At last, someone has laid the sugary ghost of Elaine Paige. Jamie Lloyd’s stripped-back Evita at the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park has all the metallic modernity of their Jesus Christ Superstar.
If a student disco is your personal nightmare, look away now. Tree starts and ends with a throbbing onstage party to wish the audience is persuasively invited. The last time this many Waitrose customers grooved awkwardly to African beats was on Paul Simon’s Graceland tour.
The Illusionists is not overpriced, it does hold your attention – even the row of 11 just-out-of-school-for-the-holidays girls on booster cushions behind me didn’t talk or fidget during the show – so if you have some, take them.
One wonders which came first for the Grade/Linnit company – the misguided desire to mount an epic scale production of Man of La Mancha, a musical which hasn’t been.produced in London since 1968 for very good reasons, or the need to find a project for Kelsey Grammer?
The hallmark of a ‘great play’ is its universality, and historically Arthur Miller’s 1947 All My Sons is a ‘great play’ but it’s debatable whether, in trying to adhere that greatness to contemporary realities, Jeremy Herrin’s is a great production.
This is as unconventional production of Sweet Charity as you’re likely to see. Set firmly in the art milieu of Andy Warhol’s Factory, it’s so perfectly, silver-foil-wrapped acid-tabbed 1967 it’s like you were actually there.
The London Fringe has been diligent in ploughing back catalogue after back catalogue for ‘forgotten’ musicals, and Maggie May has not been seen in London for 55 years.
Every time I see a new musical made from a recent-ish film, I wonder if this could be ‘the one’, the one that jumps the shark and enters the canon of the regularly performed.
Andy Nyman does sterling work to bring Tevye off the page, breaking the fourth wall to chat with the Almighty, and rubbing his arthritic joints to punctuate Sheldon Harnick’s lazy ‘deidle deidle deidle dumb’ lyrics in ‘If I Were A Rich Man’.
The Phlebotomist is an exceptional concept for a ‘first play’ and Hampstead has made a real discovery in Ella Road and partnered her script with Sam Yates’ slick direction.
Old Spice: If you couldn’t obtain/afford/be bothered to get tickets for the Spice Girls’ re-re-reunion, Denim The Reunion Tour may just be the very thing you’ve been waiting for.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.