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NicholasMember Since 24 Sep 2012
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Posted Pharaoh's number 2 on 27 December 2013 - 09:49 AM
One of the reasons I loved The Winslow Boy so much was because I was sat in the middle of a school party (imagine my thoughts when they sat either side of me....) but they were so transfixed and moved by the play - kids who'd never been exposed to Terence Rattigan before - that it was just wonderful to watch.
And the food beforehand is a big factor too! The Bush's mezze platter was perfect on that boiling summer's evening before Josephine and I.
But sometimes no matter how good the company and meal, it can't improve a dud.... The Cripple of Innishmaan...
Posted Latecomer on 27 December 2013 - 09:11 AM
In no particular order....
A splendid day out at the beginning of January when I escaped after Christmas and had the whole day to myself....Old Money, meeting Maureen Lipman afterwards and then the brilliant madness of In the Republic of Happiness...and all the while fielding phone calls with daughter who finally secured the room she wanted to rent at the end of the day!
Circle Mirror Transformation....so HOT, great setting and felt like getting to know real people. Plus good company!
Everything at The Bush theatre...Disgraced, Cush Jumbo (she fooled me into thinking she was really late), and finally The Herd - great company and made me sob quietly at the end.
Good stuff at the Almeida...Before the Party an unexpected treat and then Chimerica with its twists and turns and excellent staging!
Mojo....Ben and Daniel Mays and first time seeing the play and such FUN!
Death Tax with Anna Calder Maxwell....splendid!
The Globe touring trio of Henry V1 plays at Oxford Playhouse in one day as I didn't decide to go until the night before, they were richly entertaining and forum friend came at the last minute for one of them and the two gaps inbetween! Unexpected treat!
John Hefferman in Edward II....loved it and thought it was so clear and witty.
Season in the Congo and Scottsboro Boys as cheeky Wednesday matinees now my job has been rearranged and I no longer work on a Wed...both the sort of thing I don't usually see. Both great.
Julius Caesar at the Donmar...twice....perfect company both times....front row(!) and such a clever production. Liked the way they made people disappear, as if by magic, and Harriet Walters spoke the verse so well! Note to self...need red marigolds sometime to wash up in.
Old Times....so nearly missed it as fire on the train line so mad dash to another station and got there with 10mins to spare....and it was great and Rufus was splendid. Plus it felt like the first day of Spring as it was finally sunny and warm after the long winter.
Peter and Alice - took an old friend and got a box as that has always been her ambition. Loved Ben and the play...one of those days where everything goes right!
As You Like It at RSC....Pippa and Alex and a joyful production! Plus great chips before hand and good company! A Mad World my Masters with the perfect person who laughed at everything and carried me along with the mood!
Race at Hampstead, as loved seeing Clarke Peters up close. Longing there too as I so needed a break after a tough time and the play was very apt....just suited my circumstances at the time. Plus it was a lovely day out with husband.
Di and Viv and Rose seen with my forum buddies, very fine writing and acting and felt like splendid way to see it!
A satsifying day out watching The American Plan and then The Pride.....with a splendid pizza in between! The Pride 3 times in fact and being a little bit in love with all the cast!
A lovely pre-Christmas couple of visits with special forum friends...El Train with the lovely Ruth Wilson and had front row seats and took daughter too....and Jumpers for Goalposts that reminded me that some of the best drama comes from ordinary people leading ordinary lives and trying to muddle through....plus what great soup the Bush does!
And my top highlight has to be The Night Alive. Splendid set, front row seats(!), great cast, top class dialogue and the creepiest villain I have seen in a long time. Plus it was great to see it after The Weir and like it even more than that....
I've probably forgotten something....but a great year for me. I've enjoyed the smaller venues and being able to sneak in things midweek sometimes...and am looking forward to 2014!
Posted mallardo on 28 December 2013 - 06:53 PM
I thought it was brilliant. They got the concept just right. The set, the clothes, the choreography, Rupert Goold's direction - his natural flamboyance was made for this material - everything works to perfection.
