WoLab presents…The Actor-Writer Showcase

Less a review and more of a feature on this innovative programme – WoLab presents…The Actor-Writer Showcase

“I don’t want to be the last chair”

You want to believe that the world of theatre-making is open to everyone, that institutions are craving to hear new authentic voices, but the reality is is that it really isn’t that simple at all. Just look at theatres like the Hampstead and the Almeida who have taken the radical step of announcing Uncle Vanya and Three Sisters in their new seasons. Admittedly auteur-led but still, where’s the support and encouragement for those that want to tell their own stories?

It’s in the grassroots that’s where, in schemes like WoLab’s Actor-Writer showcase which invited aspiring artists to participate in this summer-long course to further develop and nurture their skills not just as actors and writers but as rounded theatre professionals with an eye on marketing and producing as much as making. It’s a stirringly positive enterprise from WoLab AD Alistair Wilkinson and one which proved most entertaining when the ‘graduating class’ were invited to perform specially written monologues and duologues. Continue reading “WoLab presents…The Actor-Writer Showcase”

Review: Julie, National Theatre

An elegant and occasionally startling adaptation, Julie at the National Theatre is anchored by mesmerising performances from Vanessa Kirby and Thalissa Teixeira 

“If anyone has had anyone, I’ve had you

It’s Julie’s party and she’ll cry if she wants to, shag someone else’s fella if she wants to, use a blender in a somewhat inappropriate way if she wants to. Would you cry too if it happened to you? Chance would be a fine thing, as Julie is a trust fund baby and her 30-something birthday party is taking place in the antiseptic chic of the vast Hampstead townhouse where she resides with her (often absent) father and their staff. 

Carrie Cracknell’s direction of Polly Stenham’s Julie (after Strindberg, as opposed to Patrick Marber’s After Miss Julie) and Vanessa Kirby’s performance of that title role does something rather unexpected in the way it fleshes out and makes more complex its anti-hero. She’s still a straight-up entitled bitch to be sure, but we’re shown that she’s part of a cycle of sadness and abuse and neglect. And we’re dared to empathise. Continue reading “Review: Julie, National Theatre”