Posts Tagged ‘National Theatre’

Review – Hansard, National Theatre

Friday 30 August 2019

Meet Robin and Diana. They like to argue.

Their bitter and frustrated relationship appears to be nourished by cat and mouse games as they hurl insults at each other and volley them back. In the course of their poisonous disputes long held secrets are about to be revealed. Guests are about to join them and oh, she self-medicates with alcohol.

Mmmm. Sound a little familiar? Sound a bit too Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? All a bit too George and Martha with a soupçon of George and Mildred thrown in? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Present Laughter, Old Vic

Monday 24 June 2019

You wait a lifetime for a frothy wartime comedy by a gay Sir that opens with someone waking up the worse for wear and wondering who the stranger they picked up last night is and you get two in a little over a week. What are the chances?

First there was Sir Terence Rattigan’s 1943 While the Sun Shine‘s now we have Sir Noël Coward‘s 1939 Present Laughter. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Rutherford and Son, National Theatre

Tuesday 28 May 2019

Yes, we know we’ve flogged variations of the following “gag” several times but if we’ve learnt anything it’s that there’s very little that can’t be re-recyled.

Q: What’s Rutherford and Son about?

A: It’s about 3 hours 15 minutes.

Well that was according to the worrying email the National sent us prior to our visit sending us into a right old dither. It sounded as if it would drag on longer than Theresa May’s departure. Talk about managing our expectations. On the night it turned out to be a nippier but still lengthy 2 hours 50 mins. It may well be shorter by the opening. It needs to be. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Downstate, National Theatre

Monday 25 March 2019

When a play is described as provocative, thought-provoking, challenging, shocking and in the Dorfman auditorium you’d be forgiven for thinking that we’ve gone completely doolally taken to self-harming and revisited that steaming pile of When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other.

But no. We can now (almost) completely forgive the National for that egregious horror as it has given way to Downstate which comes from the provoking pen of Bruce Norris who previously stepped onto the Whinger podium of greatness when he delivered his brilliant Clybourne Park. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Cate Blanchett in When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other, Dorfman Theatre

Tuesday 22 January 2019

Oh my word. You’d think by now we would know better. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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 »