Jermyn Street Theatre has announced casting for its marathon performance of Homer’s The Odyssey, translated by Emily Wilson.
James Purefoy (Rome, Fisherman’s Friends, Churchill) stars as Odysseus, the Greek hero whose ten-year journey home from Troy is the heart of Homer’s epic poem. Purefoy is joined by Susannah Harker (Pride and Prejudice, House of Cards) as his wife Penelope, new graduate Chirag Benedict Lobo as his son Telemachus, renowned Shakespearean actor Michael Pennington as his father Laertes, Clare Perkins (Emilia, Sweat) as Athena, the goddess who guides his journey, and Marion Bailey (The Crown, Mr Turner, Vera Drake) as his devoted nurse Eurycleia. The ensemble cast is completed by Jim Findley, Sam Crerar, David Sturzaker and Robert Mountford, all returning to Jermyn Street Theatre. Continue reading “News: James Purefoy leads all-star cast for the Jermyn Street’s epic Odyssey”
With an unerring sense of timing, our dark November evenings now have the chance of being brightened by the theatrical wonder that was Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s Emilia. An archived recording of the show’s 2019 West End production is being made available online for two weeks from 10th November.
I loved the show in its first run at the Globe and its subsequent transfer into the West End at the Vaudeville Theatre and I’m sure much of its power will be retained in its taping. And because the people behind the show really are good sorts, they’re using a pay-what-you-can model with the proceeds from the recording being shared across the entire team from the 2019 production. Continue reading “News: a stream of Emilia announced to get us through November”
A fatally muddled tone means Been So Long ends up less than the sum of its parts, despite glorious lead performances from Arinzé Kene and Michaela Coel
“People don’t want inclusivity mate, they want exclusivity. And something for the gluten-intolerant”
I really wanted to like Been So Long, and can imagine it having worked well on the stage (it played the Young Vic in 2009) but something has definitely been lost in translation with this screen adaptation here. It is mildly curious as the film is written by Ché Walker, scribe of the original play and the subsequent stage musical, but maybe this was a step too far?
One of the main problems for me is that crucial issue of tone. As a love story set in contemporary Camden, and in which Camden plays a central role, there’s a tendency towards gritty naturalism, particularly in showing the home lives of its protagonists, new ex-con Raymond (Arinzé Kene) and single mum of a disabled daughter Simone (Michaela Coel). Continue reading “Film Review: Been So Long (2018)”
I mean, just look at this absolute treasure trove of theatrical talent!
I’m off to listen to Patsy Ferran read Tom Wells, and Gabby Wong read Alexi Kaye Campbell, and Sarah Niles read Winsome Pinnock and…and…
The nominees for the 9th annual Mousetrap Awards are announced
These awards are voted for by young people, anyone aged 15-29 is invited to have their say as to who should pick up the trophies at the ceremony on Sunday 19th April. And while usual suspects Dear Evan Hansen, Waitress and & Juliet are leading the pack, it is nice to see such love for Small Island here too.
Mousetrap Theatre Projects strive to make London’s theatre scene accessible to young people, low-income families, mainstream and SEND state schools, and those with additional needs.
Voting is open until midnight on 23rd March via this link. Continue reading “Nominees for the 9th annual Mousetrap Awards”
How could you not love someone who would rather have an interval pint than an ice-cream?! Out of the Forest Theatre’s Sasha Wilson gets her 10 questions on
In the space of just a handful of shows, Out of the Forest Theatre have completely won my heart, their music-infused ensemble-based approach proving utterly compelling whether exploring Lizzie Borden’s legacy in Bury the Hatchet or ripping Arthur Miller (and many others) a new one in Call Me Fury. So I was delighted that their Artistic Director Sasha Wilson, cape-wearer extraordinaire, agreed to answer 10 questions for me.
I might have taken a break from reviewing for the last couple of months, but I didn’t stop going to the theatre. Here’s some brief thoughts on most of what I saw in July.
On Your Feet, aka the rhythm will get you, sometimes
the end of history…, aka how can you get cheese on toast so wrong
Equus, aka hell yes for Jessica Hung Han Yun’s lighting design
Games for Lovers, aka straight people be crazy
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, aka the one that got my goat
The Girl on the Train, aka Philip McGinley in shorts
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, aka Another Dream? dream on
Uncle Vanya, aka I really need to stop booking for plays like this with casts like that
Jellyfish, aka justice for the second best play of last year
Sweat, aka Clare Perkins should always be on in the West End
Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 The Musical, aka yay for lovely new musicals in the West End
The Light in the Piazza, aka Molly Lynch fricking nails it
Jesus Christ Superstar, aka was third time the charm?
Continue reading “July 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.”
With dreams of Edinburgh and Bruce Springsteen, Katie Arnstein takes on the 10 questions challenge
One of the best things about the VAULT Festival is the sense of discovery that accompanies its cultivating spirit, the new voices that it amplifies so well. One of the freshest, to my mind, is Katie Arnstein whose wryly confessional monologues have been a real revelation. A name to watch for the future, if there’s any justice in the world
Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s Emilia transfers to the Vaudeville Theatre with all of its feminist fire and fun intact
“There’s a woman on the stage”
Is there anything currently on the London stage that is more gracefully eloquent than the moment that the transformative power of grief is writ large at a crucial point a third of the way into Emilia. It’s a rare moment of beautiful subtlety in a play that is more often considerably bolder in its sentiment but it’s also a mark of just how nuanced Nicole Charles’ production and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s writing is, even while some tie themselves in knots trying to square its historical and feminist credentials.
A transfer from Shakespeare’s Globe last summer (officially the 13th best show of the year doncha know) where its short run caught fire, its all-female and wonderfully diverse cast and creative team mean that all three of the Strand’s major playhouses currently have work written by women in them (I wonder when this last happened). And while that ought not to be noteworthy, god knows it still is and it all ties up rather neatly with Lloyd Malcolm’s writing. For though this is a play about a historical woman, it is also a play about all women. Continue reading “Review: Emilia, Vaudeville Theatre”