In this ‘special circumstances’ year, the Offies 2021 Awards Ceremony celebrated the creativity and resilience of artists in fringe, alternative and independent theatre in a time of crisis who have found new ways to produce fresh and inventive work for thousands of stay-at-home audiences.
The Offies are OffWestEnd’s main awards, for shows with at least 10 performances, and awards were given to the best of the shows presented before lockdown and the few who managed to go ahead in the summer
The OnComm is the new award for online shows from across the UK (and beyond) and was introduced in May 2020. Additionally, the winner of the OffFest award for theatre shows in festivals was also announced, alongside extra OneOff awards for innovative work and initiatives in 2020, especially in the light of the Covid lockdown. Continue reading “2021 Offie & ONCOMM Award Winners”
The OnComm is the new award for online shows from across the UK (and beyond) and was introduced in
1. Recording pre-lockdown (direct)
(i.e. with little or no editing)
Going Viral / Daniel Bye
Hysteria / Spymonkey
Jane Clegg / Finborough Theatre
The House Of Bernarda Alba / Graeae
2. Recording pre-lockdown (edited)
(i.e. with significant editing)
Bubble / Theatre Uncut
Cyprus Avenue / Royal Court & Abbey Theatre
SeaWall / Simon Stephens
The Encounter / Complicité Continue reading “The finalists of The ONCOMMs 2021”
In lieu of trying to make sense of this shitshow of a year through the normal year-end lists, I thought I’d just stick with an unranked list of 10 of my top theatrically based productions of the year
For reference, here’s my 2019 list, 2018 list, 2017 list, 2016 list, 2015 list and 2014 list.
Uncle Vanya, Harold Pinter Theatre
A rather exhilaratingly good take on the familiar Chekhov classic, a worthy presence in the West End.
The Wicker Husband, Watermill Theatre
One of the last things I saw before lockdown and what a gorgeous lingering memory to have, I pray that this is not the last we hear of this beautiful new musical. Continue reading “10 top theatrical moments of 2020”
Reinterpreting the women of Greek mythology for today, the theatrical enterprise of 15 Heroines is a major achievement and a highlight of the year, digital or otherwise
“The gods should protect me”
15 Heroines comes to us in collaboration between the Jermyn Street Theatre and Digital Theatre as fifteen female and non-binary playwrights tackle Ovid’s Heroides, giving voice to the women of classical mythology anew. Split into three groups of five 15-minute monologues – The Labyrinth, The War, The Desert – this is a major theatrical enterprise that offers startlingly fresh perspective on these tales of old and serves as a reminder, as if it were needed, that men are trash.
Or more specifically, the men that we often describe as heros have serious issues when it comes to the women in their lives. There may be some excuse for the women left behind by The Trojan War – Sophia Eleni’s Love Island-esque but still sweet Laodamia is the wife of the first soldier killed as explored by Charlotte Jones – but more often than not it is just men being (fuck)boys. Lettie Precious delves beautifully into Oenone’s feelings about being abandoned by Paris for Helen, Ann Ogbomo’s righteous fury scalds the screen. Continue reading “Review: 15 Heroines”
Indra Ové, Rosalind Eleazar, Eleanor Tomlinson, Nicholle Cherrie and Martina Laird star in 15 Heroines – The Desert, featuring writing from April De Angelis, Stella Duffy, Isley Lynn, Chinonyerem Odimba and Lorna French
“The gods should protect me”
Read my overview of 15 Heroines here
Five women deserted – with stories to tell
⭐️Deianaria: The Striker by April De Angelis, starring Indra Ové
⭐️Dido: The Choice by Stella Duffy, starring Rosalind Eleazar
⭐️Canace: A Good Story by Isley Lynn, starring Eleanor Tomlinson
⭐️Hypermestra: Girl On Fire by Chinonyerem Odimba, starring Nicholle Cherrie
⭐️Sappho: I See You Now by Lorna French, starring Martina Laird
Running time: each 5 play part of 15 Heroines is around 80 minutes
Photos: Sonay Shote/Marc Brenner
15 Heroines is streaming Monday 9 – Saturday 14 November at 7.30pm / 3.00pm
The Desert Tuesday 10th 3.00pm; Wednesday 11th 7.30pm; Friday 13th 7.30pm
The War Monday 9th 7.30pm; Thursday 12th 7.30pm; Saturday 14th 3.00pm
The Labyrinth Tuesday 10th 7.30pm; Thursday 12th 3.00pm; Saturday 14th 7.30pm
Jermyn Street Theatre are thinking big once again, as their previously announced 15 Heroines project, in collaboration with Digital Theatre, reveals a titanic cast of actors to join the 15 female and non-binary playwrights commissioned to retell the stories of the women of classical myth. And not just that, Adjoa Andoh will be co-directing alongside Tom Littler and Cat Robey. Hook. Me. Up!
