Royal & Derngate has announced four further productions to complete its 2021/22 Made in Northampton season. A new production of Joe Penhall’s biting contemporary satire Blue/Orange is brought to the stage this autumn by the producing team behind Ralph Fiennes’ hugely successful Four Quartets which is soon to transfer to the West End. Giles Terera and Michael Balogun will collaborate with Artistic Director James Dacre with original music by Valgeir Sigurðsson of Bedroom Community. The venue then premieres The Wellspring, an autobiographic work from playwright Barney Norris and his father David Owen Norris, directed by Jude Christian. The venue’s previously announced production of An Improbable Musical will then premiere with a cast including Niall Ashdown, Ruth Bratt, Adam Courting, Josie Lawrence and Janet Etuk.
This autumn also sees Royal & Derngate’s artist development programme Generate host a festival of new work and present 60 Miles by Road or Rail chronicling the recent history of Northampton Town. Meanwhile, the venue’s charity compilation album Incidental: Music for the Stage, will be released on 24 September on CD and all major streaming platforms. Continue reading “News: Royal & Derngate announces further productions for its 2021/22 Made in Northampton season”
Raj Bajaj, Jason Barnett, Genesis Lynea, and Gloria Obianyo impress in the Royal Court’s Living Newspaper #4
“Crisis after crisis we persist”
Tackling, among other things, Black Lives Matter, Reclaim the Streets and the ongoing fury at the Tory government, the fourth edition of the Royal Court’s Living Newspaper burns with the spirit of protest. And on the front page Crisis After Crisis We Persist, Raj Bajaj, Jason Barnett, Genesis Lynea, and Gloria Obianyo capture this raucous, almost rowdy, emotionality with skill.
Elsewhere, the tension between the newspaper format and the range of content emerges as something a little curious. Annie Siddons and Rachel Nwokoro’s Wisdom Cards noodles around tarot card readings rather aimlessly whereas Stef Smith’s Confit is a fascinating look at Scottish identity and politics. It speaks to the model, that it doesn’t really matter if there’s sections you’re not keen on, as with an IRL newspaper, you don’t have to read every page…
Photos: Isha Shah
Living Newspaper #4 is streaming via the Royal Court until 18th April
National Theatre reveals full cast for Dick Whittington including faves Melanie La Barrie and Amy Booth-Steel
As previously announced, pantomime comes to the National Theatre with Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd’s hilarious and heartfelt version of Dick Whittington. First staged at Lyric Hammersmith in 2018 and freshly updated for 2020, Ned Bennett’s production will open in the socially distanced Olivier theatre on 11th December, lockdowns permitting, and tickets are now on sale.
The full cast includes Melanie La Barrie as Bow Belles, Dickie Beau as Sarah, Amy Booth-Steel as Queen Rat, Laura Checkley as Mayor Pigeon, Lawrence Hodgson-Mullings as Dick Whittington, Georgina Onuorah as Alice and Cleve September as Tom Cat. Beth Hinton-Lever, Travis Kerry, Jaye Marshall, Ken Nguyen, Tinovimbanashe Sibanda and Christopher Tendai also join the company. Continue reading “News: National Theatre reveals full cast for Dick Whittington”
Friday theatre news from the National Theatre, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and Roles We’ll Never Play
In a canny move, the National Theatre is bringing panto to its main stage as Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd’s hilarious and heartfelt version of Dick Whittington, first staged at Lyric Hammersmith in 2018 and freshly updated for 2020, will open in the socially distanced Olivier theatre on 11th December.
Directed by Ned Bennett, this wild and inventive production explores what it is like to come from a small town and arrive in a big city today, exploring the ideas of community and togetherness. Initial casting includes Dickie Beau, Amy Booth-Steel, Lawrence Hodgson-Mullings, Georgina Onuorah, and Cleve September.
They have also announced the next show to open as part of the Olivier in-the-round season in February 2021 is Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, in a co-production with Fictionhouse. Directed by Dominic Cooke, Kramer’s largely autobiographical play about the AIDS crisis in 1980 New York has not been performed professionally in London since its European premiere in 1986. Ben Daniels will perform the role of Ned Weeks, the co-founder of an AIDS advocacy group fighting to change the world around him, with Danny Lee Wynter as Tommy Boatwright, Daniel Monks as Mickey Marcus and Stanley Townsend as Ben Weeks. Vicki Mortimer is Set Designer and Paule Constable is Lighting Designer.
