Review: Driving Miss Daisy, Wyndham’s Theatre

“I think we’re gonna have to have a little talk…”

Once again, I found myself coerced, coerced I tell you, into seeing something I knew I pretty much wouldn’t like, yet unable to resist the allure of accompanying someone who was much more enthusiastic about seeing the play in question. This time, it was Driving Miss Daisy – sold very much as a dual star vehicle for James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave (with Boyd Gaines making up the cast) though Redgrave’s multiple absences throughout the run have ruffled more than a few feathers. One often says that you shouldn’t book for the stars but for the play, but in this case I can understand the frustrations of those who ended up with understudies, even after being told Ms Redgrave would be on when they bought their tickets just an hour before curtain up.

Anyway, I had scratched my itch with both of these actors, having taken in Redgrave in The Year of Magical Thinking and Jones in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (in which the audience reaction to him drove me buts) so there was no novelty value in seeing them onstage and the play itself held no attraction (I’ve never seen the film) so it hadn’t been a hard decision to steer clear of this. But being the benevolent soul I am, I filled in on plus one duties and tried to keep an open mind to allow myself the possibility of enjoying this. Continue reading “Review: Driving Miss Daisy, Wyndham’s Theatre”

2012 What’s On Stage Award nominations

James Corden – One Man, Two Guvnors at the National, Lyttelton & Adelphi 
Benedict Cumberbatch – Frankenstein at the National, Olivier 
Jude Law – Anna Christie at the Donmar Warehouse 
Kevin Spacey – Richard III at the Old Vic 
David Tennant – Much Ado About Nothing at Wyndham’s
James Earl Jones – Driving Miss Daisy at Wyndham’s 

Vanessa Redgrave – Driving Miss Daisy at Wyndham’s 
Eve Best – Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare’s Globe 
Kristin Scott Thomas – Betrayal at the Comedy 
Ruth Wilson – Anna Christie at the Donmar Warehouse 
Samantha Spiro – Chicken Soup with Barley at the Royal Court Downstairs
Tamsin Greig – Jumpy at the Royal Court Downstairs Continue reading “2012 What’s On Stage Award nominations”

2010 Laurence Olivier Awards nominations

Best New Play 
Enron by Lucy Prebble – Royal Court / Noël Coward
Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth – Royal Court / Apollo
The Mountaintop by Katori Hall – Trafalgar Studio 1
Red by John Logan – Donmar Warehouse

Best New Musical
Dreamboats and Petticoats – Savoy
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – Palace
Sister Act – London Palladium
Spring Awakening – Novello

Best Revival 
A Streetcar Named Desire – Donmar Warehouse
A View from the Bridge – Duke of York’s
Arcadia – Duke of York’s
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – Novello
The Misanthrope – Comedy
Three Days of Rain – Apollo Continue reading “2010 Laurence Olivier Awards nominations”

Review: Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Novello

Seeing a deal on lastminute for restricted view tickets for a tenner, I thought I’d squeeze this revival of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in for a Saturday matinee, but was almost jeopardised by the seats we were allocated: seats AA1&2 in the Grand Circle don’t actually have a restricted view of the stage, because you are actually facing the audience! The seats are about 120 degrees to the stage so you’re basically facing most of the Grand Circle, a great opportunity to fulfil my Glenn Close in Dangerou Liaisons  fantasy, but not the best for playwatching. To see the stage, you need to twist round and then lean quite far forward, which then forces everyone else in the row to lean too. Fortunately, with a house that was only 75% full, we were able to relocate at the end of the first act, but it is truly outrageous that these seats are up for sale at all.

As for the play itself, it is an updated version relocated into the 1980s according to the show literature, although there were curiously few references to this and I don’t think I would have worked it out had I not been informed of it. It’s a tale of a wealthy landowning family who are struggling to conceal the cracks caused by repressed homosexuality, inheritance struggles, alcoholism and the shadow of terminal illness, and I suppose the one benefit of shifting the timing of the play enables the fact that the cast are all black to be not considered an issue. Continue reading “Review: Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Novello”