News: Stars Announced For The Marlowe Sessions

Stars including Elliot Cowan, Thalissa Teixera, Jack Holden and Adrian Schiller announced for The Marlowe Sessions, Re-imagining The Pioneer of Elizabethan Theatre

This June, the Malthouse Theatre in Canterbury will bring together a cast of leading expert Elizabethan actors and some of the biggest names in British theatre for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of the works of Christopher Marlowe. The Marlowe Sessions is a true reimagining of Elizabethan Theatre’s enfant terrible.

Eleanor Wyld (Misfits, Thirteen, Hamlet) and Adrian Schiller (The Last Kingdom, Dr Who, Victoria), will rise to the challenge of the lead roles of Abigail and Barabbas in Marlowe’s classic The Jew of Malta. The on-stage pairing, who respectively played Jessica and Shylock in the Sam Wanamaker Globe Theatre’s acclaimed 2021 production of The Merchant of Venice, this time taking on the parts widely accepted to have provided Shakespeare with the blueprint for the original courtroom drama. Continue reading “News: Stars Announced For The Marlowe Sessions”

Review: 2:22 A Ghost Story, Criterion Theatre

Against all expectations, a return visit to 2:22 A Ghost Story, now at the Criterion Theatre, is hugely effective, and not just because Sam Swainsbury is in the cast

“Are you going to piss on my chips, mate?”

Sometimes, there’s real value in going back to something. I wasn’t much of a fan of 2:22 A Ghost Story the first time I saw it. But an invitation to see its new cast (including the marvellous Sam Swainsbury) at the Criterion Theatre – the show’s third West End iteration – offered an intriguing to chance to look at the show anew, fore-armed with the knowledge of what was going to happen.

And second time proved the charm, as it becomes a different kind of viewing experience, one which I found to be much more satisfying. I’m generally not a fan of horror in theatre and I think I allowed that to colour my mind too much in advance of seeing the show first time around. But mentally reconceiving it as a mystery puzzle, it holds up extremely well on repeat viewing. Continue reading “Review: 2:22 A Ghost Story, Criterion Theatre”

Review: 2:22 – A Ghost Story, Gielgud Theatre

The perils of going to see something just because you like an actor in it…loved seeing Elliot Cowan onstage again, was significantly less keen on 2:22 – A Ghost Story

“There’s something in our house. I hear it every night, at the same time.”

I wasn’t fussed enough about 2:22 – A Ghost Story to see it first time around, featuring Lily Allen’s stage debut at the Noël Coward, and I only really went to see this recast transfer at the Gielgud because of the presence of Elliot Cowan and the chance to see Stephanie Beatriz for the first time.

And my general feelings about horror on stage were somewhat vindicated, in a show whose first half is often stultifying. Sam and Jenny have moved into a house she believes is haunted and at a dinner party with their neighbours, they wait for the titular time when the paranormal is due to strike. Continue reading “Review: 2:22 – A Ghost Story, Gielgud Theatre”

News: 2:22 – A Ghost Story announces casting for its new season at the Gielgud Theatre

Producer Runaway Entertainment is delighted to announce the first casting news for the transfer of Danny Robins’ edge-of-your-seat, supernatural thriller 2:22 – A Ghost Story for a new season at the Gielgud Theatre. 

Stephanie Beatriz will play the role of Lauren, James Buckley will play the role of Ben, Elliot Cowan will play the role of Sam and Giovanna Fletcher will play the role of Jenny. Continue reading “News: 2:22 – A Ghost Story announces casting for its new season at the Gielgud Theatre”

TV Review: Innocent (Series 1)

A strong cast make the first series of Innocent highly watchable, even if the storytelling never quite catches fire

“Do you still think he did it?”

Matthew Arlidge and Chris Lang’s Innocent passed me by when it premiered on ITV in 2018 but with the arrival of a second series and an unavoidable publicity push, I thought I’d go back and visit the first, not least because Lang’s stock has never been higher as the creator of Unforgotten. And before the review proper starts, a mildly silly note about names in dramas. I went to school with a David Collins so found it highly amusing but to name his brother Phil? And then never reference it…madness I tell you!

