On LoveLondonLoveCulture, Emma Clarendon rounds up the reviews for the latest revival of Caryl Churchill’s two-hander A Number, now starring Lennie James at Paapa Essiedu at the Old Vic Theatre until 19 March 2022.
‘Caryl Churchill’s play has only gained in depth & gravitas’: A NUMBER – Old Vic Theatre
Paapa Essiedu and Lennie James deliver stunning performances in a cracking production of Caryl Churchill’s A Number at the Old Vic Theatre.
NEWS: The Old Vic announces Back Together season
The Old Vic has announced its Back Together season, the seventh from artistic director Matthew Warchus, which will run from July 2021 to July 2022 and combines both streamed and live shows.
NEWS: Erika Dickerson-Despenza wins the 2021 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for cullad wattah
The 2021 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize has been awarded to US playwright Erika Dickerson-Despenza for her play about the Flint, Michigan water crisis, cullad wattah.
NEWS: The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize announces 2021 finalists
The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize today announced 10 finalists for 2021 for its prestigious playwriting award, the oldest and largest prize awarded to women+ playwrights.
‘Piece after piece remains with you after the performance’: THE NEW TOMORROW – Young Vic (Online review)
Although a rather more muted celebration than originally planned, The New Tomorrow is a powerful acknowledgment of the theatre’s ongoing mission to be a real centre for the community.
NEWS: The Black British Theatre Awards reveal 2020 nominees & announce the ceremony will be broadcast on Sky Arts
The BBTAs have revealed the 2020 Black British Theatre Awards nominee list, voted almost entirely by the public and representing some of the finest work by Black performers and creatives in UK theatre. The 2020 awards ceremony will air on Sky Arts this autumn, as part of the channel’s free to air line-up.
NEWS: RSC invites audiences to #ShareYourShakespeare in global celebration for bard’s birthday
While its buildings all remain closed, the Royal Shakespeare Company will hand over its social media channels to the global community in what it’s calling the “largest-ever celebration of Shakespeare by audiences” in its history.
‘This is the fiercest account of racism on the London stage’: PASS OVER – Kiln Theatre
Despite its absurdist style, Pass Over is a political play whose message is indisputable. The evening is a powerful mixture of male camaraderie, brutality and almost casual defiance.
10 plays from the past 10 years that stand out
Here is a snapshot of my favourite theatre from the past 10 years, the plays that stand out most in my memory, the ones I talk about if people ask.
NEWS: Performers & presenters are announced for the Olivier Awards 2019
Full details of presenters, performances and special appearances have been announced for the Olivier Awards 2019 with Mastercard, which takes place on Sunday 7 April at the Royal Albert Hall, hosted by Jason Manford.
‘It’s hard to fault this fabulous production’: THE CONVERT – Young Vic Theatre
The Convert, at the Young Vic Theatre, a thrilling revival of Black Panther Danai Gurira’s 2012 play about Christianity and imperialism is a heartfelt cry for justice.
‘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?
‘Demonstrating the versatility & breadth of the playwright’s canon’: PINTER AT THE PINTER – West End ★★★★
It seems anyone who is anyone has signed up for Jamie Lloyd’s ambitious season of Harold Pinter plays at the appropriately named Harold Pinter Theatre in the West End.
‘Pinter does wallow, no question about’: PINTER ONE – West End ★★
The stony word is PINTER, and this launches a short season marking his death ten years ago by assembling, in seven sets, all his short playlets, sketches and poems, with starry casts including (in this first set) Paapa Essiedu, Maggie Steed and Antony Sher.
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.
NEWS: Further casting for Pinter at the Pinter includes Keith Allen, Rupert Graves, Gary Kemp, John Simm & Maggie Steed
Keith Allen, Phil Davis, Paapa Essiedu, Rupert Graves, Gary Kemp, John Simm and Maggie Steed have joined the extraordinary company of Pinter at the Pinter, the unprecedented season featuring all 20 of Harold Pinter’s one-act plays, running from September 2018 to February 2019, to mark the tenth anniversary of the Nobel Prize winner’s death.
‘A bold & daring interpretation’: HAMLET – Hackney Empire ★★★★
Paapa Essiedu’s Hamlet is likely to be remembered and talked about in years to come and Simon Godwin’s production is a beautifully accessible performance of a perfect play.
‘Vibrant reinterpretation’: HAMLET – Touring (RSC) ★★★★★
The RSC’s touring production of Hamlet not only boasts engaging performances but situates them in a dynamic theatrical setting –enabling the entire cast and crew to assert this show as a compelling production that reflects the virtues of the theatre.
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