Alice Birch’s experimental new play [Blank] prioritises form over content and is at heart depressingly reactionary.
In our continuing series, our editor Lisa Martland picks out some of her Top Picks from the last week of theatre (to 20 October 2019), ranging from Olivia Mitchell’s thigh-slapping joy on seeing Noises Off to Libby Purves’ plea that we listen to the story being told in [Blank] at the Donmar Warehouse.
Random and topical thoughts and quotes gathered by My Theatre Mates contributor Aleks Sierz, first published on www.sierz.co.uk.
Master Harold & The Boys is a play about lessons and devastating loss, about how you can’t dance around injustice and its impact.
In our continuing series, our editor Lisa Martland picks out some of her Top Picks from the last week of theatre (to 6 October 2019), ranging from Libby Purves’ childhood reminiscences associated with Master Harold and the Boys at the National to Abba-fest Mamma Mia! The Party and reviews of new plays The Open, Two Ladies, The Watsons and more. Enjoy.
As a world of harmony tilts into filth you can feel the jolt going through the audience in Athol Fugard’s personal play set in apartheid era South Africa, ‘Master Harold’… and the boys at the National Theatre.
The National Theatre does not disappoint with A Taste of Honey. The production is absolutely superb, with some of the cleverest staging imaginable.
Simon Woods’ debut play Hansard, about the parliamentary ruling class is timely, and amusingly preceptive, but ultimately unsatisfying.
Lindsay Duncan and Alex Jennings prove entirely watchable in Hansard, a sharp new play at the National Theatre.
Hansard is a great political play, one that tells us everything about the society we have become and why the impasse of the last three years cannot be easily broken.
With Parliament in uproar upriver, the NT hit a luckily apt moment to stage Simon Woods’ first play Hansard and promote it as a “witty and devastating portrait of the governing class”. Just the night to hurl some fine invective at an audience fancying a torture-a-Tory session.
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ play Appropriate is a brilliantly acute and entertaining, if a bit depressing, deconstruction of the great American family drama.
The Public Acts programme produces another winner in As You Like It at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, community theatre at its absolute best.
Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for Mr Gum & the Dancing Bear, Andy Stanton and Jim Fortune’s musical based on the children’s books. It continues in rep at the National Theatre until 31 August 2019.
A rare summer in the city for me means I can take in some of the family shows on in the West End right now – including Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear the Musical, The Scarecrow’s Wedding, Where is Peter Rabbit? and Monstersaurus.
Sally Cookson’s National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic production of JM Barrie’s classic story Peter Pan officially opens the Troubadour White City Theatre, where it’s booking until 27 October 2019. Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews.
Peter Gynt, a new adaptation of Ibsen’s apparently unstageable Peer Gynt by David Hare, is a great success as a piece of writing and so much fun.
David Hare has made as much sense of Ibsen’s sprawling masterpiece Peer Gynt as seems possible.
Rather tickled that no less than the artistic director of the National Theatre Rufus Norris himself does time out of his hectic schedule to answer Ten (9) Questions for Ten Years.
Where were you 10 years ago?
I’d just directed Death and the King’s Horseman by Wole Soyinka in the Olivier Theatre.
Best show you’ve seen in the last 10 years?
An impossible question to answer but if I had to pick one it would be Pericles (Public Acts) in the Olivier last year.
What has been your professional highlight of the last 10 years?
Becoming Director of the National Theatre and London Road.
Top flavour of interval ice-cream?
What show do you wish theatres would give a rest for a few years?
Many plays have the potential to be boring or resonant so it’s the creative team’s role to bring a play to fresh life.
Name someone who you think is a really underappreciated talent (in the world of theatre)?
There are so many unsung heroes working within theatre, from the technical teams behind-the-scenes making magic happen on stage, to those ensuring the smooth running of a building, I’m always amazed by their commitment. A few people who come to mind are Erin Lee in Archive, Nicky Holderness in Props and the set builder Simon.
What is one thing that you think would help theatre survive and/or thrive the next ten years?
An education system that recognises the huge benefit that only the arts can deliver, and a shift in philosophy that correctly views subsidy as investment for the good of this country.
Which is your favourite theatre?
The National Theatre, of course. I also love the Royal Exchange in Manchester.
Can you say anything about what’s to come for you, (in the next ten years or otherwise)?
Loads of plays including our next Public Acts show As You Like It with a cast of 100 community members at the Queens Theatre in Hornchurch. Hopefully a little time spent in nature in between.
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Original History Boy Samuel Barnett takes on the 10 Questions for 10 Years challenge.