The notion that Michael Fentiman’s The Importance of Being Earnest has ruffled a few feathers by daring to do something different, plus the kind of casting that I could never resist, meant that I had to see for myself.
Classic Spring has announced that Fiona Button (Cecily Cardew) and Stella Gonet (Miss Prism) have been cast in Michael Fentiman’s The Importance of Being Earnest at the Vaudeville Theatre (20 July to 20 October 2018, press night is 2 August), with Pippa Nixon replacing Sinead Matthews as Gwendolyn Fairfax.
Shanley’s script doesn’t specify Flynn’s guilt or innocence, of course. And much of the power of this Pulitzer Prize-winning piece is its ability to keep you wondering – and arguing about it. I was interested to learn that that extends beyond audience reactions too.
John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Doubt is being revived at the Southwark Playhouse in a limited season running to 30 September 2017. Here is what critics have been saying about the production directed by Ché Walker…
Ferociously strict principal Sister Aloysius is convinced that there is inappropriateness occurring between parish priest Father Flynn and the school’s first black pupil, but her views are coloured by her loathing of Flynn’s modernising ways.
Doubt is a painful path to follow, even more so when it comes to religious belief. Shanley’s parable of doubt, first seen in 2005 and in Britain two years later, then carried under-currents in the US to do with George Bush’s second tenure of office. How much more so now would it resonate in the USA with today’s crusaders of certainty?
Five minutes into a combination of John Patrick Shanley’s purposeful script with Chè Walker’s acute eye and we are transported.
In a tight 90 minutes, on an elegantly simple stained-glass floor with us ranged around as if at a boxing-match, doubt and suspicion play out in a duel between the sour, savvy old nun and the priest.
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.
I want to be able to resist anything to do with Alan Ayckbourn but the cast and creatives for Chichester’s production of The Norman Conquests is making it very hard indeed. Wunderkind director Blanche McIntyre is at the helm of a company for the trilogy of plays.
Stella Gonet will star in Doubt, A Parable, the first London revival in ten years of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by John Patrick Shanley. Full cast announced
Natalie Dew – following her #AlsoRecognised Award and Olivier nomination for Bend It Like Beckham, in which she made her musical debut – Ian Gelder, Stella Gonet, Lisa McGrillis, Sargon Yelda and Ashley Zhangazha have been cast in Stef Smith’s new play Human Animals, which runs from 18 May 2016 to 18 June 2016 in the Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre Upstairs.
Written in 1932 by W.Somerset Maugham this story is based on the period following World War One. A tale of returning war heroes dealing with the consequences of conflict in a world that has changed forever.
It’s fitting that in a Chichester Festival Theatre season that
ends with three of Chekhov’s early works they also feature a play so indebted
to his introspective, often melancholic style. Like Chekhov, W. Somerset Maugham has crafted a play
that has a tendency to be fascinating and at times incredibly frustrating but
that certainly deserves attention.
The plot centres on the home of a
country solicitor and the slow disintegration of his family playing out as we
watch. There are some incredibly well thought out performances, not the least
from Stella Gonet as the matriarch whose
perfect manners and visible love for her family hide the fact she is
desperately ill. Her children are all, in some way, broken and she initially
throws herself into looking after them before finally admitting defeat, and
confessing her relief that her days are numbered.
Her son Sidney, blinded in the Great
War thuds about the set, his walking stick bouncing off the furniture as he
hides his distress below a thick layer of sarcasm. It’s a fine depiction by Joseph Kloska whose vacant stares are
often somewhat unsettling and whose disability allows him to say what other
Elsewhere youngest sister Lois is
pursued by an aging lothario while eldest sister Eve shows signs of cracking
under the pressure of caring for her family. Justine Mitchell gives Eva a distinct vulnerability and we get the
impression she was never allowed to grieve for the love she lost to World War
I. Sadly her burgeoning romance with the seemingly disinterested Collie is
incredibly clunky and the long pauses (presumably director Howard Davies intention is to make the situation uncomfortable to
watch) come across almost as if neither actor is quite sure where the scene is
There are moments too when the script
descends into clichéd “stiff upper lip” territory that borders on pastiche.
Thankfully though, such moments
are followed by more dark humour and gloomy contemplation – a tone Maugham
seems much more comfortable with. But the lasting impression is of a play that
isn’t quite worthy of the fine cast performing it!
It’s frightening how prescient Jack Thorne’s Hope is. Just this week, new research released by the Labour Party showed that streetlights are being switched off in three-quarters of England’s councils in order to save money. And there’s a likelihood that even more will be “plunged into darkness” after the Government’s most recent announcement of […]