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)”

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”

Nominations for 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
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
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 “Nominations for 2017 Lucille Lortel Awards”

DVD Review: Pride and Prejudice (1995)

“Your alliance would be a disgrace”

This six-part adaptation of Pride and Prejudice has gone down in history as one of the most iconic TV programmes ever, its cultural breakthrough into the mainstream taking everyone by surprise and spearheading something of a revival in period dramas. For me though, my abiding memory remains watching a documentary some years later and hearing adaptor Andrew Davies saying that the stage direction he wrote for Colin Firth, for when Darcy meets Elizabeth after she has rushed over to see her ailing sister, was “Darcy is surprised to get an erection”.

Smut aside, it is a strikingly well done piece of work though, Luxuriating over 6 hour-long instalments, it allows for the slow-burn of the central relationship which makes this version of the story really work, Firth and Jennifer Ehle so incredibly well-matched that their every interaction is scintillatingly drawn as mutual antipathy turns to mutual admiration amidst the various family dramas of the Bennetts, Wickhams, Collins et al. His brooding looks and engagingly smooth voice and her keenly intelligent eyes with her delightful pragmatism are utterly engaging. Continue reading “DVD Review: Pride and Prejudice (1995)”

DVD Review: Wilde

“It is monstrous how people say things behind one’s back that are perfectly true”

Based on Richard Ellman’s biography, Brian Gilbert’s 1997 film Wilde saw Stephen Fry take on the eponymous role in a sweeping biopic slash drama which stretches over the last 18 years of his life. Beginning with his return to London from a trip to America and ripping speedily through his marriage to Jennifer Ehle’s kindly Constance and the birth of their two children, it is his relationship with family friend Robbie Ross that leads him into a world of sexual discovery. He finds there Jude Law’s impossibly handsome Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas and falls head over heels into a tempestuous relationship, but in a society where homosexuality is illegal and propriety is everything, a happy ending is far from likely.

Fry makes an appealing Wilde, though one shorn of much of the acerbic nature one might imagine he had, he is a gentle father – telling his own story of The Selfish Giant acts as a clever layer of extra commentary – and he brings an almost avuncular warmth to the part. Jude Law’s Bosie is a revelation though, a serious reminder of his talents as an actor, with a capriciousness that is seductively alluring and yet criminally irresponsible. As Wilde seeks to lay the blame at the door of Bosie’s domineering father the Marquess of Queensbury, he ignores the knife-edge that their relationship is balanced on with devastating consequences. Continue reading “DVD Review: Wilde”