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's book is masterful, not a weak or awkward moment in it. And Duncan Sheik's score is everything it has to be. Recognizably the work of the composer of Spring Awakening yet with just the right techno-rock 80's blend, it absolutely captures the mood and the sound of the piece and, as a result, the outside music from the movie (Huey Lewis, et al) feels seamlessly interpolated. Bravo to Mr. Sheik. I'm buying the cast recording as soon as it appears.
If I have a slight reservation it's about Matt Smith's Patrick Bateman. His singing I could overlook but, to me, he lacks the presence and charisma that made Christian Bale so compelling in the movie. Unfair, perhaps. But I kept wondering what it would have been like if, say, Ben Aldridge, who played Bateman's antagonist, Paul Owen, had been given the role.
No matter. When it was over I wanted to see it again.
Posted Pharaoh's number 2 on 26 December 2013 - 03:17 PM
My show of the year was The Audience, with runners-up including (in no particular order) Once, A Human Being Died That Night, The Herd, The Pajama Game, Di and Viv and Rose, The Winslow Boy, Othello and Eat Pray Laugh!
And of course 50 Years On Stage was the most extraordinary night, but as you say Nicholas, it doesn't feel right to count it.
But this year has thrown up lots of delights - Circle Mirror Transformation, London Wall, the trio of plays about modern China, The Night Alive, Handbagged, Josephine and I, A Chorus Line - and more than its share of duds - Strangers on a Train, The Duck House, Great Expectations, The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas and Barnum, to name a few.
I've written more on my blog, on which I hope to post more regularly next year, so please do take a look: http://gapyeartheatr...in-theatre.html
This board is one of the reasons why I love theatregoing. Even if you go and see something on your own (which I more than often do), this is a place where you can still discuss productions with like-minded people, even if our opinions differ (sometimes drastically!). And it's also a place to find out about shows which don't receive major national press coverage, such as London Wall, a little gem at the Finborough which then had a three week run at the St James, which I wouldn't have gone to if it weren't for Mallardo's original comment on here. So thank you. And it's been lovely getting to know a few of you in person, too.
Happy New Year, and here's to a great 2014 of theatre!
Posted Lynette on 26 December 2013 - 05:02 PM
Posted Honoured Guest on 26 December 2013 - 01:46 PM
Wonderful play, acting, production and location
2) Triple Bill (Michael Clark - Barbican Theatre)
Because it was
3) Briefs and 4) Blysh Speakeasy (both Spiegeltent, Wales Millennium Centre)
Ozzie and English cabaret in a lovely intimate pop-up summer venue
5) The Night Alive (Donmar) and 6) Feast (Royal Court & Young Vic - YV)
Two contrasting and vital new plays in boutique studio heavens
7) Solid Air (Drum, Plymouth)
The straight play rocks! - Doug Lucie and Mike Bradwell both on top form
8) Free Folk (Forest Forge - tour) and 9) Protest Song (NT - The Shed)
Two faultless community theatre shows in traditional theatres
10) Weekly Rep, part of Open Court (Royal Court)
Six plays in six weeks which seemed important at the time ...
Posted David J on 22 December 2013 - 09:20 PM
I must say though that amongst all the musicals that premièred here this year, like Mormon, Once, Charlie, Psycho and Princess (I'm seeing Ward next Saturday though I am not expecting much), it was the more obscure ones that stood out to me
Best of 2013
- Rutherford and Son (yes I am morbid)
- A Chorus Line
- The Scottsboro Boys
- This House
- As You Like It (RSC)
- The Audience
- Dangerous Corner (Salisbury)
- [Title of Show] (Landor)
- Carnaby Street
- Alice in Wonderland (Volcano Theatre)
- 9 to 5
- Smallholding (Nuffield)
- If Only (Chichester)
- A Mad World My Masters (RSC)
- The Cripple of Inishmaan
- King Lear (Bath)
- Macbeth (MIF)
- Edward II (NT)
Praise too to English Touring Theatre Company (Ghosts, The Misanthrope), Headlong (1984, American Psycho, The Seagull) and Salisbury Playhouse (Dangerous Corner, Joking Apart, Elegy for a Lady, Yalta Game, On Golden Pond, Recruiting Officer) for producing some consistently strong productions this year.
