30 June 2006

Rock 'n' Roll by Tom Stoppard

Piper/Police,am/Stephen - Edward Hogg
Esme(younger)/Alice - Alice Eve
Jan - Rufus Sewell
Max - Brian Cox
Eleanor/Esme(older) - Sinead Cusack
Gillian/Magda/Deidre - Miranda Colchester
Interrogator/Nigel - Anthony Calf
Ferdinand - Peter Sullivan
Milan/Policeman/Jaroslav - Martin Chamberlain
Lenka - Nicole Ansari
Candida - Louise Bangay

Directed by Trevor Nunn
Designed by Robert Jones

at the Royal Court during the first month of it's premiere run

Tom Stoppard is always accused of being predictable but is that a bad thing? Is the guarantee of intelligent debate presented by well rounded characters really a thing to complain about?

This play is hard to sum up in a few lines. We watch several pivotal relationships charting the politics of Czechoslovakia right down to the stigma attached to a dying woman's right to excercise her brain. I'll admitt that I was concerned that this would be too much for my tiny head to cope with but I think it speaks on many levels.

The cast were magnificent (with one exception who shall remain nameless) and clearly salivated over the incredible text. There were no weak points here at all. Each short scene is changed with loud and narratively acute music taking us backwards and forwards between Cambridge and Prague. Nothing is wasted. Every scene has it's purpose and impact. Heaven

26 June 2006

Market Boy by David Eldridge

Boy - Danny Worters
Mum - Claire Rushbrook
Mouse - Callum Dixon
Don - Paul Anderson
Snooks - Freddy White
The Trader - Gary McDonald
Girl - Jade Williams
Woman with huge feet/Fat Annie/ - Jan Goodman
Mother/Kate Arms - Ruth Sheen
Daughter/Sticky Nicky - Jaimi Barbakoff
Transvestite/Flypitcher/Paintings Man/Baliff - Owen Oakeshott
Gypsy/Flypitcher/Market Sweep/Knicker Woman - Georgina Lamb
Spanish Lady/Market Brass/Flower Lady - Mercedes Grower
Thatcher - Nicola Blackwell
The Most Beautiful Woman in Romford - Jemma Walker
Leather Man - Andrew Frame
Leather Boy - Branwell Donaghey
Steve the Nutter & Nut Nut - John Marquez
Fish Woman/Old Biddy - Sophie Stanton
Jason - Jim Creighton
The Toby - Paul Moriarty
Meat Man - Jonathon Cullen
Romford Labour Candidate/Video Man - Jacob Krichefski
New Boy/Flypitcher - Craig Vye
Dad/Flower Man - Stephen Ventura
Colonel Blood/Flypitcher - Micah Balfour
Flypitcher/Titus - Ralph Birtwell
Flypitcher/Sweet Man/Steve Davis -Michael Camp
Flypitcher/Vespasian - Mike Darnell
Flypithcer/Knicker Man - Michael Taibi

Directed by Rufus Norris
Designed by Katrina Lindsay

During it's first run at the Olivier

It had the look and feel of a first class west-end musical without the nauseating and contrived songs! A wonderful evening's entertainment charting a rites of passage for a young Romford lad pushed by his mother to work on a shoe stall in the Market.

The story doesn't go very far and it doesn't get there fast but this show is about the dialogue, the characters and the soundtrack.

For the first time in the Olivier I took one of the cheap seats at the front(B12 in the aisle with no seat in front so loads of leg room etc)

23 June 2006

Woman And Scarecrow by Marina Carr

Woman - Fiona Shaw
Scarecrow - Brid Brennan
Him - Peter Gowan
Auntie Ah - Stella McCusker

Directed by Ramin Gray
Designed by Lizzie Clachan

seen during it's first run at the Jerwood Unstairs

A woman is fighting the demons of her past as life slips away from her. Her alta ego discusses her triumphs and failures and she prepares herself for the death she fears. She has issues with her husband which she tries to address with him and with her late mother's sister.

Her alta ego is called Scarecrow and protects her from the crow of death that resides in her closet. The lines become blurred as the minutes run out. Very dark and interesting piece with some humour and some political comment. Something for everyone there - even Demis Roussos lovers.

