27 September 2007

Bill Bailey - Pre Arena Shows

Does it count to mention this?

I've seen one or two things in Studio Two but never such an eager crowd. Half an hour before the show began, the line for the unreserved seating was already winding from the far side of the bar, down the miserable corridor and well into the main booking area. All these people had chosen Bill over seeing Ricky Gervais down the road at the Apollo.

Some of the routine was very funny and I wish I could remember some more. He did a sketch about how he feels like a Malteser in a pack of Revels........he can just sense the toffee and the orange flavoured ones looking at him and saying 'what's his game? He doesn't need to be here. He's got his own pack.' Priceless.

In haste, I stupidly chose a bad seat and suffered in the morning for sitting at an awkward angle.

24 September 2007

The Ugly One by Marius von Mayenburg & translated by Maja Zade

Fanny - Amanda Drew
Lette - Michael Gould
Scheffler - Mark Lockyer
Karlman - Frank McCusker

Directed by Ramin Gray
Designed (if you can call it that) by Jeremy Herbert

At the Royal Court Upstairs during it's UK premiere run and as part of the international writing project.

Very interesting piece and if I'd known the subject matter in advance I would have been too squeamish to attend. The text is, of course, about much more than the surgical procedures and this lovely cast adopted the mantels of their various characters so seamlessly that I couldn't dwell on the gory bits.

Totally enjoyable, mercifully short and gratifyingly articulate.

22 September 2007

A Disappearing Number by Simon McBurney

The cast includes: David Annen; Firdous Bamji; Paul Bhattacharjee; Hiren Chate; Saraj Chaudhry; Divya Kasturi; Chetna Pandya; Saskia Reeves and Shane Shambhu.

Conceived and Directed by Simon McBurney
Devised by the Company
Original Music Nitin Sawhney
Design Michael Levine

Seen at the erstwhile London home of Complicite - The Barbican Theatre - E8
Saw Simon himself wandering around pre-show but nobody else caught my eye

I wouldn't usually list a load or reviews but this is a complicated piece and it's good to see the critics point of view. In a staging that felt like a cross between Robert Lepage and Katie Mitchell. So hard to describe and do justice.


Jasper Rees - The Sunday Times, 2 September 2008

For Simon McBurney, Complicite`s artistic director, this is more than just a tale of two boffins.
read article


Nikita Lalwani - New Statesman, 23 August 2007

With touching emotion and unnerving disquietude, A Disappearing Number forces the spectator to consider the facts of love, death and belonging, within the space of his or her own personal universe.
read article


Brian Logan - The Times, 20 August 2007

This is very much Complicite territory: echoes through time, connections across worlds. In McBurney`s hands, mathematical sequences become journeys through life, and numerology a means of giving substance to the unknowable.
read article


Sarah Hemming - Financial Times, 28 July 2007

One morning in 1913 the Cambridge mathematician G.H. Hardy opened an unexpected letter from India. It was crammed with wild mathematical theorems...
read article


Michael Billington - Guardian, 12th September 2007

Maths, mysticism and mortality combine in Complicite's latest mind-expanding show conceived and directed by Simon McBurney....
read article

20 September 2007

Awake and Sing by Clifford Odet

Ralph Berger - Ben Turner
Myron Berger - Paul Jesson
Hennie Berger - Jodie Whittaker
Jacob - John Rogan
Bessie Berger - Stockard Channing
Schlosser - Kieron Jecchinis
Moe Axelrod - Nigel Lindsay
Uncle Morty - Trevor Cooper
Sam Feinschreiber - John Lloyd Fillingham

Directed by Michael Attenborough
Designed by Tim Shortall

During it's revival at the Almeida - E18

Celeb in the audience: Tom Stoppard....and that wonderful man with the glass eye and the young kid from last week's readings.

Mr Stoppard clapped till he was sore and shouted Bravo! twice. I think that says it all.

Jodie really suits the dark hair that I now suspect she was born with. John Rogan was wonderful and Niel Lindsay is a good solid reliable.

14 September 2007

Burning Cars by Matt Hartley

Cast includes Alicia Davies, Dave Harley, Sarah Solemani, Tom Stuart

Directed by Nick Bagnall during the New Writing Festival at the Hampstead

the 2nd act of a play in development. How a foolish error of judgement can turn into a crime.

