Best of the Blogs: Death of a Salesman, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Orpheus Descending & more

In Features, London theatre, Musicals, Native, Opinion, Plays, Quotes, Regional theatre, Reviews, Sticky, Ticket recommendations by Lisa MartlandLeave a Comment

There’s no better escape from the pessimism of the real word than in the theatre. Whether or not the production you choose ends in tears of sorrow or laughter, it’s that feeling of connecting and identifying with an alternative universe that is precious. So no wonder our 40-plus Mates are as busy as ever, taking in such a wide range of openings in London and beyond.

As part of a new series, our editor Lisa Martland picks out seven of her Top Picks from the last week of theatre (12-19 May 2019). Amidst her choices are two more West End productions of classic American drama: Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman at the Young Vic, described by Emily Garside as a “revelation”; and Tennessee Williams’ Orpheus Descending at the Menier Chocolate Factory which, for Libby Purves, is “sultry, sinful, shocking and shining”.

Elsewhere, new Mate Amy Toledano (‘withinherownwords’) finds new musical The Curious Case of Benjamin Button at the Southwark Playhouse “truly mesmerising”. Read on to find out more.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Southwark Playhouse, London ★★★★★

 

Amy Toledano: “It is a rare thing to experience a new musical like this one. Intimate and lively, it is one that will definitely stay with you long after you have left the theatre and will have you quietly hoping that the cast album will be released very soon.”

 

Death of a Salesman – Young Vic, London

 

Emily Garside: “It’s nice now and then to be reminded you can have a fresh approach, but still tell stories. Still unite an audience in a room and move them with that. It’s simple and so difficult. And that’s why gasp-crying at the end of Salesman is so powerful.”

 

Henry IV Part 1 – Shakespeare’ s Globe, London ★★★★★

 

Debbie Gilpin: “In contrast to last year’s Globe Ensemble productions, there’s definitely more of a focus this time round – it doesn’t feel like a mish-mash of ideas all competing for dominance. The players assemble to tell their story, introducing the play and diving into the action.”

 

The Provoked Wife – Swan, Stratford upon Avon ★★★

 

Anne Cox: “No doubt Vanburgh’s comedy about adultery and abusive marriage would have been a lot more scandalous in the 17th century when marriage was a forever commitment. It still holds up pretty well today but, thank god, we now have divorce.”

 

Orpheus Descending – Menier Chocolate Factory

 

Libby Purves: “Savagely observed absurdity, blinding flashes of insight, profound yearning, sudden poetry singing clear notes from the cruel swamp of humanity. This isn’t one of Tennessee Williams’ more familiar plays, but it has all the troubled master’s marks, glories and challenges.”

 

Testament – Hope Theatre,
London

 

Ian Foster: “Bold as you like, Chalk Line’s Testament is a breath of bracingly fresh air into
the Hope Theatre with its blend of physical theatre, metaphysical narrative and contemporary issue-baiting.”

 

The Swell Mob – Colab Factory, London ★★★★

 

Emma Clarendon: “Engaging and entertaining, The Swell Mob is a well put together experience that certainly has plenty of potential to be developed even further to add more depth, intrigue and excitement.”

 

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Lisa Martland
An editor, writer and critic, Lisa Martland is the founder of Vuelio top-ranked website Musical Theatre Review which she set up in 2013. She has largely single-handedly developed it into one of the UK’s must-read sites for professionals and expert followers of the sector. In 2018, Lisa also joined the Terri Paddock Group, taking on the role of editor for both MyTheatreMates and our sister musical theatre site Stage Faves. Formerly, she was deputy editor at The Stage Newspaper.

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Lisa Martland on FacebookLisa Martland on InstagramLisa Martland on RssLisa Martland on TwitterLisa Martland on Youtube
Lisa Martland
An editor, writer and critic, Lisa Martland is the founder of Vuelio top-ranked website Musical Theatre Review which she set up in 2013. She has largely single-handedly developed it into one of the UK’s must-read sites for professionals and expert followers of the sector. In 2018, Lisa also joined the Terri Paddock Group, taking on the role of editor for both MyTheatreMates and our sister musical theatre site Stage Faves. Formerly, she was deputy editor at The Stage Newspaper.

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