I spoke to Cillian Murphy, Max Porter, and Enda Walsh for the New York Times; full piece here.
Few books inspire such breathless fandom as Elena Ferrante’s. Her four “Neapolitan Novels” have proved huge international hits, with over 5.5 million copies sold in over 50 countries. Despite such reach, they still have a cultish status; converts tend to press them on friends and family, to talk about the main characters Lenu and Lila as if we knew them. We get fiercely possessive – and then comes news that the books are being turned into a stage show. Can they really be brought to life, or do such characters belong safely inside our heads? Continue reading “Everyone’s favourite book has been turned into an incredible play”
When news broke of the death of Gene Wilder, the image that kept cropping up was of the actor as the fabulously twinkly, slightly menacing Willy Wonka. Because the 1971 musical movie of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – is burned deep into our collective conscious. Continue reading “In his centenary year, Roald Dahl is everywhere – but should kids just go back to the books?”
The little black dress. The pearls; the oversized sunglasses and the absurdly long cigarette holder. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – the 1961 film based on Truman Capote’s 1958 novella – has become more famous for its visual shorthands, its signifiers of New York chic and fashionable femininity, than its actual story or characters. Continue reading “Breakfast at Tiffany’s: how Hollywood retold a gritty story”
Marcus Gardley’s decision to relocate Molière’s 1664 comedy Tartuffe to present-day Atlanta, Georgia seems a smart one: Tartuffe, a charlatan holy man, becomes Archbishop Tardimus Toof, a sleazy preacher who wants to make a fast buck. Archibald Organdy is the rich owner of a fried chicken company, who Toof ‘cures’ from heart cancer, inspiring a religious zeal more dangerous than his previous sickly malaise. Organdy’s family – prodigal daughter Africa, camp son Gumper, and Peaches, his lusty lover – are less impressed. Continue reading “Review: A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes, the Tricycle”
Ahead of next year’s 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, Hogarth Press is releasing a series of novels based on his plays. Gillian Flynn tackles Hamlet, Howard Jacobson does The Merchant of Venice, but first comes Jeanette Winterson’s “cover version” of The Winter’s Tale. Continue reading “Review: The Gap of Time, Jeanette Winterson”
Edinburgh festival is not short on solo shows, but few manage a performance as captivating as Aoife Duffin; this monologue is both technically and emotionally impressive, leaving her – and her audience – wrung out like filthy rags. Continue reading “Review: A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, Edinburgh”
“We live in a dystopia now.” So claims playwright Dawn King.
“We’re walking round with these tiny computers in our pockets: your government probably knows everything about you; your phone company definitely knows everything about you – even your calorie intake; you spread all this information everywhere you go, and yet at the same time there are boatloads of people dying to get into a country like ours …. We live in the future and the future’s kind of failed us.” Continue reading “From A Brave New World to 1984: why dystopian novels are invading the theatre”
Virginia Woolf may be famous for her death – she drowned herself in 1941 – but she is enjoying an uncommonly busy afterlife. A seemingly unending stream of novels, plays and films seek to re-animate her, fictionalising Woolf’s life – and death. And it ripples out: her wider circle, the Bloomsbury group, are also regularly brought back to life for our entertainment. Continue reading “Virginia Woolf should live on, but not because of her death”
The scene is Old Trafford, where a young girl – playing for Manchester United – boots the ball and scores a goal. The crowd goes wild. This was the opening dream sequence of Gurinder Chadha’s much-loved 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham, about a teenage Sikh tomboy named Jess, who defies her parents to play football. Continue reading “Can Bend It Like Beckham succeed in the West End?”