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Member Since 20 Nov 2011
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#301360 An Intervention

Posted Honoured Guest on 20 April 2014 - 10:02 AM

View PostParsley, on 19 April 2014 - 10:02 PM, said:

Theatre totally out of place in that sort of area though

Makes Brixton in comparison seem like Mayfair

Shame as would get much bigger audiences if this was showing somewhere with more significance

As fringefan says, theatres serve catchment areas. The nearest producing theatres to the Palace Theatre Watford (except for London, whose population has a good choice of theatres) are the:

Watermill, near Newbury (63 miles)
Mercury, Colchester (76 miles)
Royal, Northampton (52 miles)

So, the Palace is the nearest producing theatre for everyone living within thirty to forty miles in every direction except London, and it would be a significant loss to its catchment population if it ceased production in its location.

The other point is that town centres are very good locations for theatres because they are easily accessible to many people by public transport, and theatres in town centres are highly visible to large general populations who reside and work in the immediate vicinity.

#301176 Hotel

Posted Latecomer on 18 April 2014 - 04:07 PM

View PostPharaoh, on 17 April 2014 - 09:48 PM, said:

No Billy Piper, but the excellent Shannon Tarbet is in this.

Sad not to see Billie but Shannon Tarbet was staggeringly good in Circle Mirror Transformation and Rapture, Blister, Burn.

#301185 What Shows Are You Missing Right Now?

Posted Reich on 18 April 2014 - 05:29 PM

Ohh so many to choose from ...

Sunday & Candide - Menier
Love Story - West End
Dolly - Open Air
On the Town - ENO
Sweeney - Opera North & John Doyle version
Merrily - Donmar
Night music - NT
Kiss of the Spiderwoman - Shaftsbury

Must stop now as I'm starting to get emotional!

#301074 Hotel

Posted Pharaoh's number 2 on 17 April 2014 - 09:48 PM

View Poststeveatplays, on 26 March 2014 - 08:49 AM, said:

I think Polly Stenham plays have been excellent, from That Face to Tusk Tusk to No Quarter (though I know many disagree about the last).

This one plays from31 May - 2 August at The Shed, and is in priority booking now, with public booking from 8.30am on Friday 28 March.

I mention it, because in the unlikely event the rumour mill proves true, and Billie Piper is in it, it may sell quickly, like "The Effect" did at The Cottesloe a while back.

No Billy Piper, but the excellent Shannon Tarbet is in this.

#301060 The Silver Tassie- National Theatre

Posted El Peter on 17 April 2014 - 06:52 PM

I saw this at the first preview on Tuesday evening and was absorbed by it while also thinking it a strange play. It was cheered to the rafters at final curtain and deservedly so for what is another well-directed Howard Davies production, with the stage-design and sound-design of the production as striking and just right.

It has four acts. The first centres round the homecoming of a victorious sporting hero with the team's trophy, the silver tassie. The third is set in a hospital ward where we see him in a wheelchair. The fourth act is set at a postwar Armistice party back home, but with the angry protagonist among those marginalised men disinclined to celebrate.

What is unusual is the second act, written by O'Casey and presented here in Expressionist style that tries to capture the madness and scale of the bloody Western Front 1914-18. It is like a dream sequence, heavy on symbolism and with songs ands some evocative music, with bullets and shells flying, all in order to express the nightmare experience of front-line fighting, defiance and fear of what has been happening month in and month out for years. This second act stands out, but will not be to everyone's taste because of the leap of imagination involved and its apparent disconnection to acts one and three. Yes, a couple to our right did not return after the interval, and three or four more a few rows behind. But the famous O'Casey plays always had that aspect to them, and the experimental nature of this today is still as perplexing as it must have seemed on paper to Yeats who rejected it for the Abbey.   

It is not a play to enjoy, for despite the characteristic black humour of the writer it is too serious and too angry to do that. This is not the World War One of its last very aged wheel-chaired fussed over military survivors in the late 1990s/early 2000s. No, this is an anti-war play written and staged just over ten years after the Armistice, when the human wreckage of the global conflict was all about, or dying off or just hidden away. The point at which 'a land fit for heroes' when fighting was over, had turned out to be bogus. This play's premiere, in London, staged just days before the 1929 Wall Street Crash, with years of Slump and Great Depression still to follow (along with another world war).

It is irritating, it is disputatious, it is lop-sided, disconnected — perhaps what O'Casey was trying to capture about that war. We left the theatre thoughtful and intrigued at what we had seen and heard. This morning I browsed the web a little and found a couple of articles about an earlier production of this play, that others may find helpful in understanding what I am trying to convey here.



