The Famous Five – A New Musical, a collaboration between Chichester Festival Theatre and Theatr Clwyd, brings a fresh vibe that sees writer Elinor Cook and director Tamara Harvey concentrate on family relationships and climate crisis as opposed to spies.
‘For all its polish, the play feels oddly dated’: WOMAN IN MIND – Chichester ★★★
in Woman In Mind at Chichester Festival Theatre Susan finds herself in mid-life with a dull clerical husband (Nigel Lindsay really enjoying it), obsessed with his dreary parish history pamphlet. His gloomy beige sister lives with them; Muriel (Stephanie Jacob equally relishing every stumping step and grudge). She believes she can conjure up the spirit of her dead husband, and cooks the worst possible food (for an Alan Ayckbourn play this one is short on big laughs, but the good ones are about her omelettes and coffee). Their son has run off to join a cult in Hemel Hempstead.
‘This show has a strong message for today’: Sera Maehara returns to the role of Liat in South Pacific in London & on tour
Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon chatted to Sera Maehara about reprising her role as Liat in Daniel Evans’ production of South Pacific. We chatted to Sera Maehara about reprising her role as Liat in Daniel Evans’ production of South Pacific. How does it feel to be part of this production once again?I
feel very grateful to be back in this show. The process is very exciting, it’s not just coming back to what we found last year, but also discovering new approaches and adjusting to what feels right for us this year.
‘Sets the standard against which future productions will be judged’: SOUTH PACIFIC – Sadler’s Wells & Touring
This is a smart and thoughtful interpretation of South Pacific that takes carefully considered approach to some of the problems in the scenario without fully absolving the characters for their behaviour and choices. Managing to balance the sparkle of the big set-pieces and the not so charming effects of military occupation with some serious emotional clout that will leave you wrung through at the end, this sets the standard against which future productions will be judged. With a UK tour running until November, Bali Ha’i is calling you, don’t resist.
‘You can’t take your eyes of it for a second’: CRAZY FOR YOU – Chichester Festival Theatre
Crazy For You at the Chichester Festival Theatre, roaring into life under Susan Stroman’s choreographic wit, is the ultimate song-n-dance show. And, in this year of theatrical resurrection, the timeliest of celebrations of showbiz itself.
‘A whirlwind of dance & vocals’: CRAZY FOR YOU – Chichester Festival Theatre ★★★★
It’s that glorious Gershwin music that carries Crazy For You at Chichester Festival Theatre. Sure, there are some funny lines, and the plot has the classic boy-meets-girl-but-doesn’t-realise-the-moment-is-special trope, but ultimately, it’s the songs and the opportunities for dance that the music provides that lifts this from being a Gershwin greatest hits show to a truly great piece of theatre.
‘The hero is evoked beautifully in every line & gesture by Alex Jennings’: THE SOUTHBURY CHILD – Chichester Festival Theatre ★★★★★
The Southbury Child is a fine play, sharply written with some really strong unexpected laughs and a heartstopping ending. Its subtleties of character ask a great deal (not in vain) from the cast.
‘Worth the wait’: THE UNFRIEND – Chichester
Delayed two years by the pandemic, one of the most hotly anticipated shows of 2020 finally makes it to the stage in 2022. The combination of TV writer and former Dr Who showrunner Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss and Reece Shearsmith proves irresistible as The Unfriend finally premieres in Chichester’s Minerva Theatre and it has been worth the wait.
‘A memorably murderous evening out’: MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS – Chichester ★★★★★
Murder On The Orient Express at Chichester Festival Theatre is first class entertainment, packed with mystery, intrigue and standout performances. A memorably murderous evening out, highly recommended whether you are a fan of Agatha Christie or not.
‘The beauty of Shanley’s play is that nothing is black & white’: DOUBT – Chichester
Monica Dolan is more than worth the journey in Lia Williams’ striking production of Doubt: A Parable at Chichester Festival Theatre.
‘A powerful, intense & thought-provoking play of moral uncertainty’: DOUBT – Chichester ★★★★★
The story is told in 90 riveting minutes in conversations between just four actors who portrayed their characters with impeccable dynamism.
Year in review: My favourite digital shows 2021
Despite the fact that theatres were once again up and running for about half the year (varying from place to place), there was still a massive appetite for digital productions going into 2021.
NEWS: Nicholas Hytner directs Alex Jennings in the world premiere of The Southbury Child
Three-time Olivier award-winning Alex Jennings will lead the cast in the world premiere of The Southbury Child, the new play by BAFTA winner Stephen Beresford directed by Nicholas Hytner.
NEWS: National Theatre announces new productions including Nicola Walker in The Corn is Green
The National Theatre has published on-sale dates and further details of its next new tranche of productions, opening from now until May 2022 with tickets on sale to the public from 2 December 2021.
‘A sad & elegaic play that seems to have gained significance’: HOME – Chichester Festival Theatre
Although David Storey is a somewhat forgotten writer, wildly successful from the late 1960s to the late ’70s as both a playwright and novelist, but then just as suddenly out of fashion, Home is the play that is consistently revived.
‘Black, bleak & ultimately deeply moving’: THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE – Lyric Hammersmith
Martin McDonagh’s black comedy piece, co-produced by Chichester Festival Theatre and the Lyric Hammersmith, proves to be a deeper exploration of family conflict and secrets than his The Lieutenant of Inishmore.
‘A telling reminder of this country’s involvement in the slave trade’: THE LONG SONG – Chichester ★★★★
Chichester Festival Theatre’s premiere of Andrea Levy’s moving saga, The Long Song, doesn’t hit a wrong note both as a telling reminder of this country’s involvement in the slave trade and timely contribution to Black History Month.
REVIEW ROUND-UP: The Beauty Queen of Leenane – Chichester Festival Theatre/ Lyric Hammersmith
We round up the reviews for the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre co-production of Martin McDonagh‘s The Beauty Queen of Leenane.
‘In itself a celebration’: SOUTH PACIFIC – Chichester Festival Theatre ★★★★★
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:
‘Utterly joyous & joyful’: SOUTH PACIFIC – Chichester Festival Theatre
While it is sadly premature to say that the theatre is fully back from its enforced hibernation of the last 15 months that put paid entirely to last summer’s Chichester Festival Theatre season, it was a (socially distanced) delight to welcome back of my favourite regional theatres with the opening, at last, of its production of South Pacific originally planned for last year.