The Taming of the Shrew a new setting, the National Theatre has its own production to mark the centenary of Ireland's Easter Rising, with The Plough and the Stars. Sean O’Casey's play, long controversial for being seen as pro-IRA, looks at a group of characters in a Dublin tenement in scenes six months apart: The first two acts take place in November 1915, with them going about their daily lives: Nora (Judith Roddy) is trying to get her new husband Jack (Fionn Walton) away from the Irish Citizen Army, her uncle Peter (Lloyd Hutchinson) is constantly arguing with his Communist nephew The Young Covey (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor,) and Mrs Gogan (Josie Walker,) recently widowed and whose daughter has Period Drama Cough, doesn't get on with her Protestant neighbour Bessie (Justine Mitchell,) whose son is fighting in World War I, and who likes to lean out of her windows shouting into the street like Trekkie Monster.
Thursday, 28 July 2016
Tuesday, 26 July 2016
Sunday, 24 July 2016
Saturday, 23 July 2016
Norris' first play looked at the health issues of an older man, but now he looks at those of someone a lot closer to his own age. Andy Rush plays Tobes, who loses his job, his girlfriend and his flat in the course of a few weeks. But all his frustrations end up focusing on something else he's about to lose.
Friday, 22 July 2016
Rice herself and Caroline Byrne he's been given free rein to break out of the venue's old house style, and like them he gets mixed results. When the Scottish king Duncan (Sam Cox) rewards his best general Macbeth (Ray Fearon,) he little imagines he will take these new honours and seek out much greater ones: A supernatural apparition has foretold to Macbeth that he will be the next king, and his wife is keen for him to speed up the process with a spot of regicide.
Thursday, 21 July 2016
Wednesday, 20 July 2016
last night the Himalayas, tonight Alaska, where journalist David Holthouse's family moved in the late 1970s. Although they didn't know anyone in Anchorage to start with, Nancy (Glynis Barber) and Robert (Geoffrey Towers) quickly made friends with a local couple, whose teenage son was happy to babysit the younger David while their parents held dinner parties. In fact when he was seven, David (Gerard McCarthy) was raped by the then 17-year-old son, whose name he refuses to use, only calling him the Bogeyman (Mike Evans.) Written by Holthouse along with the show's director Markus Potter, Stalking the Bogeyman is a documentary play that does relive this childhood trauma, but centres more on the adult David's desire for revenge.
Tuesday, 19 July 2016
Saturday, 16 July 2016
you can read my original review here,) so it wasn't a hard choice to make another trip to Rattigan's early comedy of young men learning French in hopes of entering "The Diplomatic." Paul Miller's production has returned to the Orange Tree for a month prior to a national tour. Only two of the original cast members have returned - Joe Eyre as the smitten Kit and David Whitworth as the quietly grumpy teacher Monsieur Maingot - and the new actors bring slightly different characterisations to their roles, but the light feel and well-executed comedy are unaffected. Florence Roberts, for example, is a somewhat crueller Diana than Genevieve Gaunt was, taking obvious pleasure in breaking the hearts of the young boys while plotting to find the most suitable husband material among them.
Thursday, 14 July 2016
Wednesday, 13 July 2016
The Rocky Horror Show does indeed come to mind in the songs, even though the overall style has quite a different feel, going for a jazzy influence that reflects the seedy 1960s LA club where much of the action takes place.
Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Monday, 11 July 2016
Saturday, 9 July 2016
Volpone, the RSC bring Ben Jonson back to the Swan with his most famous farce, The Alchemist. It was Jonson's way of helping the London of 1610 deal with its biggest horror, the annual return of the Plague, through comedy: Every summer the wealthy would escape the city for their country homes away from all the death, and so at the start of the play does Lovewit (Hywel Morgan,) leaving his servant Jeremy in charge of his townhouse. But Jeremy is actually the con-man Face, who plans to use the house as his base of operations to trick the greedy and gullible out of their cash. After he stole his scenes in her AsYou Like It last year, director Polly Findlay brings Ken Nwosu back to Stratford-upon-Avon with her to play a frenetic Face, who acts as the front-man for a con that promises to turn base metal into gold.
Thursday, 7 July 2016
Wednesday, 6 July 2016
my one previous visit to Above The Arts, the venue's notorious overheating problem seemed to have been mostly resolved, but tonight it was clearly back with a vengeance. Between the buckets of sweat, the acoustics that favour every other room in the building apart from the one we're in, and sightlines that, I would estimate, leave about four or five seats with an unimpeded view of the action (mine wasn't one of them,) and the sooner that long-promised remodeling of the theatre comes along, the better - especially if this unloved second space ends up getting remodeled right out of existence. In circumstances like these, any positives the actual play itself might have, if any, are pretty hard to spot.
Tuesday, 5 July 2016
Iphigenia in Splott, Ffion Jones' debut play Ugly Lovely follows unemployed Swansea girl Shell (Jones,) starting with her 26th birthday, which everyone has forgotten. She has a boyfriend and a three-year-old son, but the former has disappeared, presumed to be sleeping around, while her mother has taken in the latter as she doesn't trust Shell to look after him. On top of this her grandmother, the only person who seems to have been a positive influence, has recently died, and the lonely Shell has taken to talking to the urn with her ashes. So with a lot of time on her hands, she ends up spending time with her best (only?) friend Tash (Sophie Hughes) in Swansea pubs and clubs, getting drunk as cheaply as possible. Although framed as a comedy (but without many of the jokes landing*) Ugly Lovely is mainly a pretty bleak look at a wasted life, and someone who understands all too well that she's wasting it.