At the end of a year in which female-forward and feminist theatre has made so much progress, The Boy Friend looks regressive as well as nostalgic. On the other hand, it is a colourful and escapist retreat from the winter, and we could all do with a night off from angst.
Mates blogger: Johnny Fox
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The latest from Johnny on MyTheatreMates
Coppélia may be the nearest classical ballet comes to pantomime and as a choice alternative to the usual slew of Nutcrackers and Sleeping Beauties, this one is a tuneful and comic delight.
If you’re with a bunch of co-workers and up for a turkey and tinsel-free ‘night out’ for your department that won’t frighten Mavis from Accounts, The Wolf Of Wall Street may be just what you’re looking for.
The American leading ladies London seems to take to its heart seem to be belters, but Kelli O’Hara has more variety in her voice than any of them.
Sydney & the Old Girl is a refreshing breath of foul air, a dark comedy with deeply unpleasant characters which manages to echo Pinter and Joe Orton in its macabre domestic antagonism.
Time and again, this production of The Mikado comes up fresh as paint and is the perfect antidote to dark days every bit as much now as in 1986 or when Gilbert and Sullivan wrote it in 1885.
Islander most certainly isn’t a rehearsal, it’s a perfectly finished piece, like a stone polished by the waves.
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?
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