In great plays a scene, character or domestic confrontation can be both appalling and comic: pity, terror and barks of shocked laughter are not incompatible even within a sentence. Ibsen knew that, but in the Norwegian rebel’s grim late works it takes a relaxed director and some weapons-grade actors to keep that balance. Cue Nicholas Hytner, Simon Russell Beale and Lia Williams: rescuing, for me and for good, a play (John Gabriel Borkman at the Bridge Theatre) I hated last time I saw it.
‘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.
‘Fine attention to emotional detail’: OLEANNA – Arts Theatre
The great thing about Lucy Bailey’s 80-minute production of Oleanna is its sense of balance. And I have to say that it changed my mind about the power balance in the drama.
‘Full of wit, humour & reminiscence’: A MARVELLOUS PARTY (Online review)
A Marvellous Party, commissioned by the Noël Coward Foundation, ostensibly marks the centenary of Coward’s first appearance on stage and has been produced to raise funds for actors on both sides of the Atlantic who are struggling with the effects of the pandemic.
11 actresses I’d love to see onstage more often post-lockdown
While there might not be quite as many meaty stage roles for actresses as there are actors (is that changing?), the plethora of acting talent I’ve seen over the past 10 years made this quite tricky to narrow down.
How the Mates Rate: The Night Of The Iguana at the Noel Coward Theatre
Clive Owen has returned to the West End for the first time in 18 years to play the Rev. T. Lawrence Shannon in Tennessee Williams’ The Night Of The Iguana in a new production directed by James Macdonald. So what did the Mates think of this production?
‘The three leads seem to lack chemistry’: THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA – West End
James Macdonald is the latest director to tackle The Night of the Iguana, perhaps best known from its film adaptation starring Richard Burton , Deborah Kerr and Ava Gardner.
REVIEW ROUND-UP: The Night of the Iguana at Noel Coward Theatre
Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for James Macdonald’s production of The Night of the Iguana starring Clive Owen.
‘An essentially serious play for serious people’: THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA – West End
Star cast delivers a terrific revival of Tennessee Williams’s last masterpiece The Night of the Iguana at the Noel Coward Theatre.
‘Worth the price of a ticket simply to watch Lia Williams’: THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA – West End ★★★
The Night of the Iguana takes three hours to tell a fairly simple story which could be done in 30 minutes, but it is worth the price of a ticket simply to watch Lia Williams deliver an outstanding performance as one of Tennessee Williams’ great, but unsung, female characters.
‘Thrilled to have been there’: THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA – West End ★★★★
Clive Owen and Lia Williams do justice to the wild lush text of The Night Of The Iguana at the Noel Coward Theatre, rich in wonder and filth, corruption and beauty.
‘Clive Owen makes a superb return to the stage’: THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA – West End
Gripping performances from Clive Owen and Lia Williams, and James Macdonald’s slow-burn direction allows Tennessee Williams’ writing in The Night Of The Iguana to cast its spell.
‘Nothing less than astonishing’: Pinter At The Pinter Season – West End
In just six months, Jamie Lloyd’s creative team and ever-changing company of actors has utterly transformed our perspective on Harold Pinter.
NEWS: Clive Owen will return to the West End for the first time in 18 years in The Night Of The Iguana
Clive Owen will return to the West End for the first time in 18 years to play the Rev. T. Lawrence Shannon in The Night Of The Iguana in a new production directed by James Macdonald. The production will begin performances at the Noël Coward Theatre on 6 July 2019 (press night is 16 July) and runs until 28 September.
NEWS: National Theatre leads the Evening Standard Theatre Awards with 14 nominations
The shortlist for the 64th Evening Standard Theatre Awards has been unveiled. The winners will be announced on Sunday 18 November at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
‘It’s hard work, as is the whole thing, but worth it for its sheer quality’: PINTER ONE – West End
Beginning with a burst of confetti and ending in a sombre drop of petals, Pinter One is the far darker side of Pinter at the Pinter
“They don’t like you either, my darling”
I found myself enjoying Pinter Two much more than expected and so momentarily forgetting that I’d sworn off the whole thing, I rashly decided to book in for Pinter One, which proves to be an entirely different kind of affair. Not just thematically – it’s an overtly political collection of works and thus considerably darker – but structurally, gathering together no less than nine short pieces, eight of which run together to make the first half.
They’re Press Conference / Precisely / The New World Order / Mountain Language / American Football / The Pres and an Officer / Death / and One for the Road (all directed by Jamie Lloyd) with Ashes to Ashes (directed by the Lia Williams) following after the interval. And so ultimately it feels a bit more like a showcase of Pinter which brings with it some challenges, alongside the interest value in unearthing some lesser-seen works, including a world premiere.
That premiere – The Pres And An Officer – manages the not-unimpressive feat of fully justifying its Trump-a-like as Pinter’s prescience in nailing the vicissitudes of a numbnuts US president is uncanny. Played by a roll-call of guest stars (I saw Jon Culshaw), its a welcome burst of comedy in an otherwise dark affair and you have to laugh, because otherwise you’d cry.
Elsewhere Paapa Essiedu and Sir Antony Sher are grippingly intense in the exquisite torture of One For The Road, and Kate O’Flynn and Maggie Steed are pointedly excellent as a pair of bull-shitting men. And what you get here that you don’t in Pinter 2 is a real sense of how imaginatively flexible Soutra Gilmour’s revolving cube design is as it reconfigures at every available opportunity.
Post-interval, O’Flynn and Essiedu tackle 1996’s Ashes to Ashes, a more typically cryptic work where a couple are talking and yet their meaning is slippery and vague and disturbing and unmissable. Both actors deliver their ‘conversation’ with the utmost conviction, its impossible to drag your eyes from them even as we get darker and more violent and stranger. It’s hard work, as is the whole thing, but worth it for its sheer quality.
Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes (with interval)
Photos: Marc Brenner
Pinter One is booking in rep with Pinter Two – The Lover/The Collection at the Harold Pinter Theatre until 20th October
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‘A bold opening to an ambitious project’: PINTER AT THE PINTER – West End
Jamie Lloyd is embarking on an epic project: to stage every single one of the influential playwright Harold Pinter’s short plays over a six month period at the theatre which bears his name. Pinter at the Pinter. Pretty neat huh?
‘An examination of power & how rapidly it can be corrupted’: PINTER ONE – West End
By emphasising the common themes in Pinter One and the topicality of their subject matter, this a very strong start for the Pinter at the Pinter season.
NEWS: Antony Sher, Penelope Wilton, Russell Tovey & others join all-star Pinter at Pinter
Further all-star casting has been announced for Jamie Lloyd Company’s Pinter at the Pinter, an unparalleled event featuring all twenty short plays written by Harold Pinter in the West End theatre that bears his name.