Posts Tagged ‘Vicki Mortimer’

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 »

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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 – Othello National Theatre

Monday 22 April 2013

othello_250_1We are not in the habit of issuing public service announcements but…

Check your tickets. Emily Mackay-ishly thinking to intimidate us by the use of quarter-hours, evening performances of Othello start at 7.15pm. Arrive on time so you won’t have to be guided to your seat in crepuscular gloom at the first suitable break in the proceedings. Goodness knows what it’ll be like at the upcoming Strange Interlude which starts at the even more intimidating 6.30pm. Just how long is it going to be? Anyone need a pair of tickets?

Anyhoo, as we departed the theatre (again the quarter, but this the one before 11pm) thoughts turned to the question of Adrian Lester‘s age and “Are Othellos – like policeman – getting younger?” Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Last of the Haussmans, National Theatre

Tuesday 19 June 2012

You wait an age for a play about free-spirited people who behaved selfishly in the sixties and how their behaviour made lost souls of their offspring desperate to get their hands on property…

Well, you know the rest.

The Quink from the Whingers’ quills had barely dried from their uncharacteristically and almost unbridled rave about Mike Bartlett’s Love, Love, Love at the Royal Court and here they were again ploughing territory with spookily similar themes.

Expectations had already been running unreasonably high with Julie Walters, Rory Kinnear, Helen McCrory and Matthew Marsh in the cast. Imagine being the playwright Stephen Beresford and finding that lot in your first play The Last of the Haussmans – and on a proper National Theatre stage and not even tucked away in the Cottesloe. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – A Woman Killed with Kindness, National Theatre

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Questioner: You’re directing A Woman Killed with Kindness again but this time at the National Theatre tell us something about it.

Katie Mitchell: Well it’s an early seventeenth-century domestic tragedy by Thomas Heywood. It’s about John Frankford and his wife Anne. He invites Wendoll into his home to act as a companion. He tells him that anything in his house is at Wendoll’s disposal which he take literally.

Early Modern Elizabethan and Jacobean views of fasting or self-starvation were often hearkened to old Medieval views which considered a woman’s fasting a visual cue to a woman’s obedience, chastity, and honour. Eating, binging, or gluttony were considered to be fundamentally connected with sexuality. Gluttony will inevitabily lead to lust, as we see here. Several tract writers suggest female fasting should be a part of a woman’s education as it would make her to be a better wife and mother.*  Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Master Builder, Almeida

Thursday 18 November 2010

Call the Guinness Book of Records! Call Norris McWhirter! Call Roy Castle! Loudly!

Sometimes you wonder about a title of a play and think, how did they come up with that? Sometimes you find yourself waiting for the title  to appear. But there is no waiting or wondering here. Not in Ibsen‘s The Master Builder at the Almeida.

It must surely hold the record for the number of times the title of the play is name checked in the piece itself. It boasts its own redundant form of product placement. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Burnt By The Sun, National Theatre

Friday 27 February 2009

burnt-by-the-sun Obviously this was to represent a reassuring and long overdue return for the Whingers to somewhere more akin to their spiritual home and if not to the West End exactly, then at least to the bastion of generously funded proper theatre boasting safety curtains, scenery, proscenium arches  and all the other reliable trappings that make a theatre a proper place for theatre.

Yes, after 10 days wandering through the wilderness of the fringe, the prodigal Whingers returned on Shrove Tuesday to the National Theatre to see Burnt By The Sun, based on Nikita Mikhalkov‘s Oscar-winning 1994 film.

And how nice it was to be once again in a world of coat-checks, places to sit in the common areas and numbered seats with corresponding numbers on the tickets. And all in zone 1. We even smiled at the sight of the National’s airline-style signage designed to assess the suitability of one’s handbag for the auditorium.

And, indeed, Burnt By The Sun has almost everything you could want from a piece of theatre. Admittedly there was no Dame of the British Empire, but if you squinted (as Andrew does most of the time) at Anna Carteret you could make do.

But otherwise it was all there: the man hailed by the Whingers as one of London’s finest stage actors (Rory Kinnear), the woman who captivated the Whingers as Eliza at the Old Vic last year (Michelle Dockery), a revolving set (Vicki Mortimer), on-stage food consumption, a marching band, piano playing and tap-dancing, some history, a Channel 4 newsreader sitting behind us, a marvellously informative programme… And yet… and yet….

Read the rest of this entry »