News: National Theatre reveal 2 new production and a tour

The National Theatre today announces two new productions, and the booking dates of two previously announced productions, to be performed on all three South Bank stages this Autumn, as well as the UK and Ireland tour of The Ocean at the End of The Lane.

Lyndsey Turner (Under Milk Wood) will direct Arthur Miller’s The Crucible in the Olivier theatre in September. A gripping parable of power and its abuse, this urgent new staging will see Brendan Cowell (Yerma) make his National Theatre debut as John Proctor alongside Erin Doherty (The Crown, My Name is Rachel Corrie) playing the role of Abigail. Further casting includes Fisayo Akinade, Rachelle Diedericks, Nick Fletcher, Karl Johnson, Gracie McGonigal, Matthew Marsh and Eileen Walsh

With set design by Es Devlin, costume design by Catherine Fay and lighting design by Tim Lutkin. Sound design by Tingying Dong (content design) and Paul Arditti (system design). Staff director is Blythe Stewart, and dialect coaches are Majella Hurley and Hazel Holder. Continue reading “News: National Theatre reveal 2 new production and a tour”

TV Review: Chloe

Led by the remarkable Erin Doherty with great turns from Pippa Bennett-Warner and Billy Howle, twisty thriller Chloe is huge amounts of fun

“I just felt like a bit of an imposter”

The realisation of a six-part TV drama aside, writer/director Alice Seabright manages something rather clever in Chloe in offering up an authentic depiction of the way (some) people use social media (Instagram) these days. As we meet Becky Green, we see her scrolling through the ‘gram-a-like with the TV blaring away, doing a deep dive into the profile of one person in particular – the titular Chloe – combing through all the carefully curated details of their life, as it seems online at least. 

Living somewhere on the rough side of Bristol, Becky’s life is presented as rather humdrum. Stuck with a mindless temp admin job and reluctantly forced into the role of carer for her dementia-suffering mother, you’d forgive her a little escapism. But when news of Chloe’s passing filters through, Becky spies an opportunity for herself. For she is a master of reinvention, adept at adopting new identities, and she soon inveigles her way into Chloe’s grieving friend group by donning ASOS’s finest and renaming herself Sasha. Continue reading “TV Review: Chloe”

27th Screen Actors Guild Awards winners

Film
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as Levee Green 
Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal as Ruben Stone
Anthony Hopkins – The Father as Anthony
Gary Oldman – Mank as Herman J. Mankiewicz
Steven Yeun – Minari as Jacob Yi

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as Ma Rainey
Amy Adams – Hillbilly Elegy as Beverly “Bev” Vance
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman as Martha Weiss
Frances McDormand – Nomadland as Fern
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman as Cassandra “Cassie” Thomas Continue reading “27th Screen Actors Guild Awards winners”

News: Chichester Festival Theatre announces summer plans

Artistic Director Daniel Evans and Executive Director Kathy Bourne have announced that Chichester Festival Theatre will reopen its doors with its summer musical: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific, running from 5 July – 4 September. 

Daniel Evans directs Gina Beck (Nellie Forbush), Julian Ovenden (Emile de Becque), Joanna Ampil (Bloody Mary), Keir Charles (Luther Billis) and Rob Houchen (Joe Cable). Continue reading “News: Chichester Festival Theatre announces summer plans”

27th Screen Actors Guild Awards nominees

Film
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal as Ruben Stone
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as Levee Green (posthumous nomination)
Anthony Hopkins – The Father as Anthony
Gary Oldman – Mank as Herman J. Mankiewicz
Steven Yeun – Minari as Jacob Yi

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Amy Adams – Hillbilly Elegy as Beverly “Bev” Vance
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as Ma Rainey
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman as Martha Weiss
Frances McDormand – Nomadland as Fern
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman as Cassandra “Cassie” Thomas Continue reading “27th Screen Actors Guild Awards nominees”

TV Review: The Crown, Series 4

Whereas I was sad that the cast of The Crown had to regenerate at the end of Series 2, I’m kinda glad that Series 4 is the last we’ll see of this second generation  

“Let’s just say, I can’t see it ending well for you”

I sampled the first few episodes of Series 4 of The Crown on release and whilst still appreciating much of the quality of this prestige drama, I couldn’t help but feel that it just isn’t quite up to par. An element of that is certainly personal, I just have zero desire to see depictions of Margaret Thatcher in anything. But there’s also something more nigglingly fundamental awry here, as we move to closer to the current day and increasingly feature people who are still alive. 