Playtime by Gabriel Bisset-Smith and Gary Owen

Kirsty Bushnell - Fliss
Fiona Button - Sam/Student3/Girl
Billy Carter - Alan
Simon Darwen - Billy/Student 1
Jonny Phillips - Boss/Minister
Narinder Samra - Suman/Soldier
Richard Shanks - Colin/Student 2
Ellen Thomas - Ama/Stella
Philip Voss - Oscar
David Webber - Vincent

Directed by Tamara Harvey

Seen at the Hampstead Theatre during it's Daring Parings Festival of New Writing.

Peter Wight and Sam West were in the audience.

Tight little piece about the last knockings of civilisation and the way the human condition will continue to make the same mistakes.

13 September 2007

Settled by George Cotts

Cast includes James Chalmers and Charlotte Pyke

Directed by Chris White

Interesting exploration of the human condition. I left wanting to know a lot more about this piece. Did we see act 1, for instance? it could have been but it could have also been act 2.

Waiting for Leroy by Tanita Gupta and Atiha Sen-Gupta

Laurie - Claire-Louise Cordewell
Hassan - Stephenjohn Holgate
Kweku - Emmanuel Idowu
Tyrone - Marcel McCalla
Blacker - Luke Norris
Amir - Ray Panthanki
Shanice - Ony Uhiara

Directed by Maria Aberg

Performed during the Hampstead Theatre New Writing Festival

Celeb in the audience: Roy Williams

Fantastic piece and performances. Luke is still at drama school! I feel like I'd seen the format before, probably from the above-mentioned Mr Williams. Some young people are waiting for a new youth centre to open so that they can channel all their ambitions but in this bold political statement, it doesn't open and one of the girls is carrying her brother's stash and it all goes pair-shaped.

12 September 2007

1 in 5 by Penelope Skinner

Cast Includes Simon Darwen, Sian Hutchinson, James Kermack, Alison O'Donnell & Gary Selford

Directed by Michael Longhurst

Slightly too self conscious but an interesting piece.

Thank God it's Friday by Cosh Omar and Amy Rosenthal

Jan - Emma Cunniffe
Zeki - Michael Higgs
Sam - David Horovitch
John - Jonathan McGuiness
Michael - Joseph Millson
Aiyse - Lisa Stevenson
Rachel - Susannah Wise

Directed by Noah Birksted-Breen

Seen as a rehearsed reading during Hampstead Theatre's New Writing Festival

Celeb in the audience:- Anthony Scher, Maureen Lipman

Wonderful sharp piece about religious and gender taboos. Hardly a dead moment throughout and so well put together.

11 September 2007

Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat by Mark Ravenhill


Tom Brooke
Deborah Findlay
Alice O'Connell
Lesley Sharp
Kevin Trainor

New writing as part of the 'daring pairings' new writing festival at the Hampstead Theatre

So many people of note in the audience. I saw Mel Kenyon chatting to Mr Ravenhill himself in the bar and Lesley Sharp's lovely fella (Nicholas Gleaves) was in a house seat.

Six twenty minutes pieces on the theme of the age of war on terror propagation. There are seventeen of these pieces in total and I think he wrote them in a few months. A force to be admired. Some of them got a bit raggy in the middle or towards the end but generally tight and hilarious dialogue.

10 September 2007

All About My Mother based on the film by Pedro Almodovar & written by Samuel Adamson

Esteban - Colin Morgan
Manuela - Lesley Manille
Doctor - Michael Shaeffer
Alicia - Yvonne O'Grady
Nian Cruz - Charlotte Randle
Humo Rojo - Dianna Rigg
Maria del Toro - Bradly Freegard
Agrado - Mark Gatiss
Client - Robert Galas
Nun - Eileen Nicholas
Sister Rosa - Joanne Froggatt
Sister Rosa's Mother - Eleanor Bron
Alex - Robert Galas
Gynaecologist - Bradley Freegard
Nurse - Yvonne O'Grady
Streetcar Actor - Michael Shaeffer
Streetcar Actress - Eileen Nicholas
Lola - Michael Shaeffer

Directed by Tom Cairns
Designed by Hildegard Bechtler

Seen in it's premiere run at The Old Vic. Q19

Celebs in the Audience: Kevin was there, Michael & Mary Parkinson, David Tennant

I have mixed feelings about this. So much of it was incredible but it seemed to lack some of what Almodovar brings to a project. I realise it's a different medium but so much effort was made to bring the visual mood from his films so it seemed a shame that the dialogue wasn't always there.

Mark Gatiss had the role he was born to play and was the star of the show but Lesley Manville was perfect too. A couple of magnificent performances.