Islander most certainly isn’t a rehearsal, it’s a perfectly finished piece, like a stone polished by the waves.
Mates blogger: Johnny Fox
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The latest from Johnny on MyTheatreMates
Don’t miss it A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. Makes you laugh, makes you think. Makes you realise Toby Stephens is one of our finest.
Director Sean Foley had a huge success with The Ladykillers, turning the gentle fifties Ealing comedy into a smart farce. You can’t blame him for taking a second bite at the same cherry. Unfortunately, The Man in the White Suit feels infinitely more laboured.
Ned Bennett’s minimalist and thoughtful production of Equus is by turns thrilling and dull, sensationally staging the sexual and violent aspects of the story while confining the psychiatrist’s self-doubting soliloquy within drapes of blank white sheeting.
At last, someone has laid the sugary ghost of Elaine Paige. Jamie Lloyd’s stripped-back Evita at the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park has all the metallic modernity of their Jesus Christ Superstar.
If a student disco is your personal nightmare, look away now. Tree starts and ends with a throbbing onstage party to wish the audience is persuasively invited. The last time this many Waitrose customers grooved awkwardly to African beats was on Paul Simon’s Graceland tour.
Sally Cookson’s reinterpreted Peter Pan at the new, splendid, exciting Troubadour Theatre very near White City tube captures contemporary imaginations because they can see how it works, and are gripped by the techniques.
The Illusionists is not overpriced, it does hold your attention – even the row of 11 just-out-of-school-for-the-holidays girls on booster cushions behind me didn’t talk or fidget during the show – so if you have some, take them.
It seems appropriate that Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, the 1990s beach novel that launched a hundred thousand package holidays to Kefalonia should itself be staged in a lightly air-conditioned theatre that’s currently hotter than Greece.
Thirty-seven years later, I’m back to see Noises Off re-staged with Meera Syal, Lloyd Owen and Daniel Rigby in a rather over-engineered production by Jeremy Herrin.
Tam Williams’ production of Private Lives at the Mill at Sonning is clean and crisp, nicely framed with a lady accordoniste setting the location, and after a slowish start the piece moves up a gear in the scenes involving all four characters, and especially in two well-choreographed fights.
The most lyrical and romantic thing about Light In The Piazza is its title. That, and the luscious vintage-style 50s costumes which evoke the American idyll of Italy as captured by Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday.
Afterglow at Southwark Playhouse is a classy production but still slow, and because every scene change is like cleaning up after a particularly acrobatic shag, there are more pauses and longeurs than you might wish.
One wonders which came first for the Grade/Linnit company – the misguided desire to mount an epic scale production of Man of La Mancha, a musical which hasn’t been.produced in London since 1968 for very good reasons, or the need to find a project for Kelsey Grammer?
The hallmark of a ‘great play’ is its universality, and historically Arthur Miller’s 1947 All My Sons is a ‘great play’ but it’s debatable whether, in trying to adhere that greatness to contemporary realities, Jeremy Herrin’s is a great production.
This is as unconventional production of Sweet Charity as you’re likely to see. Set firmly in the art milieu of Andy Warhol’s Factory, it’s so perfectly, silver-foil-wrapped acid-tabbed 1967 it’s like you were actually there.
Remember the eighties? From Michael Douglas’ braces in Wall Street to Joan Cusack’s shoulder pads and big hair in Working Girl, they’re all here if a little distorted from the rear-view mirror, in Katherine Farmer’s resurrection of Other People’s Money at Southwark.
Katherine Parkinson was not a surprising choice for the joint venture by Avalon and BBC Arts whereby seasoned creatives were sponsored to write for the stage. Although her script for Sitting was the only actually successful project, seen last year on the Edinburgh Fringe and now refreshed and revived at the Arcola.
At 53, Simon Evans isn’t so different from circuit comedians half his age – a rhetorical stream of invective squirted squarely at current events, with the exception that he speaks entirely in well-honed sentences, not an er, ah or um in sight
“You put the grill on high, and the bread under it. Turn it over half-way through. And then you take it out and scrape it.” That extract from my eight-year-old school essay could just as easily have come from the book and script of Toast, a delightful and fond depiction of food writer Nigel Slater’s formative years.
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