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Diary of a Theatre Addict: 49 shows in six weeks, getting up to date

In Features, Interviews, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

I’ve not updated my diary of a theatre addict for six weeks now — I was last here on January 31 — since when I’ve seen all of 49 shows, including outings to Newbury, Dartford, Clwyd, Manchester, Bromley and Cardiff, plus a week in New York. I’ve also taken an active part in two more shows by appearing onstage as a contestant in a theatrical re-run of Mr and Mrs with husband (so it was really Mr and Mr, we’re pictured above with host Samuel Holmes) and as part of David Bedella and Friends, his monthly chat show at the St James Studio.

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Diary of a Theatre Addict: From New York to Edinburgh & Eastbourne, plus meeting Judi Dench

In Awards, Broadway, Features, Interviews, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Plays by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

I’ve not been here with my usual weekly diary of a theatre addict for a month now. 

So today I’m catching up, not on a week, but on an entire month — during which time I’ve been to Edinburgh, Barbados, New York, Eastbourne and of course London. I’ve interviewed Andy Nyman, Sheridan Smith, Joe McElderry, composer Lucy Simon, Janie Dee and Diana Rigg.

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Closing Review: THE DAZZLE – Found 111

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Johnny FoxLeave a Comment

I’m still not sure what to make of The Dazzle – in the least comfortable fringe theatre newly created in the West End, up 76 steps and with a padlocked lift the first mystery is how Westminster Council licensed it. It starts out as quite a tender portrait of a brother caring for his autistic, introverted concert pianist twin but in Act 2 turns in to Grey Gardens without the jokes, the music or the outré ways to wear a cardigan.

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Weekly Theatre Podcast: The Dazzle, Grey Gardens, Les Liaisons Dangereuses

In Audio, London theatre, Musicals, Native, Opinion, Plays, Quotes, Reviews by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

Every week, a group of regular, dedicated, independent theatre bloggers gather together for intelligent discussion “from the audience’s perspective” about plays and musicals they’ve recently seen in London. Lively, informed and entertaining. My Theatre Mates is delighted to syndicate the (still) As Yet Unnamed London Theatre Podcast (AYULTP). Shows discussed (with timings) in this edition’s podcast: The Dazzle – Found111, …

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Composing Grey Gardens: “It’s very difficult to keep the line between the past and the present”

In Features, Interviews, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Quotes by Terri PaddockLeave a Comment

The American writers of Grey Gardens are clearly delighted with the European premiere production of their musical, now being staged at London’s Southwark Playhouse in a limited, six-week (and already sold-out) season. “We feel enormously blessed,” said composer Scott Frankel, at a post-show Q&A, chaired by My Theatre Mates‘ colleague Mark Shenton, in which he was joined by his lyricist Michael Korie and book writer Doug Wright, all of whom had flown over from New York for the opening the night before. “Everybody clearly wants to be in the room.”

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Press pass: All the reviews and more from Grey Gardens’ European premiere

In Broadway, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Quotes, Reviews by Terri PaddockLeave a Comment

Producer Danielle Tarento and director Thom Southerland have created another Off-West End mega-hit musical. In fact, Grey Gardens has broken all box office records at Southwark Playhouse where it has already sold out, eclipsing the pair’s other much-loved Broadway musical reclamations at the same address over the past five years: Grand Hotel (2015 – spot […]

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GREY GARDENS – Southwark Playhouse

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Caroline Hanks-FarmerLeave a Comment

Sometimes inspiration comes from the most unlikely places. Grey Gardens is a musical based on the critically acclaimed 1975 documentary about former First Lady Jackie Kennedy’s aunt and cousin, Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale. Despite their wealthy background and connections, the two were revealed in the 1970s to be living in squalor, their house overrun by stray cats (and other wildlife) and deemed ‘unfit for human habitation’ by the Health Department.

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GREY GARDENS – Southwark Playhouse

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Johnny FoxLeave a Comment

Director and producer Thom Southerland and Danielle Tarento solidify their reputation for salvaging ancient wrecks off the American coast. Having rescued Titanic equally from the icy waters of the North Atlantic and the deadly maw of a Kate Winslet movie to polish it to a high shine, they now dredge up two decrepit floaters from the shore of Long Island in Grey Gardens.

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GREY GARDENS – Southwark Playhouse

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Edward SeckersonLeave a Comment

It’s not hard to see why Grey Gardens – the musical – has become such a collector’s item. This strange but true tale of American royalty gone rogue, of Jacqueline Kennedy’s rebellious relatives, of a stain on the Bouvier clan somehow exposing the rot at the heart of the American dream was/is irresistible. We all fell for the delicious anarchy of Albert Maysles’ splendid documentary but equally picked up on the sadness of what was at heart an extreme case of co-dependancy. But when “Little Edie Beale said “It’s very diffiicult to keep the line between the past and the present” she unlocked what makes Scott Frankel, Michael Korie and Doug Wright’s work really special.

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GREY GARDENS – Southwark Playhouse

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Libby PurvesLeave a Comment

Hot on the heels of THE DAZZLE (about the New York Collyer brothers living in hoarderly squalid isolation) this is about Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Little Edie half a century later, living in even more eccentric squalor in the Hamptons. Both interpret true stories. Even more thematically satisfying for the playgoer, no sooner has Imelda Staunton bowed out as Mama Rose dominating her daughter in Gypsy, than we can contemplate the equally showbiz- thwarted Edith senior sabotaging hers. Delusion, eccentricity, toxic but irresistible family bonds, musical obsession and memory: great themes, played out with satisfying difference on stages either side of the Thames.