Posts Tagged ‘National Theatre’

Review – Hadestown, National Theatre

Friday 9 November 2018

The last time Phil remembers a subsidised Royal theatre company being used as a laboratory for a musical on its way to Broadway was when the RSC road tested Carrie. Look how that turned out

Phil trailed up to Stratford for that one and picked up a distinct tang of major stinker early in the opening number. If Hadestown (music, lyrics and book Anaïs Mitchell, developed and directed by Rachel Chavkin) turned out to be more musical theatre hell producing sulphurous pongs at least he only had to travel as far as the National Theatre. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – Antony & Cleopatra, National Theatre

Friday 21 September 2018

We will assume you know enough about the story of Mr Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra (or Antony ampersand Cleopatra as the National is naming it) that you will not be offended by the spoliers that appear here. After all it’s hardly Bodyguard don’t you know.

So what’s it about?

It’s about 3 hours 30 minutes. Yes, we’ve used this gag before but we’re assuming that our demographic are of an age (or drink so much) that they won’t remember such things. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Home, I’m Darling, National Theatre

Friday 27 July 2018

Tricky.

How do you discuss Home, I’m Darling without giving away a key reveal? Well those who reviewed Tamara Harvey’s production when it was at Theatre Clwyd gave it away willy-nilly, but then it is mightily hard to talk of it without doing so. Fortunately we saved reading those reviews until after we’d seen it.

Statistically, of course, most readers won’t ever get to see it anyway so why should one care so much? Despite this, however, we will still endeavour to give away as little away as possible. Which means this will be a faster read for you and you can move on to better things. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Exit the King, National Theatre

Tuesday 24 July 2018

“Stop this infernal pantomime!” shouts one of the Queens in Patrick Marber‘s version of Eugène Ionesco‘s Exit the King.

How many of us in this preview audience must have been thinking exactly the same? Yes, we’re nailing our colours to the mast straight away and saying what a dreadfully dreary evening this is. Even if it’s only 1 hour 40 minutes it feels much, much longer. Still, you can pass the time glancing round the audience and seeing if those on the ends of rows are slipping out discretely. Yes, some did. Lucky bastards. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Lehman Trilogy, National Theatre

Wednesday 11 July 2018

A three and a half hour three-hander where the each of the three hands is a white male? At the National? No doubt apologies will be demanded and made.

A surprising lack of box-ticking here then, but there is an awful lot of box-lifting and box-shifting. But we will return to that in due course. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Scottish Play, National Theatre

Wednesday 28 February 2018

Phil’s only seen seen The Scottish Play once before. And that was some 30 years ago.

To put that into some kind of a context his tally of other shows runs roughly thus: 42nd Street (5 times), Into the Woods (5), La Cage Aux Folles (5), Follies (8), and Sweeney Todd (8). Shows where his priorities lie. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Pinocchio, National Theatre

Thursday 14 December 2017

You can’t say the National’s not hell-bent on success with Pinocchio.

Disney have offered up the stage rights of the Oscar-winning score from their 1940 classic animation and promised they won’t interfere. The songs are arranged by Tony/Grammy/Olivier Award-winning musical director Martin Lowe. The book’s by Tony and Olivier Award-winner Dennis (Matilda) Kelly and it’s directed by Tony Award-winner John (Once and the Harry Potter plays) Tiffany. The design team of Bob Crowley (set/costume/puppet co-designer) and Paule Constable (lighting) have 4 Oliviers and 9 Tony Awards between them. Goodness.

The creative table is positively groaning with talent and awards, so how come the National are serving up turkey again this Christmas? Read the rest of this entry »

Some mopping up – Hot Tin/ Slaves of Solitude / Young Marx

Monday 6 November 2017

For those kind folk (that should probably read as singular rather than plural) who have been interested enough to ask where Phil’s been, here lies the answer. Hip replacement don’t you know, beating Patti LuPone to the crutches by a matter of weeks. He feels Patti’s pain. And he’s just beginning to dip the toe on the end of his newly bionic leg back into the world of theatre that doesn’t come with a surgeon and anaesthetist. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Follies, National Theatre

Friday 1 September 2017

Earlier in the year we were invited to join the Follies production syndicate.

