Romantics Anonymous is a story predicated on equality, mutual support and finding your own path as individuals (and as a couple) rather than waiting for someone else to come and save you from your life – implications that after years of rom coms and social messaging is subtly but usefully employed through a charmingly conceived but nonetheless carefully structured story.
Feelgood musical Romantics Anonymous at Bristol Old Vic certainly works on both the level of a light confection and something more robust for the committed chocolatophile/musicophile.
Wise Children, Bristol Old Vic and Plush Theatricals has announce that Emma Rice’s critically-acclaimed Romantics Anonymous will be performed live to a socially distanced audience for the final performance of their ‘digital tour’ on 27 September 2020 at Bristol Old Vic.
For every introverted socially awkward nerd Romantics Anonymous feels like seeing your fears and secrets on stage without being mocked.
Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for the Boulevard Theatre’s inaugural production.
If this inaugural show, Ghost Quartet, means the new Boulevard Theatre is setting out its stall for a programme of unusually staged and challenging productions in the future then there is every reason to come back soon.
The vivacious performances and gripping qualities of characterisation throughout make Ghost Quartet a thrilling way to spend ninety minutes.
The cast of SYLVIA at The Old Vic, which has its world premiere at The Old Vic on 11 September 2018 (previews from 3 September) will include Delroy Atkinson, Carly Bawden, Verity Blyth, John Dagleish, Jade Hackett, Todd Holdsworth, Izuka Hoyle, Beverley Knight, Genesis Lynea, Jaye Marshall, Tachia Newall, Maria Omakinwa, Karl Queensborough, Ross Sands, Witney White and Elliotte Williams-N’Dure.
This year variety has been the thing (though I’ve still managed to stack up certain repeat attendances), so that means I’ve seen a serious amount of performers – some even two or three times!
Emma Rice scores one of her biggest hits on Bankside with a musical that couldn’t be more Emma Rice if it tried. As it is, it fits perfectly into the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, shaking up the established order once again.
Frankly, you can’t ignore the fact that every time you see it you get a free piece of chocolate. As long as you have the patience to wait for “le moment de magique” before you eat it.
What a scrummy treat this new musical is! With songs that are like a box of chocolate themselves: full of treats and unexpected surprises and a genuinely heartfelt story that celebrates human flaws, this is a show that uplifts the spirits.
Carly Bawden, Dominic Marsh, Joanna Riding, Gareth Snook and Lauren Samuels join the cast for new Emma Rice musical Romantics Anonymous at the Globe.
Emma Rice’s Summer of Love got off to a slightly sticky start at the Globe with a mystifying take on Romeo and Juliet from Daniel Kramer and as we move onto Twelfth Night, which she is directing herself, there’s a similarly uncompromising attitude in place.
Shakespeare’s Globe is has announced casting for Romeo and Juliet directed by Daniel Kramer, and Twelfth Night directed by Emma Rice. Emma’s 2017 summer season, the Summer of Love, marks the 50th anniversary of the summer of 1967.
“Who are you?” It’s the only real question, according to wonder.land via Lewis Carroll. But the main question that kept running through my mind while watching the Damon Albarn musical at the National Theatre the other night was: “Who is Anna Francolini?” Or more precisely, why isn’t she a bigger star?
When wonder.land premiered at the Manchester International Festival in July, reviews were decidedly mixed. National press who made the trip north were underwhelmed, bestowing a raft of three-star ratings, while local critics were kinder, bumping it up to a four-star show. In the intervening months, rumour has it, there’s been extensive redevelopment of this digital-age […]
As we take to our seat we see an open stage where Stephen Wight (Lee) cuts an isolated and tortured figure, pacing the stage, lost in his thoughts almost as if obsessive compulsive tendencies are playing havoc with his mind. This historic theatre is one of immense beauty, opulence, luxury and completely fitting to host this new piece written by James Phillips.
Haymarket Theatre, London
Written by James Phillips
Directed by John Caird
Making its West End transfer from the St James Theatre, James Phillips’ McQueen, a semi-biopic exploration into the psyche of fashion icon Alexander McQueen, hangs in composite parts. Just like the brown paper sizing charts we see when McQueen brings the waifish and mysterious Dahlia to his old tailors on Saville Row, Phillips has constructed a series slightly uneven vignettes, and strung them up together without stitching them into a cohesive whole. It makes for an undulating evening, that at some points is fascinating, and at others is achingly slow. However, even if seen only in glimpses, the window into McQueen’s tortured mind is worth every peep.
The play is a journey, taking us through the crushing spectre of depression, right through to the euphoric discovery of inspiration. The stage is often constructed as a dream scape, with lucid video designs by Timothy Bird latching on to the melting fragmentations of McQueen’s mind, demonstrating how his fragile thoughts project not only those around him, but the very walls of his surroundings. Stephen Wight’s Lee McQueen starts the show before the audience have even taken their seats, pacing relentlessly, muttering and clutching a belt with foreboding animosity. There is an edgy restlessness to the proceedings before the lights even go down, and it creates a sense of dramatic anticipation that unfortunately is never again matched during the night. Scenes leap through unspecified gaps in time, and the dreamy hallucinogenic atmosphere undercuts any kind of narrative tension as the stakes drop from beneath the characters feet. John Caird’s direction shows a keen eye for the visual, and has a forceful specificity, but lacks nuance in the pacing. Some scenes linger far beyond their welcome, whilst other sections come to a dissatisfying halt just as they were building some intrigue. The humour of the opening exchanges between McQueen and his unexpected intruder, Dahlia (Carly Bawden), is a delight, but is never again revisited. There is a light tone to their banter, a dance of verbal one one-upmanship, intrigue laced with fear, fascination mixed with trepidation. It’s an enticing tone to begin the show, but it falls by the wayside as the play progresses and becomes bogged down with the darker harbinger of suicide.
Wight is tasked with the exploration of these macabre themes and does fantastic work. His is a central performance of tremendous skill, investing Lee McQueen with the right amount of sensitivity, whilst also hinting at an untapped well of visceral anger towards a world that will always expect more. There’s a real empathetic power to his speeches on the constant pressure to deliver whatever is ‘next’, as Wight constructs an unflinchingly relatable portrait of a man waving to the expectant crowd with a fake smile and a shaking hand. Bawden also shows some impressive chops with her take on the murky girl from the tree. There is a spirited intensity and confidence to her scenes, but she also shows a knowing physicality that belies inescapable vulnerability.
What elevates the piece though, is the stunning choreography by Christopher Marney, expertly conducted by an ensemble of ghoulishly beautiful dancers. These balletic interludes both transition and invade scenes and are breathtaking whenever they feature. Dressed both as mannequins and runway models, the dancers are both nightmarish in their grotesque inhumanity and angelic in their perfection. Their movements can be stilted at one moment, and lyrical in the next, effectively echoing both the frustration and beauty of human thought and inspiration.
The meandering pace and lack of narrative focus threaten to undo McQueen at certain points, however, it succeeds with excellent performances and a sumptuous design in keeping with the artistic genius at its centre. When Caird is freed from the lightweight plot and able to examine visually the psychosis of creativity, and the abject terror of failure; the piece soars on great golden wings.
Runs until 7th November
Guest reviewer: Will Clarkson
McQUEEN, which received its world premiere in May at St. James Theatre, where it broke box office records, will transfer to London’s West End, opening at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on Thursday 27 August 2015, following previews from 13 August, for a strictly limited season until 7 November.
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