Posts

Showing posts from August, 2014

Unrequited London properties: My Night With Reg

Image
I finally caught up with the sellout show My Night With Reg. Kevin Elyot's funny and groundbreaking play is revived with style and a great cast at the Donmar.

Although there is perhaps a tad too much style here when depicting gay men living in London in the 1980s. In the days before home renovation television shows introduced the masses to beige, I thought most of them decorated their flats as if they were pubs.

Back to theatre: Our Boys

The revival of Jonathan Lewis's play Our Boys at the Duchess Theatre poses some interesting questions about what happens to people who chose a career in the army. Given the events this week involving murder-suicide of an IRA bomb survivor, it also seemed unintentionally topical. The play is based on Lewis's own experiences although the subject matter is more about hospital treatments for pilonidal sinus than the military's role in Northern Island. But since this condition was also nicknamed "Jeep seat", it provides insight into a lesser known aspect of army life.

This play is set in a London hospital ward in 1984 and is a largely funny and episodic account of a group of wounded squaddies who find themselves passing time while they recuperate together. This premise is a fertile ground for penis jokes, masturbation, sex dolls, and a healthy discussion about circumcision. Best of all is a restaging of the Russian Roulette scenes from The Deer Hunter where beer cans…

Previews (and not sequels): King Charles III

Image
After a sellout run at the Almeida earlier this year, Mike Bartlett's new play King Charles III will transfer to the Wyndham’s Theatre for a limited run.

Previews commence from 2 September.

Tim Pigott-Smith will once again play Charles and Oliver Chris will reprise his role as William.

They will be joined by Katie Brayben, Richard Goulding, Nyasha Hatendi, Adam James, Margot Leicester, Miles Richardson, Tom Robertson, Nicholas Rowe, Tafline Steen and Lydia Wilson.

The play explores the people underneath the crowns, the unwritten rules of our democracy, and the conscience of Britain's most famous family, and what just might happen once The Queen is dead...


Awkward girls and rough guys: Dogfight @swkplay

Image
You don't always leave a show wondering about how two characters are really going to live together. But Dogfight, currently playing at the Southwark Playhouse, manages to have you totally engrossed in its story of unlikely love that you can't help but think about their feelings and wonder what did happen to them.

It also helps with such ingenious casting and brilliant performances from its two leads. Jamie Muscato as Eddie and Laura Jane Matthewson (making her professional debut) as Rose are mesmerising and at times heartbreaking as two unlikely lovers. On the surface he is tough and she is sweet but their performances show that beneath the surfaces lie anxieties and strength that bring them together.

Looking back at islands in the stream: San Domino

Image
San Domino, a new musical inspired by a BBC news story about Mussolini's persecution of homosexuals by sending them to an island paradise, concluded a short run as part of Arcola's Grimeborn series celebrating new opera this summer.

What could have been a fascinating and almost comic story about the stupidity of the fascist regime - sending a group of men to an island where there are only other gay men - is told a little too earnestly and drearily in its current form.

Previews on the road: Autobahn

Image
Savio(u)r, which is dedicated to presenting work by American playwrights in the UK, will present in August Neil LaBute play Autobahn at the Kings Head Theatre.

Directed by Off-West End Award nominee Tim Sullivan, this short-play cycle follows colourful, complicated people making their way across America’s highways.

Their stops, starts, and stalls along the way are detailed in seven one-act plays, all which make the most of LaBute’s flair for the dark and sinister.

It's at The Kings Head Theatre from Wednesday 27th August – Saturday 20th September, 7.15pm

Catholic tastes: A Picture of John Gray

Image
The Picture of John Gray imagines the life of poet and potential inspiration of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray.

It is a fascinating and thought provoking piece that recreates the period where the arts and Aestheticism were at the forefront of London society, and then how almost overnight it would all change as Oscar Wilde is imprisoned for acts of gross indecency.

The piece opens where John Gray has been left by Wilde and meets Marc-André Raffalovich, a writer, critic and supporter of the arts. They become lovers but following the trial of Oscar Wilde and the fracturing of their community of artists, Gray finds his calling and spiritual meaning through the sanctuary of the church and becomes a priest.

Intimate history lessons: Dessa Rose @TrafStudios

Image
Dessa Rose is a musical that tells of the unlikely friendship that forms between a white woman and an escaped slave in the American South in 1846. Based on the book of the same name by Sherley Anne Williams, it feels at times to be an epic history lesson and melodrama, but the performances and the intimate space of Trafalgar Studios 2 make it a surprisingly enjoyable and emotional musical evening.

The story is based upon two separate events; a woman who took part in a slavery revolt and the story of a white woman who took in runaway slaves. When the piece is focused on these two stories, it is incredible. Particularly as the roles are played by Cynthia Erivo and Cassidy Janson. Both have big voices and convey a level of emotion and intensity that has you transfixed on them.