20 June 2006

A Voyage Around My Father by John Mortimer

Father - Derek Jacobi
Son - Dominic Rowan
Mother - Joanna David
Iris/1st ATS - Kate Warren
Son/Child/Daniel - Edward Jackson Keen
Ringer/Rhong/Director/Mr Marrow - Neil Boorman
Japhet/First Judege/Sparks/2nd Judge - Jamie de Courcy
Matron/Miss Cox/2nd ATS/Miss Ferguson - Lily Bevan
Ham/Boustead/Arthur/George/Doctor- Osmonda Bullock
Mrs Noah/Miss Reigate/Miss Baker/Doris/Witness - Sadie Shimmin
Headmaster - Christopher Benjamin
Reigate/Jonathon - Piers ~Stubbs
Elisabeth - Natasha Little

Directed by Thea Sharrock
Designed by Robert Jones

in this production's first run at the Donmar

I have looked forward to this so much and was not let down. The performances are wonderful.

We watch a young boy's growth to a married man and the strong influence (intentioned or otherwise) that his father had on him during this course.

Even the children gave acceptable performances. An enthralling production from start to finish. Nigel Planer sat behind me but I didn't get into a Hogfather conversation:)

A funny incident in the bar: A couple were talking about previous shows they'd seen there and gushed the praise of Michael Gambon. The guy said he could have just stood there and said nothing and still be entertaining. I butted in to say that he was doing just that in Eh Joe at the Duke of Yorks for three weeks and they took some convincing :)

10 June 2006

The Royal Hunt of the Sun by Peter Shaffer

Old Martin - Malcolm Storry
Francsico Pizarro - Alun Armstrong
Hernando de Soto - Darrell D'Silva
Miguel Estete - Philip Voss
Pedro de Candida - RIchard Lintern
Diego de Trujillo - Gary Oliver
Young Martin - Tristan Beint
Salinas - Bradley Freegard
Rodas - Andrew Frame
Vasca - Branwell Donaghey
Domingo - Jim Creighton
Juan Chavez - Tam Mutu
Pedro Chavez - Owen Oakeshott
Fray Vincente de Valverde - Oliver Cotton
Fray Marco de Nizza - Paul Ritter
Atahualpa - Paterson Joseph
Villac Uma - Ewart James Walters
Challcuchima - Israel Aduramo
Chieftain - Ralph Birtwwell
Headman of a thousand families - Bhasker Patel
Felipillo - Amit Shah
Manco - Micah Balfour
Inti Coussi - Natasha Bain
Oello - Nataylia Roni

Directed by Trevor Nunn
Designed by Anthony Ward

at it's revival in The Olivier

Southwark Fair by Samuel Adamson

May - Margaret Tyzack
Simon - Rory Kinnear
Aurek - Michael Legge
Alexander - Rhashan Stone
Angus - Simon Gleeson
Patrick - Con O'Neill
Toni - Madeleine Potter

Directed by Nicholas Hytner
Designed by Giles Cadle

Seen in it's first run at the Cottesloe

A very sharply written play with lots of elderly people in the auditorium over whose heads some of this must have sailed. So many contemporary references and even some of the visual gags seems to pass them by too.

Lovely performances from everyone except the rather wooden Rhashan Stone. Rory Kinnear who I last saw in Mary Stuart, was very special.

Essentially we see the same play twice from two different perspectives. So clever and wonderful character studies. It seems I still adore Con O'Neill. Even the unlikable characters are a joy.

A nervous man in his mid 30's is contantacted by his first sexual encounter who he met when he was doing a school play at the age of 14 (other guy was 20). A case of mistaken identity makes for an awkward situation and it's made worse by the 'polish' trainee barista/waiter having marital problems with his 'deputy major of London' partner. A joy.

05 June 2006

Enemies by Maxim Gorky/David Hare

Massive cast with Amanda Drew and Jack Davenport, Sean Chapman and Sean Gilder......more later

Directed by Michael Attenborough
Designed by Simon Higlett

Gosh - I'm so cross that I forgot to write my notes about this. It was writing out the long cast list that made me defer but I wanted to catch the moment with my thoughts. I know I loved it.

01 June 2006

Smaller by Carmel Morgan

Dawn French - Bernice Clulow
Alison Moyet - Cath Clulow
June Watson - Maureen Clulow

Directed by Kathy Burke
Designed by Jonathan Fensom

at the Lyric Theatre during the last week of it's first run

Staaggering awful. Tired old story about two sisters - one with a sad but proudly perceived as glamorous career in Spanish resort cabaret....the other very long suffering teacher and 'widowed, handicapped mother' carer. She eventually dies and the sister spat and make up. Totally insulted by this rubbish.

There were a few (and only a few) laughs, some great singing for which the lyrics weren't half as clever as the company thought they were.

In a final note of disgust the running time was supposed to be 1hr 50 Mins with a 20 minute interval. What's the point? If a play is only 90 minutes long why bother with an interval and prolong the torture. This entire production was all about commercial enterprise. With any other cast the auditorium would have been empty. As it was, I was surround my loud course coach parties bellowing like cows from row to row.