“Your support is crucial to ensure the play is successfully brought to the stage. We would love you to make this happen. As a thank you we will keep you up to date with the production as it progresses

How inordinately generous of them. If we were to fumble around in our pockets we’d expect a meet and greet with Stephen Sondheim or a glass of fizz with Imelda Staunton to say the least. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Mosquitoes, National Theatre

Tuesday 25 July 2017

In which the National explores the nature of the BOGOF offer.

Though in this instance it is a case of Buy Olivia Get Olivia Free. The Olivias Colman and Williams to be precise.

They star as sisters Alice and Jenny. O1 Williams is a scientist working in Switzerland on the launch of the Large Hadron Collider, O2 Colman is the less academically-gifted, more emotional (or “stupid” as she’s often referred to) sis residing in Luton. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Angels In America : A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, Part 2: Perestroika

Wednesday 26 April 2017

What to add to our pontifications on Tony Kushner‘s Angels in America Part 1 that we haven’t already mentioned?

That there was a long line to collect tickets as they wouldn’t issue Part 2 tickets when we collected our Part 1 ones (are they doing a Hamilton thing?). That we queued to get into the auditorium as they didn’t open the doors until 7pm for our 7pm performance. That (apart from two intervals) we were in our cheap 4th row cramped budget airline seats for much of the 4 and three-quarter hours. That’s the flying time to Greenland. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Angels In America : A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, Part 1: Millennium Approaches, National Theatre

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Over 7 hours, 2 nights and at least 3 intervals (we do not yet know how many Part 2 holds). How terribly indulgent. It’s almost as long as its title. Phil saw the original production of Angels in America at the National back in 1992, yet, still he came back for more.

25 years ago Henry Goodman played closeted Roy Cohn, Trump and McCarthyite attorney, Nixon advisor, Rosenberg prosecutor, and all round shyster-meister. Here the casting coup is Nathan Lane. Mildly ironic that Lane should be taking the Goodman role since Goodman infamously (and briefly) took over from Lane when he left the Broadway run of The Producers. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Twelfth Night, National Theatre

Wednesday 22 February 2017

imagesHope you didn’t mind the gap.

Phil felt unmoved to bother writing about his last few theatrical disappointments, he’d been catching up on shows in the last weeks of their runs anyway. Also he’s been going to the pictures. A lot. And by avoiding the disappointments of theatre he’s been able to enjoy being disappointed by some over-praised films. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Hedda Gabler, National Theatre

Friday 9 December 2016

nt-live-hedda-gabler-portrait-listings-image-uk-722x1024A few weeks ago, on the Nothern Line, while Phil was running his fingers along the lines of type in the Metro he noticed he was sitting next to a woman concentrating on a script with all the “Mrs Elvsted” parts underlined. Suspecting it might be for the National’s Hedda Gabler he went off and did a bit of internet stalking and discovered that it was Sinéad Matthews who takes that role in the this production.

Perhaps Phil should have torn her manuscript into pieces, scribbled notes all over it so that she could piece it back together again to get a better understanding of her role. To explain that would need a SPOILER ALERT. Of course if it had been Ruth Wilson (who plays this Hedda) next to him he’d have torched it for her. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Amadeus, National Theatre

Wednesday 9 November 2016

798954Well, we went in humming Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus” and we were still humming it on the way out.

This despite the 20 pieces of the Southbank Sinfonia who bang out Mozart’s music throughout the three long hours of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, interact with the actors, occasionally having a stab at acting themselves, ripple like waves on the stairs of what constitutes a set and donning party hats to become part of the action.

If you don’t have a ticket you’re unlikely to get one for its current booking period now. It was practically sold out before the fairly spectacular reviews were delivered. But don’t despair, you need some good news this morning, it didn’t quite work its magic on us. Read the rest of this entry »