Film Review: The Last Duel (2021)

Much more engaging than it ought to be, medieval drama The Last Duel intrigues with its multiple points of view starring Matt Damon, Adam Driver and Jodie Comer

“There is no right, only the power of men”

Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel copped its fair share of bad headlines when its box office performance severely underwhelmed, so I had fairly limited expectations. But whilst it might not be the most subtle of films, this rape-revenge epic is interestingly conceived as it presents the perspective of its three main protagonists in three distinct chapters.

Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s screenplay is based on Eric Jager’s book The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France. And follows France’s last officially recognised judicial duel between noblemen Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris when the former’s wife Marguerite reports a rape by the latter. Continue reading “Film Review: The Last Duel (2021)”

TV Review: Killing Eve Series 3

Despite bringing Harriet Walter in and giving Fiona Shaw more to do, Series 3 of Killing Eve flails with a lack of purpose

“Being hard on someone is sometimes what they need”

After a powerful first set of episodes, the second season of Killing Eve began to show signs of running out of steam as it struggled to figure out what story it wanted to tell after cat and mouse actually met. And sad to say, Series 3 battles once again but still can’t quite come up with a new raison d’être.

One of the main issues is vagueness of The Twelve, ostensibly the main villains of the piece but much in the vain of the crap Bond movies, an amorphous blob whose desires remain unclear. For most of this series, you’ve no real idea what anyone is actually trying to do, or stop, in terms of the big picture at least.

Continue reading “TV Review: Killing Eve Series 3”

News: Final details announced for KHT50: Barstools to Broadway

Final details have been announced for KHT50: Barstools to Broadway from the King’s Head Theatre the celebration taking place from 14 – 19 February, marking the successes of the world-renowned pub theatre’s first 50 years with a series of readings of plays that started their lives there, with cast and creative teams with links to the playwrights and original shows.

Gemma Whelan will join Dame Harriet Walter for the opening event at the V&A in South Kensington on Monday 14 February for the staged reading of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s The Third (first staged in 1980), directed by Audrey Sheffield. This is followed by a Panel Discussion on New Women’s Theatre and Lunchtime Theatre, where Dame Harriet is joined by playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker, and King’s Head Theatre co-Artistic Director and Joint CEO Hannah Price, hosted by theatre historian Susan Croft. The Panel Discussion will be available to access online, with the play reading only accessible to the in-person audience. Tickets are available now as part of the KHT50: Barstools to Broadway Sovereign experience and via the V&A website. Continue reading “News: Final details announced for KHT50: Barstools to Broadway”

News: Exeunt – The Stage Door Project book announced

In 2020, for the first time in centuries, heavy red curtains swept closed on stages across the West End; all theatres were closed. Two actors – Lloyd McDonagh and Salvatore Scarpa- keenly feeling the loss of their theatre homes, turned to a form of art that could still thrive over the following months, and set about photographing the stage doors of the deserted city.

An extraordinary collaborative project almost two years in the making, Exeunt – The Stage Door Project collects together these moving images, alongside anecdotes from some of the world’s leading luminaries who have trodden the boards of the pictured theatres. Continue reading “News: Exeunt – The Stage Door Project book announced”

News: writers and performers announced for Old Vic’s Home?

The Old Vic today announces the writers and performers for HOME?, the next in the One Voice series of monologues presented for free as part of Your Old Vic. Curated by actor and refugee-child Noma DumezweniHOME? brings together global voices, stories and experiences to mark Refugee Week 2021 across three new commissions, created in collaboration with refugee artists.

The three specially commissioned monologues are: Now I’m Gonna Get Paid, written by Dina Nayeri and performed by Betsabeh EmranThe Displaced, written by Viet Thanh Nguyen and performed by Elizabeth ChanTaheen ModakJohn Pfumojena and Michael Phong Le, and Then and Nowwritten by Natasha Walter and performed by Harriet Walter. All three of the monologues are directed by Old Vic Baylis Director, Katy Rudd.

