Review: Paradise, National Theatre

Kae Tempest makes a stirring National Theatre debut with Sophocles adaptation Paradise, starring a superb Lesley Sharp 

“If I don’t make it back and they ask what happened, make it a better story than it was

Tales of the Greeks are seemingly never far from any stage but in adapting Sophocles’ Philoctetes, Kae Tempest has at least tended towards one of the lesser known (at least for me). Paradise pleasingly sees the Olivier Theatre remain in the round and Ian Rickson’s production strikes gold with its all-female cast, catapulting leads Lesley Sharp, Gloria Obianyo and Anastasia Hille towards the divine.

Sharp plays Philoctetes, a renowned warrior abandoned years ago by Odysseus (Hille) after suffering an injury but now finding himself back in demand to help win another war. But years as a hermit have soured the traumatised hero and Odysseus and sidekick Neoptolemus (Obianyo) have their work cut out, trying to bring their former compatriot and his illustrious bow back into the fold. Continue reading “Review: Paradise, National Theatre”

News: National Theatre On Sale, July 2021 – January 2022

The National Theatre will return to performances with full capacity audiences from later this month. Additional seating will now be available for performances of After Life from 27 July alongside the previously-announced productions Rockets and Blue Lights in the Dorfman theatre and Paradise in the Olivier theatre, with extra tickets going on sale to the public from Monday 19 July.  

Tickets for The Normal Heart, East is East, Manor and Hex on sale to the public from Friday 30 July. Continue reading “News: National Theatre On Sale, July 2021 – January 2022”

News: The National Theatre announces 2021-22 programming and launches National Theatre Together

The National Theatre announces new programming and launches a major new campaign for its future, National Theatre Together

The National Theatre has announced its programming until the start of next year with productions on all three South Bank stages as well as three major UK tours, two productions on Broadway, a return to cinemas, and a new feature film to be broadcast on television this autumn. In the week the theatre reopened for audiences again, six new productions were announced, and five productions halted by the pandemic were confirmed to return to the South Bank.  

It has also announced the public launch of National Theatre Together, a new campaign with people at its heart, highlighting the importance of creativity and collaboration with theatre-makers and communities, for young people and audiences. The campaign cements the NT’s commitment to the people of this country and will raise vital funds for the theatre’s ambitious recovery post-pandemic.  Continue reading “News: The National Theatre announces 2021-22 programming and launches National Theatre Together”

Review: Royal Court’s Living Newspaper #4

Raj Bajaj, Jason Barnett, Genesis Lynea, and Gloria Obianyo impress in the Royal Court’s Living Newspaper #4

Crisis after crisis we persist

Tackling, among other things, Black Lives Matter, Reclaim the Streets and the ongoing fury at the Tory government, the fourth edition of the Royal Court’s Living Newspaper burns with the spirit of protest. And on the front page Crisis After Crisis We Persist, Raj Bajaj, Jason Barnett, Genesis Lynea, and Gloria Obianyo capture this raucous, almost rowdy, emotionality with skill.

Elsewhere, the tension between the newspaper format and the range of content emerges as something a little curious. Annie Siddons and Rachel Nwokoro’s Wisdom Cards noodles around tarot card readings rather aimlessly whereas Stef Smith’s Confit is a fascinating look at Scottish identity and politics. It speaks to the model, that it doesn’t really matter if there’s sections you’re not keen on, as with an IRL newspaper, you don’t have to read every page…

Photos: Isha Shah
Living Newspaper #4 is streaming via the Royal Court until 18th April

News: writers and cast for Living Newspaper #4

Bukky Bakray, Stacey Gregg, Tanika Gupta, Ellie Kendrick, Sabrina Mahfouz, Nathaniel Martello-White, Eoin McAndrew, Caitlin McEwan, Rachel Nwokoro, Annie Siddons, Stef Smith, Caro Black Tam, Ed Thomas, and Michael Wynne will write Edition 4 of the Royal Court’s Living Newspaper.

A sideways look at the people who govern us. A space for protest. Because we can’t party without protest and we can’t heal without it either.

Edition 4 will feature Rishi Sunak as your romantic Indian soap hero, sign language interpreters prepping for a Covid briefing at the Northern Irish Assembly, a teenager watching the End SARS protests play out on Instagram, a love letter to Nicola Sturgeon, an internet boy who becomes a museum piece, an unravelling of Peruvian independence day celebrations and a box office supervisor who tells it like it is. Continue reading “News: writers and cast for Living Newspaper #4”

Radio review: Constellations / Elegy / The Meaning of Zong

Less reviews, more notifications that a wonderful radio version of Nick Payne’s Constellations is now available to listen to on Radio 3, starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and George Mackay. It’s well worth your time but be warned, it could well lead to expensive splurges to see the four forthcoming West End casts of Sheila Atim and Ivanno Jeremiah, Peter Capaldi and Zoë Wanamaker, Omari Douglas and Russell Tovey, and Anna Maxwell Martin and Chris O’Dowd.

Sasha Yevtushenko also directs a production of Elegy as part of this double bill, a play which I don’t remember half as fondly, despite a strong cast at the Donmar Warehouse. Here again, Juliet Stevenson, Deborah Findlay and Marilyn Nnadebe elevate the production to must-listen levels but it just isn’t as gut-wrenchingly affecting a piece of writing in the end.

Last up is Giles Terera’s The Meaning of Zong, the debut play for this talented performer which is now receiving its premiere on radio. It’s an extraordinary dramatisation of a shocking piece of British history that very few of us will know about, one which is vital to add to the discourse that has emerged since last summer and a play that must be put on major stages as soon as we can.

News: Papatango announce winning monologues for Isolated But Open – Voices From Across The Shutdown

Papatango Theatre Company has announced the ten winning monologues from their Isolated But Open – Voices From Across The Shutdown initiative. Filmed performances of the monologues are available now for free on Papatango’s website (https://papatango.co.uk/isolated-but-open/), alongside the publication of each monologue as a free online PDF by Nick Hern Books.

The winning monologues were chosen from 2,063 submissions.

They are: Continue reading “News: Papatango announce winning monologues for Isolated But Open – Voices From Across The Shutdown”

News: National Theatre at Home continues with dual Frankensteins and more

National Theatre at Home continues its home programming with both versions of Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller and Antony and Cleopatra with Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo, plus there’s a National Theatre at Home Quiz 

Following on from the success of its opening set of transmissionsOne Man, Two Guvnors was viewed over 2.5 million times in the week it was available – the National Theatre has announced the next two productions it will be airing as part of National Theatre at Home. 2011’s Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller sharing its two main roles and 2018’s Antony and Cleopatra, starring Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo.

Both productions will be free to stream, premiering at 7.00PM BST and then available on demand for seven days. Further productions to be streamed as part of National Theatre at Home will be announced soon.

Today also sees the launch of the National Theatre at Home Quiz, to be played from home featuring familiar faces from the world of stage and screen as the quizmasters. Each quiz will include rounds of five questions on a wide variety of topics.

On the final Monday of each month people will be able join the virtual quiz directly from their homes via the NT’s YouTube channel and Facebook page live at 7pm. The first quiz will be on Monday 27 April with quizmasters Dame Helen Mirren, Sir Lenny Henry, Lesley Manville, and Sir Ian McKellen asking questions on topics including history, sport, nature, and of course, the National Theatre (bagsy team Manville).