#AdventwithClowns Day 7 – Oslo

Ruth Wilson and Andrew Scott head up an effective adaptation of JT Rogers’ play Oslo, which sacrifices wordiness for cinematic verve

“Now we are approaching the hour of the waffles”

JT Rogers’ Tony-winning play Oslo was a hit at the National and in the West End but it was still a little bit of a surprise to see it receiving the televisual treatment, not least with Steven Spielberg named among its executive producers. Fortunately though, Rogers remained fully involved in writing  the adapted screenplay and the play’s director Bartlett Sher has kept his hand on the directorial tiller, going for some luxe casting with Ruth Wilson and Andrew Scott and broadening the canvas to include flashback scenes and some gorgeous Scandinavian location work.

Oslo recounts a dramatised version of the true-life, secret back-channel negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization which led to the then-pivotal 1990s Oslo Peace Accords. Wilson plays junior minister Mona Juul and Scott her husband Terje Rød-Larsen, a Norwegian couple who find themselves in the position to bring the two opposing sides to the same table on neutral territory, reinvigorating a non-existent peace process but under absolute secrecy. They’re both terrific, fighting the need to be non-interventionalist until there’s nothing to do but close your eyes and jump in. Continue reading “#AdventwithClowns Day 7 – Oslo”

Film Review: Saint Maud (2019)

Intensely disturing and superbly acted, the psychological horror of Saint Maud is a stunning debut film from Rose Glass, 

“To save a soul, that’s quite something”

I don’t often reach for a horror film myself but the critical buzz around Saint Maud proved irresistible, along with the presence of Morfydd Clark and Jennifer Ehle in the lead roles. And I’m glad I did, even if it proves to be a genuinely disturbing and perturbing filmic experience (and bravo to whoever is designing the artwork, the film’s posters are just stunning).

Clark plays Maud, a private agency nurse who has found herself in Scarborough in the midst of some kind of crisis. She believes that God is talking to her and when she takes on the role of caring for the terminally ill Amanda, a gregarious former dancer played with biting relish by a fantastic Ehle, she believes herself to be called to divine action to save a lost cause. Continue reading “Film Review: Saint Maud (2019)”

2020 British Independent Film Awards nominations

Best British Independent Film
Rocks – Sarah Gavron, Ameenah Ayub Allen, Faye Ward, Theresa Ikoko and Claire Wilson
Calm with Horses – Nick Rowland, Joe Murtagh and Daniel Emmerson
The Father – Florian Zeller, Christopher Hampton, David Parfitt, Jean-Louis Livi and Philippe Carcassonne
His House – Remi Weekes, Aidan Elliott, Martin Gentles, Arnon Milchan, Edward King and Roy Lee
Saint Maud – Rose Glass, Andrea Cornwell and Oliver Kassman

Best Director
Remi Weekes – His House
Nick Rowland – Calm with Horses
Florian Zeller – The Father
Sarah Gavron – Rocks
Rose Glass – Saint Maud Continue reading “2020 British Independent Film Awards nominations”

News: November news aplenty

An unnecessary amount of theatre news exploded forth today, maybe everyone was just too busy watching CNN all of last week…  I’m just going to rattle through it all quickly to save everyone time.

Jason Robert Brown’s Songs From A New World will play the Vaudeville Theatre for a month from 5th February. David Hunter, Rachel John, Cedric Neal , Rachel Tucker and Shem Omari James, who all reprise their roles from the London Palladium gigs in October.

The previously announced Lynn Ahrens and Mike Ockrent’s A Christmas Carol has revealed its supporting cast around Brian Conley’s Scrooge. Lucie Jones, Sandra Marvin, Martyn Ellis, Cedric Neal, Jeremy Secomb, Matt Jay-Willis and Jacqueline Jossa will join him at the Dominion Theatre from 7th December. Continue reading “News: November news aplenty”

Book review: Time To Act – Simon Annand

Simon Annand’s Time To Act is a beautiful book of photos capturing actors in the minutes before they go on stage

Tackling the constraints of the pandemic in its own way, Simon Annand’s fantastic new book of photos Time To Act has launched a virtual exhibition of some of the photographs which has now been extended to until Christmas. It’s an ingenious way of sharing some of the hundreds of images from the book and should surely whet the appetite for either just buying it now or putting on your list for Santa to collect soon.

Continue reading “Book review: Time To Act – Simon Annand”

Film Review: Spooks: The Greater Good (2015)

Arriving on the big screen four years later, Spooks: The Greater Good does little to make the case for its existence

“You can do good, or do well”

Arriving some four years after the end of the TV series, Spooks: The Greater Good was an ill-advised coda to the Spooks experiment, leaving writers Jonathan Brackley and Sam Vincent at the helm despite the decidedly mixed results of their ascension to head writers on the show (poor Lucas).

Cinemas are hardly calling out for new spy franchises yet there’s an added sense of ‘what’s the point’ as along with the four year wait, there’s a story with no real connection to the 10 series that preceded it, and a cast sprinkled with the characters who survived but which prioritises brand new ones.  Continue reading “Film Review: Spooks: The Greater Good (2015)”

Book review: The Half – Simon Annand

The Half – Photographs of Actors Preparing for the Stage by Simon Annand

Just a quickie for this book as The Half – Photographs of Actors Preparing for the Stage by Simon Annand was released in 2008. But with an imminent new exhibition of these photos and a bargainous copy of the book popping up on Ebay, I thought I’d take the plunge.

And I’m glad I did as it is a proper work of art in its own right. Annand has been photographing actors for over 25 years and as such, has a veritable treasure trove of shots to share with us, resulting from the trusting relationships he has built up with so many, from the new kids on the block to veritable dames. Continue reading “Book review: The Half – Simon Annand”

Winners of 2017 Lucille Lortel Awards

Outstanding Play
Indecent Produced by Vineyard Theatre in association with La Jolla Playhouse and Yale Repertory Theatre. Written by Paula Vogel, Created by Paula Vogel & Rebecca Taichman
WINNER – Oslo Produced by Lincoln Center Theater. Written by J.T. Rogers
Underground Railroad Game Produced by Ars Nova. Written by Jennifer Kidwell and Scott R. Sheppard
Vietgone Produced by Manhattan Theatre Club in association with South Coast Repertory. Written by Qui Nguyen
The Wolves Produced by The Playwrights Realm in association with New York Stage and Film and Vassar’s Powerhouse Theatre Season. Written by Sarah DeLappe

Outstanding Musical
WINNER – The Band’s Visit Produced by Atlantic Theater Company. Music and Lyrics by David Yazbek, Book by Itamar Moses, Based on the screenplay by Eran Kolirin
Dear Evan Hansen Produced by Second Stage Theatre in association with Stacey Mindich Productions. Book by Steven Levenson, Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Hadestown Produced by New York Theatre Workshop. Written by Anaïs Mitchell
Ride the Cyclone Produced by MCC Theater. Book, Music, and Lyrics by Brooke Maxwell and Jacob Richmond
The Total Bent Produced by The Public Theater. Text by Stew, Music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald Continue reading “Winners of 2017 Lucille Lortel Awards”

The complete 71st Tony nominations

Best play
A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath
Indecent by Paula Vogel
Oslo by JT Rogers
Sweat by Lynn Nottage

Best musical
Come from Away
Dear Evan Hansen
Groundhog Day the Musical
Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

Best book of a musical
Come from Away by Irene Sankoff and David Hein
Dear Evan Hansen by Steven Levenson
Groundhog Day the Musical by Danny Rubin
Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 by Dave Malloy
Continue reading “The complete 71st Tony nominations”