It’s the least likely setting imaginable for a farce, even a black one. We are in Baghdad, in the Alawai family’s kitchen and dining-room on the 19th of March, 2003: the hours before the American Shock and Awe bombardment. But for a while, we might as well be in any domestic sitcom. The set (by Tim Shortall) is recognizably modern-suburban with just an Arab twist in the windows, which helps; the opening scene is almost Life with the Lyons, as the exasperated wife Samira (Shobu Kapoor) stumps in with the shopping after a frustrating search for basics, and berates her idle husband Ahmed (Sanjeev Bhaskar) who has done nothing about digging the well for when the water gets cut off. Student daughter Rana (Rebecca Grant, the straightest of the characters) quarrels with her father about his plan to marry her to her awful wealthy cousin Jammal. A geeky comedy plumber (Ilan Goodman) has sneaked in, who is actually Rana’s disguised real boyfriend.
When You Me BumBum Train took the site-specific theatre world by storm in 2004 at the Barbican with its unique concept of an audience of one in a wheelchair and a cast of hundreds, and all over again when it was presented during Olympics season at Stratford, people were blown away by the originality and audacity of both concept and execution.
Glenn Close will star as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, the second production in the partnership between English National Opera (ENO) and the GradeLinnit Company. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton, Sunset Boulevard is produced by arrangement with The Really Useful Group Ltd and is based on the original Paramount film by Billy Wilder.
“Sex and the 18th century” said Brigid Brophy, quoted by the playwright Sam Kelly, “are the two most interesting things in the world”. The fiery, subversive free spirits of the time certainly kicked at religious, scientific and social barriers with glee: Georgians are never boring. And Kelly dramatizes and telescopes the career of one of the ripest: Samuel Foote. Actor, dramatist and theatre manager, whose “mimicry and audacious pleasantries” got him thrown out of Oxford , he found celebrity, clashed with censors and rivals, sparred with friends – Garrick, Peg Woffington, Prince George himself – had a leg amputated after being thrown by a royal horse, rallied, got a royal warrant as compensation, and used his wooden leg as a comedy prop, often while wearing a frock and bonnet. Oh, and he was tried for homosexual assault of a footman.
Off-West End, out of town and out of this world. I’ve seen a few shows recently that have left me feeling distinctly disquieted… for their visions of the future, their distortions of the past and potential armageddons. As usual, I’ve listed productions in closing date order, and the first on the list, Only Forever, finishes […]
Featuring world-class performers from across the globe, leave all your troubles at the door and be transported once again to the seductive world of La Soirée… The crowned winner of this year’s prestigious Olivier Award for Best Entertainment and fresh from a magnificent world tour, the awe-inspiring cabaret sensation is thrilled to return home to London for a sixth season …
Two years after its Broadway debut, Kinky Boots strides into London’s Adelphi Theatre, helmed by Jerry Mitchell who is evidently looking to repeat the show’s award-winning success over here.
Based on the BBC film of a decade ago – in turn inspired by true events – Kinky Boots tells of a Northampton based shoe factory facing closure, that stumbles across the idea of making women’s fashion thigh-length boots but built for a man’s body. As their kinky boots go down a storm amongst the transvestite and drag community, the company is saved.
New British musical The White Feather tells the story of Georgina Briggs whose brother Harry was one of hundreds of allied soldiers executed for cowardice during the First World War and who consequently spent her life fighting for justice & a posthumous pardon. It is a show that offers us the young idealistic soldiers marching off to fight with bravado and returning, in the words of one character, ‘broken’.