Roger Michell’s hugely enjoyable and wonderfully warm-hearted film The Duke stars Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren
“Be sure to use the coasters. You’re not in Leeds now”
Few of us get to choose the way we’re remembered but you have to think Roger Michell wouldn’t mind the sentimental warmth of The Duke being his last feature film to grace our screens. Michell sadly died last year, the pandemic having intervened to delay the release of this film which played festivals in 2020 and in some ways, it is a shame distributors didn’t go for a on-demand or hybrid release as its warmth makes you feel it would have been a lockdown hit.
Written by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman, the film follows the remarkably true story of the theft from the National Gallery of the Goya painting Portrait of the Duke of Wellington by Newcastle OAP Kempton Bunton. Bunton was a restless soul aka a crotchety old man, unable to hold a job for any length of time. But he was a dreamer too, a terminally unpublished writer and social revolutionary, briefly imprisoned for not paying his TV license and campaigning for free ones for all UK OAPs. Continue reading “Film Review: The Duke (2020)”
Guest stars such as Lesley Manville, Adam James and Elizabeth Berrington help elevate an interesting Series 3 of Silent Witness
“I’d’ve thought you’d learned by now, this is police work not yours”
Series 3 of Silent Witness brings a new recurring police team for us to get to know, a(nother) new handsome man from Sam’s past who is waiting to jump into bed with her, and a new set of cases for Sam to get overly invested in. It gets to beyond the point of mockery when almost every episode has a line like the above quote in it but you sense the writers acknowledging this, as the opportunity to work in a different capacity in London is presented at the end of the season.
Which is probably right as there can’t be many more police officers in Cambridge that Amanda Burton’s Sam Ryan hasn’t royally pissed off. And in a Midsomer Murders/Morse way, surely there’s a limit to the number of crimes that can take place in a single locale. The casting is on point in this series though – Adam James and Mark Umbers appearing as posh students and somone had clearly been watching Mike Leigh films as Lesley Manville, Heather Craney and Elizabeth Berrington all make appearances here.
Top guest appearences
a baby Nicholas Hoult appears briefly as a grieving child
a fresh-faced Adam James as an earnest undergrad who describes someone as “a bit of poof but he didn’t deserve to get beaten up” (1998 doesn’t feel that long ago…)
there’s a performance of striking froideur from Lesley Manville in ‘Fallen Idol’
Jimi Mistry makes up the numbers in the incident room for one scene in one of the cases early on, never to be seen again
and no spoilers but Josette Simon is brilliant as the slick Drug Squad DCI at the heart of ‘Divided Loyalties’
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.
Ever behind the curve, I present 10 of my top moments in a theatre over the last ten years (plus a few bonus extra ones because whittling down this list was hard, and it will probably be different tomorrow anyway!)
Extraordinary Public Acts for a National Theatre
The establishment of the Public Acts programme at the National Theatre offered up something sensational in Pericles, an initiative designed to connect grassroot community organisations with major theatres, resulting in a production that swept over 200 non-professional performers onto the stage of the Olivier to create something that moved me more than 99% of professional productions. A truly joyous and momentous occasion.
With a mostly new cast, Nina Raine’s deeply considered and thought-provoking Consent transfers from the National to the Harold Pinter
“It’s a fight between two opposing narratives”
Nina Raine’s Consent is yet another play to make the West End transfer out of the National Theatre’s Dorfman space. And a well-timed one it is too as even though it is only a year since it ran, the landscape when talking about how aspects of society deal with sexual assault and rape is significantly different. Read my 4 star review for Official Theatre here.
Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes (with interval) Photos: Johan Persson Consent is booking at the Harold Pinter Theatre until 11th August
“Of course I have disposable income, I rent in Zone 4”
It’s black and white – no means no. That should be enough right? Except all too often, sadly it isn’t, and the many different ways in which this is true form the bedrock of Consent, Nina Raine’s new play for the National Theatre, co-produced with Out of Joint. From the multitude of ways in which consent can be exploited by the legal profession in the public sphere, to the brutal, personal intimacy of how it impacts on a disintegrating marriage, Raine plays interestingly and intelligently with shades of grey.
Barristers Ed and Tim are on opposing sides of a rape case and there’s little love lost between them personally either, as the perennially single Tim is a long-term friend of his wife Kitty, who is trying to set him up with another pal, actress Zara (played by the wonderful Daisy Haggard). And as Ed and Tim do battle around the finer points of Gayle’s case – she alleges she was raped on the day of her sister’s funeral – with their focus on legally outmanoeuvring the other rather than on the victim, a twist that puts all their private lives under the microscope shifts their perspective entirely. Continue reading “Review: Consent, National Theatre”
Mountains of info was released by the National Theatre about their plans for 2017-18 at this morning’s press conference, so much that I’m still digesting the half of it. Particular stand-outs on the first sift though, are
Ivo van Hove’s return (after his Hedda Gabler) with a world premiere adaptation of Network, with no less than Heisenberg himself, Bryan Cranston making his UK stage debut
The cast of Nina Raine’s Consent including Priyanga Burford, Pip Carter, Ben Chaplin, Heather Craney, Daisy Haggard, Adam James and Anna Maxwell Martin.
The glorious Amadeusreturning in the new year, Michael Longhurst’s stellar production wisely keeping its two leads of Lucian Msamati and Adam Gillen intact
The Headlong co-production of DC Moore’s Common will see Anne-Marie Duff return to the South Bank along with Trevor Fox.
And Duff is clearly in for the long haul, as she’ll also appear in Macbeth with Rory Kinnear, a taster of which we saw at the Shakespeare Live event
Cast and creatives for Yaël Farber’s Salomé have been announced too. It is designed by Susan Hilferty with lighting design by Tim Lutkin, music and sound by Adam Cork, movement direction by Ami Shulman, fight direction by Kate Waters and dramaturgy by Drew Lichtenberg. Cast includes Philip Arditti, Paul Chahidi, Ramzi Choukair, Uriel Emil, Olwen Fouéré, Roseanna Frascona, Aidan Kelly, Yasmin Levy, Theo T J Lowe, Isabella Niloufar, Lubana al Quntar, Raad Rawi and Stanley Townsend.More, much more, information after the jump.
With Jed Mercurio’s Line of Duty about to start its third series on BBC2, I thought I’d go back to the first two series as they have to rank as some of the best police dramas out there. Centred on the world of AC-12, an anti-corruption unit charged with investigating suspected police wrongdoing, we’ve been so far blessed with two extraordinary stories, hanging on superb performances from the people under suspicion – Keeley Hawes (whose series we’ll get to next) and Lennie James.
James plays DCI Tony Gates, a decorated officer with an amazing clear-up rate that seems too good to be true, and so when he comes to the attention of AC-12, initially for something completely unrelated, the wheels are set in motion for a fast-degenerating state of affairs. Money laundering, drug running, cover-ups, and gruesome murders intertwine and intersect with Gates at the heart of it all, but his true connections to events always in question, right until the end. Continue reading “TV review: Line of Duty Series 1”