We should applaud productions brave enough to kick against the seasonal schmaltz. From exciting trap doors in floors and cupboards, to a talking disembodied head and spectacular floods, Tom Piper’s stage set is a big draw.
The trouble with The Woman in White is that if you dissect the elements Andrew Lloyd Webber fused into the show, they’re all perfectly fine. You could also add that Thom Southerland’s production flatters the source material with a rich and generous staging and some very lush orchestrations.
It takes a lot to put me in the mood for Christmas. But if anything can, this inventive A Christmas Carol does, pulling together tip-top modern stagecraft, a venerated story, and our proudest 200-year-old theatre.
Everything good rests on the broad shoulders and Borat-like moustache of director, writer, star and Sheffield export John Savournin. Not only does he have the best jokes and costumes as ‘Lord Conniving’ – including a priapic armchair – he has a gift for comedy.
The actors playing the teens are very fine, but top of the class are John McCrea as a spectacularly well-sung and well-observed Jamie, and Josie Walker as his mum with the only really heartfelt song in the show, ‘He’s My Boy’.
Eleven years since opening at the Apollo Victoria, Wicked is a well-oiled machine but the newest cast show the same enthusiasm and energy as at that unusual first night in 2006 when so many friends of Dorothy turned up dressed as Judy Garland.
Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross – not a tartan bonnet in sight, it’s an All-American play set in Chicago in the 80’s – is about ruthless competition between real estate salesmen, paid largely on commission, and ready to cut any throat or corner to come top of the monthly leaderboard.
Two old muckers run a semi-professional club in the Northern League – John Bowler‘s wonderfully poetic Yates, a deeply loyal ex-player with the stamp of Nobby Stiles, is the ‘kit man’ who does the players’ laundry and bungs them a tenner when they’re short.
The Diary of a Nobody is one of those books you’re convinced you’ve read, until you see it staged and realise that either you’ve forgotten it, or the director had a completely different idea. In the case of Rough Haired Pointer’s revival at the King’s Head, both.