The show centres on the case of Collins who has spent seven years in prison, convicted of murdering his wife Tara. When a legal technicality sees him acquitted, he attempts the process of rebuilding his life. But with his sister-in-law now in custody of his two children and a high degree of suspicion still floating around the air as the police reopen the case to try and find out once and for all who killed Tara, that is much easier said than done. Continue reading “TV Review: Innocent (Series 1)”

TV Review: The Spanish Princess, Series 2

Laura Carmichael emerges as a late MVP in the second instalment of Philippa Gregory’s The Spanish Princess

“Maybe we could have some lemon cake”

Based on the Philippa Gregory novels The Constant Princess and The King’s Curse, The Spanish Princess was split into two chunks of eight episodes by Starz, a decision which might have made sense for them but didn’t quite come off dramatically. Losing heavy hitters Henry VII and Margaret Beaufort leaves something of a vacuum which is never really replaced as we enter the final straits of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon’s marriage.

I’m not someone who gets particularly hung up on notions of historical accuracy, particularly with accounts of events of 500 years ago. And when you’re talking about about a Gregory-inspired version which races through 14 years in 8 episodes. that goes double. What is more of an issue here is the fact that Charlotte Hope’s portrayal of Catherine doesn’t really change, physically or emotionally, so that she feels the same as a teenager as she does the 40 year old we end with. Continue reading “TV Review: The Spanish Princess, Series 2”

TV Review: The Spanish Princess, Series 1

Series 1 of Philippa Gregory’s The Spanish Princess introduces Elliot Cowan and Harriet Walter to the mix with great success

“I won’t be passed around Europe like a colection plate”

Following on from The White Princess, The Spanish Princess is based on the Philippa Gregory novels The Constant Princess and The King’s Curse, and the first instalment of eight episodes tackles the arrival of Catherine of Aragon to England to meet the man she has been betrothed to since they were both children, Arthur, heir apparent to Henry VII.

The biggest problem, aside from the weather and the racism (members of her court had Moorish and descent), is that the epistolary courtship that had so wooed her teenage heart, was actually written by his younger brother Henry…plot twist. But when Arthur died young, it meant that the plan for peace between England and Spain could still be found in another marriage. Continue reading “TV Review: The Spanish Princess, Series 1”

TV Review: Jonathan Creek, Series 3

Elements of David Renwick’s writing starts to show signs of flagging as the magic starts to fade in Series 3 of Jonathan Creek

“What exactly does all this add up to?”

After a decent first couple of series, the third season of Jonathan Creek sees the show start to wobble a bit as the raft of impossible crimes sways from ingenious plotting to improbably convoluted. Episodes tackle disappearing aliens and a man who thinks he has sold his soul to the devil and it doesn’t always come off.

That said, there’s still some classic tales in here too. The revelation of ‘The Eyes of Tiresias’ is artfully done and ‘Miracle in Crooked Lane’ is properly, admirably fiendish even with its meta-theatrics. Alan Davies and Caroline Quentin both continue in good form but David Renwick’s writing doesn’t permit more than piecemeal character development which, three series in, leaves them a little flat. Continue reading “TV Review: Jonathan Creek, Series 3”

TV Review: The Frankenstein Chronicles, Series 1

Sean Bean does Sean Bean in the slight oddity that is Series 1 of The Frankenstein Chronicles, good work too from Vanessa Kirby

“This will be my penance”

Just a quickie for this, as it was one of those shows I’ve been meaning to watch for ages due to the list of actors in its first series (rather than its subject). Elliot Cowan, Anna Maxwell Martin, Ryan Sampson, Ed Stoppard, Sam West…a supporting company right out of Clowns central casting.

Created and mostly written by Benjamin Ross and Barry Langford, The Frankenstein Chronicles plays out as an “inspired by” Mary Shelley’s novel rather than a direct adaptation. It is essentially a 19th century police procedural but given we open with the discovery of a stitched-together body and its dramatis personae include William Blake and Shelley herself, it is clear what kind of universe we’re operating in. Continue reading “TV Review: The Frankenstein Chronicles, Series 1”