Whether royalist or republican (do republicans watch The Crown…?), there’s something fascinating about the way in which Peter Morgan’s writing has challenged conventional notions of myth-building around the British Royal Family. What might previously have been called decorum has been jettisoned with little seeming sacrosanct now, particularly as we delve into the marriage of Charles and Diana and his enduring relationship with Camilla, plus going deeper into Thatcher’s psyche than one could ever care to. Continue reading “TV Review: The Crown, Series 4”

TV Review: The Crown, Series 4 Episodes 1-3

I ration myself to Episodes 1-3 of Series 4 of The Crown in the first instance but find it is losing its lustre a little

“I’m struggling to find any redeeming features in these people at all”

Kicking off in 1977, Series 4 of The Crown swiftly moves into my lifetime with its second scene taking place in 1979, although not quite into events that I remember, at least in these first three episodes. And with the arrival of both Diana Spencer and Margaret Thatcher on the scene, there’s quite the decade to explore.

But something has gone a little awry for me and The Crown. The sheer scope of Peter Morgan’s writing means that there’s a mahoosive ensemble at work here but the nature of his construction of episodes that drill down to intimate focus means that there’s huge gaps and terrible wastage, particularly of Helena Bonham Carter’s delicious Princess Margaret. Continue reading “TV Review: The Crown, Series 4 Episodes 1-3”

News: October UK theatre news update

We’re beginning to see the fruits of some more of the lockdown programming that has seen theatres across England respond in a variety of impressive ways

Nottingham Playhouse’s Unlocked Festival continues to rocket up the must-see list as it announces more details. Their local writing commission has ended up with two winners – Wayward Thread’s Hand Me Down and Lapelle’s Factory’s Shuck, both of which will now receive work-in-progress performances as part of the festival.

Casting has also been announced for James Graham’s Bubble, which will star the marvellous Pearl Mackie and the equally marvellous Jessica Raine. They join the likes of Mark Gatiss and Jade Anouka reading ghost stories on
Halloween, new work from Naomi Obeng and a concert starring Rosalie Craig, Sandra Marvin and Jodie Prenger. Continue reading “News: October UK theatre news update”

September theatre news, the UK version

Chichester Festival Theatre has announced their Autumn plans and it looks to be a good’un. It includes:
– Sarah Kane’s Crave, directed by Tinuke Craig and starring Erin Doherty and Alfred Enoch, staged in a socially distanced Festival Theatre for 10 performances and live streamed to digital audiences
– for Christmas, a series of festive concerts (including one with Rebeccas Caine and Trehearn), followed by Chichester Festival Youth Theatre in a new version of Pinocchio by Anna Ledwich, directed by Dale Rooks
Michael Ball, Sheila Hancock and Patricia Routledge in conversation with Edward Seckerson
– cabaret and comedy including Frisky & Mannish, The Black Cat Cabaret, Barely Methodical Troupe, Rich Hall, Suzi Ruffell, Russell Kane and Rosie Jones
– music ranging from a celebration of Sondheim with West End stars, to a song recital by Kate Royal, a new concert from Joe Stilgoe and a portrait of Rachmaninoff with Henry Goodman and Lucy Parham Continue reading “September theatre news, the UK version”

TV Review: Unprecedented, Episode 5

Chloë Moss, Nathaniel Martello-White and Jasmine Lee-Jones make Episode 5 of Unprecedented unmissable 

“I want people not screens”

One of the main strengths, for me, of Unprecedented has been the sheer variety of the writing that has responded to Covid-19 here. Previous episodes (#1, #2, #3, #4) have all impressed but the combination of writers in this fifth instalment really captures that lightning-in-a-bottle potential that makes the best theatre spark.

I watched Chloë Moss’ Everybody’s Talkin’ whilst hungover but not even I can blame the huge weeping tears on that alone, this is a beautifully pitched, gorgeously performed slice of family drama in miniature. Three daughters gather on Zoom to speak with their recently bereaved mother but the trials of finding a new normal, within the context of already having find a new normal is full of unimaginable pain. Moss’ writing and Caitlin McLeod’s direction speaks directly to the challenges that so many faced even before coronavirus hit, and during, and Sue Johnston leads the cast marvellously.

Continue reading “TV Review: Unprecedented, Episode 5”