#300957 Three Sisters - Southwark Playhouse

Posted xanderl on 16 April 2014 - 10:19 PM

I'm seeing this in a few weeks and already looking forward to pretending I enjoyed it just to annoy everyone.

#300598 Three Sisters - Southwark Playhouse

Posted Boob on 14 April 2014 - 06:28 AM

Inconsistencies with the setting (and karaoke, iPhones etc) aside, I thought this was actually a very faithful, lucid 'version' of the play - much more so than Benedict Andrews' Young Vic production.  Emily Taafe is astonishing as Masha, Paul McGann heroic and tragic as Vershinin.  The dynamics are all there and all right.  But I agree the re-location is problematic, even though it really isn't very distracting.  Much better than The Seagull, for me, but I don't think Russell Bolam is a director to write home about.

Thank you, steveatplays, for yet another thorough, intelligent, insightful and interesting review.  I wish I had your way with words.

#300758 Urinetown

Posted AddisonMizner on 15 April 2014 - 11:24 AM

I saw the URINETOWN matinee on Saturday (12th April). Both Richard and Jenna were off, but their understudies were both very good. Part of me was relieved that Richard was off, as I have never really been a fan of his, I’m sorry to say. I knew very little about the show going in, but have to say that I absolutely LOVED it!

The show is very silly, in a LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS kind of way, and I must admit that it took me a while to get used to its humour, but once I did, I found the book genuinely funny and VERY clever. It not only took all the common tropes of musical theatre and parodied them to great effect, but completely turned them on their head, doing something greatly original. The “twist” at the end was something I didn’t see coming at all and was wonderful.

The score was infectious – wonderfully catchy and great fun. I have never seen quite a reaction like the one after “Run Freedom Run”. The audience (myself included) ate it up.

The production by Jamie Lloyd was like an extremely well-oiled machine. The whole thing was tight and performed with marvelous energy and attack by the whole cast. The choreography was inventive and an utter delight (take note GHOST). THIS is how a musical should be done!

#300291 Birdland - Simon Stephens - Andrew Scott

Posted Parsley on 12 April 2014 - 08:44 PM


Pile of rubbish

My least favourite of all the Simon Stephens plays I have seen over the last 10 years or so

I love Andrew Scott as an actor but I fear the plays he chooses/ is chosen to be in are not the best showcase

The proceedings are far too long

Pointless pointless staging and the flooding of the stage was too much for my bladder which was almost brimming over stretched to bursting capacity with the interval-less 2 hours

I also noted that I was following the script

At the RC (and other esteemed theatres where the script is readily and cheaply sold as the programme) if the play is awful then I place my index finger at a random point interleaved in the pages at a place hereafter

Then I surprise myself randomly by seeing if we have reached that point and get bonus points if I have waited and been patient enough to have passed beyond my mark and the end is even closer in sight than I thought

During this time I reminisce longingly about lovely shows I have seen or imagine which latest fashions I will purchase or look about at my fellow theatre goers or fantasise about delicious foods or just imagine what I will report back to my WOS sisters

Sometimes I watch the play

Like if Andrew Scott takes his top off

But it's a BIG boob from me for this

Still Stephens has written some of my favourite modern plays and I know how it goes with him

As a point of interest, do other people follow texts during the play- this is particularly relevant at the RC as every single play on as the text available and I always buy one prior to the play starting

I hope Carrie Cracknell isn't going to start punching above her weight and getting all big headed
She is being given too many things to do too quickly
I loved some of the earlier works she directed
But suddenly it's opera here, play here, there and everywhere
Associate this and that

I know she has worked her way up from The Gate
And again I DO love lots of what she has done
But I fear a Katie Mitchell-esque overexposure
And audience fatigue will set in
At least that director (however divisive her styles) has a strong identity and an impressive back catalogue of all manner of shows to back it up with  
I don't wish to sound mean
But Carrie Cracknell is shaping up to be a much more pallid imitation of KM

Speaking of which (and relevant to this post) dear KM will be doing Simon Stephens "version" of The Cherry Orchard soon enough!!!!

I forgot to mention I was sitting next to a lady of "plus size"
This larger dimensioned personage spilled over into my personal space
And stank of BO
That stale nauseating sort of smell which makes you retch into your own mouth silently
It greatly distracted me from the play

#300205 Good People

Posted Honoured Guest on 12 April 2014 - 08:37 AM

View PostParsley, on 11 April 2014 - 10:55 PM, said:

Surprise surprise

Another play with delusions of grandeur gone astray in the in the WE

Discounts abundant for this

"Delusions of grandeur" is a bit unfair. This play has been a box office sell-out at Hampstead Theatre and it's desirable to extend its life so that more people can see it. The same situation holds with The Scottsboro Boys at the Young Vic.

