Sixteen weeks ago the National Theatre At Home season was launched and this week the final show began its one week run. In Amadeus they may just have saved the best until last.
Overall, Al Smith’s play feels as though it is too meandering to be completely effective, but this production has a charm about it to keep you engaged from start to finish.
A saucy, seaside postcard of a show, Benidorm Live is sure to delight fans of the series and newbies alike as they take a carefree, innuendo-filled trip to sunny Spain.
After ten years on our television screens, the long-running sitcom Benidorm has found a new home on stage as a national touring production.
Award-winning ITV comedy show’s series creator and writer Derren Litten is bringing Benidorm’s signature sunshine and shenanigans to theatres across the UK and Ireland.
However, by the time the whole auditorium is on its feet for the finale, dancing along to Y Viva Espana, you’d be forgiven for forgetting how many cracks in the Benidorm carapace have been papered over to get there.
Killer Joe is a horribly misjudged revival at Trafalgar Studios that makes a mockery of #MeToo, you and all of us.
Arguably, the revival of a 25-year-old script is done for one of two reasons; either its excellent writing simply entertains, or it is pertinent to today’s societal trends. With Killer Joe, the rationale is unclear.
Killer Joe is definitely not an easy watch but thanks to the solid chemistry and performances from the cast it is a compelling production to watch that leaves the audience feeling on edge. Gripping, thrilling and powerful from beginning to end.
For Tracy Letts’ first play, it is almost perfectly structured and paced. Each dark twist in Killer Joe is unravelled delicately, each scene is a steadily heating pressure cooker. And the dialogue! Cutting, mean-spirited and genuinely witty.
Details have been revealed of the full cast joining Hollywood star Orlando Bloom who will star as a cop who moonlights as a killer-for-hire in multi award-winning Tracy Letts’ blackly comic thriller Killer Joe in the West End.
There is so much to admire in this revival that it’s hard to know where to start first. Let’s go with Lucian Msamati. I maintain that he was cruelly robbed of at least acknowledgement and nomination in the various end-of-year award shows.
Now back at the National’s Olivier Theatre until 24 April 2018, Michael Longhurst’s production of Amadeus stars Adam Gillen and Lucian Msamati as Mozart and Salieri. Here’s what critics have made of the production’s return to London…
That this is Michael Longhurst’s debut in this theatre makes it all the more impressive and I wouldn’t be surprised if his name doesn’t soon become one of the ones bandied around the round of musical chairs that is London artistic directorships.
Lots of updates coming from the South Bank today after the National Theatre’s press conference earlier this month when artistic director Rufus Norris unveiled programming plans for 2018. Today, further dates and casting for many of those productions are announced.
Peter Shaffer’s play about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri has returned to the National theatre where it premiered in 1979. Lucian Msamati and Adam Gillen star as Salieri and his nemesis.
Revival of Peter Shaffer’s most famous play is more a musical triumph than a textual one.
If you can’t take a joke, you really shouldn’t have joined. Some critics are up in arms that the 1979 ‘classic’ piece Amadeus has been deconstructed and, they say, dumbed down in the National Theatre’s new staging by Michael Longhurst.
“It would make angels mourn”
Perhaps fittingly, on an evening when beautiful tribute was paid to the late Howard Davies, whose invaluable contribution to the National Theatre (36 productions over 28 years) will sorely be missed, there’s a sense of the passing of the guard with director Michael Longhurst making his main stage debut in the South Bank venue. Longhurst has been establishing himself quite the reputation (Constellations and Linda at the Royal Court, Carmen Disruption at the Almeida, A Number at the Nuffield, an extraordinary Winter’s Tale earlier this year, and the brilliant The Blackest Black at the Hampstead, to name just a few) and his graduation here feels entirely earned.
He makes his bow with Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, a play that premiered at this very theatre in 1979 (another sad loss, as Shaffer passed away this summer) and with the enviable resources to hand here, mounts an excellent production. The play depicts a largely fictionalised version of the intertwined lives of composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri and their rival careers, and the Southbank Sinfonia are on hand to provide live orchestral accompaniment. So that when The Marriage of Figaro is premiered, we get an excerpt; when people read the sheet music, we don’t have to imagine the notes of the page, we hear them out loud.
And though the play takes place in the late eighteenth century Viennese court, the Sinfonia remain in modern dress, a constant reminder of the timelessness of Mozart’s music, how it has endured, thrived even. This is best displayed in a breathtaking sequence that closes the first half, Longhurst at his bravura best. Using the full space of the Olivier, designer Chloe Lamford sweeps a platform forwards, backlit with increasingly powerful floodlights from Jon Clark, on which period-dressed singers contrast with contemporary musicians as they give a soaring rendition of part of the Requiem. Then the lights drop, the musical ecstacy pauses and Lucian Msamati’s Salieri gives an excoriating speech as he’s utterly consumed by jealousy – it’s an extraordinary theatrical moment.
Msamati (following on from Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in what must be close to a career-best year for him) is simply superb as the Machiavellian manipulator who can’t believe God has forsaken him for another, his silky asides to the audience rich with biting comedy, his outrage never less than bitterly heartfelt. Adam Gillen is a brattish vision in baby pink Doc Martens along with his finery, a magnificently awesome display of genius-wrapped arrogance that clearly irritates the court as much as his music inspires, and there’s crucial work too from Karla Crome as Mozart’s lover, then wife Constanze, a smaller but no less significant role of real heart.
The biological inaccuracies, such as they are, may still frustrate some but as a psychological study of jealousy, and how we – both as society and individuals – treat those considered to possess genius, Amadeus is a powerful play indeed and this is undoubtedly a stunning production thereof. We’re also amusingly often reminded of the dangers of making judgments – the court often scoffs at Mozart’s work, some people may have previously been unimpressed by this play – but I’m throwing my hat in with this, a resounding success for a cast and creative team at the top of their game, and the perfect tribute to Shaffer.
Running time: 3 hours (with interval)Photos: Marc BrennerBooking until 2nd February, more performances to be announced soon and £20 Friday Rush and £15 Day Tickets available, even for sold out performances.
2016 marks the fourteenth Travelex Tickets season at the National Theatre.
On 2nd February 2017, Amadeus will be broadcast live to over 680 screens around the UK – more info at www.ntlive.com