The series of world premiere monologues will celebrate and recognise those who have sought safety from their homes, their place within our collective community and the journey that it took to get there. Continue reading “News: writers and performers announced for Old Vic’s Home?”

Review: Crips Without Constraints Part 2

Graeae’s Crips Without Constraints Part 2 shows off UK Deaf and disabled artists firing brilliantly on all creative cylinders

“I think this could be the biggest challenge of my career”

Graeae’s Crips Without Constraints Part 2 feels like a great shot in the arm for those who might be tiring of the Zoom format that characterises so much of what new theatre we’re able to get at this moment in time. All five short plays in this collection have been written by alumni from Graeae’Write to Play programme and are directed by upcoming disabled directors. truly celebrating celebrating the best talent and creativity of UK Deaf and disabled artists.

What is particularly impressive is the way in which that talent matches up to the more established names taking part here. Just look at how Mandy Colleran squares up to Harriet Walter’s condescending actor in Kellan Frankland’s How Do You Make A Cup of Tea?, skewering the lie about who gets the opportunity to portray disability onstage or onscreen. Or the way Saida Ahmed’s incredible performance equals the magnificent Sharon D Clarke’s for emotional intensity in The Gift by Leanna Benjamin, as a mother and daughter attempt to deal with some hard-hitting truths. Continue reading “Review: Crips Without Constraints Part 2”

News: Crips Without Constraints Part 2 further casting announced

Crips Without Constraints Part 2, which runs from January to February this year, comprises five brand new short plays celebrating the best talent and creativity of Deaf and disabled artists from across the UK. 

Having released the first two plays, How Do You Make a Cup of Tea starring Dame Harriet Walter and Mandy Colleran (comedy duo No Excuses) and Flowers For The Chateau starring Naomi Wirthner (The Doctor – Almeida & West End) and Julie Graham (Benidorm – ITV, Doctor Who – BBC), Graeae continues the series on February 2 with The Gift starring Sharon D Clarke (Death of a Salesman – Young Vic, Holby City – BBC) and Saida Ahmed (Notes to Forgotten She-Wolves – Shakespeare’s Globe). The company can also reveal today that Sharon Duncan-Brewster (Years and Years – BBC1, Sex Education – Netflix) will be joining the line-up which also includes Cherylee Houston(Coronation Street) and Alex James.

The new plays, all bold and brilliant duologues, are written by Leanna Benjamin, Rebekah BowsherKaren FeatherstoneKellan Frankland and Jessica Lovett, all alumni from Graeae’s Write to Play programme, covering topics from sibling rivalry to death by post stick notes.  Additionally this year, the pieces will all be directed by upcoming disabled  directors Stephen BaileyHana Pascal KeeganCheryl MartinAlex Whiteley and Lilac Yosiphon

TV Review: Doctor Who – Revolution of the Daleks

Teed up as the big farewell for two companions, Revolution of the Daleks was still a treat as Doctor Who returned to the festive schedule

“Sometimes we get a bit scared cos new can be a bit scary, right?”

Just a quickie for this perennial favourite. Doctor Who was quite lucky in that they got their Christmas episode in the can in good time pre-pandemic, it was actually filmed back in 2019 when Covid was but a Chinese whisper. And the way of these things as they are these days, we already knew that Revolution of the Daleks would mark the end of the TARDIS journeys for two of her current companions – would we get an Adric-style death to take us into 2021?

Spoiler alert, of course not. Ryan and Graham got to go back to Sheffield no problem, complete with psychic paper mementos, and even Sharon D Clarke’s Grace came back to welcome them home, well her ghost did at least. Dramatically it might not have been the punchiest way to go but in the end, it felt like the right thing to do , reflecting the relative normality of the ‘fam’ and their inter-relationships. Continue reading “TV Review: Doctor Who – Revolution of the Daleks”