A special mention to Laura Marling for providing the brilliant music in Maria Aberg's As You Like It. It left me with a big smile on my face when I saw the production, and I've lost count of the number of times I've listened to the CD. You can listen to previews of the music here: https://itunes.apple...-it/id673199796
Posted Cardinal Pirelli on 22 December 2013 - 08:54 PM
- Playing Cards I-Spades (Lepage on auto pilot and with a stage that he didn't know what to do with).
- In the Beginning was the End (dreamthinkspeak in simplistic mode, no real challenge and compared to something like Toynbee (see below), lacking in atmosphere or import).
- Public Enemy (Young Vic; A director who can be better but nowhere near his best with a production lacking invention).
- Circle, Mirror Transformation (it was good but...... middle class navel gazing exported from Sloane Square, would have been better at the Royal Court itself but, even then, this exemplified the direction that Cooke's tenure got lost in pursuing).
- Radicalisation of Bradley Manning (National Theatre of Wales, a lot of sound and fury but little depth or engagement with the issues)
- Orpheus (Little Bulb with a sublimely silly show, gypsy jazz played to perfection)
- Fraulein Julie (Katie Mitchell with live theatre/video, showed how you can remake a classic by allowing the camera to give us the maid’s perspective).
- Mission Drift (a great new American company, TEAM, a kaleidoscopic show with a real complexity of form and message).
- Let the Right One In (NTS, beautifully staged, beautifully performed, snow!!)
- Secret Theatre (at the Lyric, Hammersmith; taken as a whole, three intriguing productions and a great ensemble, I look forward to more)
- The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart (National Theatre of Scotland, saw it in Edinburgh, bit too hot during the London run though).
- The Master & Margarita (a masterpiece of staging and performance from Complicite).
- Metamorphosis (Vesturport, as wonderful as when I last saw it).
- Monkey Bars (the always worthwhile Chris Goode with a verbatim show using the words of children, not just sweet but also moving and thought provoking).
- Tristan & Yseult (you’d have to have a hard heart not to be carried away by Kneehigh’s romantic show).
- This House (who’d have thought mid seventies politics could be made this exciting?)
- Once (loved the music, loved the staging, loved the performers).
- The Seagull (Headlong with a staging that stood comparison with the outstanding Young Vic Three Sisters of the previous year)
- Chimerica, (another Headlong show, cracking storytelling and bound to end up on a screen somewhere).
- 1984 (and another, Jeremy Herrin has a lot to live up to; a welcome reminder that the novel is a look into a past that has already failed).
- Above & Beyond (Look Left Look Right, you had to be quick to get a ticket but a fun, fun, tour round a hotel, its guests and its history)
- Say it With Flowers (Katie Mitchell again, using a few spaces at Hampstead downstairs, Gertrude Stein as absurdist progenitor).
- The Borough (Punchdrunk in one person audio tour with actors, had to hike out to the East Anglian coast but boy was it worth it, ‘Peter Grimes’ with you as the hounded central character).
- The Drowned Man (Punchdrunk in much bigger mode; this time the audience are implicated, we are responsible; a depth and complexity in this Lynchian nightmare that rewards repeat viewings, recently extended but Crossrail need the building so can’t run much longer).
- Toynbee (Geraldine Pilgrim; this is how to do a site responsive ‘tour’ type show, gorgeous images, so many evocations of the building’s past).
- Kate O’Flynn - Port (a name unknown to me but not now, see her in Taste of Honey later this year at the National).
