East Is East is a recent addition to National Theatre’s At Home catalogue and only appeared as a live production back in October.
Twenty-five years after its first performance at the Rep, Ayub Khan Din’s comedy about a British-Pakistani family in 1970s Salford returns home to Birmingham. In Iqbal Khan’s production for the Rep and National Theatre, East is East feels like both a modern classic and as fresh as a new play.
Having been a fan of the film, I was more than delighted to accept the invitation to go along to the press night of East Is East, 25 years since the world premiere on the Birmingham REP’s stage.
The Taming of the Shrew remains an undoubtedly stimulating evening and well worth a visit, if only to witness the script re-imagined and reinterpreted – a pleasing rarity.
Director Kimberley Sykes embraces the playful text of As You Like It with a diverse and tuneful cast so at ease with the text that off-the-cuff moments and audience interaction are plentiful.
It is Sophie Stanton’s powerful and radiant turn in the title role which dominates Jo Davis’ scintillating and uproariously funny production of The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich.
The RSC’s artistic director Gregory Doran has a kindly sense of balance, so the dourly modern, blokey, bleak and inevitably joyless Macbeth just down the corridor is offset by The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich, a merry bit of Restoration fluff and female scorn, by the largely forgotten 17the century writer Mary Pix. Good move, Mr D.
“I should warn you that nobody likes me”Truth be told, I resisted seeing Ink for the longest time, mainly because I had zero desire to see a play about Rupert Murdoch. I feel the same way about Thatcher – I will never see The Iron Lady (sorry Meryl) or…
Graham tells the eye-opening story of how Murdoch bought the ailing Sun newspaper and turned it into Britain’s most popular tabloid by focusing on the tycoon’s relationship with Larry Lamb, the paper’s new editor, and the rivalry between Lamb and his former boss, the Mirror editor Hugh Cudlipp.
What you do get from the trilogy day though is a huge sense of occasion, and the undeniable truth of the significance of what has been achieved here. Unabashedly all-female productions of Shakespeare, shaking up a (male dominated) establishment that still can’t quite let these things happen without a range of think-pieces.
Shakespeare 101: muck/fuck about with it all you like, the poor sod’s well out of copyright, but the acid test for any modern rendering is ‘if you hadn’t seen this play before, would this production tell you the story?’ and the answer to the Donmar’s all-girl Tempest is a big fat no.
A slightly odd one this, the Donmar’s all-female adaptation of The Tempest opened at the King’s Cross Theatre in late September, but from what I can tell won’t be officially reviewed until 22nd November.