A good old-fashioned play about good old-fashioned politics. Gore Vidal’s 1960 satire The Best Man is based around the Democratic convention where in reality JFK won his nomination.
The Best Man says nothing directly about today’s White House or the most recent struggle to occupy it – obliquely though, there’s insight aplenty.
There’s something special in the timelessness of some pieces of theatre, their themes and arguments as relevant to audiences today as they were when they were written years, decades, even centuries ago. Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui falls into the middle category, written in 1941 as an allegorical response to his nation’s fall to Nazism, and was magisterially revived at Chichester a few years back.
Rehearsals are well under way for Bruce Norris’ new translation of Bertolt Brecht’s satirical masterpiece The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, directed by Simon Evans with design by Peter McKintosh. The production, led by Lenny Henry who makes his Donmar debut playing the title role, runs 21 April to 17 June 2017, with a press night on 2 May. Rehearsals photos …
Bruce and Trevor Horn are delighted to announce that together they are creating a new work of musical theatre – provisionally entitled The Robot Sings with an original story and score by the duo.
Lenny Henry is joined in the cast of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Michael Pennington, who recently played King Lear at the Royal & Derngate Northampton, as Dogsborough.
Oscar Wilde’s much-loved classic play, The Importance Of Being Earnest, will be broadcast live to 350 cinemas across the UK and Ireland from London’s Vaudeville Theatre on Thursday 8 October 2015, with additional backstage footage and cast interviews exclusive to the cinema event.
Shakespeare aside, is there any playwright more quotable than Oscar Wilde? And, of all his plays, is there any more quoted than his 1895 comedy of manners, The Importance of Being Earnest? And of the famously feckless characters who populate this Wildely famous play, is there any who delivers more of those quotable quotes than Lady Bracknell?
The heart sinks beforehand: Oscar Wilde’s sunny comedy melodrama is too familiar: skipping from one well-worn epigram to the next, from handbag to muffin, butler to Bracknell until a theatregoing audience can be tempted to join in. Directors have tried every resuscitation technique – play-within-a-play, high-speed cutting, star casting, unexpected crooked sets – with no guarantee that it’ll work. But this time, Adrian Noble and his cast pull it off, and the old dear comes up fresh as a daisy, in sets of such traditionally gorgeous Edwardiana that they get their own round of applause, and without any gimmicks at all. Unless you count casting David Suchet as Lady Bracknell: and that is not a gimmick, but a welcome extension of the great man’s ability to rule a stage with one twitch of his black, black brows.
No one wants to piss on Poirot’s chips, but this really isn’t very good.
David Suchet is a superb actor. Like Angela Lansbury if you set aside his television detective work he still has an impressive pedigree even if West End appearances have been rare. But no director casting a well-funded revival of The Importance of Being Earnest would think of Suchet for Lady Bracknell any sooner than they’d ask Lansbury to play King Lear, and there is a whiff of vanity project about the enterprise.
I’m constantly amazed that these days, if I miss a major production of a play in the West End, I can generally pop along to the local cinema and watch it there or even in some cases buy a copy to watch at my leisure. As might be expected, the UK’s two premier producers of Shakespeare have been at the forefront of filming staged productions, and when two box sets of shows from Shakespeare’s Globe arrived a few weeks ago for review, I was delighted to visit a number of productions that pre-date my time reviewing theatre.
The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton – until 6 June 2015
Okay, I’ll admit it, I went to the theatre to see an award-winning actor perform in a way you’d never expect of him… Not Bradley Cooper in the Elephant Man (though I did see that and I enjoyed his performance very much) but David Suchet stepping about as far away from the dapper Belgian detective with the distinctive moustache as we could reasonably expect!