Published in The Independent January 24, 2019
Well, here’s a chance to see a Hollywood star up close and extremely personal. Cate Blanchett stars in a new Martin Crimp play, which stages an elaborate S&M sex game in a garage. Normally, to start a review of a celebrity performance by commenting on how they stride around sexily in suspenders would seem tacky, but that literally is the, ahem, thrust of the show. Game of Thrones’ Stephen Dillane is similarly trussed up, if that helps.
Continue reading “Review: When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other, National Theatre”
I watched The Lehman Trilogy at the National Theatre with David Segal, business reporter for the New York Times, for the paper; read the full conversation here
Death comes to us all, and we’re lousy at preparing for it. And probably would be even if we lived for 483 years – like King Berenger, of Ionesco’s absurd comedic tragedy, who squirms in the face of his impending, certain demise. Continue reading “Review: Exit the King, National Theatre”
I did an interview with Denise Gough, about taking People Places and Things and Angels in America, for The New York Times. Link to full profile here.
“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore”: the rallying cry from Paddy Chayefsky’s 1976 film about Howard Beale, a news anchor who loses it on-air, has become a much-quoted meme, as the film seems only more prophetic with each passing year. Continue reading “Review: Network, National Theatre”
It may not open till next month, but the first release of tickets for Stephen Sondheim’s Follies at the National Theatre are already entirely sold out. However thousands more are on sale today from 8.30am, at the same time as a first-look photograph of the cast is unveiled.
The level of love for the musical has surprised its star, Imelda Staunton – but then, it hasn’t had a full staging in London since 1987. The story of the Weismann Follies’ vaudeville showgirls, who return to the theatre they performed in 30 years previously, features standards such as ‘Losing My Mind and ‘I’m Still Here’, and garners serious devotion among Sondheim fans.
Continue reading “Imelda Staunton on the National’s new blockbuster musical Follies”
Cancer. It’s not an obvious subject to make an actual song and dance about. But that’s what performance artist Bryony Kimmings has done, writing her first ever musical on the subject. Continue reading “How do you make a musical about cancer?”
His face may not be familiar, but there’s a good chance you’ve seen one of Jack Thorne’s TV programmes – Skins, Glue, This is England ’86, (and ’88 and ’90 come to that), The Fades – or maybe his hit stage version of vampire movie Let the Right One In, or council budget-cuts drama Hope, which played at the Royal Court. Continue reading “Jack Thorne on staging disability and transporting Harry Potter to the West End”
At no other time of the year are family-friendly shows more welcome than at Christmas. Yet it’s also often a time of boringly traditional, bankable fare. Panto reigns and theatre can tend towards the literary, twee and old-fashioned: Dickensian orphans in the faux snow, endless visits to Narnia and Neverland. This year, however, there’s a sleigh-full of alternative shows hurtling down a distinctly psychedelic rabbit hole. Continue reading “Why Christmas shows are going down a psychedelic rabbit hole”
The words ‘10th Anniversary Revival’ are given as much prominence as the author’s name – Tim Crouch – on the National Theatre’s promotional material for An Oak Tree; a new ‘10th anniversary edition’ of the playtext accompanies. Such subtitling flags up its rare status: a genuinely experimental, fringe show that has achieved international acclaim, academic recognition, and much love from audiences – and performers (a key point, of which more later). Continue reading “On revivals, and the urge to ‘bring back to life’ past triumphs”