Audio-digital platform Sound Stage stumbles a little with John Byrne’s Tennis Elbow, a new play that feels terribly dated
“Park your bottie, let’s have some cheese and crackers”
After a powerfully evocative start with Mark Ravenhill’s Angela, the audio-digital platform Sound Stage stumbles a little with its second instalment Tennis Elbow. Written by Scottish arts titan John Byrne – his first play in 13 years – it acts as a follow up to his 1977 play Writer’s Cramp and thus tying its fortunes very closely with that original work.
Presented as a story-within-a-story and narrated by the fabulous Maureen Beattie, we’re treated to a succession of biographical snippets from the life of Pamela Crichton-Capers, ostensibly an undersung artist who just happens to be the wife of Francis Seneca McDade, also an undersung artist who was the subject of Writer’s Cramp. Continue reading “Review: Tennis Elbow, Sound Stage”
Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap – the longest running show in the world, which has been suspended since the pandemic resulted in the closure of UK theatres in March 2020 – is to re-open in the West End on Monday 17 May 2021.
Two sets of casts – comprising Olivier Award winners and highly acclaimed stars of TV and film – will come together for the iconic thriller as it re-opens at the St. Martin’s Theatre on the day that Stage 3 in the Government’s “Road Map” to ease restrictions across society comes in to effect. Continue reading “News: the Mousetrap sets new bait with all-star double cast”
Pitlochry Festival Theatre and The Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh in association with Naked Productions are delighted to announce casts for three forthcoming Sound Stage plays.
- Tennis Elbow by John Byrne (30 April – 2 May 2021) is directed by Elizabeth Newman and stars Maureen Beattie, Brian Ferguson, Jessica Hardwick, Cherylee Houston, Louise Jameson, Anne Odeke, Sally Reid, Kirsty Stuart, Samuel West and Fiona Wood
- Hindu Times by Jaimini Jethwa (28 – 30 May 2021) is directed by Caitlin Skinner and stars Rehanna McDonald, Adam McNamara and Daniel Portman
- The Mother Load by Lynda Radley (25 – 27 June 2021) is directed by Isobel McArthur and stars Nalini Chetty, Anna Russell-Martin, Wendy Seager and Rosalind Sydney
Continue reading “News: Casts Announced for Next Three New Sound Stage Productions”
Some decisions that reflect my own nominations for the year, many others for plays I haven’t seen and as ever, some curious choices too.
Gabriella Slade for Six at the Arts Theatre
Jonathan Lipman for Harold & Maude at the Charing Cross Theatre
Pam Tait for Rothschild & Sons at the Park Theatre
Bethany Wells for Distance at the Park Theatre
Francis O’Connor for Harold & Maude at the Charing Cross Theatre
Simon Daw for Humble Boy at the Orange Tree Theatre Continue reading “The finalists of The Offies 2019”
I like almost everything about The Madness of George III at Nottingham Playhouse Theatre apart from the main performance…
“I am not going out of my mind, my mind is going out of me”
Mark Gatiss has been getting rave reviews for his performance in The Madness of George III at Nottingham Playhouse but for me, there was just a little bit too much of
for my liking. There’s lots to love in Adam Penfold’s production, particularly in key supporting roles like Adrian Scarborough’s Dr Willis and Debra Gillett’s Queen Charlotte, and some of the smaller parts like Nadia Albina’s Fitzroy and Jack Holden’s Greville.
And I enjoyed that Penfold cast several of the ostensibly male parts with women, allowing the likes of Louise Jameson and Stephanie Jacob. Throw in a lusciously opulent design from Robert Jones and strikingly dramatic lighting from Richard Howell, and it’s a real theatrical treat, a real statement of intent from this nicely ambitious artistic director. Continue reading “Review: The Madness of George III, Nottingham Playhouse”
“Heroism is danger and risk, and frankly, until now, it’s been male”
Plays set in places I knew well as a child unexpectedly looks like it might be one of the theatrical memes of the year – Years of Sunlight explored the history of the neighbouring town where I learned to swim and now we have Timberlake Wertenbaker’s new drama Winter Hill, named for the West Pennine peak that was the location of many a childhood walk.
Wertenbaker’s play is set on the Winter Hill of the near future, as opposed to the not-so-near past, where a chunk of the land has been sold to developers who are constructing a luxury skyscraper hotel there, set to completely alter the way that the hill dominates the landscape and the town of Bolton below it. As a local women’s reading group sneaks onto the building site to have their meetings, hidden agendas bubble to the surface to make matters a little more serious than whether they’ve got enough wine to get through the evening. Continue reading “Review: Winter Hill, Octagon Theatre”
A tempting looking trailer has been released for Late Company, the Finborough’s forthcoming drama
— TheatreDotLondon (@TheatreDotLDN) April 13, 2017
Continue reading “Round-up of news and treats and other interesting things”
Louise Jameson in The Diva Drag at The Hope
Lydia Larson in Skin A Cat at The Bunker
Sarah Ridgeway in Fury at Soho Theatre
Jenna Russell in Grey Gardens at Southwark Playhouse
Best Supporting Female
Lynette Clarke in Karagula at The Styx
Joanna Hickman in Ragtime at Charing Cross Theatre
Sasha Waddell in After October at The Finborough
Fiston Barek in The Rolling Stone at The Orange Tree
Phil Dunster in Pink Mist at The Bush
Paul Keating in Kenny Morgan at The Arcola
John Ramm in Sheppey at The Orange Tree Continue reading “2017 Offie Award Finalists”
“This is the face of a man who shags rent boys”
Doing exactly what it says on the tin, and a whole lot more besides, Two Short Plays About Gays is a powerful evening at the Hope Theatre, blessed by a stunningly excoriating performance from Louise Jameson. For rather than short and sweet, it is bracing and bittersweet, both shorts written by Lesley Ross (also a lyricist whose work I’ve reviewed here – Love, Lies & Lyrics – The Words of Lesley Ross) with a bruising sense of honesty and directed uncompromisingly by Nigel Fairs.
First up is Middle Aged Rent in which a gentleman d’un certain âge (Ross, performing as Gregory Ashton) recounts the experience of moving to London in the 1980s, his teenage self appearing onstage with him. The realities of leaving home as a young gay man, ostracised from his family and without any money, are presently frankly, the choices neither excused nor eulogised and crucially, they’re told with dynamism as surprises – both cruel and comic – come his way. Continue reading “Review: Two Short Plays About Gays, Hope”
“Where others had a soul, he had a corkscrew”
Mark Gatiss seems to have had a golden touch of late at the BBC which makes one wonder if he was allowed to pursue this adaptation of MR James’ ghost story as something of a vanity project, free from a more discerning critical eye that might have asked why bother. The production values of The Tractite Middoth are beyond question and the acting of a good standard, but the overall is let down by a complete clunker of a story, a nonsensical series of contrivances and convolutions that flail around ridiculously.
Young librarian William Garrett is pulled into a bitter family feud over a hidden will when a stranger arrives at his premises looking for a particularly mysterious item and as he is sucked further deeper into the intrigue, supernatural influences make it an ever-more terrifying experience, for him. Because for us, it is just silliness piled on silliness, the quest set by a wicked uncle for the two relatives who would inherit his vast estate becomes pointless in the end, there’s convenient chance meetings which keep the narrative clunking on and scary noises aplenty to remind us this is a ghost story. Continue reading “TV Review: The Tractite Middoth”