I’d been looking forward to The Simon & Garfunkel Story thinking how much this was the music of my coming of age years – but it’s funny what tricks your memory plays.
I wonder if in years to come we’ll look back on the ‘Theatre of Brexit’ in the same way we analyse Shakespeare’s treatment of Agincourt, or the Trojan Wars in Sophocles?
It’s always a pleasure to hear an untold story. In Billy Bishop Goes to War we learn about a baby-faced Canadian teenager who by a string of lucky chances became the world’s most decorated fighter pilot in the early days of single-seater flying over France in 1914-18, and a hero and a mascot for the Royal Canadian Air Force through the second war, too.
The best interaction in Honour at the Park Theatre is between Imogen Stubbs and Katie Brayben, largely very convincing as the sharp journalist and they trade some good points about agency and entitlement and some women’s self-deluding complicity in men’s agendas – like career and fatherhood.
Soldier On is a brave enterprise of the Soldiers’ Arts Academy charity which helps rehabilitate ex-service people through involvement with theatre, and this excellent company is part-military, part-professional actors.
I love a bit of immersive interactive theatre shiz: The Grift at Bethnal Green’s Town Hall Hotel was last year’s big winner imported from San Diego. Now from Canada comes Talk is Free Theatre’s The Curious Voyage, and on a grand scale that threatens to knock the ailing Punchdrunk off the top spot.
I’m fairly sure the land on which the Bridge Theatre was built was once a plague pit, but I’m beginning to wonder if the place isn’t itself cursed. How else can it commission a play by Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri writer Martin McDonagh that is, not to put too fine a point on it, as enjoyable as passing A Very, Very, Very Painful Stool? For an hour and a half.
The madwoman playing the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor is Sarah Tynan – ENO’s most popular soprano, in her debut in this bel canto role. Tynan is undoubtedly the best actress on the modern opera stage.
Robert Icke’s conversational, documentary production of The Wild Duck at the Almeida Theatre makes this complex morality play immediately accessible.
Now listen carefully’ says the wonderful Gareth Snook, hosting the proceedings as 75-year-old chorus girl Dora Chance in Emma Rice’s Wise Children, ‘or it’s going to be a long evening’.
It would be hard to imagine a play about young gay lives that speaks more eloquently to older gay men than the moving, informative and often hilarious The Inheritance now transferred to the Noel Coward Theatre.
English National Opera celebrates 50 years at the Coliseum with a grandstanding production of Porgy & Bess, the first in its history.
Plays for poor theatre: in Brexit Britain, once we’re reduced to eating rats whilst clutching our blue passports, a Shakespeare mashup may seem like a doubly good idea – patriotic and economical. Like May’s Brexit, Othellomacbeth still needs a bit of work.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City is an extremely good piece, but its failure to be even edgier and dangerous lies in the fact you can spot both these coming too early in the proceedings.
Mike Leigh’s genius was to offer Abigail’s Party to audiences who roared with laughter without recognising themselves on the stage. Julie Burchill and Jane Robins may have pulled off the same trick with People Like Us.
Still in development by the enterprising curious directive company – Gastronomic, at Theatre Royal Norwich’s black box Stage Two is already on its way to a firm handshake from Paul Hollywood.
I wonder if a new genre is forming in musical theatre? Let’s call it ‘cartoon rock’ – because products like Eugenius!, Six and Knights of the Rose have little in common with the canons of Lloyd Webber, or Rodgers and Hammerstein.
At Hornchurch, artistic director Douglas Rintoul seems to have gone for the faithful-to-the-first-production approach: for example, Melanie Gutteridge’s Beverly is a neatly dutiful homage to Alison Steadman.
Meanness and greenness have often gone hand in hand at Regent’s Park – £3.50 for a tiny ice cream cone, really? – but never more so than in Maria Aberg’s confident production of Little Shop of Horrors at the Open Air Theatre.
There is undoubtedly a thrill in seeing a huge and highly professional ballet company perform one of the classic masterworks in one of the city’s most beautiful settings.