News: Tristram Kenton’s stage archive – the Hollywood edition

Perhaps inevitably, famous names getting more clicks than bona fide theatrical talent remains as true as ever as Tristram Kenton’s before-they-were-famous photo montage and its sequel are now followed up by a full-out Hollywood edition. Interesting to see the people who’ve trodden the boards over the years but for me, this is a less interesting selection of productions than we’ve previously seen, not much FOMO envy here at all:

Photos: Tristram Kenton

Review: Bakersfield Mist, Duchess Theatre

“You must be drunk
‘I’d better be’”

Fortunately the sheer quality of Kathleen Turner’s stage presence means that you should be able to make it through Bakersfield Mist with decent levels of sobriety but only just. For Stephen Sachs’ odd couple/culture clash/art history romp is a most trying piece of theatre indeed, maintaining the Duchess Theatre’s dubious record for hosting some of the most random things. On the one hand, we should celebrate the arrival of a new, original drama in the West End, such a thing is horribly rare but on the other, if this was someone’s first experience of theatre, you wouldn’t lay bets on them booking for anything else in the near future.

Turner plays Maude, an ex-bartender who lives in a Californian trailer park where she now collects junk from thrift stores. Most of it is piled up in her abode – meticulously designed by Tom Piper – but the jewel in her crown is a $3 painting which she is convinced is a long-lost Jackson Pollock work, worth millions. So she calls a New York art expert to verify its authenticity and when the snooty Lionel arrives, there’s a clash of personalities as snap judgements are made, about both person and painting, which melds into something more genial as bottles of whiskey are cracked open and barriers brought down in the search for common ground. Continue reading “Review: Bakersfield Mist, Duchess Theatre”

Review: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Apollo

At three hours long with two intervals and some of the most vicious interplay on the stage, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is perhaps not for the faint-hearted. With an all-American cast headed by Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin, there is probably no more bruising experience currently in the West End, but it is well worth the effort.

Edward Albee’s 1962 play centres around George and Martha, an unhappily married couple for 23 years, who after an evening out invite a newly married couple who work in the same university department as George back to theirs for drinks. But when they start to fight in front of their guests, the poisonous atmosphere envelops all of them and really lays bare how much of a battle marriage can become. She drinks too much and enjoys the fighting, but George is equally complicit as this is the only kind of interaction that gets their juices flowing these days. Continue reading “Review: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Apollo”