One of the pleasures — but also the risks — of being a theatre critic is that you come first to a new production, ready to form your own opinions on what you’ve seen, before you’ve already encountered or digested the opinions of others.
Mark Shenton: First of all, apologies that I was missing-in-action yesterday. I was in London — and at a hotel without desk space in the rooms, so unable to write. (And the dog ate my homework, too). So no, that’s not the entirety of my excuse. But sometimes I need to take a break, too. There may be days when the newsletter fails to materialize!
I recently wrote to every major theatre chain in London to ask to see their COVID safety risk assessments and ventilation plans.
Last week saw Paula Vogel’s Indecent finally open officially at the Menier Chocolate Factory, a year and a half after previews had begun, for the UK premiere of Rebecca Taichman’s Tony-winning original production.
Although this newsletter officially remains on hiatus and will resume publication on Monday 20 September, I’m interrupting my time on the beach for a second time to deliver this bulletin with the reviews of Back To The Future that opened officially at the West End’s Adelphi Theatre on Monday.
I’m interrupting my time on the beach to deliver this bulletin with the reviews of Frozen that opened officially at the West End’s refurbished Theatre Royal, Drury Lane last night.
American Actors Equity are requiring actors and crew to be fully vaccinated as a condition of work. Again, in the UK, SOLT and Equity are not requiring this. Regular testing is deemed sufficient.
A new touring stage version of the 1971 Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks held a national press night last Friday at Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre, after previewing beforehand at Newcastle Theatre Royal. The tour is currently booking to May 2022.
It has been harder for Andrew Lloyd Webber to schedule a press night for Cinderella than any prince has ever had to find the wearer of the glass slipper in the fabled fairytale.
This production of Carousel may not appeal to all Rodgers and Hammerstein purists; but for those of us who know and love this show unreservedly, I was both thrilled and delighted to see it both through and with completely fresh eyes and ears.
While Danny Robins’ debut play 2: 22 A Ghost Story is adept at ratcheting up the tension, the biggest source of it is whether Lily Allen, making her West End stage debut, would be up to the task.
In what Hamlet might call an e’er hasty marriage, The Windsors Endgame has been rushed into the Prince of Wales as a summer filler to temporarily replace one deliberately bad-taste show with a no-taste one, as The Book of Mormon remains on its Covid hiatus.
Though theatres are now operating at full capacity (if they choose to) — and audiences are wearing masks only if they choose to, as well — there is a great deal of uncertainty, as performances are being routinely suspended at the very last minute if a cast member proves positive or has come into contact with someone who has.
Two classic revivals — both coincidentally first launched in the spring and summer of 2011, one on Broadway (Anything Goes, in a production directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall), the other at Chichester, before transferring to the West End’s Palace Theatre (Singin’ in the Rain, directed by Jonathan Church with choreography by Andrew Wright) — have returned in triumph on consecutive nights this week.
The 2019 summer revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat returned to the London Palladium in a joyous, celebratory evening.
Revisiting My Night With Reg now is to experience this heartbreaker of life and loss and friendship and family not just as a time capsule of a particular period of our lives but as a timeless classic, an intricately patterned play of layered and deeply poignant inter-relationships.
Ian McKellen has never been an actor to shirk a challenge — or do things by halves. Having first played the title role of Hamlet fully 50 years ago, aged 31 — the age that Hamlet is at the end of the play — he has now returned to it, aged 82.
The press performance of Cinderella on Monday got cancelled, and so did last night’s “gala opening”; Andrew Lloyd Webber has now threatened to pull the plug on the entire show…. or has he?
Regular readers will know that I like nothing more than seeing shows I’ve already seen and loved again… and again. As a critic, you see shows under specific circumstances — as invited by the production.
While it is sadly premature to say that the theatre is fully back from its enforced hibernation of the last 15 months that put paid entirely to last summer’s Chichester Festival Theatre season, it was a (socially distanced) delight to welcome back of my favourite regional theatres with the opening, at last, of its production of South Pacific originally planned for last year.