- Paul Rhys - Master and Margarita (just superb, such stamina and perfect in both roles).
- Charles Edwards - This House (his hair was great too).
- Zrinka Cvitesic - Once (adorable and with a voice and piano skills to match).
- Rob McNeill - The Drowned Man (who? Well, since you won't get much cast information at 'The Drowned Man' he plays a number of roles but it was his performance as Andy, the main male lead's friend that stayed with me, you had to be really speedy to keep up with him but it was well worth it).
- Saw Quasimodo and Twang in the same year, a Lionel Bart mega-flop and a show that he never had produced. Neither of them particularly good but they were impossible to resist seeing.
Posted Lynette on 24 December 2013 - 05:42 PM
Posted Ryan on 24 December 2013 - 10:33 AM
Posted steveatplays on 05 December 2013 - 12:53 PM
Posted Latecomer on 27 October 2013 - 10:34 PM
Without too much elaboration, those shows that got under my impressionable mid-teen skin and made me seek out more theatre were Branagh's Ivanov (my first Chekhov, and I've studied Chekhov since in depth so that is, in that way, really influential) and Complicite's Endgame (and meeting Mark Rylance and telling him so (and his genuinely happy and conversational responses) was one of the best nights of my life). Whether my theatrical inexperience or not played a part (and I suppose it probably did) I don't care, they were extraordinary theatre. But I've had six months of living with this from the Young Vic, and now a day living with this from Duke of York's, and this is, for me, it.
I have to agree....Ivanov was brilliant, even from the £10 high in the sky seats, and Endgame was splendid and perfectly suited to the small cramped black surroundings of the Duchess Theatre. Both have also stayed with me since and are still showing on my theatre board (I have a huge board covered in flyers and every time I add one (if it is good enough to qualify for the honour) I now cover up a previous play. But Branagh and Rylance in his wheelchair are still visible!)
Othello at the Donmar got me started on the long theatre road! Hence the name "latecomer" as was well into 40s seeing my first play! My theatre friends will testify that I am never actually late to arrive at the theatre!
Posted Polly1 on 02 November 2013 - 10:16 AM
Yes, it's definitely 'made for TV', although I actually enjoyed watching the stage hands (contrary to Nick Hytner's instructions in his charming speech beforehand), especially the one who ran on each time a 'veteran' needed guiding off. A very funny moment when we had to applaud a random man sitting in the seat to be occupied by Dame Joan P tonight!
I thought the special scenery they'd created for many of the scenes was, as you would expect, superb (the cabinet for No Man's Land deserves a special mention), as were the lighting backdrops. So many memorable moments, the musical interludes were obviously the crowd-pleasers but the intimate speeches were also given rapt attention. I too was particularly impressed with Andrew Scott. Look out in The Mysteries for some 'big guns' sitting in the crowd (if they show it). Several of the scenes (notably Arcadia) made me want to see a full production with that cast IMMEDIATELY. The epilogue, with Frances de la Tour, and curtain call were particularly well done, I thought, and very emotional, goodness knows what it'll be like tonight
All in all, a privilege to be there on an extraordinary and unforgettable evening (with a free programme chucked in for good measure, which in a moment of madness afterwards I got signed by SRB and Benedict C). I really hope it plays well on the TV, theatre fans will of course lap it up but whether it will convert any non-believers or just come across as bitty and a 'luvvie-fest', I don't know. Whatever, Hytner deserves huge credit for pulling it all together, could only have been done by the National Theatre, long may it reign!!
Posted MrBarnaby on 02 November 2013 - 09:52 AM
What a cast. I don't think I'll ever see a line up like that on one stage again. There are some wonderful surprises so I won't spoil the 'big ones' but I particularly loved Andrew Scott in Angels in America and The History Boys.
It's a wonderful celebration of the incredible work the NT has produced, and a reminder of how empty our cultural scene would be without it.