Posts Tagged ‘National Theatre’

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 »

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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 »

Review – The Red Barn, National Theatre

Tuesday 18 October 2016

xtheredbarnw300h200-jpgqitokypwyklne-pagespeed-ic-nxppd-1b7fThree characters stranded in a county house while a blizzard rages. One of the group is lost in the storm outside. Might he have done himself in or been murdered? The phone lines are down and a clock ticks ominously…

Has the National seen sense and finally put on an Agatha Christie? Might that same clock tick for another 64 years and counting? Sadly not.

A pre-show discussion heard Andrew suggesting it might be based on the notorious red barn murder in Suffolk where Maria Marten was shot dead by her lover. Phil was blissfully unaware of that case, “Well if it’s a whodunnit that’s ruined it for me” grumped Phil.

Phew, Andrew was off the hook. Not that red barn thankfully. This is David Hare‘s The Red Barn based on George (Maigret) Simenon‘s La Main. Though there is still an element of whodunnit and whydunnit and more than an touch of whydoitlikethis? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, National Theatre

Friday 26 August 2016

ntgds_ho_ourladies_herospot_290716_2578x1128When Phil told his mother he was going to see Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour she asked, in all innocence, “What are they sucking?”

Quite a lot as it turned out. Perhaps that’s the gag. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Deep Blue Sea, National Theatre

Wednesday 8 June 2016

ntgds_ak_webimages_0405165_tdbsTerrence Rattigan and egg-frying. That’s the double whammy it takes to get Andrew into a theatre these days. Of course we couldn’t have known about the on-stage cookery and (Spoiler Alert) it comes at the end of the play.

But was it real of faked? We weren’t entirely sure. The egg was definitely cracked. The gas appeared to be lit and butter (yes, butter – Andrew was thrilled) was put in the pan. The roar of the grease could be heard sizzling but there was no haze and from our row D stalls seats we could smell nothing. A brief post-show discussion with Circle-seated acquaintances convinced us otherwise. They claimed they got a whiff of Helen McCrory‘s egg. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Threepenny Opera, National Theatre

Friday 27 May 2016

CcsbDaMXEAAsGf5Wasn’t expecting the Drum Revolve.

Phil saw a preview of The Threepenny Opera on the very day he’d received a begging letter from the National’s Artistic Director, Rufus Norris asking for contributions to the £350, 000 he’s trying to raise to revitalise the Olivier Theatre’s 40-year-old stage machinery which was then “cutting-edge technology” but is now “literally grinding to a halt”.

He assumed this was irony. Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s tale, in a new adaptation by Simon Stephens, has placed the story in pre-coronation London and features a raggle-taggle of beggars. One of the beggars, Rufus Norris, was not on stage, he was seated at the back of the stalls overseeing his production with NT ex-AD Sir Nicholas of Hytner. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – People, Places & Things, Wyndham’s Theatre

Friday 8 April 2016

5478-1458211495-peopleplacesthingssqIn days of yore we would go to see practically anything at the National Theatre, even at the Dorfman (née Cottesloe), but we are getting more risk-averse as we grow older, so this becomes the fourth in our series of hoovering up the shows we’d missed first time around.

People, Places & Things comes with breathless rave reviews for Denise Gough, a recent Olivier gong for her and another for the Sound Design, whispers of a Broadway transfer, plus a title that has not only punctuation, but an ampersand, which could only raise our expectations to such absurdly vertiginous heights it could only prove a let down, couldn’t it? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, National Theatre

Tuesday 9 February 2016

nt2015-004There was a very big divide in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

No, not between Phil and Andrew, they were in accord. It was the show itself which came in two very separate parts. Act 2 is rather riveting but at the interval Phil thought it was desperately in search of a plot, or as Andrew more grandly declared “a narrative”. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – wonder.land, National Theatre

Friday 4 December 2015

Wonder.landIf you’re having turkey for Christmas this year remember not to over-stuff it.

This offering at the National may serve as a timely reminder.

wonder.land is Lewis Carroll‘s Alice for the internet age but it overdoes things by cramming too much in and desperately trying to tick too many PC boxes. What comes across is overcrowded and by attempting to be au courant ends up feeling slightly dated.

Aly (Lois Chimimba) is a mixed-race teenager from a broken home, bullied at school and on social media and insecure about her physical appearance until she discovers an online world where she can create a new life for herself as an avatar, Alice (Carly Bawden). Imagine The Matrix with a touch of The Nether burdened with a dressing of unremarkable music and songs.

As a member of the audience you may find yourself wishing to create your own avatar and disappear into another world entirely. We certainly did. Read the rest of this entry »