All the actors impress in The Morning After, a light-hearted comedy about love and disinhibited families, it’s just a shame the characters are so one-dimensional.
The chance to see see the Peter Quilter play Glorious! with the marvellous Stella Gonet in the lead was one I gladly took. It also meant my first trip to the Frinton Summer Theatre out by the seaside in Essex.
For a theatre that consistently impresses with the diversity of its received productions, it’s interesting that it should be hosting premieres in both of its houses, opened within days of each other, that both concern drug abuse. Admittedly, abuse of a very different nature.
It’s not the first time that the idea of a family “intervention” has tempted a dramatist. Why wouldn’t it? You’ve got one character out of control and in danger, others wrought with anxiety and possibly deluded about their own motives and wisdom.
What lengths would you go to try and prevent your child going down a dangerous path? Peter Quilter’s new comedy Saving Jason looks at what it means to have an addiction in a very intimate production.
Park Theatre Artistic Director Jez Bond today announces its new season of work, all in association with a host of exciting and diverse producers, including four world premieres, three UK premieres, two European premieres and a London premiere.
Churchill Theatre, Bromley
Written by Peter Quilter
Directed by Daniel Buckroyd
It’s a well-known story, but a heartbreaker each time it is told. It’s the one about the dark side of talent and celebrity and the permanent and omniscient destruction that it causes. Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain and even Britney Spears all come to mind immediately, but there were many more that came before and with a tragic inevitability, more are likely to follow.
End of the Rainbow tells Judy Garland’s story and the tale of the child star turned superstar plays out around an astonishing performance from Lisa Maxwell.
Set in London, as Judy prepares for a six week concert run in the capital, the play provides a snapshot into the complex and irrevocably damaged individual that she had become. Maxwell flits between Garland’s incredible self-awareness and power alongside the hysteria as her dependence on drink and drugs became too much.
Garland battles with both her manager / new fiancé Mickey Deans (Sam Attwater) and her accompanist Anthony Chapman (Gary Wilmot). Chapman, who has known and loved her far longer than Mickey is to bear witness to her decline.
Although billed as a play, a selection of Garland’s greatest numbers are interjected into the telling of the story and Maxwell delivers these with a spine-tingling excellence. Wilmot is also on top form as Anthony, providing a critique of Mickey and his motives and to a degree, acting as the voice of reason. Attwater lacks a certain level of bite and struggles to maintain a consistent accent, but broadly plays well alongside the other two characters.
David Shields’ set design is a neat conceit, moving the audience from the hotel suite in which the three are staying, to the concert venue and back again. The staging is well complemented by David W Kidd’s lighting arrangements and some magnificent costuming.
End Of The Rainbow leaves the audience feeling heart-broken, yet also roused by the simply sensational Lisa Maxwell. Ending the show with a song does well to ensure that Judy Garland is remembered for her talent and fire and for achieving the immortality through fame that she craved.
Runs until 12th March then toursReviewed by: Bhakti Gajjar
I’m well overdue for a theatre diary, aren’t I? So here goes with a quick one on more new plays I’ve seen in recent (and not-so recent) weeks that I’d recommend catching and haven’t yet managed to squeeze in to separate blogs.
New drama about traumatic amnesia is based on a good idea, but is just too bland to stay long in the memory.
In a hospital bed lies Michael: Alistair McGowan, motionless in a coma, we learn, for three weeks. His mother Carol (Maggie Ollerenshaw) holds his hand, has been sleeping in a chair and tending the flowers on his nightstand. Enter – with competing flowers – the third player Paul (Daniel Weyman).
Take your pick of Judy Garlands. On the London stage this week alone, you’ve got a choice of three in Ray Rackham’s brilliant new play with music Through the Mill. And in the new year, Peter Quilter’s Olivier and Tony-nominated End of the Rainbow returns, with Lisa Maxwell.
Can you imagine what it would be like if Judy Garland were still alive? In her late eighties would she be shuffling from one tacky daytime chat show to the next still living off ancient glories like The Wizard of Oz and Easter Parade, trotting out the same old stories of booze and drugs to […]
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