star production of August Wilson’s Jitney, with cast including Geoff AymerLeanne HenlonWil JohnsonLeemore Marrett Jr and Tony Marshall. A groundbreaking modern classic exploring the fragile bond between eight men in a racially segregated, post-Vietnam America. Continue reading “News: the Old Vic reveals some of its 2022 plans”

News: Royal & Derngate announces further productions for its 2021/22 Made in Northampton season

Royal & Derngate has announced four further productions to complete its 2021/22 Made in Northampton season. A new production of Joe Penhall’s biting contemporary satire Blue/Orange is brought to the stage this autumn by the producing team behind Ralph Fiennes’ hugely successful Four Quartets which is soon to transfer to the West End. Giles Terera and Michael Balogun will collaborate with Artistic Director James Dacre with original music by Valgeir Sigurðsson of Bedroom Community. The venue then premieres The Wellspring, an autobiographic work from playwright Barney Norris and his father David Owen Norris, directed by Jude Christian. The venue’s previously announced production of An Improbable Musical will then premiere with a cast including Niall AshdownRuth BrattAdam CourtingJosie Lawrence and Janet Etuk.

This autumn also sees Royal & Derngate’s artist development programme Generate host a festival of new work and present 60 Miles by Road or Rail chronicling the recent history of Northampton Town. Meanwhile, the venue’s charity compilation album Incidental: Music for the Stage, will be released on 24 September on CD and all major streaming platforms. Continue reading “News: Royal & Derngate announces further productions for its 2021/22 Made in Northampton season”

News: Royal & Derngate and Atlantic Screen Music announce new album Incidental: Music For The Stage

Royal & Derngate Theatres and Atlantic Screen Music have announced the release of a contemporary classical and electronic music album INCIDENTAL: Music For The Stage featuring original compositions for theatre inspired by some of the most famous plays and novels in the English Language. The charity compilation album will contain original music from stage productions by composers such as White Lies, Anne Dudley, These New Puritans, Rachel Portman, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Isobel Waller-Bridge, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Renell Shaw alongside spoken performances from actors including Judi Dench, Amanda Seyfried, David Harewood, Felicity Jones, Giles Terera, Patricia Routledge, James Norton, Sharon D Clarke, Iain Glen, Lesley Sharp, Stephen Fry, Indira Varma, Maxine Peake, Roger Allam, Anton Lesser and Simon Russell Beale.


Together they will raise vital funds to support Northampton Royal & Derngate Theatres’ reopening, helping the venue to recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic and to continue to produce their award winning Made in Northampton productions. The album is available to pre-order at incidentalmusicforthestage.com or pre-save on Spotify, Bandcamp, iTunes, Deezer and Tidal here. To launch the project today, two singles from the album are being released: Rachel Portman’s prologue to A Tale of Two Cities featuring Judi Dench and White Lies’ prologue to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof featuring Amanda Seyfried, both of which are available to listen to here and to download here. Continue reading “News: Royal & Derngate and Atlantic Screen Music announce new album Incidental: Music For The Stage”

TV Review: The Sister

Not even with Neil Cross writing and Russell Tovey and Bertie Carvel starring can I recommend the dullness of TV show The Sister

“You know how these things can spiral out of control”

With Neil Cross (he of Luther) adapting his own novel and a cast led by Russell Tovey and Bertie Carvel, plus Amanda Root lower down the bill, hopes were high for new ITV drama The Sister but boy, were they crushed. Sadly, I think it is one of the dullest shows I’ve seen in ages, rivalled only by Roadkill which I’m struggling through at the same time.

Stripped over a week, this four-parter follows Tovey’s Nathan, whose apparent marital bliss is shattered by the arrival of Carvel’s Bob, a sinister figure from his past with whom he shares some dark secrets. Namely, that after a particularly intoxicated New Year’s Eve involving a random hookup, said hookup ended up dead and buried in the forest. Continue reading “TV Review: The Sister”

New TV shows for winter

As the clocks go back, the prestige TV shows come out, so I checked out the first episodes of The Undoing, Roadkill and The Sister to find not one but two Scandiqueens

“Sounds like we’re digging in for a long answer”

With a company that includes Noma Dumezweni and the empress of jumpers Sofie Gråbøl, I was initially a little disappointed that neither appeared in the first episode of new HBO show The Undoing. But when your leads are Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant, your writer is David E Kelley and your director is Susanne Bier, then there’s little to complain about. Based on a Jean Hanff Korelitz novel and set in the dripping wealth of the Upper East Side, the tantalising promise of murder and adultery is skilfully woven across this opening episode and I’m definitely hooked.  Continue reading “New TV shows for winter”