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JANE WENHAM, THE WITCH OF WALKERN – Arcola Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Aleks SierzLeave a Comment

The best theatre is controversial theatre, but some controversies just make you want to weep. Out of Joint theatre company has been touring Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s Jane Wenham: The Witch of Walkern (co-produced with Watford Palace Theatre and Arcola Theatre) since September last year. All was going well until the 13 October performance at Ipswich High School for Girls was cancelled by the venue “citing concerns over the play’s language”. Max Stafford-Clark, Out of Joint’s artistic director, said: “It is deeply troubling that a play which so eloquently examines witch persecutions from a feminist perspective, and looks at the way society treated and continues to treat women, is considered inappropriate for an audience of young women. The school has also said that the inclusion of swearing is inappropriate, a policy which presumably rules out much contemporary drama or fiction for study.” Indeed. But enough about the follies of our educators, what about the play?

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THE CRUCIBLE – Royal Exchange, Manchester

In Manchester, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews, Touring by Kristy StottLeave a Comment

Inspired by the Salem witch hunts of the seventeenth century, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible offered a commentary on McCarthyism and the House Un-American Activities Committee when it first premiered in 1953 on Broadway. Now, playing at Manchester’s Royal Exchange it is remarkable how much these themes still resonate loudly within our society today. Aside from modern-day witch hunts on social media for the latest shamed celebrity or the fear of terrorism and National Security, The Crucible also raises ideas surrounding the cuts to Legal Aid and those perceived as vulnerable, having to represent themselves in court.

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2015 #Oliviers nominations: What’s in, what’s out? Full lists here

In Awards, Features, London theatre, Musicals, News, Opinion, Photos, Plays by Terri PaddockLeave a Comment

The biggest surprise for me at today’s Olivier nominations event at the ritzy Rosewood London hotel was just how much this event has grown in a few short years. Celebrating nominees: you’re all beautiful I remember so well when I held the first WhatsOnStage Awards Launch Party back in 2002. I believed then, as I […]

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More Top 10 #theatre2014 lists: Mine and yours

In Awards, Features, London theatre, Musicals, News, Opinion, Photos, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews by Terri PaddockLeave a Comment

Rounding up the best of the best of theatre 2014 highlights got me reflecting on my own year in theatre. Having unexpectedly left WhatsOnStage just before Christmas 2013, the shape and pace of my 2014 theatregoing was going to be inevitably different from the previous 16 years. For a time, I wasn’t even sure that […]

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The best of the best of #theatre2014 round-ups

In Awards, Features, London theatre, Musicals, News, Opinion, Photos, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews by Terri PaddockLeave a Comment

Can you keep up with all the 2014 theatrical year round-ups? I’ve rounded up the round-ups to give you a quick overview. The Guardian went ALL out looking back with a profusion of top 10 lists from its various critics, including eminence grise Michael Billington, fringe and festival queen Lyn Gardner, columnist Mark Lawson and […]

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My theatre diary: From tears to laughter with The Crucible, The Events, Invincible and Shakespeare in Love

In Features, London theatre, Opinion, Photos, Plays, Quotes, Reviews by Terri PaddockLeave a Comment

I’m really doing well for play choices in July. Don’t let the warm weather put you off catching these compelling productions, which scale great heights and depths of emotion. (Apart from the entertainment, most of these theatres were lovely and cool on the hot summer evenings I attended. So you’ll get a respite from the […]