Stand-out performances in any era are often only judged so in retrospect and modern theatre offers much that will be remembered. But once in a while, you know you’re in the presence of greatness, and Ian McKellen’s King Lear will be talked about for years to come.
This Cherry Orchard is a production that showcases Michael Boyd, his ensemble, Chekhov and Bristol Old Vic at its very best. I love the theatre when it’s this good.
Lots of different things opening across the country in March. In London there are a lot of Fringe and Off West End productions coming your way.
Any number of shows could have been included in this post; frankly it’s ludicrous that I decided to stick with my whole top 12 idea… As I’ve seen about 90 more individual shows than last year.
This year variety has been the thing (though I’ve still managed to stack up certain repeat attendances), so that means I’ve seen a serious amount of performers – some even two or three times!
Much of my ‘touring’ has been concentrated in Bristol and Chichester; there are a few other UK venues to add to the list, as well as some from my week in New York, of course.
You know what time of year it is – so I’ve just been through my annual Mind the Advent countdown! As I’ve seen a personal best number of different shows this year, the sheer volume of actors (and performances) have really been stacking up and making my life difficult – in terms of summing up my favourites of the year, that is. So here is a bit of a sneak preview of what’s to come in my highlight posts…
King Lear is the jewel in the crown of Daniel Evans’ opening year as Chichester’s Artistic Director. Ian McKellen is every inch a king in Jonathan Munby’s production that is currently playing a short, sold-out season
As I wrote when the full cast was first announced, “the world is hardly crying for more productions of King Lear, but if you’re going to put it on, you might as well go balls out on some amazing casting”.
Ian McKellen immediately makes the intimate space his own, the dialogue almost conversational and his Lear a warm-hearted soul with a twinkle in his eye. This is surely as good as it gets, an actor using every bit of knowledge he has acquired in a storied career to make his role feel so natural.
The show opens to the sound of children’s voices echoing dangerously throughout the theatre, whilst two characters give birth (and I mean this literally) to two black coffins, and therefore the story, beneath two giant bombs and a tattered black mezzanine hang from the ceiling.
The opening production in the ‘Summer of Love’ is Daniel Kramer’s Romeo and Juliet and following Rice’s lead, it is bold and brash, full of light and sound, and the kind of ferocious energy that you can easily imagine raising the hackles once again of those influential precious few.
Shakespeare’s Globe is has announced casting for Romeo and Juliet directed by Daniel Kramer, and Twelfth Night directed by Emma Rice. Emma’s 2017 summer season, the Summer of Love, marks the 50th anniversary of the summer of 1967.
The Sphinx Theatre Writers Group have been developing new ideas for six months now and the penultimate session of the Women Centre Stage: Power Play Festival allowed us to peep at the fruits of their labour.
Experimental family drama is very powerful, but its theatrical form is too complicated for its own good.