Full casting comprises Gemma Whelan, Jemima Rooper, Ann Ogbomo, Rebekah Murrell and Sophia Eleni in The War
Indra Ové, Rosalind Eleazar, Nicholle Cherrie, Eleanor Tomlinson and Martina Laird in The Desert and
Olivia Williams, Nadine Marshall, Doña Croll, Nathalie Armin and Patsy Ferran in The Labyrinth. Continue reading “News: Jermyn Street Theatre’s 15 Heroines announces a truly heroic cast”
Adjoa Andoh excels in an all-women-of-colour production of Richard II at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
“No matter where; of comfort no man speak”
Just a quickie for this as I’ve left it very late in the run. Co-directed by Adjoa Andoh and Lynette Linton, this is billed as the first professional production of Richard II by a company of women of colour and when you look at the talent onstage, you wonder how on earth it has taken this long. (And then acknowledge that the answer is far too obvious.)
In the atmospheric space of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, it is clear that the creative decisions behind this production are drawing on a wealth of experience far beyond white Anglo-Saxon traditions. Rajha Shakiry’s design and Rianna Azoro’s costumes speak of the cultural backgrounds of the company, so too the influences of Dominique Le Gendre’s music under Midori Jaeger’s musical supervision. Continue reading “Review: Richard II, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse”
I’d thought I didn’t need to see Richard II again for a good while but Michelle Terry’s tenure at the Globe is most certainly testing that resolve. The forthcoming production there is to be staged by the first-ever company of women of colour in a Shakespeare play on a major UK stage. Co-directed by Adjoa Andoh and Lynette Linton, Adjoa will also play the titular role. Continue reading “Theatre news round-up”
A scorching revival of Winsome Pinnock’s Leave Taking is an absolute triumph at the Bush Theatre
“What they know about a black woman soul?”
It’s the little details. A quiet mention by two sisters of the four grandparents that they never met, all remaining in Jamaica as their mother emigrated to England in search of a better life for the family she was destined to have. It’s an aching sadness that permeates Winsome Pinnock’s 1987 intimate and insightful play Leave Taking and one which I’d never really considered before (my grandpa lived next door and my nan and grandad were only ever a couple hours drive away). Consider my eyes opened.
Life in Deptford has proven far from a dream for Enid, working her fingers to the bone in two jobs to provide for her daughters Del and Viv, themselves struggling with an identity caught between Caribbean roots and their mother’s new-found Englishness. To help soothe their souls, they visit a local Obeah woman, a spiritual healer, though no-one is prepared for the depth of feeling and the uncomfortable nature of the truths that need to be unleashed. Continue reading “Review: Leave Taking, Bush Theatre”
And whilst it remains impressive, it also remains elusive, caught between gig and theatre…
Meaning there wasn’t much to discover anew on second viewing (my review from last year).
Still worth a shot if you’ve not seen it though.
All photos © Johan Persson
Continue reading “Not-a-re-review: Jesus Christ Superstar, Open Air Theatre”