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Member Since 24 Sep 2012
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 12:42 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Three Sisters - Southwark Playhouse

Yesterday, 12:43 AM

In case anyone’s interested, there’s a Russian troupe performing Three Sisters in rep with Uncle Vanya the last week of April/first week of May at Wyndhams, if one Three Sisters a month isn’t enough for you.

In Topic: The Oliviers - The Results

13 April 2014 - 11:39 PM

Ladies and gay men (well, I liked that joke), this is my two pennies.

The issue with theatrical awards is that, for the most part, they celebrate shows that are past and gone, and in celebrating them they've never managed to leap that hurdle.  I watched the Oscars (more fool me) and the joy of those is should I feel so inclined I can see the Documentary Shorts and ever Best Picture nominee, whilst here every best revival is closed (Private Lives available on Digital Theatre, something these awards could have flagged up...) and I think every best new play has too.  It would be lovely to bring in numbers from upcoming shows to make it a celebration of past and future, but they don’t.  I think anyone who calls theatre esoteric and with niche appeal could watch this ceremony and feel validated.  The TV Baftas, as a show, appeal as Sunday night entertainment, Graham Norton a bit tipsy and irreverent, everyone polite and gently backslapping and the tone enjoyable.  This, as a show, appealed to people who saw theatre.  It gives those of us who saw Lesley Manville something to be chuffed about and those who didn't something to be miffed about where her Bafta nomination meant we could catch up.  I think it ought to be a celebration of past and future, or else it becomes a celebration for the select.

Also, and I'm not the first to say this, not enough focus given to plays.  I remember watching a Tony highlights where they did scenes from plays like musical numbers and it fell flat, but surely something could be done.  A song, for goodness sake, from The Amen Corner, a bit of Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear, some Private Lives hilarity, maybe nothing from shows so intense and unable to decontextualise as Ghosts, one of the wittier conversations from Chimerica, even bits of Peter and Alice would have worked well on that stage.  Most shows these days have trailers, most are even filmed for posterity, so a few video clips, why not?  If not, shows from the future - Bakersfield Mist, Fatal Attraction, I don't know, just something open or opening.  The dole queue from The Full Monty!  This is easy!  I'm thinking these up on the spot!  Why couldn't the producers?

As for this show itself, Benny and Bjorn’s two lines of song didn’t seem worth the air fare (ABBA REUNION NOW), Bernadette Peters can do no wrong and most of the musical numbers came off well, mostly.  If memory serves this highlights had the same issue as last years, which is you got to see nothing of the hosts but them say “And now our next presenter…”.  Now, that might be all they do live, but that’s ludicrous.  Look at how NPH is always lively, witty, doing silly stunts…  It’s glitzy and entertaining for all, not just those in the know.  Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton were great when they did it.  Some nice speeches too, especially lovely Rory Kinnear, Gavin Creel's praising the FOH staff, Richard Eyre, the NT's two Nicks and the fact that the Frozen/Book of Mormon man didn’t give another sickening speech like at the Oscars.  How was it live, for those who went?  Worth £60?  And was there an In Memoriam that was cut from TV Broadcast, does anyone know?

And the winners seemed, for the most part, fair.  Rory Kinnear is lovely and deserved it, Lesley Manville definitely did, the many accolades Ghosts achieved were more than deserved and even if Chimerica wasn’t the best play I felt no qualms about seeing Kirkwood’s ambition rewarded and Lyndsay Turner’s direction was impeccable.  Shame nothing for The Scottsboro Boys – how will that affect its West End standing?  Unless I’m forgetting something, no-one truly undeserving went up on that stage.

As awards, when I look over the list of winners, I'm pleased enough.  But as a show it has one huge fault, which is epitomised by Samuel's comment about seeing Bakersfield Mist.  When I watch the Oscars it makes me want to go see American Hustle or Captain Philips or whatever I missed.  I didn't want to go see anything at the end of this, I only felt smug and self-satisfied at what I'd seen.  It's a two hour advert for theatre that doesn't advertise what's worth seeing at the theatre, unless it's a musical that as would luck would have it is on or that's been running since time immemorial.  And whilst the Society Of London Theatres won't award what's going on in Sheffield unless Sheffield visits us, why not a trail for what Daniel Evans is doing with shows like My Fair Lady and Oliver and The Full Monty, regional triumphs, or a nod to all those stars popping down to Chichester?  Theatre is national (like NT Live, which only the winners felt worth mentioning) and upcoming and this celebrates localised and finished theatre.  THAT's why I say those who think theatre is an esoteric hobby will feel validated.  A thumbs up for the winners, a thumbs up for the performers who did well but a thumbs down to the show's producers.