The problem is that the only option for extensions of popular productions in small subsidised London theatres seems to be the commercial West End, which I agree is the kiss of death for most of these shows.

It would be far better for most of these productions if there were a network of modern halfway-house theatres of maybe 500 or 600 seats, possibly with some limited subsidy, where popular subsidised productions from London and the rest of the UK could transfer for extended runs, while there is an audience for them.

The Young Vic practice of second runs at home for some of their productions is a good step in this direction, but it's obviously limited by the theatre's requirement to keep up a stream of new producions.

#300133 The Scottsboro Boys

Posted xanderl on 11 April 2014 - 03:10 PM

Welcome to the forum Nancy!

I presume your sisters Unity and Diana won't be going to see the Scottsboro Boys, doesn't really sound like their sort of thing.

You and Debo will probably enjoy it though.

#300148 Time To Support Theatre On Forum!

Posted Titan on 11 April 2014 - 05:33 PM

The forum also has people in or linked to the industry, or who have informed opinions on why a show might not do well based on facts/history etc.  Obviously its not always accurate as one thing is always certain, theatre is unpredictable.  

Theatre is a business, and that business interests many people on here so when a show is announced and people predict it won't do well etc its not necessarily a comment on the production itself but on the market and business sense.  Why some shows succeed and some fail is always an interesting topic, and that is often what is discussed here.  After all, no one on here has any power in the real world, shows won't open or close on the word of this forum. Its a place for fans of theatre to discuss various aspects of the theatre world

I agree that 'its rubbish' type comments are not helpful and there are some snarky comments but on the whole this forum is constructive and informative.  But I would say people who are constantly positive and put down people who say something negative for fear of upsetting those poor actors on the stage are just as, if not more, annoying (and fake)

#299989 Time To Support Theatre On Forum!

Posted freckles on 10 April 2014 - 10:20 AM

A forum is designed for an exchange of views.

I'm getting a bit tired of people being slapped down for not praising everything to the heights - whether they are critics, members of forums or people on social media. The ultimate measure of success is surely the production itself, and I see no harm in forum members discussing their views freely. Of course, as with all forums there will always be trolls & extremists, but there are enough heartfelt, genuine contributors on WOS to make it a very useful & interesting resource.

I too feel that I support theatre by buying tickets (and programmes & drinks etc) but if I really didn't rate a production, I don't see any harm in sharing my views. I am interested to hear what others have to say when I'm thinking of booking something and it would be a great loss to me if everybody were unerringly positive and "supportive" at the expense of honest opinion. Of course, I am the first to share when I absolutely love something too.

I know there has been discussion in the media recently about the effect of word-of-mouth and social media on the success, or failure, of a show but think there is a very real danger of social media platforms being hi-jacked by PR bods rather than genuine theatre goers. (Even on these boards, you know who you are!) Many productions use social media as an aspect of their publicity; for some smaller, underfunded shows it is often relied upon as the primary means of promotion. Hence sometimes what one reads online does not truly reflect how the majority of the audience reacted, or how well a show is selling. I've seen at least two fringe productions that were so talked up on twitter that you'd have thought they could have instantly transferred to & filled the Palladium, yet when I saw them, they were seriously lacking. I think the lines between PR and genuine debate are becoming blurred, and feel forum members have a duty to maintain the WOS Forum as a platform for genuine comment & opinion.

So carry on with your observations; I'm going to & I doubt our comments can ever really be blamed for closing a show, the responsibility for that does lie with the production itself.

#299248 Birdland - Simon Stephens - Andrew Scott

Posted vickster51 on 03 April 2014 - 10:02 PM

Well I thought that was excellent and only the first preview too so no doubt it'll get even better. It took me about 10 minutes to settle in to it but after that the time flew by. Andrew Scott really can act anything can't he. I always find him mesmerising on stage and tonight was no different. 2 hours with no interval and he is the centre of every moment, displaying emotions from slightly crazed, possibly dangerous, to frightened little child. He's funny, cruel, playful, dark, emotional and emotionless and so much more.

The rest of the supporting cast are all very very good, skilfully moving from one character to the next and the set if very interesting. I won't give part of it away but it feeds into the spiralling life of the character of Paul perfectly.

It's always thrilling to see a new play for the first time and feel the excitement that something is already wonderful and s only going to get better. Now I just need to restrain myself from writing a review until I go again (writing one after 1 show seems wrong no matter how much I enjoyed it)!

#299190 ATG Present Annie Get Your Gun Starring Emma Williams And Norman Pace

Posted wickedgrin on 03 April 2014 - 12:21 PM

When I have seen her she has always struck me as perfectly competent and professional but somehow rather bland. Annie Oakley is a "spunky" part. I don't see her pulling it off at all!