The finalists of The Offies 2019

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.

DESIGN
COSTUME DESIGN
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

SET DESIGN
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”

Review: Oh, the Humanity and Other Good Intentions, Tabard

“Do I sense a wider deeper sense of wonder and mayhem?”

I have a great sense of affection for Will Eno’s Oh, the Humanity and Other Good Intentions for a previous production at the Soho Theatre introduced me to the glorious talents of Lucy Ellinson. So this production at the Tabard Theatre, the debut show for the End of Moving Walkway company, was something I was keen to fit into the diary, not least because director Paul Lichtenstern has flipped the script in terms of casting a company of nine rather than having three actors covering multiple roles.

It’s a collection of five short plays that at their simplest, touch on the randomness and ordinariness of life and all its ups and downs. Connected by a (scarcely needed) directorial innovation that sees the action play out in Andy Edwards’ photography studio-like set design, Eno’s writing revels in dense wordplay as many of his characters struggle to deal with the situations in which they find themselves – a demanding press conference, the aftermath of a plane crash, emotional crises – and the cumulative effect can occasionally become a little wearing. Continue reading “Review: Oh, the Humanity and Other Good Intentions, Tabard”

Nominations for 2013-2014 Outer Critics Circle Awards

John Gassner Playwriting Award
Scott Z. Burns, The Library
Eric Dufault, Year of the Rooster
Madeleine George, The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence
Steven Levenson, The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin
Lauren Yee, The Hatmaker’s Wife

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Michael Cerveris, Fun Home
Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Andy Karl, Rocky
Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love Murder
Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder Continue reading “Nominations for 2013-2014 Outer Critics Circle Awards”

Nominations for 2014 Lucille Lortel Awards

Outstanding Play
Bad Jews, Produced by Roundabout Theatre Company, Written by Joshua Harmon
Domesticated, Produced by Lincoln Center Theater, Written by Bruce Norris
The Night Alive, Produced by Atlantic Theater Company, Originally Produced by the Donmar Warehouse, Written by Conor McPherson 
The Open House, Produced by Signature Theatre, Written by Will Eno

Outstanding Musical
Fun Home, Produced by The Public Theater, Music by Jeanine Tesori, Book and Lyrics by Lisa Kron Based on the Alison Bechdel book
Here Lies Love, Produced by The Public Theater Concept and Lyrics by David Byrne, Music by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, Additional Music by Tom Gandy and J Pardo
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, Produced by Howard & Janet Kagan, Paula Marie Black, John Logan, Lisa Matlin, Daveed Frazier, Tom Smedes, Vertical Ent./Roman Gambourg/Lev Gelfer Written by Dave Malloy
What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined, Produced by New York Theatre Workshop, Music by Burt Bacharach, Lyrics by Hal David and Others Conceived by Kyle Riabko and David Lane Seltzer   Continue reading “Nominations for 2014 Lucille Lortel Awards”

Nominations for 2013 Lucille Lortel Awards

Outstanding Play
Bethany – Produced by Women’s Project Theater; Written by Laura Marks
Cock – Produced by Stuart Thompson, Jean Doumanian, Royal Court Theatre, William Berlind, Scott Delman, Dena Hammerstein, Jon B. Platt, Scott Rudin, Ted Snowdon, True Love Productions; Written by Mike Bartlett
Detroit – Produced by Playwrights Horizons; Written by Lisa D’Amour  
The Flick – Produced by Playwrights Horizons; Written by Annie Baker
The Whale – Produced by Playwrights Horizons; Written by Samuel D. Hunter 

Outstanding Musical
Dogfight – Produced by Second Stage Theatre; Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Book by Peter Duchan
Giant – Produced by The Public Theater in association with The Dallas Theater Center; Book by Sybille Pearson, Music and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa, Based on the novel by Edna Ferber 
Murder Ballad – Produced by Manhattan Theatre Club; Conceived by and with Book and Lyrics by Julia Jordan, Music and Lyrics by Juliana NashThe Other Josh Cohen – Produced by Amas Musical Theatre in association with Scandobean Productions, LLC; Book, Music and Lyrics by David Rossmer and Steve Rosen  
Skippyjon Jones – Produced by TheatreworksUSA; Book and Lyrics by Kevin Del Aguila, Music by Eli Bolin, Based on the book by Judy Schachner   Continue reading “Nominations for 2013 Lucille Lortel Awards”

Review: Oh, the Humanity and Other Good Intentions, Soho Theatre

“I’ve been described as the girl next door…by neighbours”

Fresh from Edinburgh where it was part of Northern Stage’s programme, Will Eno’s collection of short plays, Oh, the Humanity and Other Good Intentions, made the transfer to the Soho Theatre to make this a good month for fans of this New York-based playwright. The five pieces are separate but interlinked, insomuch as they complement and reinforce each other with a loose thematic continuity. From the sports coach trying to rationalise a poor season to a man and a woman recording their intros for an online dating service, from an airline spokesperson struggling to deliver a press conference after a plane crash to a photographer and his assistant prepping for a shoot, Eno probes the different ways in which people present themselves, put brave faces on, even in the knowledge of the desperation of their various situations.

Eno’s powerfully evocative use of language brings a poetic charge to much of these, but also demonstrates the different ways in which we use words, as foreplay, as a protective buffer, as a smokescreen, as a way to search for meaning when the point of it all eludes us. The peeling back of the best, and the worst, of the would-be daters reveals lives barely lived; the erudite sports coach unexpectedly holds a mirror, or is it a shield, up to the voracious journalists waiting to tear him to shreds. Continue reading “Review: Oh, the Humanity and Other Good Intentions, Soho Theatre”

Review: Thom Pain (based on nothing), Print Room

“Enough about me, let’s get to our story”

John Light’s performance in bringing this hour-long Will Eno monologue to life has to be one of the most mesmerising experience currently available to theatregoers. Simon Evans’ revival of Thom Pain (based on nothing) at the Print Room in West London is an unrelenting search for the self which, initially at least, balances the prolonged processing of existential angst with a vein of scabrous, self-lacerating humour to inspirational effect.

Alone on the stage, Pain is a man telling us stories. Amusing anecdotes from a klutzy childhood, the travails of a failed relationship, but the darkness that lies behind his troubled psychology is never far away and as the drama (metaphorically) rolls up its sleeves, it reveals the long-lasting scars these experiences have left. But Eno is less concerned about a pat reveal of early trauma shaping a man’s life, his focus is more on the survival mechanisms, the way in which people deal, and then continue. Continue reading “Review: Thom Pain (based on nothing), Print Room”