In Topic: Old Vic New Season

08 April 2014 - 04:25 PM

View Postdallardice, on 08 April 2014 - 03:58 PM, said:

I am a BFI member and bear the scars of many festival booking disasters... as I was away when booking opened last year for the LFF I submitted a written application knowing I wouldn't get much.  They processed my order and then "lost" my credit card details and ended up calling me in the US looking for new credit card details.  Very dodgy!

I thought it was weird when I picked up the production notes for Bride of Frankenstein and it was just a collection of 16 digit numbers.  That explains that...

In Topic: Old Vic New Season

08 April 2014 - 03:25 PM

Edit: STOP PRESS!  The Old Vic have finally had the decency to label Clarence Darrow as completely sold out.  About five hours after it had clearly sold out.  So, if you're still trying, maybe try again later when it's quiet, but mostly, that's the end of that, until day seats emerge and we're up at 2 in the morning again.

View PostMrBunbury, on 08 April 2014 - 12:29 PM, said:

I finally reached the possibility to book a ticket but the website does not allow me to select a seat! I am gutted after waiting for three hours...

This happened to me - I reckon it's a technology thing because any date I selected would just take me to the map and then taunt me by showing available seats in my price range and not letting me get it, so my bet is you and I don't have good enough internet browsers or whatever and we lost out for it.  Especially annoying as I found an hour later than my Kindle has the capacity for choosing seats but I could only find one at £90.  Oh well, three hours well bloody spent.  I can also hum the Old Vic's canned music by heart now.  I've resigned myself to the fact that I've already seen Spacey in the same role and, more importantly,  there'll be returns or day seats or something.  We booked Electra yesterday and I'll live without The Crucible as it's on at a busy time for me, but I was quite hoping to see Clarence Darrow - for all that it's possibly true that it's a Spacey money-spinner (which is clearly spinning money), it's a role he clearly feels passionate about and he is a great actor so to see him in a one man show about someone who is something of a hero of his would be a delight.

Given that it seems that every time a theatre seems to announce a relatively big draw then the internet collapses, you'd think that they'd be working on something.  Obviously the people in media have nothing to complain about, as long as there's a ticket set aside for them, and the theatres ultimately sell out so they're successful, but us poor punters should complain.  It might not be as worthy a thing to march for as other protests but Lynette's right, we should make our voices heard and let them know it's not good enough.  March on Old Vic at daybreak, anyone?  Then up The Cut to the Young Vic and back in time for lunch.

P.S.  I don't know if anyone here was a member of the BFI, but even amidst three hour waits for unsuccessful tickets here I can't help but remember just how dire booking for the London FIlm Fesitval was this year.  It's the only time I've ever felt compelled to send an e-mail of complaint.

In Topic: Jeeves & Wooster

01 April 2014 - 12:46 AM

I saw it a fortnight ago and (is it still the same cast?) it was just 2hrs30.  I’ve got to say, and I say this as a Wodehouse fan, I laughed until I got a sore throat.  It is what it is, which is like one of those lovely radio broadcasts Richard Briers did but on stage as opposed on radio, a play consciously written in the voice of the foppish and devil-may-care Wooster, as the novels are, but performed by the ever-resilient and eternally reliable Jeeves, as the novels are.  Just as Wodehouse’s writing isn’t for everyone nor is this play, but as a farce it worked, for me, for the exact same reasons The 39 Steps worked all those years ago and as light English comedy it worked as Wodehouse does.  Waiting for Godot it ain’t, but Wodehouse himself is no Virginia Woolf in the literary world, so this being nothing more than knockabout humour didn’t matter for a second.  And Robert Webb and Mark Heap have very tough acts to follow, McFadyen being both very versatile as an actor (esp the half-and-half costume, a personal favourite) and very staunch and upright as Jeeves himself (he got the first applause for an entry I’ve heard in a long time, and I actually think that’s for the character of Jeeves rather than the star McFadyen), and Mangan was just a hoot, perfectly foppish and foolish and just constantly hilarious.  Mark Hadfield felt old fashioned vaudeville-y, which was perfect.  So an unreserved thumbs up from me.  I hope you like it!