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The male gaze: Turning the screw

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It's been a while since trips to the theatre. I've been busy. But it's nice to see that it's the creative process that is at the heart of Kevin Kelly's Turning the Screw. And what gives rise to it. It's a dramatisation of the creative process leading up to composer Benjamin Britten's premiere of his opera, The Turning of the Screw. With deadlines approaching, Britten seems stuck over melodies and unsure about completing the piece for its summer premiere. But the selection of twelve-year-old choirboy David Hemmings in the leading role of Miles within the opera is the spark that motivates him to complete the piece. And his presence may stir other feelings, too. It's currently playing at the Kings Head Theatre .  Britten's fascination with young boys has been the subject of a detailed book, Britten's Children. The book suggests that Britten saw himself as a young boy of 13. It's almost as if he saw himself as Peter Pan, albeit if Peter Pan was a

Sex, drugs and bewilderment: Keeler

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Keeler, currently showing at Charing Cross Theatre is a theatrical curiosity. Based on Christine Keeler's own book,  Truth At Last , it gives her account of the Profumo affair. Fifty years ago this caused a scandal that led to a Secretary of State resigning and ultimately the downfall of a government. But rather than provide new insight it highlights how insignificant her part was and the events and  those around her were far more interesting. While the intention is no doubt show how events circling around them overwhelmed them, without any understanding about the characters it is difficult to gleam anything but a vague history lesson on the topic.

Grey Gardens meets Downton Europorn: People

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Alan Bennett's play People is packing in audiences at the National Theatre . While enjoyable for the performances, design and occasional flash of bare buttocks and thigh, you may find yourself wondering what is the point of it. It isn't funny enough to be a comedy and not insightful enough to satire. But I'm hoping that it is just not a particularly good play rather than a desperate grab at elitism . As surely what National Theatre audiences don't want to do is to look down and feel smug about people that visit places of interest across the country? If anything it is a very mild satire about a run down house that the National Trust is hoping to acquire from aristocrat Dorothy Stacpoole, played by Frances de la Tour. Dorothy was a former fashion model but now is walking around in a moth eaten coat and gym shoes. She sleeps on the floor in front of an electric heater and apart from her companion Iris, does not see many people. Her younger sister who is a respectable

Theatre and c-sections: Birthday

In Birthday , currently playing at the Royal Court , Stephen Mangan plays a man who is pregnant. While this unlikely scenario could lead to a rather dubious evening of entertainment (does anyone remember the film Junior?), Joe Penhall's play presents it in such a way that it all seems so plausible and understandable... And best of all it is hilarious. The audience on Wednesday night were in stitches throughout this show, including at some rather squeamish scenes of a medical nature that had some men in the audience wincing. As Ed, the expectant father, Stephen Mangan keeps the audience on side as a slightly loveable modern man while still being a rather disagreeable patient who hurls abuse at staff and his wife. And he has an impressive hairy belly and set of saggy tits. His wife, played by Lisa Dillon is a career woman who can't have another baby. While they wait for hospital staff who are busy with more important patients, the stage is set for some terrific banter. W

Confusion and full frontal nudity: Funny Peculiar at the Richmond Theatre

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Funny Peculiar playing this week at Richmond Theatre is probably the most perplexing production to be seen on a stage since Too Close To the Sun (it was a short-lived musical about Ernest Hemingway's suicide). The plot revolves around a small time grocer with a wife and a baby who is desperate for sex.  Mike Stott's  play was probably daring for putting fellatio on stage in 1973 and the shock of the original production was no doubt a distraction. Fast forward forty years and it really looks like a series of stock comedy scenarios straining for laughs. It lacks timing or purpose, and with its one dimensional characters comes across as just a little bit creepy. It's not unwatchable but perplexing to think why it is on stage at all. The cast are gorgeous though and as the show plods along you feel real pity for the material they have to work with. And at times you fear they are going to injure themselves trying to get some laughs. Even Craig Gazey's flaccid penis i