Nominations for 2014-2015 Outer Critics Circle Awards

John Gassner Playwriting Award (Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright)
Ayad Akhtar, The Invisible Hand
Halley Feiffer, I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard
Elizabeth Irwin, My Mañana Comes
Markus Potter, Stalking the Bogeyman
Benjamin Scheuer, The Lion

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Christian Borle, Something Rotten!
Brian d’Arcy James, Something Rotten!
Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris
Peter Gallagher, On the Twentieth Century
Tony Yazbeck, On the Town Continue reading “Nominations for 2014-2015 Outer Critics Circle Awards”

Nominations for 2015 Lucille Lortel Awards

Outstanding Play
Between Riverside and Crazy Produced by Atlantic Theater Company. Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) Produced by The Public Theater in association with American Repertory Theater. Written by Suzan-Lori Parks
The Invisible Hand Produced by New York Theatre Workshop. Written by Ayad Akhtar
My Mañana Comes Produced by The Playwrights Realm. Written by Elizabeth Irwin
The Nether Produced by MCC Theater. Written by Jennifer Haley

Outstanding Musical
The Fortress of Solitude Produced by The Public Theater in association with Dallas Theater Center. Book by Itamar Moses, Music and Lyrics by Michael Friedman. Conceived by Daniel Aukin, Based upon the novel by Jonathan Lethem
Hamilton Produced by The Public Theater. Book, Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Inspired by the book Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
The Lightning Thief Produced by Theatreworks USA Music and Lyrics by Rob Rokicki, Book by Joe Tracz. Adapted from the book by Rick Riordan
Nevermore – The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe Produced by Radio Mouse Entertainment, Martin Hummel, Caiola Productions, Terry Schnuck, Susan Jaffe Tane, Hernreich-Horvath Productions, Catalyst Theatre in association with Fireboat Productions, Mary Cossette, Meredith Lynsey Schade. Written and Composed by Jonathan Christenson
Pretty Filthy Produced by The Civilians in association with Jon B. Platt Music and Lyrics by Michael Friedman, Book by Bess Wohl. Conceived by Steve Cosson, Michael Friedman & Bess Wohl Continue reading “Nominations for 2015 Lucille Lortel Awards”

Re-review: The Nether, Duke of York’s

“I’ve read the studies. No one has been able to draw a conclusive correlation between virtual behaviour and behaviour in-world.”

Just a quickie for this revisit to US playwright Jennifer Haley’s The Nether, first seen at the Royal Court last summer, which has now transferred to the Duke of York’s and as my colleague for the afternoon said afterwards, isn’t it great to see plays like this with productions like this in the West End. Weighty subjects like the abdication of responsibility in the digital age and the morality of sexual conduct online when it is ostensibly make-believe or “outside consequence” as one character puts it, and a production that reflects its Sloane Square origins in reuniting almost the entire cast without succumbing to big-name casting.

My original review can be read here and it still stands. Es Devlin’s design and Luke Halls’ video work look even better in the larger theatre, hugely slick both in the cool technological sweep of its 2050 setting but also in the elegant evocation of its online world, The Hideaway, where the mind is left to run riot as to what people might get up to in there. Amanda Hale and Stanley Townsend maintain their coolly combative partnership as law enforcer and online maestro respectively and there’s alternately skin-crawling and heart-breaking work from opposite ends of the age spectrum from David Calder and Zoe Brough/Isabella Pappas/Jaime Adler/Perdita Hibbins* (delete as appropriate).

Running time: 80 minutes (without interval)
Booking until 25th April

The 2014 London Evening Standard Theatre Awards

BEST ACTOR
Tom Hiddleston, Coriolanus, Donmar Warehouse
Ben Miles
Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, RSC Swan and Aldwych
Mark StrongA View From The Bridge, Young Vic

NATASHA RICHARDSON AWARD FOR BEST ACTRESS
Gillian Anderson, A Streetcar Named Desire, Young Vic
Helen McCrory
Medea, National Theatre’s Olivier
Tanya MoodieIntimate Apparel, Ustinov Bath and Park Theatre
Billie PiperGreat Britain, National Theatre’s Lyttelton
Kristin Scott ThomasElectra, Old Vic Continue reading “The 2014 London Evening Standard Theatre Awards”

Review: The Nether, Royal Court

“Just because it is virtual doesn’t mean it isn’t real”

There are times when an age guidance notice can seem like mollycoddling, but there are others when they are truly justified. The UK premiere of Jennifer Haley’s play The Nether by Headlong and the Royal Court is most certainly one of the latter cases, recommended for over 18s only as one of the more disturbing plays we are likely to see this year. The play is one of the more devastatingly effective looks at how the internet has shaped the way we live our lives and how society is struggling to keep up with, and govern, this fast-changing world. Writing now, a few days after seeing it, it still haunts my mind – a combination of Jeremy Herrin’s stunningly mounted production and a searingly brutal play.

Haley’s ‘Nether’ is her futuristic version of the internet where virtual reality has been fully integrated, so people are able to create their own realms like webpages. The playwright pushes that to the extreme in ‘The Hideaway’, a world created by Stanley Townsend’s Sims for him and other like-minded souls to act out their paedophiliac tendencies without actually committing any crime as it currently stands. Young detective Morris, Amanda Hale, has hauled Sims in for questioning though as she wants the details of the whole thing so she can shut it down, arguing that even online realms need to be policed, that all our interactions lead to our deeper understanding of the rules of the world. Continue reading “Review: The Nether, Royal Court”