September 2020 and the pandemic was quietly raging. So too was Maureen Lipman in Hope Mill Theatre’s online production of Martin Sherman’s intense monologue Rose; her performance was routinely recognised as a tour de force. The piece won many plaudits including an Off West End Offie and featured as one of my 20 For 2020. Since then it has been restreamed more than once and also appeared on Sky Arts – indeed it is still available on their catch up channel Now TV. But for the real undisputed deal, and if you’re near enough, head to the Park Theatre in Islington where the production is playing until mid-October.
‘An unforgettable evening’: ROSE – Park Theatre ★★★★★
Martin Sherman’s 1999 masterpiece Rose is an immense monologue – two halves, each over an hour – and Maureen Lipman tackles it with pin-sharp timing, humour, and controlled feeling, sitting on her bench remembering. Her extraordinary performance was streamed during the Covid years but to see it live in front of you in this intimate theatre is different, startling and personal, heroic. With the best will in the world any screen showing fades into being just more TV, more Holocaust history. This does not.
NEWS: Hamlet starring Ian McKellen will open Theatre Royal Windsor’s new season in June 2021
The Theatre Royal Windsor’s summer season will open with Shakespeare’s Hamlet, directed by Sean Mathias and starring Ian McKellen in an age-blind interpretation of the young Prince.
20 of the things that inspired, moved, amused & delighted John Chapman in 2020
I’ve selected 20 of the things that inspired, moved, amused and delighted, which have pushed the boundaries of what it possible and continued to fly the flag for theatre in the UK.
‘Online theatre preserves & does so beautifully’: Martin Sherman discusses the recent online production of his play Rose
John Chapman asks Martin Sherman, the author of online hit Rose, a number of impertinent questions.
‘Some things haven’t changed at all’: ROSE – Hope Mill Theatre (Online review) ★★★★★
With a thought-provoking script at its heart and a flawless performance from Maureen Lipman, Rose is an important and powerful production which proves essential viewing.
‘Maureen Lipman gives a magnificent performance’: ROSE – Hope Mill Theatre (Online review)
Magnificently played and realised by Maureen Lipman, Martin Sherman and Scott Le Crass, Rose is well worth viewing.
‘A complex play which will make you laugh & cry’: ROSE – Hope Mill Theatre (Online review)
Martin Sherman’s intense play is revived by Hope Mill Theatre with an absorbing performance from Maureen Lipman as the 80-year-old recounting the events of her life.
Listen: Q&A podcast with playwright Martin Sherman & his Gently Down the Stream stars
“It’s so rare these days to see a play about optimism,” the wonderful actor Malcolm Sinclair told me after a performance of Gently Down the Stream at the Park Theatre.
‘Thoroughly memorable from start to finish’: GENTLY DOWN THE STREAM – Park Theatre ★★★★
Martin Sherman’s beautifully thoughtful and poignant examination of relationships through the eyes of two different generations in Gently Down the Stream is mesmerising from start to finish.
‘Unleashes a torrent of laughter, hurt, pain & undeniable pleasure’: GENTLY DOWN THE STREAM – Park Theatre ★★★★★
Possibly, in part, autobiographical, Gently doesn’t so much meander into London’s Park Theatre, but gushes uncontrollably, simultaneously unleashing a torrent of laughter, hurt, pain and undeniable pleasure. This astonishing production, directed by Sean Mathias, is a triumph.
New post-show Q&A: Join Terri for Gently Down the Stream & author Martin Sherman’s 80th birthday
As part of her ongoing post-show Q&A series, on Wednesday 20 February 2019, Mates co-founder Terri Paddock will be at the UK premiere of Martin Sherman’s latest play Gently Down the Stream. Got any questions?
Q&A video: How has gay culture changed since Coming Clean’s 1982 premiere?
In the first of my two back-to-back King’s Head Theatre post-show Q&As, I was at Trafalgar Studios for the West End premiere of Kevin Elyot’s first play, Coming Clean, 37 years after the actor-turned-writer made his playwriting debut with it at London’s Bush Theatre.
NEWS: Jonathan Hyde is cast in the UK premiere of Martin Sherman’s Gently Down The Stream at the Park Theatre
The full cast has been announced for the UK première of Martin Sherman’s new play Gently Down The Stream, following a critically acclaimed run at the Public Theater in New York. Sean Mathias directs Jonathan Hyde, Ben Allen and Harry Lawtey. The production opens at Park Theatre on 18 February 2019, with previews from 13 February, running until 16 March.
NEWS: Park Theatre’s new season features Miles Jupp & Peter Duncan and play about Boris Johnson
London’s Park Theatre has announced its new January to June 2019 season featuring seven world and four UK/European premieres.
Queer Theatre at the National: Bent
Harrowing is barely the word to describe this dramatisation of the way in which the Nazis persecuted gay men in Germany before and during World War II.
NEWS: Queer theatre events announced at the National Theatre
A group of world class actors and directors will look at how theatre has charted the LGBT+ experience through a series of rehearsed readings and post-show discussions in the Lyttelton Theatre. And looking at the list of readings announced below, it’s good to see a diversity of sexualities being represented.
PASSING BY – The Albany
Chris Davis directs Martin Sherman’s Passing By as part of the Stomping Ground Festival, a Young Director’s training programme set up by StoneCrabs Theatre Company. Simon (Adrian Quinton) and Toby (Mike Evans) hook up one evening at a time when homosexuality was still unacceptable and met with ignorant anger.