Critic Matt Trueman described Elinor Cook‘s Pilgrims, about a pair of young mountain climbers, as the “peak of playwriting”. I got to talk mountain climbing, metaphors and much more with this whipsmart George Devine Award-winning playwright at last night’s Q&A after the performance of Pilgrims at London’s Yard Theatre.
Book writer Wendy Gill was inspired to write That Man after discovering the music of Dutch pop-jazz singer and YouTube sensation Caro Emerald, and it’s Emerald’s hits – including A Night Like This, Riviera Life, Liquid Lunch and the title number – that punctuate proceedings. (I have to admit I’d never heard of Caro Emerald before being asked to chair this Q&A – but I’m definitely aware of, and mightily impressed with, her now.)
Is the ‘war on terror’ a valid term? What does the USA Patriot Act stand for (bet you didn’t know it’s an acroynm!)? What exactly is ‘rendition’ and is it ever justified? Why are Americans abroad so often naive or arrogant? (A question asked by an audience member by the way!) Is the timing of the production with the 15th anniversary of 9/11 coincidental? How were members of the company (several of them from New York, including the writers) affected by the attacks on the World Trade Center?
At this year’s HighTide Festival, I spoke to playwright Alexi Kaye Campbell and actors Elizabeth McGovern and Ben Miles, who recently starred in the world premiere of Campbell’s latest play Sunset at the Villa Thalia at the National Theatre.
A New York artistic commune in the early 1940s – occupied by British exiles Benjamin Britten, WH Auden, American novelist Carson McCullers (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter) and stripper Gypsy Rose Lee amongst many other artists – is the setting for Zoe Lewis‘ new play Britten in Brooklyn, which has just premiered at London’s Wilton’s Music Hall.
Dave Hanson’s hit New York comedy Waiting for Waiting for Godot receives its European premiere at London’s St James Theatre and, just before he flew back to New York, I got to quiz Dave about his inspiration for this debut play (bitter personal experience on a Los Angeles production of the Beckett classic: “Terrible. Boring. Underpaid.”).
Are there any stage taboos left? John Ford‘s 17th-century romantic thriller ‘TIS PITY SHE’S A WHORE, centring on an incestuous relationship between brother and sister Giovanni and Annabella, is one of the most controversial in the classical canon and was not performed in the UK for more than 200 years until the mid-twentieth century. Does it still have the power to shock? Does anything?
What a treat it was to not only see Jon Brittain‘s Rotterdam again last night, but to be able to question this hugely talented young writer about his bittersweet comedy, which ranked amongst my Top Ten new plays of last year.
I first – and last – saw Neil LaBute’s Some Girl(s) in its world premiere in the West End in 2005, in a production that starred Friends‘ David Schwimmer along with “girls” including Catherine Tate and Lesley Manville. Gary Condes’ slick but intimate new production for Buckland Theatre impressed me more than the premiere did 11 years ago.
What does The Trial of Jane Fonda, concerning the actor-activist’s controversial protests during the Vietnam War (in which the UK did not support our US allies), have to tell us about more recent conflicts in Syria and Iraq (in which we did)? Particularly in the wake of the Chilcot Report? (And was the timing of the play’s London premiere season in the wake of Chilcot’s publication purely accidental?)
I first saw – and adored – Through the Mill when it premiered at the London Theatre Workshop (then above a pub in Fulham) last year. I was delighted when the show, which revolves around three pivotal periods in the life of Judy Garland, announced its transfer to the – much larger, more centrally located […]
After yesterday’s matinee performance of I’m Getting My Act Together…, I chaired a Q&A with director Matthew Gould and cast members Landi Oshinowo, Nicolas Colicos and Rosanna Hyland,
Most theatregoers will have only learned about Carl Peter Værnet from watching Claudio Macor’s new play Savage, now running upstairs at the Arts Theatre. But the Nazi doctor from Denmark has played a large role in the life of LGBTI activist Peter Tatchell for decades.
Character portraits aren’t just for Harry Potter. Photographer Darren Bell gained access to the new cast of Buckland Theatre’s revival of Neil LaBute’s Some Girl(s) to snap these beauties. In the play, directed by Gary Condes, Guy (played by Buckland founder Charlie Dorfman) is desperate to clear his conscience before he gets married. So he sets […]
American author Rex Pickett, who has also adapted his original novel for the stage and has been closely involved in this revised version for its European premiere, talked us through the long journey of his semi-autobiographical story’s from page to screen and stage and the trials and tribulations of being a writer in Los Angeles (which he’s long since left, though he still lives in California) at last night’s post-show Q&A, which was nearly as riotous as the no-holds-barred comedy performance that preceded it.
While the basic structure and characters are owed to Gay, the zany genius of The Buskers Opera calls more modern political and satirical influences most strongly to my mind. I’d liken it to a cross between Mike Bartlett‘s future history play King Charles III and Urinetown or, to bring it bang up to date with London’s current musical landscape, The Toxic Avenger.