TV Review: The Good Fight Series 3

Michael Sheen does his best to destabilise Series 3 of The Good Fight but Christine Baranski and Audra McDonald just about pull it back

“Don’t get in the way of someone kicking ass”

For a season that contains the wonder that is Christine Baranski and Audra McDonald casually duetting on ‘Raspberry Beret’, Series 3 of The Good Fight ends up being something of a challenge. The presence of Michael Sheen’s Mephistophelian Roland Blum was clearly meant to shake things up but that chaotic energy ends up being destabilising.

Which is a shame, as so much of what makes The Good Fight click so well is present here. Topics ripped from up-to-the-minute headlines, including voter suppression, racial profiling, Karens calling the polices, troll farms, historic sexual harassment cases, Kim and Kanye… And they’re all treated sensitively but still daringly in some bold storytelling. Continue reading “TV Review: The Good Fight Series 3”

Album Review: Promises, Promises (2010 New Broadway Cast Recording)

“What do you get when you fall in love?
A guy with a pin to burst your bubble”

One of the criticisms levelled at Close To You: Bacharach Reimagined was that it, well, reimagined Burt Bacharach’s songs. Well for those who prefer a more traditional approach to his music, his one foray onto Broadway Promises, Promises will be making its way to the Southwark Playhouse early next year, following on from the successful Broadway revival of 2010, which was the show’s first since being written in the late 1960s.

And I suppose if traditional is what you are looking for, then you won’t be disappointed here. Neil Simon’s adaptation of The Apartment sits loosely on a collection of Bacharach and David songs, augmented by the inclusion here of some of their other hits to beef up the recognisability quota, and it’s all rather cutesy and undemanding and depending on your viewpoint, either nicely retro or insufferably twee. Continue reading “Album Review: Promises, Promises (2010 New Broadway Cast Recording)”

DVD Review: Bewitched

 “I want my hair to be thwarted by the weather”

Another year another TV remake – following from the really-not-very-good-at-all The Stepford Wives in the Kidman canon came 2005’s Bewitched. I’ve never seen the TV series so the idea of a meta-theatrical film version did not appeal then and nor did it impress when I finally watched it in 2015. Written and directed by rom-com queen Nora Ephron, with sister Delia Ephron co-writing too, it ought to be have been much more charming affair than it is, but laden with a weak plot, appallingly thin characterisation and a concept that doesn’t really know what it wants, it’s hard to sit through.

Trying to avoid doing a straight remake, the Ephrons decided instead to make a story about a fading film star who decides to join a TV remake of Bewitched and ends up casting a real witch who has decided to renounce her powers and live in the real world as Samantha, a character who is a witch who has decided to renounce her powers and live in the real world… Which might have worked but for the lack of chemistry between leads Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell, the awfulness of Ferrell’s character which makes the idea of anyone falling in love with him laughable and a supporting world whose considerable talents are wasted. Continue reading “DVD Review: Bewitched”

Review: Sondheim’s Company in the cinema

“When a person’s personality is personable, he should not sit like a lump”

With the amount of theatre I see, I rarely go to the cinema these days – my Cineworld card collected dust for a quite a few months before I admitted defeat and cancelled it – so when I received an invitation to a press screening of a film, I was amused and intrigued by the novelty of the idea. Of course, it wasn’t that much of a stretch in the end because the film was a recording of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Company from last year’s Lincoln Centre (Center?) production in New York featuring Neil Patrick Harris and a cast of luminaries including Patti LuPone (who inspired possibly the greatest YouTube video ever), Martha Plimpton (her from the Goonies all grown up) and Anika Noni Rose (the one from Dreamgirls who wasn’t Beyoncé or who won an Oscar).

I have to admit I was initially a little wary about going to see this: my relationship with Sondheim took a bit of a battering in the deluge of productions that celebrated his anniversary year and it was only really with the utterly fabulous Sheffield Crucible production of Company at the end of last year that the pieces all finally clicked together for me and I could hand on heart for the first time say that I absolutely loved a Sondheim show. But I have gotten much better at managing expectations for shows, especially in relation to other productions of the same, and this was an opportunity to see a whole bunch of performers, whom I like but may never get to see, live on a big screen. And you’ll get the chance when the show screens for one night only on Thursday 15th March at 7pm – the list of cinemas is available here. Continue reading “Review: Sondheim’s Company in the cinema”

64th Tony Award winners

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play 
Denzel Washington – Fences as Troy Maxson
Jude Law – Hamlet as Hamlet
Alfred Molina – Red as Mark Rothko
Liev Schreiber – A View from the Bridge as Eddie Carbone
Christopher Walken – A Behanding in Spokane as Carmichael

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Viola Davis – Fences as Rose Maxson
Valerie Harper – Looped as Tallulah Bankhead
Linda Lavin – Collected Stories as Ruth Steiner
Laura Linney – Time Stands Still as Sarah Goodwin
Jan Maxwell – The Royal Family as Julie Cavendish

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical 
Douglas Hodge – La Cage aux Folles as Albin
Kelsey Grammer – La Cage aux Folles as Georges
Sean Hayes – Promises, Promises as Chuck Baxter
Chad Kimball – Memphis as Huey Calhoun
Sahr Ngaujah – Fela! as Fela Kuti Continue reading “64th Tony Award winners”

Winners of 2009-2010 Outer Critics Circle Awards

John Gassner Playwriting Award
John Logan, Red
Jon Marans, The Temperamentals
WINNER – Geoffrey Nauffts, Next Fall
Bruce Norris, Clybourne Park

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
WINNER – Douglas Hodge, La Cage aux Folles
Brandon Victor Dixon, The Scottsboro Boys
Chad Kimball, Memphis
Nathan Lane, The Addams Family
Sean Hayes, Promises, Promises Continue reading “Winners of 2009-2010 Outer Critics Circle Awards”

64th Tony Award nominations

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play 
Jude Law – Hamlet as Hamlet
Alfred Molina – Red as Mark Rothko
Liev Schreiber – A View from the Bridge as Eddie Carbone
Christopher Walken – A Behanding in Spokane as Carmichael
Denzel Washington – Fences as Troy Maxson

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Viola Davis – Fences as Rose Maxson
Valerie Harper – Looped as Tallulah Bankhead
Linda Lavin – Collected Stories as Ruth Steiner
Laura Linney – Time Stands Still as Sarah Goodwin
Jan Maxwell – The Royal Family as Julie Cavendish

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical 
Kelsey Grammer – La Cage aux Folles as Georges
Douglas Hodge – La Cage aux Folles as Albin
Sean Hayes – Promises, Promises as Chuck Baxter
Chad Kimball – Memphis as Huey Calhoun
Sahr Ngaujah – Fela! as Fela Kuti Continue reading “64th Tony Award nominations”