22 June 2007

Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre
(adapted by Tanya Ronder)

Betty Pam - Lorraine Bruce
Abdini/Mr Peyalo - Andrew Clark
Ella/Taylor - Mariah Gale
Lally - Mark Lockyer
Vernon - Colin Morgan
Sheriff Pokorney - Nathan Osgood
Vaine/Leona - Penny Layden/Sian Reeves
Mom - Joanna Scanlan
Lasalle - Ray Shell

Directed by Rufus Norris
Designed by Ian MacNeil

Seen during it's last week at the Young Vic

I really miserable premise brought to us with great humour and musical fun with great stage gimics put together on a shoestring, one presumes.

Colin Morgan will be worth watching when he fleshes out a bit. A touch of the Cillian about him but with apparently more humour and less doll-like. You have to keep an eye on someon who is working at both Young and Old Vics before he graduates.

Quite a fair review Here.

19 June 2007

Betrayal by Harold Pinter

Jerry - Toby Stephens
Emma - Dervla Kirwan
Robert - Samuel West
Waiter - Paul Di Rollo

Directed by Roger Michell
Designed by William Dudley

At the Donmar sneaking in on a return C8

It doesn't seem so long since I saw Aiden Gillen do this with Hugo Speer. It's a staggering piece of writing and it's hard to tire of it but this version seems so incredibley fresh as though I saw it with new eyes. Roger Michell is so busy that he could not attend the after show talk tonight and Toby dashed home to his newborn but I found the convo with everyone else very interesting. Sam put his directing hat on for a while and posed various intersting questions. He also mentioned that he'd discussed the play with Doug Hodge which made me smile. One of the points they were making is that the non-linear element of the play gave them a freedom to actually express their characters in a more realistic way. Rather poignantly it seems Doug Hodge had said to Sam something like it was so much more true to life because he never realises what he's lost until about five years after he looses it.

The staging was beautiful - simple and fluid. It all worked so well. Every performance was totally on the ball, beautifully balanced and the timing was hilarious and moving all at once.

A fantastic evening for me.

Celeb in the audience: Paul Copely

16 June 2007

The Pain and the Itch by Bruce Norris

Mr Hadid - Abid Gouhad
Clay - Matthew Macfadyen
Kelly - Sara Stewart
Kayla - Angelica Trew
Cash - Peter Sullivan
Kalina - Andrea Riseborough
Carol - Amanda Boxer

Directed by Dominc Cooke
Designed by Robert Innes Hopkins

Seen in preview during it's UK premiere at the Royal Court. Also notable as Mr Cooke's directorial debut since taking over here.

I am reluctant to make too much unfair comment while this is in preview but here we go.

There is a script device that didn't work well last night and I really hope it's sorted before the run starts properly. If Dominic is curious enough to Google and finds this entry, I am vain enough to suggest perhaps there could be a little audible help and a lighting team with a better sense of timing. At the moment it clunks and at one point was actually confusing (to me) for a moment.

I pray that when I see it further into the run I will be lucky enough to get a different child in the role of Kayla. I loathe children on stage at the best of times. This one stared at her relations all night and was vile but my words are too harsh because it would have been impossible to cast such a young child......especially with a girl. A boy would would have been less annoying to me but any child of that age is not really going to understand what the audience require of them.....even less the director! Thank goodness it didn't have a speaking role.

Very interesting piece. Perhaps Bruce has crammed in a few too many themes and plot tangents but it holds your attention with it's sharp wit and tight performances. Once you get the hang of the style, you can see where it's going and it does all tie up nicely at the end. So long as the usual Royal Court demographic don't mind gaping into a mirror for a couple of hours and finding the humility to laugh at themselves, it should be well received.

Some of the roles have a more interesting arc than others and to that end I felt sorry for Andrea as her role is as unforgiving as Sally Hawkins' was in The Winterling or Kelly Reilly's in PianoForte. Just too big for me to like very much and I really enjoy all three of those actresses and they have all been acclaimed for their work.

Carol is delightful and played with such understated confidence by Amanda Boxer. Kelly and Clay work very well together which can't have been easy because they have to remain utterly detached for the duration. Cash didn't really relate to anyone and in a strange way, that made Peter's relaxed performance stand out. He has curly hair which I often hate (having it myself) and is thinning but I found him rather smouldering in the role. I may be hung for this but Cash was the most likeable character for me. Clay gets the sympathy vote but it's a very fine line, amply handled by Matthew to keep it vital enough to prevent him from being pathetic.

I will say now, if a couple of matters aren't addressed in the next couple of days, I can think of one or two critics who will go for the jugular and you cannot imagine how much I want to see positive reviews. All the right ingredients are there. With a cast and director like this, it should be a hit.

Celeb in the audience: Samantha Bond

12 June 2007

A Matter of Life and Death by Powell & Pressburger, adapted by Tom Morris & Emma Rice

Peter - Tristan Sturrock
June - Lindsey Marshal
Bob - Craig Johnson
Girl - Debbie Korley
Frank - Douglas Hodge
Dr McEwan - Andy Williams
Mr Archer - Chike Okonkwo
Harold - Mike Shepherd
Boy - Dan Canham
Woman - Dorothy Atkinson
Nurses - Fiona Chivers, Meryl Fernandes, Lorraine Stewart, Lissie WInkler, Kirsty Woodward
Injured Soldiers/Airmen - Jamie Bradley, Thomas Goodridge, Pieter Lawman, Robert Luckay
Conductor 71 - Gisli Orn Gardarsson
Chief Recorder - Tamzin Griffin
First Prosecutor - Stuart McLoughlin
Ensemble Musicians - Stu Barker, Pete Judge, Dominic Lawton, Alex Vann, Michael VInce

Directed by Emma Rice
Designed by Bill Mitchell
Special mention for Jon Driscoll and his amazing projections

Seen during it's opening run at the Olivier. F 30

Wonderful production. How many times have you seen the film? Can it be bettered? Maybe not, but this is a different medium and the film was always immensely theatrical. Why a musical.........same reason....begging for it.

Douglas Hodge was so wonderful. I thought I would have to wait a while before seeing him but rather than twiddle his thumbs back-stage he loitered on stage with the musicians and turned his extensive musical talents to good use until his character had a proper entrance. He was made for the role. I am pleased that Tristan is making his mark here too.

Glorious set effects, standing ovations........and all this at £ 10 for a best seat. I love my life

Celeb in the Audience: Mark Rylance

06 June 2007

Alaska by Dan C Moore

Adam - Sebatian Aremsto
Emma - Christine Bottomley
Russell - Harry Hepple
Chris - Thomas Morrison
Frank - Rafe Spall
Mamto - Fiona Wade

Directed by Maria Aberg and Designed by Fred Meller.

See at the Royal Court Upstairs in it's premiere run

Short but very intense. Packs an awful lot of story into 70 minutes. Rafe was incredible and Tom Morrison is now on my list of boys to watch. Post Show talk went on for a good 40 minutes and was very entertaining. I could even see this again.

Celeb in Audience:- Hmm - I think it was Luke Treadaway the one who is joining the National Theatre Company.