When you see around 200 different shows, you’re bound to come across a few duff ones, but I’m pleased to say that nearly all of the bad shows I saw can be found in this post.
It’s not just umbrella festival programmes that keep myself and other London theatregoers busy in August. Here are some thoughts (and connections) on the other plays and musicals I’ve seen over the past week that are worth a look: Mrs Orwell, King Cowboy Rufus Rules the Universe, Boom and Salad Days.
Sienna Miller and Jack O’Connell will lead the cast as Maggie and Brick in Benedict Andrews’ Young Vic production of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof which will begin previews in the West End at the Apollo Theatre on 13 July 2017. With press night on 24 July, this strictly limited twelve-week run is booking to 7 October 2017.
Written and directed by Bernard Rose
There’s a stylish cast and concept to Two Jacks, out this month from Bernard Rose.
Taking an idea from Tolstoy’s Russian fable The Two Hussars, Rose pitches his tale straight into a genre of updated Hollywood noir. It makes for neat conceit and in a movie set entirely in and around Tinseltown, the atmosphere Rose that creates of smoke filled poker parlours, bare-fisted brawls and beautiful women casually seduced, could be straight out of Raymond Chandler.
There is a hint of real life imitating the art on screen, for as the story tells of fictional wild film director Jack Hussar seducing the beautiful Diana (a sizzlingly demure performance from Sienna Miller) and who, years later sees his son Jack Jnr return to become entangled with Diana’s daughter, Rose casts Danny Huston to play the older man, with his nephew Jack playing the younger man. That both men are direct descendants of legendary director John Huston contributes to the story’s grit and that Danny Huston, in both appearance and demeanour bears more than a passing resemblance to Jeremy Clarkson, only adds to the tale.
Two Jacks’ womanising, gambling, alcohol and thundery rainstorms are timeless nods to Hollywood’s darker side and with Jacqueline Bissett playing the (much older) Diana many years into the plot, the classy credentials of Rose’s cast are only enhanced.
Whilst the movie is mostly chic and the acting a delight, Rose is let down by occasional script naiveties and also a budgetary constraint (I guess ?) that sees him not only write and direct, but also photograph and edit the movie too. That’s unfortunate for there are moments of poor continuity, lighting and focus-pulling, that would never have made it out of a decent film school, let alone form part of a commercial release.
Bringing the picture straight out to the DVD and download markets after playing the festivals a couple of years ago is probably wise, with Two Jacks making for a wonderfully romantic movie, beautifully performed.
Out on DVD and download 29th JuneTrailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4qMZy3wFwg&feature=youtu.be
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