It’s so exciting to have an inbox full of theatre announcements – here’s a recap of some of the ones that are most piquing my interest at the moment
The Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield and The Dukes, Lancaster announce the full cast of their digital co-production of The Importance of Being Earnestby Yasmeen Khan.
The full cast is Gurjeet Singh (Ackley Bridge, Wuthering Heights), Tom Dixon (Twelfth Night, Romeo & Juliet),Mina Anwar (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, The Thin Blue Line), Nikki Patel (Trojan Horse, Coronation Street), Zoe Iqbal (Finding Fatimah, Ackley Bridge) and Melanie Marshall (Jane Eyre); with appearances from finalist of RuPaul’s Drag Race UKDivina De Campo, star of stage and screen Paul Chahidi, award-winning actor, comedian and writer Hugh Dennis, actress Harriet Thorpe (Absolutely Fabulous) and comedian Sindhu Vee. Continue reading “News, such theatre news!”
During this unprecedented time which has seen the closure of theatres, cinemas and schools, the National Theatre today announces new initiative National Theatre at Home providing access to content online to serve audiences in their homes. Audiences around the world can stream NT Live productions for free via YouTube, and students and teachers have access to the National Theatre Collection at home, delivered in partnership with Bloomsbury Publishing.
From Thursday 2 April, a number of productions previously screened in cinemas globally as a part of National Theatre Live will be made available to watch via the National Theatre’s YouTube channel. The first production to be broadcast as part of National Theatre at Home will be Richard Bean’s One Man Two Guvnors featuring a Tony Award-winning performance from James Corden. Each production will be free and screened live every Thursday at 7.00pm GMT, it will then be available on demand for seven days. Alongside the streamed productions, National Theatre at Home will also feature accompanying interactive content such as Q&As with cast and creative teams and post-stream talks, with further details of this programme to be announced.
Working closely with YouTube, other productions streamed as part of National Theatre at Home include:
Sally Cookson’s stage adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre on the 9th April,
Bryony Lavery’s adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island on 16th April, and Twelfth Night on the 23rd April featuring Tamsin Greig as Malvolia in Shakespeare’s classic comedy, with further titles to be announced. What would you like to see added to the programme?
Photo credits: One Man Two Guvnors – Johan Persson
Jane Eyre – Manuel Harlan
Treasure Island – Johan Persson Twelfth Night –Marc Brenner
Perhaps predictably, I have anything but a lovely jubbly time at Only Fools and Horses The Musical at the Theatre Royal Haymarket
“You can’t whack the big pineapple”
Full disclosure – I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an episode of Only Fools and Horses voluntarily. I mean I’ve seen clips and I’ve probably been in a room where other people were watching it, but it was never a show that has figured in my life. So news of Only Fools and Horses The Musical didn’t bring quite the excitement it did for so many others, ensuring that this was a commercial success long before any critics got near it.
Strong performances from Lucy Sheen and Flora Spencer-Longhurst make Jesse Briton’s A Pupil an interesting watch at the Park Theatre
“No instrument is more important than the player”
What price genius? We’re often subjected to portrayals of (usually male) creative masterminds that pay little mind to the havoc wrought in the name of their chosen subject. So it is instructive to see the script flipped a bit by Jesse Briton with his new play A Pupil. From its opening moments as former violinist Ye lines up the bottles of pills and whiskey she hopes will end her life, there’s little sugercoating of the weight that talent can bring to bear.
It wasn’t always thus, and it needn’t continue to be. Ye’s involvement in a car crash left her physically incapacitated but she’s slowly mending with the help of landlady Mary. And former colleague Phyllida has lined up a tutoring job for her, helping to prepare the daughter of a Russian oligarch for an audition to the Royal Conservatoire where she teaches. But is talent something that can be nurtured, whether by individuals or by institutions, and is it ever really worth it? Continue reading “Review: A Pupil, Park Theatre”
I have a gay old time with warm-hearted new musical Unexpected Joy at the Southwark Playhouse
“I wanna show you what a woman can do”
One way to assess whether we’re getting closer to true equality when it comes to telling LGBT+ stories is when we can safely say that there’s a diversity in those stories. I can fully appreciate why some might feel frustrated at the simple primary colours of this coming-out story, of its (relatively) uncomplicated emotion but at the same time, isn’t it great to see a lesbian take on a mainstream rom-com trope, aimed at the silver pound to boot.
The Joy ofUnexpected Joy is a baby-boomer era who is marking the one year anniversary of the death of Jump, her creative and life partner. And as she prepares for a concert celebrating his music, she invites her estranged tele-evangelist daughter and grand-daughter to share in the moment. And also to break the news that she is getting married, to a woman – that’s the unexpected bit, testing the familial bonds between these three generations of women. Continue reading “Review: Unexpected Joy, Southwark Playhouse”
Michael Buffong’s reinterpretation of Guys and Dolls, a co-production between the Royal Exchange and Talawa Theatre, is just that, a bold re-envisioning of the classic musical that consequently comes up with something different. That’s the point. So it may take a second to recalibrate, to adjust to these portrayals of familiar characters but in doing so you get to embrace something fresh and new and really rather exciting.
Moving the show from Times Square to the heart of the Harlem Renaissance in 1939 allows Buffong to employ an all-black cast, infuse Frank Loesser’s score with jazz and gospel (new orchestrations by Simon Hale) and introduce a vibrant choreographic vision (by Kenrick Sandy) that draws on several decades of dance history. The result is less-concept heavy than you might expect and often, explosively good fun. Continue reading “Review: Guys and Dolls, Royal Exchange”
“Are you one of those? They’re everywhere in Brighton aren’t they. ‘Yeah, not so many in Halifax though, cos of the weather’”
I really enjoyed the opening half of new BBC police drama Cuffsand so whacked up a review of those four episodes whilst they were still watchable on the iPlayer. The show has now finished its run, 8 episodes being the default setting for a ‘long’ series here in the UK, and whilst it may have lost a little of the fast-paced energy that characterised its arrival, its bevy of boisterous characters ensured I was fully engaged right through to the end of the last episode.
With such a large ensemble making up the South Sussex team, Cuffs did sometimes struggle in giving each of them a fair crack of the whip. For me, it was Amanda Abbington’s Jo who got the shortest end of the stick, too much of her screen-time, especially early on, being taken up with the fallout of her illicit affair instead of showing her as the more than capable police officer we finally saw in the latter episodes. Continue reading “TV Review: Cuffs Episodes 5-8”