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Showing all Performing Arts news in Reviews
I am not suggesting that a drawing room is de rigeur for Oscar Wilde’s much loved play but Earnest is as much a social commentary as a comedy of manners and, without the society, the comedy suffers to boot.
Forget about running marathons and climbing mountains, go and see Tosca at the Royal Opera House and you will die happily in the knowledge that you carped diem.
Matt Charman’s second play at the National Theatre, The Observer, is the story of an international election observation team in a fictive African country holding its first democratic elections.
To tell that ‘Nevermind’ is a play about suicide is by no means spoiling it, as that is exactly how it was marketed, and there’s more to it than the eventual outcome of this dynamic and brilliantly structured play.
Mario Martone’s production of Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera is proper opera: propera if you will. It has a big cast, period costumes, spectacular sets, show stopping solos and a tragic / happy ending.
Much was made of the toothless nature of Labour MPs’ recent attempts to dethrone Gordon Brown with commentators complaining that the rebels couldn’t succeed in securing a big enough beast to spearhead a credible challenge. Disaffected backbenchers would have done well to organise a trip down to Stratford on Avon (on expenses of course) to see the RSC’s current production of Julius Caesar.
It’s a hard knock life when you’re condemned to spending three years on 6 of the world’s great plays; touring the world with film stars, stage greats and an Oscar winning director in a company made up half of British and half of American actors. The first season, now at the Old Vic, consists of The Winter’s Tale and The Cherry Orchard running in repertory.
All’s Well That Ends Well is one of Shakespeare’s so-called 'problem plays': it ends with a wedding but it’s hardly a comedy.
Hardly any of Shakespeare’s fools are funny any more. This isn’t his fault – or theirs for that matter – it’s just that 400 year-old topical wordplay doesn’t wash so well in the Twitter age.
Berg’s Lulu has a pretty eventful career with her three husbands, lesbian lover, menagerie of murderous admirers and eventual violent death at the hands of none other than Jack the Ripper. It is a shame that Christof Loy, director of the current production at the Royal Opera House, doesn’t see fit to show us any of it.
Wilful misinterpretation and misunderstanding are key to plot and humour in Shakespeare’s much-loved comedy and both are well-handled in Tim Sheeder’s lively, light-hearted production.
'As You Like It' is a bit like the 'What You Will' bit of Twelfth Night: a winsome frothy title that tells you next to nothing about the play it belongs to.
What you see when you see this production – and you really should – will depend upon the whereabouts of your seat and how much effort you make to engage with the almost overwhelming amount of storytelling on offer.
Human cloning has long been a reality. For evidence of this remarkable achievement; scientists need look no further than the National Theatre.
Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s good plays: sex and violence, comedy and tragedy. What else could you want? There’s even a happy ending if you forget about the broken hearts, ignore the body count and focus on the reconciliation between Olds Montague and Capulet.
You’d think it would be cool to be a God: Rock God, Love God, Sex God and even Domestic Goddess all sound cooler than ‘Data Input Manager’. If it’s cool to be a God then how much cooler must it be to be the Great God Pan: God of, among many other things, bees and unbridled lust?
David Farr’s RSC production, currently at the Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-on-Avon, is a play of two halves. Greg Hicks gives an astonishing performance as Leontes, King of Sicilia, a part many actors denounce as simply unplayable.
Director Rufus Norris spent considerable time rehearsing in Oyo and he and choreographer Javier DeFrutos make full use of Yoruba traditions of storytelling: dance, chanting, masquerade and ensemble work meld with the authentic props and bundles of clothes strung high above Katrina Lindsay’s simple set and picked out by Paule Constable’s expert lighting.
There was a great deal to cheer over: conductor Carlo Rizzi and Dmitri Hvorstovsky as villain Count di Luna both return unwithered from the 2002 original and, in place of enmity, there appears to be a good-natured rivalry between Sondra Radvanovsky’s Leonora and Malgorzarta Walewska’s Azucena.
Ronnie Burkett is a Canadian master marionettiste who writes, directs, builds all the puppets and sets for and does all the voices in his incredible shows which are emphatically not for children. Feeling inadequate yet?
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