Showing posts from November, 2018

Two by Jim Cartwright (Theatr Clwyd)

I arrived at Theatr Clwyd’s “Clwyd Room” with a mix of apprehension and intrigue about me. It’s not often I go to the theatre when the performance is not being held “on stage.” In fact, I think the only time has been when I went to see/immerse myself in The Great Gatsby, and I had moral support for that one! The Clwyd Room is a space where I’ve normally watched stand up comics perform, it’s not one of the actual “theatre” spaces. Tonight it had been transferred into a Lancashire pub, ten round tables had been placed along one wall for people to sit around as though they were sat in a bar watching the regulars come and go. Two is written by the award winning Jim Cartwright   who has also given us The Rise and Fall of Little Voice and Road. Immediately you know you’re going to be in for a night of dry wit, broad northern humour and the moving melancholy of ordinary human life as they get mixe

Don Carlos (Take Two) – Rose Theatre, Kingston upon Thames

Q. What do Paddington Bear and Tom Burke have in common? A. They both reduced me to a sobbing, emotional mess in the same week.   (Oh don’t tell me you didn’t sniffle when Paddington was in prison.) After the last night of Don Carlos, I was fortunate to grab a few words with Tom. I told him he’d made me cry. He said, “that’s a good thing isn’t it?” And yes, I must confess that it was.  Like a young red wine, Don Carlos had been allowed to breathe into a full-bodied performance. It had become injected full of character, passion, power and emotion that it had sometimes lacked in Exeter. The basis of a fantastic production was there for all to see, (bar the eejit at The Times) and whilst I thoroughly enjoyed it at Exeter, the initial performances were perfectly quaffable, but a bit acidic at times. As I noted in my previous review, the pace of the dialogue was killing some elements of the play. I spoke to Ali about it and begged her not to take offence, but I felt th

Angela Carter's Bloody Chamber

Just like Uncle Bulgaria I’m behind “The Times.” (Only people of a certain vintage will get that!) I’ve just realised that Emma Rice’s production of Wise Children is going on tour next year. I’m thankful for this as I wanted to see it at The Old Vic in London but I’m watching the pennies and couldn’t really justify the trip. So, Storeyhouse in Chester it is. A ticket has been purchased and I’m thrilled to see Angela Carter’s last novel brought to stage by the innovative director, Emma Rice. So, who is Angela Carter? I recorded a BBC documentary about her recently; one of Britain’s greatest writers, she was an independent-minded woman, outspoken and challenging of the authorities. If you can find a copy of it, I recommend watching it. She was born in Sussex in 1940 and read English at Bristol university. She had a prolific writing career and all multi-layered tales, which were quirky and sometimes vulgar in style, were highly thought of and received critical acclaim. She died of

Arguments for a Theatre - Barker

After I had watched Don Carlos for the first time, I told Tom Burke how much I had enjoyed the play and in particular the work of Friedrich Schiller. I was glad he had introduced me to his work. It was a revelation to me, not only reading Schiller’s plays, but also the Aesthetical Essays of Frederich Schiller, the Philosophical Letters of Frederich Schiller; his short stories and poetical works which all promoted the ideals of Enlightenment – to celebrate the beauty of life, and to oppose all forms of tyranny. I confessed to loving Schiller, and further confessed that I wasn’t overly fond of another popular playwright. I have seen, and continue to see his work, but it never fills me with the same ebullience as Schiller does. It was then that Tom told me what ARA’s next project would be. I was desperately hoping he was working on something else, but said nothing, just smiled and laughed that I was sure I would enjoy it. What I really wanted to say was “WHHHAAATTTT? You’ve set up