Revisiting My Night With Reg now is to experience this heartbreaker of life and loss and friendship and family not just as a time capsule of a particular period of our lives but as a timeless classic, an intricately patterned play of layered and deeply poignant inter-relationships.
Ian McKellen has never been an actor to shirk a challenge — or do things by halves. Having first played the title role of Hamlet fully 50 years ago, aged 31 — the age that Hamlet is at the end of the play — he has now returned to it, aged 82.
The press performance of Cinderella on Monday got cancelled, and so did last night’s “gala opening”; Andrew Lloyd Webber has now threatened to pull the plug on the entire show…. or has he?
Regular readers will know that I like nothing more than seeing shows I’ve already seen and loved again… and again. As a critic, you see shows under specific circumstances — as invited by the production.
While it is sadly premature to say that the theatre is fully back from its enforced hibernation of the last 15 months that put paid entirely to last summer’s Chichester Festival Theatre season, it was a (socially distanced) delight to welcome back of my favourite regional theatres with the opening, at last, of its production of South Pacific originally planned for last year.
Social distancing restrictions may be about to be lifted, but can the West End survive the mass self-isolation that the current virus surge will require?
This pared-down version of Pippin, now upping the cast size to eight members, reclaims the show again and reignites it with the spirit of the 60s when it was originally conceived and first produced by composer Stephen Schwartz when he was still a student at Carnegie Mellon in 1967.
There comes a point in every lifelong theatre lover’s career when you suddenly wake up and wonder: am I simply too old for this? Ben Brantley, former chief critic of the New York Times, hit this particular critical nail on the head when he ended his review of the 2018 Off-Broadway summer run of the cult musical Be More Chill (before it was propelled to Broadway in turn) by advising: “It may be helpful to think of this bounding, exhaustingly enthusiastic puppy of a show as the theatrical equivalent of one of those high-pitched dog whistles that only those under 25 can hear.”
Tucked under a railway arch in Brad Street, a block over from Waterloo station, the Waterloo East Theatre was where just three actors and a solitary pianist made sheer musical theatre magic for 70 ecstatic minutes in Starting Here, Starting Now.
Nick Payne’s infinitely fascinating and multi-faceted 2012 play about the endless possibilities of life (and facing death) is perfectly expressed in a revival of director Michael Longhurst’s original production that has now been cast in four different age, race and gender combinations that itself yields multiple meanings.
After the last 15 months in which theatre has been mostly a wasteland, it is wonderful to be back in one of the grandest theatres of all (the London Coliseum) and watching one of the most delightful of shows (Hairspray).
A slice of explosive, gritty, witty, youthful urban life, J’Ouvert is a play set in the streets of Notting Hill during its annual August bank holiday celebration of African-Caribbean culture.
Audiences go to the theatre for pleasure, not work; critics need to remember that their work is someone else’s pleasure.
The week began with Andrew Lloyd Webber being mentioned by Boris Johnson, as he extended the lockdown from the originally hoped-for ‘Freedom Day’ of 21 June to 19 July, at which point theatres may be able to reopen without social distancing in place;
In what is becoming a wearyingly predictable cycle, Boris Johnson’s latest failure to act fast enough to lockdown the country from the arrival of what is now known as the Delta variant of Covid, which originated in India, has resulted in it becoming the dominant strain of the virus in Britain — with the added problem that it is much more easily transmissible than previous strains.
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The post June 10: Should Covid passports be required to go to the theatre? first appeared on Shenton Stage.
In a front page scoop in today’s Daily Telegraph, the paper lines up three heavy-hitting bylines — chief reporter Robert Mendick, political editor Ben Riley-Smith and theatre critic Dominic Cavendish — to reveal an exclusive with Andrew Lloyd Webber. The headline reads: ‘You’ll have to arrest us to stop reopening’.
This is the time of year when we typically defy Britain’s unpredictable weather and decide that since its summer, we will sit in the outdoors to watch theatre, come rain or come shine (and it’s often the former).
The exceptional company for Amelie at the Criterion Theatre is superbly led by a captivating Audrey Brisson, at once vulnerable and determined, in the title role, bringing heart as well as serious craft to its enveloping warmth.
If the West End has faced an existential crisis thanks to the pandemic, American playwright Amy Berryman’s debut play Walden portrays the entire world having one.