Duty to the art must be done, Robert Holman is a veteran writer, it’s his newest play, and a great cast: would go a long way to see Sylvestra Le Touzel and indeed young Matthew Tennyson.
Mates blogger: Libby Purves
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The latest from Libby on MyTheatreMates
Rather than return cautiously with a safe old feelgood favourite the Menier’s artistic director David Babani has taken – deep breath – a new American-Jewish Broadway play about a 1923 scandal about a lesbian play in Yiddish from 1907, and its 1940s aftermath in a doomed attic in the Lodz ghetto
Libby Purves is tempted to see The Memory of Water at Hampstead Theatre again, just to feel a more solidly packed audience laughing and gasping around her. That’s how much fun it was.
Phew. The Broadway-rooted, Disneylicious, long-awaited red-carpet premiere night of Frozen featured (of course) an ice-blue carpet. And the throng bursting out to meet the paps afterwards was met by actual snow-blowers, so that our soggy heatwave outfits blended nicely into the evening’s actual rain as we skittered out of range.
On comes Arthur Smith in Syd, and we see that undimmed by lockdown-year is his tendency to merriment and causing merriment, whether in Barry-Cryer-type gags, geezerish challenges to the audience, or unmatchable stories.
Just as I started to wonder about the treatment of war and death in Operation Mincemeat, like all good comedy troupes @spitlip turned the piece round to empathetic humanity.
Cinderella’s brilliant trick is the show’s have-cake-and-eat-it ability to debunk all the traditional glamour and romance while actually indulging it.
When Chirolles Khalil’s production of This Beautiful Future at Jermyn Street Theatre works it is by laying out before us the hopelessness of innocence in a savage wartime world, and underlining the banality of evil.
It’s good sense for Colchester’s Mercury Theatre to reopen with Baskerville, a family-friendly lark: Ken Ludwig’s take on Sherlock Holmes’ adventure with the Hound of the Baskervilles.
Given our national relish for both monarchy and rude jokes, my instinct is that The Windsors Endgame will reign and reign.
This is a grand intellectual teaser of a show, and under Lucy Bailey’s almost mischievous direction does a good job of shaking up fashionable preconceptions about David Mamet’s 1992 play Oleanna.
I have never known Die Walküre fail to connect before, particularly in the hands of a talented team. Let’s hope this cycle gets right back on track as they progress towards a future Siegfried.
In Anything Goes at the Barbican there are celebrity gangsters and torch-singers, big stock-exchange money and big energy, jazzy lapdancers and a touching belief that poor old England is best represented by a silly-ass in tweeds who doesn’t understand words like smooch.
Hats off to James Dacre’s Royal & Derngate for bravely slapping on brand new musical Gin Craze in the very week Lloyd Webber and four other London shows got abruptly pinged-off by test ’n’ trace (more like trick-or-treat, frankly: isolation blackmail).
Almost the most magnificent part of Daniel Evans’ production of South Pacific is that it’s happening at all: despite the distanced glimmer of blue paper masks, Chichester affirms that big musical theatre is back with almost insane defiance:
Eastern Angles’ Red Skies is a great idea, much of it well performed and imagined, but if ever a play needed cutting, especially in the second half (unwisely, as long as the first or longer) this is it.
Where Jeremy Herrin directs and Bunny Christie designs, you expect something pretty damn theatrical before After Life ends, and this we get.
Some say that the tight, 80-minute three-hander Raya tackles too many things at once – middle aged reawakening of old liaisons, the menopause, grief, haunting, student sexual accusations, therapy, parenthood and the unwisdom of defining yourself round sex. But hey, that is adult life. Hassles do not arrive neatly separated and convenient for the dramatic unities.
Under Milk Wood is a perfect piece to contemplate after a year when the shrinking worlds of lockdown made every neighbourhood a village and every one of us was connected in fate and behaviour whether we liked it or not.
Bach & Sons at the Bridge Theatre is a lovely play: domestic and intellectual, dryly wise and recklessly passionate. It harmonizes the bawdy and the holy, the loving and the lyrical.
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