Elizabethan & Jacobian Drama
Lazarus Theatre productions never fail to grab you from the moment you enter the theatre. You step through into a world of mayhem as if stepping through an invisible membrane that divides you from where you’ve come. At the Blue Elephant Theatre.
Theatre of Realism
Katie Hims’ Billy the Girl presents superbly drawn characters, faced with the paradox of living ordinary lives through times of big change. Direction, design and sensitive portrayals of difficult characters combine in a moving story of about starting again.
Engaging from the outset, the play hits the audience with a mining disaster only seconds after an explosion that traps six miners. The fact that it is 1979 adds even greater tension.
Battersea Arts Centre’s London Stories: A 1-on-1-on-1 Festival is uniquely positioned to become a most powerful form of participatory theatre. The idea is simple: begin with a sprawling building, like old municipal offices; invite in local people who feel they have life-changing experiences to tell about living their messy, complicated lives (that’s pretty much all of us), and organise ushers and staff to direct the moving traffic of paying audience members from story to story around the building.
The popularity of Lee Hall’s The Pitman Painters is evident from its sell-out seasons at the National Theatre, on Broadway and in the West End. Arguably, such success must make Hall’s play one of the past decade’s most significant English dramas to engage contemporary audiences in re-looking at “class warfare” in post-WW2 British culture.
“Did you know that Our Town is the most performed play in the world after Shakespeare, with a performance of the play running every night in the United States since its premiere in 1938? Over 300,000 performances!” Artistic Director Adam Spreadbury-Maher, at the opening of King’s Head Theatre’s 75th Anniversary Production of Wilder’s Our Town.
Joe Evan’s music & lyrics and Linnie Reedman’s adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby’s nostalgic view of America between the wars glistens and sparkles with a destructive glory. The tragic love story of rich girl and poor hero works around powerful themes: loyalty and love, faithfulness and betrayal combines with the individual’s pursuit of the American dream for happiness and economic success. The music is dynamic and story is coherently presented beginning from the moment when the pretty socialite, Daisy, and heroic soldier, Jay Gatsby, are separated by war and circumstances.
Firstly, Enoch’s adaptation of the play’s original setting of the “landscape of a fjord” to Scotland’s Orkney Islands, seems to allow director, Anna Fox, to retain Ibsen’s highly dramatic intention to create the effect of a misty backdrop out of which the actors step onto stage: either into the main setting of the conservatory in the Alving house or in what appear to be shadowy, secretive places around it.
The title of a theatre production is designed to provoke a reaction; Gotta Sing Gotta Dance had a decided effect on me, leading me to expect the usual fare of song and dance energetically contrived. What a surprise I was in for as I viewed the unfolding of a wonderfully coherent and original production that turned out to be a stunning exposé of the last sixty years of musical theatre.
Profumo: The Musical, produced and written by Gordon Kenny, presents the events around the 1960s Profumo Affair in which John Profumo, Minister for War in Harold Macmillan’s Tory government, embarks on a scandalous love affair with young nightclub dancer, Christine Keeler.
Jon Hartmere’s and Damon Intraboloto’s bare: the rock musical puts sexuality front and centre in the hazardous terrain of young people claiming their adult identity. As a result, the story of youths in their final year of high school at a Catholic boarding school is naturally full of teenage angst.