Review: “Daddy” A Melodrama, Almeida Theatre

Jeremy O Harris’ “Daddy” A Melodrama receives a fantastic production at Almeida Theatre, better than the play itself for the most part

“You have money, but the taste is like, booty”

One of the more anticipated casualties of lockdown, Jeremy O Harris’ “Daddy” A Melodrama arrives in some style at the Almeida. Matt Saunders’ Bel Air mansion design dominated by its swimming pool is jaw-droppingly good and Danya Taymor’s production reflects that largesse in many aspects, saturating its audience right from the off (and soaking them too, if you’re in the front couple of rows!).

But when you take away the glitz and the glamour, the gospel choirs, the full-frontal nudity, the repeated use of the N-word, even Harris’ reputation, we’re left with a fairly good play about sex and art, about gay relationships with age gaps and the fallout of becoming the next hot thing. It is clumsily structured though, the playwright still learning how to do complex without veering into unnecessarily convoluted. Continue reading “Review: “Daddy” A Melodrama, Almeida Theatre”

February casting updates

Full casting has been announced for the highly anticipated return of critically acclaimed musical The Wicker Husband. Following the show’s premature closure on its original press night on 16 March 2020, Artistic Director Paul Hart, Executive Director Claire Murray and the team at Newbury’s Watermill Theatre are thrilled to welcome the creative team and cast to The Watermill for a new run of the show this March.

Joseph Alessi will play ‘Cobbler’, Gemma Sutton will play ‘Ugly Girl’, Olivier Award winner George Maguire as ‘Wicker Husband’, Angela Caesar as ‘Cobbler’s Wife’, Jonathan Charles as ‘Innkeep’, Claire-Marie Hall as ‘Innkeep’s Wife’, Jack Quarton as ‘Tailor’ and Davina Moon as ‘Tailor’s Wife’,  Julian Forsyth as ‘Old Basket Maker’ with Jon Whitten as on-stage band playing the Hammered Dulcimer, Rachel Barnes also as on-stage band, and Pat Moran as onstage Musical Director.

Nisha Anil and Sebastian Charles will be the puppeteers of The Wicker Husband, with Tom Norman as Swing. Continue reading “February casting updates”

News: Exeunt – The Stage Door Project book announced

In 2020, for the first time in centuries, heavy red curtains swept closed on stages across the West End; all theatres were closed. Two actors – Lloyd McDonagh and Salvatore Scarpa- keenly feeling the loss of their theatre homes, turned to a form of art that could still thrive over the following months, and set about photographing the stage doors of the deserted city.

An extraordinary collaborative project almost two years in the making, Exeunt – The Stage Door Project collects together these moving images, alongside anecdotes from some of the world’s leading luminaries who have trodden the boards of the pictured theatres. Continue reading “News: Exeunt – The Stage Door Project book announced”

Film Review: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (2021)

This cinematic adaptation of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is fabulously enjoyable, led by a fine performance by Max Harwood

“Sometimes, you gotta grab life by the balls, and you take those balls and you tuck ‘em between your legs”

The movie musical seems to be having a bit of a moment again. We’ve been treated to In The Heights and Cinderella, tick, tick…BOOM!, Dear Evan Hansen and a new West Side Story are soon on their way and who could forget Diana: A New Musical… Joining that illustrious company is Sheffield’s own Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, making the leap from the Crucible to the West End to the big* screen. (*It’s available on Amazon Prime so screen size may vary ;-))

And as it has maintained a large proportion of its original key creative team, it carries over so much of its proudly fabulous heart and soul. Based on the true story of Jamie Campbell, we follow Jamie’s last few months at high school as he dreams of becoming a drag queen. And in true Britflick fashion, there are heartwarming ups and heartbreaking downs, plus an expanded range of toe-tapping tunes from Dan Gillespie- Sells. What is fascinating as someone who has seen the stage show a fair few times now, is how well Tom MacRae’s adaptation of his own book works. Continue reading “Film Review: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (2021)”

Film Review: Cruella (2021)

Emma Stone and Emma Thompson have lots of fun in the entertaining Cruella, which is only just a little bit too long

“Darling, if I’m going to need to repeat myself a lot, this isn’t going to work out”

There’s something a little curious about a film that simultaneously wants to highlight one of cinema’s most iconic villains yet also neuter her most defining attributes. So we can rest assured that no dalmatians are harmed in the telling of this story (or presumably making of this movie) nor is there a cigarette holder to be seen. So what’s left for Cruella to do?

A fair amount as it turns out. Craig Gillespie’s film finds an origin tale for her in 1970s London (story by Aline Brosh McKenna, Kelly Marcel, and Steve Zissis), locating her at the vanguard of the nascent punk movement (or at least a Disneyfied version of it). It’s a nifty move that forefronts her creative endeavours, whilst adding to a notorious canon of fashion geniuses gone ‘woo-hoo’. Continue reading “Film Review: Cruella (2021)”

Not-a-review: Daddy, Almeida Theatre

Let me wet your whistle, should it be needed, for Jeremy O Harris’ Daddy, which is promises to return to the Almeida Theatre when possible

“Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play the fool no where but in’s own house.”

Like all right-minded people, I was particularly gutted to be missing Daddy at the Almeida Theatre due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. Jeremy O Harris’ play made waves in New York last year and was a hotly anticipated arrival. If you so desire, you can read any number of reviews from the USA but I am reliably informed that it’s best to go in as blind as possible which is what I still intend to do. But to wet your whistle in an approrpriate way, keep on reading. 

Continue reading “Not-a-review: Daddy, Almeida Theatre”

Not-a-TV Review: Dracula

Three feature-length episodes of a new take on Dracula prove an indulgence too far

“One can have too much of a good thing”

I found episode 1 to be a bit of a drag and the subsequent two parts of Dracula were no better, worse in fact, as Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat’s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s iconic novel takes the daddy of all vampires to places (and times) new for no good reason at all. Dolly Wells’ casting as the continuation of the Van Helsing bloodline had some great moments due to some witty writing and her wonderfully dry interpretation but there’s only so much the charismatic Claes Bang could do with the lord of darkness himself.

 

The winners of the 8th annual Mousetrap Awards

BEST FEMALE PERFORMER AWARD:
WINNER – Marisha Wallace as Effie in Dreamgirls
Natalie Kassanga, as Diana Ross in Motown the Musical
Patsy Ferran as Alma in Summer and Smoke
Jodie Steele as Chandler in Heathers

BEST MALE PERFORMER AWARD:
Jonny Labey, as Scott in Strictly Ballroom
John Pfumojena, as Okot in The Jungle
Kyle Soller, as Eric Glass in The Inheritance
WINNER – John McCrea, as Jamie in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie Continue reading “The winners of the 8th annual Mousetrap Awards”

Nominees for the 8th annual Mousetrap Awards

BEST FEMALE PERFORMER AWARD:
Marisha Wallace as Effie in Dreamgirls
Natalie Kassanga, as Diana Ross in Motown the Musical
Patsy Ferran as Alma in Summer and Smoke
Jodie Steele as Chandler in Heathers

BEST MALE PERFORMER AWARD:
Jonny Labey, as Scott in Strictly Ballroom
John Pfumojena, as Okot in The Jungle
Kyle Soller, as Eric Glass in The Inheritance
John McCrea, as Jamie in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie Continue reading “Nominees for the 8th annual Mousetrap Awards”