Showing posts from March, 2017

Northanger Abbey - Theatr Clwyd

"I get a huge kick about going to play Macbeth in North Wales in this theatre that seems in the middle of nowhere" Owen Teale I love heading down to London to meet friends and watch theatre, but I also know that I’m incredibly lucky that I have the opportunity to see great theatre back at home in North Wales.  The renowned West End actor Owen Teale once said of Theatr Clwyd in Mold "I get a huge kick about going to play Macbeth in North Wales in this theatre that seems in the middle of nowhere and you sell out, it's extraordinary. You get 500-600 people a night, it's fantastic." He's right, it is extraordinary. It's a 15 min drive for me to pop down the road to get my "fix" and for a theatre in the middle of nowhere, it has a fantastic programme year on year. It keeps me entertained in between visits to London and I was especially looking forward to seeing Northanger Abbey. It therefore made me nearly laugh out loud when Isabella Th

Frankenstein (Box Clever Theatre) & Lost Without Words - National Theatre

This weekend my travels to London were taking me on an unexpected journey. I had received an invitation to attend a read through of Box Clever Theatre’s latest play. I was intrigued. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I knew it would be enlightening and not an experience to miss. Another opportunity I realised I now had, was that I could go and see Anna Calder-Marshall in Lost Without Words at The National Theatre. She had mentioned it when I saw her in Birmingham after a production of the play Love. Lost Without Words is only an hour long and so it didn’t warrant the expense of a special trip to London, but if I was already there… I got up bright and early on Sunday morning. I had had my hair styled a few days earlier, but it needed a wash, and I thought “I’m going to blow-dry it like my hairdresser does.” So I sectioned my hair off and started curling my hair up…and then disaster struck. I telephoned my neighbour. No reply. I texted my neighbour “ Please don’t laugh…I’ve got my ha

NT LIVE - Hedda Gabler

While the cats away, the mice will play! My other half has gone to America for a week, leaving me home alone. It’s amazing just how liberating it feels. Strange I suppose when it’s clear that I spend most days doing what I like anyway, but this time it feels different. I’ll usually say “oh you don’t mind if I go to London next week do you?” Or, “I’m heading out for tea on Thursday with the girls after work.” They are general statements marking my intent, and politely informing him of my movements. Ruth Wilson was extraordinary in the lead role of Hedda. She brought the character up to date, and showed that a story written over 100 years ago still has so much resonance today. When you think of Ibsen, you might think of corsets, a historical tale, enjoyable to watch, but set around the past. This modern interpretation by Ivo Van Hove sees Hedda wandering around a vast stage barefoot, clothed only in her dressing gown or night slip. It adds to the feeling of entrapment and inner turm

Nell Gwynn - The Lowry, Salford

Nell Gwynn, the humble orange seller, actress and stealer of the King’s heart. A woman famed in history, but in reality very little is known of her life before she attended the court of King Charles II. No accurate records were kept of the working classes in the 17 th Century; as can be seen from my recent post about The Fatal Tree, this was still the case in the 18 th Century too. So what is known of Eleanor “Nell” Gwynn? She was born in 1650 and died in 1687. Hereford, London and Oxford all lay claim to be the birthplace of Nell; tales tell that she grew up in Coal Yard Lane, a slum off Drury Lane in London. Her mother kept a brothel, and it is likely Nell worked as a prostitute until she began selling oranges in the pit at Drury Lane. Somehow she made it on the stage, and whilst she was unable to read, she made a success of becoming a popular and successful actress. Her sharp wit, and beauty caught the eye of King Charles II and she became his favourite mistress. Unlike the

The Fatal Tree - Jake Arnott

It’s not often I’ll pre-order a book, even more rarely that I’ll devote the weekend to reading it, but having read The House of Rumour a couple of years ago, I was really looking forward to Arnott’s latest offering. The House of Rumour introduced the reader to some infamous faces of the twentieth century such as the occultist Alexander Crowley, Naval Intelligence Officer and James Bond novelist Ian Fleming and Nazi politician Rudolf Hess. Arnott cleverly weaved a tale of fiction around real life events and people, and whilst the book wasn’t perfect, and possibly a little contrived in places, I really became absorbed sifting through the fact and fiction! History may have forgotten them, but at the time, they were the celebrities of the day. When I realised that Arnott’s latest book was going to take me back in time to the 18 th century and the thieves and whores of London I was more than a little intrigued. Whilst the book is a work of fiction, the central characters of E