With a new year fast approaching, it is an interesting time to reflect on small changes across the theatre landscape in 2019 that will continue to shape how UK theatre will look as it moves into a new decade.
Following sold-out runs at both Chichester Festival Theatre and the Menier Chocolate Factory, Laura Wade’s The Watsons transfers to the West End in 2020. The production opens at the Harold Pinter Theatre on 19 May, with previews from 8 May, and runs until 26 September.
Roy Williams’ incendiary 2002 play, Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads, which attacks grass roots racism with all the finesse of a vintage Vinnie Jones tackle, is back and spewing vitriol in Chichester Festival Theatre’s pop-up space, The Spiegeltent.
In our continuing series, our editor Lisa Martland picks out some of her Top Picks from the last week of theatre (to 6 October 2019), ranging from Libby Purves’ childhood reminiscences associated with Master Harold and the Boys at the National to Abba-fest Mamma Mia! The Party and reviews of new plays The Open, Two Ladies, The Watsons and more. Enjoy.
It has been a long time since the West End saw a truly great Macbeth so perhaps this is a chance for Simm and Kirwan to buck the trend with impressive performances that offer a different perspective on their characters while creating a potency in their exchanges that is never less than compelling.
See this production of Macbeth for those masterful central performances, they’re more than worth the price of admission, even if so much of the rest is “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing!”
It’s been another crazy busy Stagey week. I moved flats, travelled to Chichester, Kilworth, and Dartford, saw five shows, two cabarets, interviewed nine people and had a very early start on Sunday for a day’s filming.
But more and more, there’s a sense in Hedda Tesman at the Minerva that what you are seeing is some damn fine acting in a rather ho-hum play.
Chichester Festival Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Macbeth, led by John Simm and Dervla Kirwan as the corrupted couple, marks a homecoming for director Paul Miller.
Nicholas Wright’s sharp play imagines the US touring production of the first black Othello and its aftermath in the uneasy years of the McCarthyite search for Communist sympathisers.
There are probably not many people left alive who remember the controversial coast to coast US tour of Othello from 1944. It was remarkable for two reasons. Singer and political firebrand, Paul ‘Ol’ Man River’ Robeson was playing the lead and, as a black man, he was sharing the stage with a white, Desdemona.
If the overall effect of Oklahoma! at Chichester Festival Theatre is more of a puzzle-play than a lollipop romp, so much the better.
This year Chichester Festival Theatre is taking on Oklahoma! with their usual mix of respect for the piece and urge to find a new viewpoint on it.
Amidst editor Lisa Martland’s seven Top Picks from the last week of theatre are Libby Purves’ description of her blissful time at Nicholas Hytner’s immersive production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Bridge Theatre and Aleks Sierz’s thoughts on the Kiln Theatre’s new opening, Samuel Adamson’s take on A Doll’s House in Wife.
Ultimately, all eyes are on Rachael Stirling in Plenty and she stylishly carries this story of disillusionment to its inevitable, if uncertain, conclusion.
We’re told Plenty is viewed as a modern classic. For the life of me I have no idea why and the sterling work of this excellent cast can do nothing to dissuade me.
Chichester Festival Theatre’s Olivier Award-nominated production of Singin’ in the Rain will play a strictly limited five-week season at London’s Sadler’s Wells in the summer of 2020, running from 24 July to 30 August 2020 with a press night on 30 July 2020.
I’ve always known that theatres are nice places and that most theatre people are wonderful but I’m currently seeing that confirmed in a completely new way.
Tim Firth’s charming and warm-hearted musical This Is My Family has opened Festival 2019 at Chichester Festival Theatre and it’s impossible not to leave the show with a cheesy grin on your face.
As part of a new series, our editor Lisa Martland picks out seven of her Top Picks from the last week of theatre (29 April-6 May 2019), ranging from Johnny Fox’s nostalgic return to see All My Sons and Maryam Philpott’s thoughts on the much-anticipated Rosmersholm starring Tom Burke and Hayley Atwell.