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Showing all Performing Arts news in Reviews
The great joys of re-reading a beloved classic are looking forward to revisiting favourite moments and spotting new things you’d never previously noticed.
It is always awkward when you start seeing someone at work on the sly. This is a – very – loose rendering of the plot of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde; a new version of which has just opened at the Royal Opera House.
Mother Courage is by no means a sympathetic figure and it is made pretty clear that her pursuit of profit from the conflict is the cause of, not only her own, suffering.
The versatile and talented performers tell their three stories by creating multi-layered physical tapestries made up of ritualistic choreography interwoven with song. The overall effect is at once intriguing and strangely soothing.
Trevor Griffiths knows everything there is to know about the Life of Thomas Paine and he has crammed as much as he could into A New World, directed by Dominic Dromgoole: the last play in the Globe Theatre’s Young Hearts season.
Some say that you only really know who you are when you’re lying awake in the small hours. That is perhaps less true now than it was in 1980 when Caryl Churchill’s playlet Three Sleepless Nights was first performed. In 1980 there was no internet, no 24 hour TV and far fewer distractions from the demons that only come out at night.
If the ‘barbecue’ summer is ruining your staycation then you could do a lot worse than pack up the brood and head down to the Open Air Theatre in Regents Park for Hello Dolly!
I must confess to secret feelings of relief when I discovered that Frank McGuinness’ version of Euripides’ Helen runs at a trim 90 minutes without interval. Those wooden benches don’t get any softer on a humid summer evening.
Such is the modern mania for multimedia that it is almost a surprise to see a set made of flying flats and real furniture although the old-fashioned feel seems right for 1940s Wales. The accents from the non-Welsh actors do not disgrace them.
Set ten years into the Trojan wars, Shakespeare’s play is about men in a man’s world.
Even if you are unfamiliar with the plot of Federico Garcia Lorca’s tragedy, it does not take a genius to work out that a play entitled 'Blood Wedding' will not end happily.
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.
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