Tickets for The Normal Heart will go on sale from the end of November. Continue reading “News: Friday theatre update from the National Theatre, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and Roles We’ll Never Play”
Jessie Buckley and Josh O’Connor headline a new production of Romeo and Juliet, while Callum Scott Howells and Rosie Sheehy star in Gary Owen’s Romeo and Julie, among other big news from the National Theatre
Simon Godwin returns to the National Theatre to direct Shakespeare’s ROMEO & JULIET following his critically-acclaimed productions of Antony and Cleopatra and Twelfth Night in the Olivier Theatre. Set in modern Italy in a world where Catholic and secular values clash, Jessie Buckley (Wild Rose, Judy) and Josh O’Connor (The Crown, God’s Own Country) play the two young lovers who strive to transcend a world of violence and corruption. Fisayo Akinade (The Antipodes, Barber Shop Chronicles) is cast as Mercutio. The production will open in the Olivier Theatre in August 2020.
Set and costume design by Soutra Gilmour, lighting design by Lucy Carter, composition by Michael Bruce and sound design by Christopher Shutt. Continue reading “News: new productions and casting updates for the National Theatre”
Jude Christian offers up something excitingly experimental with the German play Trust at the Gate Theatre in West London
“I have to keep being original here and that’s really hard work
I CAN’T BE FUNNY AND ORIGINAL ALL THE TIME”
Between the Mandarin lessons and the sleep masks, the tequila shots and extended yoga, there’s an awful lot going on in Trust. A hell of a lot. But given that the last time Jude Christian directed a show here at the Gate she put two actual piglets onstage, it should come as little surprise that she’s challenging us once again. Plus the play’s German, so of course it’s batshit.
From the minute you walk into the Gate, having been handed your guide to the art installation and gingerly stepping over the Roomba that’s beavering away, we know we’re not in Kansas any more. Or Notting Hill. Or anywhere the likes of Billers or DomCav will consider safe. And over the next 100 minutes, Christian experiments with this theatrical space in breathtaking ways, performing in the play as well as a kind of guide on its bewildering path. Continue reading “Review: Trust, Gate Theatre”
Patsy Ferran elevates the material in new monologue My Mum’s A Twat upstairs at Royal Court
“Have you ever tried to sustain a relationship with a twat? It’s hard work and you need to be completely not a twat yourself if you want any success in this. Which is really hard when you’ve just started being a teenager.”
Written by the Royal Court’s head of press Anoushka Warden, it has been interesting tracking the critical response to My Mum’s A Twat and whether this relationship has been disclosed, indeed if it needs to be mentioned at all.
My feeling is that it does, for transparencies sake. But it also throws up the interesting slant that it is a partly autobiographical work and so one that is intensely personal. And as the story of a young girl whose absents herself from her life by joining a cult in Canada, it is an eye-opener. Continue reading “Review: My Mum’s A Twat, Royal Court”
“I don’t know a girl who hasn’t been groped on a train. There’s always someone trying to cop a feel. Might as well get paid for it.”
With quite a few shows closing this weekend, I opted to pay a trip to the penultimate show of Harajuku Girls at the Finborough. Francis Turnly’s play sets up an intriguing premise in the exploration of the world of Japanese cosplay and its role in modern Tokyo society and creatively, it brings the director of last year’s extraordinary I’d Rather Goya Robbed Me Of My Sleep Than Some Other Arsehole back to the stage in Jude Christian.
After graduating high school, Mari, Keiko and Yumi find themselves cut adrift in the harsh realities of the depressed economy of the real world. Parental and societal expectation is as high as it has ever been but jobs are increasingly hard to come by, tuition fees for further education are sky-high and so dressing up in cosplay outfits offers an escapist route. In the seedier areas of town, it also offers financial opportunity but it’s a struggle to ensure they’re the ones who exploit and are not exploited. Continue reading “Review: Harajuku Girls, Finborough Theatre”