“For vain pleasure of four-and-twenty years hath Faustus lost eternal joy and felicity. I writ them a bill with mine own blood. The date is expired, the time will come, and he will fetch me”. Thus speaks Faust in the final scene. The scholars seek to save him, but the clock strikes eleven and he …
Tag Archives: Theatre
Charlotte Lucas was brilliantly in control as Claire Sutton, the PM’s Special Policy Advisor, but the plot was a bit thin.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Chichester Festival Theatre (now at the Haymarket), June 2011Posted on 1 June 2011
… — you don’t need to know Hamlet to appreciate this quick-witted theatre, and Trevor Nunn’s production has depth and subtlety,…
A young Count, Bertram is brought up in the same household as Helena, a doctor’s daughter he has neither courted nor encouraged. She loves him, is desperate to marry him, and his mother favours the match, but his adamant refusal is over-ruled by the king, so he leaves home, and we should sympathise with him. …
From the first moments of irascible folly to the final moments of grief as he cradles the body of his dearest Cordelia, Derek Jacobi’s Lear came alive on stage in a way that made this relatively long play seem to race past in no time. The production by Michael Grandage, touring from the Donmar, uses …
The direction was very effective at the end when Orestes kills his mother Klytemnestra — it was a nastily convincing murder — but that does not exculpate this bowdlerised combination of three plays. The work of those ancient Greek playwrights has crossed twenty-four centuries or so — a herald of excellence in itself — is that not good enough for us? Why tamper with them?
Anne-Marie Duff as Alma Rattenbury was utterly convincing as a charmingly batty woman who lived life to the full.
In the end, the train, created by a few actors and two lamps, was superbly dramatic, and its juxtaposition with the birth of Kitty’s baby formed a glorious ending. Death and new birth — a reminder that the point of life is life itself.
“Don’t worry, skipper will get us home again . . . and you have to pretend you’re not afraid”, so speaks the tail gunner, a role that Terence Rattigan himself played for real in World War II.
On February 25, 1994 the Jewish festival of Purim fell during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and an Israeli settler named Baruch Goldstein assassinated worshippers in the mosque over the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
It’s a clever play, using the housing market to expose the repressed anger of many black Americans and the self-satisfied ‘liberalism’ of many white professionals.
This play is a must-see for any Rattigan fans, or indeed for anyone else, but this delightful theatre is small and tickets scarce.
This witty and cleverly constructed play by Oscar Wilde was beautifully performed by the entire cast. So beautifully in fact that I never had a serious doubt it would all work out well in the end. Perhaps I should have done, because the charmingly dishonest Mrs. Cheveley, brilliantly played by Samantha Bond, exuded an air …
Hilde Wangel … was brilliantly played by Gemma Arterton, portraying her as very attractive, assertive and a bit of a minx. She charms everyone, and is the one character in this performance who is quite obviously crazy. But isn’t Solness crazy too? ….
The slightly worn appearance of the house helped give a sense of impending doom, and as Donald Rayfield writes in the programme, “after . . . watching A Month in the Country you realise quite how painful is the catastrophe that has struck the characters”.
It’s not easy to turn this story — about human anguish occasioned by the First World War — into a screenplay, nor indeed a play for the stage.
David Suchet, Zoë Wanamaker, and the others were so natural, I believed all the emotions I saw on display, and Miller’s play has a deft logic that packs a huge emotional punch.
How do you play a character who has given her name to a word in the Oxford dictionary? Sincerely rather than as a caricature is what Penelope Keith gave us in her elegantly intelligent and sharply drawn portrayal of Mrs. Malaprop. It was a glowing performance, very well supported by Peter Bowles as an irascibly …
“No, I can’t take it anymore” says Knut Brovik, an old architect who now works for Halvard Solness, the Master Builder.
… something of a Monty Python feel to the whole thing, except that it wasn’t funny. It was dull and unrelenting, and while Toby Stephens’ extremely emotive portrayal of Danton may have been convincing, it didn’t elicit my sympathy.
Miranda Raison’s smouldering sex appeal and assertive shrewdness in the role [of Anne Boleyn] was by far the most vital thing about this play.
Roger Allam was gloriously endearing as Falstaff — one could not imagine a better portrayal.
What is the point of life? For a performer who can no longer perform — in this case an opera singer who can no longer sing — the lights have already gone out. “I’m not the same person any more,” says Susannah York as she joins three other ex-opera singers at a rest home for …
… in these performances the stylish overacting kept the audience in suspense and drew out the humour without ever overdoing it.
This riveting play by Terence Rattigan had the misfortune to open in June 1939, shortly before war was declared, and when the country’s mood rapidly changed it was taken off. … It’s been somewhat ignored for that reason, but this production and cast do it full justice, and I recommend booking tickets before word gets out.
Everything is played at top intensity, but I would have preferred the introspective moments to be taken more calmly.
The principal role is for Cardinal Wolsey, who has some memorable lines, particularly during his final speech, “Had I but served my God with half the zeal I served my King, He would not in mine age have left me naked to mine enemies”.
Stalin loved this play by Mikhail Bulgakov about the aftermath of the revolution in 1917. It’s set in Bulgakov’s home town of Kiev … He’d served as a doctor during the second half of the First World War, and writing later about the years between 1917 and 1920 he said
This production by Lucy Bailey presents a Dante-like vision of hell … The witches in their dark red nun-like robes are gatekeepers of hell — tall, medium and very short, they occasionally skulk around the stage ready to draw the characters to their eternal doom.
There are six scenes, each interesting enough in itself, but lacking overall momentum. The one I enjoyed most was the fourth, where Ben Johnson, entertainingly played by Richard McCabe, is the life and soul of an evening of heavy drinking with Shakespeare.
In the end we are left as we started, each one needing to impress the others with the sincerity of his aims, while going nowhere [but] in the meantime, Jonathan Pryce gave a riveting performance of Davies [the old tramp]
This play is entertaining and wonderfully informative — not to be missed, though I understand the present run is almost sold out!
The play was produced in about 1595, at a time when Shakespeare’s company, the Chamberlain’s Men, were regularly playing to Elizabeth’s court and it’s quite likely she saw it. In any event it was a masterstroke of Peter Hall to have Judi Dench play the part of Titania, and I found her entirely convincing.
The powerful people who attract the most contempt are … Gordon Brown, and to a slightly lesser extent the previous Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan,
… in the end [this is] a play about Auden, Britten and indeed Bennett himself, and as usual his dialogue is wonderfully effective.
… as an American friend of mine said, “This may be the best performance of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof you’ll ever see”.
Nor indeed do we feel any sympathy with Mother Courage herself, who was brilliantly played by Fiona Shaw.
[This] old 1950s musical by Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds is a feast of joie de vivre and absurdity.
Samuel West did an excellent job of portraying Skilling as a man driven by a conviction he could outsmart everyone else, and really wasn’t guilty of anything worse than being a victim to forces beyond his control.
This production by Peter Hall of Terence Rattigan’s play about a classics master at boarding school, was beautifully performed.
Simon Russell Beale as the ex-serf Lopakhin did a splendid job of trying to impose some rational behaviour on these once-wealthy landowners, warning them they will lose the whole estate if they do nothing.
In this performance, Phèdre was played by Helen Mirren, portraying an insecure woman only too conscious of her own inadequacies.
This Tom Stoppard play cleverly juxtaposes the modern world of literary scholarship and mathematics with the early nineteenth century world of literary creativity, classical study and scientific enquiry.