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Below are the 13 most recent journal entries recorded in A discussion community for London theatre's LiveJournal:

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006
6:12 pm
[redvelvetjacket]
The Woman in Black
Can anyone tell me who is currently in the cast??? I need this information desperately. Please help.

RVJxxx
Thursday, December 29th, 2005
2:58 pm
[hulmerist]
The Wild Duck, Ibsen at the Donmar.
I went to see The Wild Duck at the Donmar last night. It was very good but a leading actor, in the role of Dr Rolling, was taken ill the day before and his part had to be read by another actor in the cast.

Rolling's part is not big but he's a down-to-earth polar opposite to Gregor, who initiates the tragedy in the Ekdahl family with his insistence that truth is the only way to live life, that it frees the soul and the body from pain. So key scenes were half superbly acted, and half read through.

Still a good production of a wonderful play. However I prefer Hedda Gabler; she seems more modern, and Ekdahl's wife is too accepting of his foolishness and of fate to convince. Hedda's complex dissatisfaction with her lot makes for a more rounded character.

Ekdahl was good; played by Paul Hilton, I've seen him develop this type of character - a late Victorian young man with modern-looking views who is swamped by events and his own character - in several productions. Chekhov's Three Sisters, O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Elektra and another Ibsen 'Ghosts' where he dies at the end. He is tallish and too thin, and has floppy, almost dank dark hair. Ben Daniels was strong as Gregor, but I wish Nicholas le Provost had been well enough to play Dr Rolling, it would have made all the difference!

Wilde's bon mot 'the good end happily, the bad unhappily - that is the meaning of fiction' does not apply in the Wild Duck; rather the reverse.

So, three stars when it should have been 4.5!
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005
12:29 pm
[juhuacha]
greetings from Beijing
Hello, I'm new to the community, so on and so forth... Anyhoo, I'm going to be in London for a brief week (checking the place out, may move over at some point in the near-ish future) and I was hoping to get some feedback from y'all on things to do/see while in town. I'm not into tourist sites, I want to see local hot spots. I've lived in Beijing for more than 3 years now and still haven't managed to see quite a few of the postcard-places, but I have managed to see some pretty cool less well-known areas.

Ooh, and especially any advice on theater (oops, sorry, 'theatre') in London and any good live local bands, etc. Thanks!
Friday, October 14th, 2005
10:35 am
[ladyfaerolivier]
Bronte
I do believe this may be my first post...
Although this isn't technically London Theatre if my theatregoer is to be believed then it will be soon.
I'm recently back from Dublin where i have been reveling in the Theatre Festival that i had no idea existed until i was looking for an excuse to go to Dublin.
I managed to pick up tickets for Bronte...being a Fenella Woolgar fan and being interested in 19th Century literature...this seemed a logical choice of play.
I was impressed...very deeply moving...
If you know the story it's a hell of a lot easier to follow. I did see some blank faces during the interval and a woman next to me kept explaining what was going and who everyone was to the chap next to her, which was deeply irritating. I'm guessing this had more to with the audience though than the play. I think most audiences in britain would instinctively know at least part of the story. 'Tis so deeply embedded in the general mythology of the country.
Anyway, yes, definitely recomended and if any of you are Fenella Woolgar fans you should DEFINITELY go. She's is sublime as Charlotte.
Tuesday, October 11th, 2005
5:17 pm
[redvelvetjacket]
High Society
Hmm. I went to see this as part of my 16th birthday celebtrations. (All happy returns welcome.)

Jerry Hall plays Mother Lord, a woman whose daughter Tracy (Katherine Kingsley) is getting married for the second time. The slick, charming first husband, Dexter stays in the background, charming her younger sister, played beautifully by a girl whose name escapes me. :(

The wedding preparations are hampered by two journalists, who appear to do an expose of the family and shame them in high society.

This musical is, overall, disappointing. Jerry hall forgot her lines, the dancers were out of time and it seemed a bit of a shambles compared to The Producers last week. The songs are okay (the guy behind me started crying during a song called 'True Love' ?!?!?) But the plot is shaky. We have some nice, gung-ho acting here. It is Tracy's little sister Dinah who steals the show. Research informs me that she has played this role before, so no one is a revelation in this.

The one thing that did blow me away was Katherine Kingsley's voice. By God, that girl can sing!

Since the audience was predominatly elderly, and they seemed to love it, perhaps get a ticket for your Nan.
Sunday, October 2nd, 2005
8:21 pm
[redvelvetjacket]
The Producers
This is the most amazing musical I have seen in my life.

I cannot justify it with words, it's so amazing. All the actors are fantastic and the sets and costumes are breathtaking. Obviously, it helps that it's an amazing play by itself. It's really funny too if a little offensive.

Bear in mind that this is not a family show, and probably only suitable for the over-12s.
Saturday, September 24th, 2005
3:06 pm
[redvelvetjacket]
RSC Coming to London
The RSC is bringing it's comedy season to the Novella Theatre in London, previously Strand Theatre. They will be playing,
1. The Comedy of Errors
2. A Midsummer Night's Dream
3. As You Like It
4. Twelfth Night

I saw 2 & 3 in Stratford and can safely say that they are two of the best productions I have ever seen. Booking will be difficult, as they are always very popular. Go to www.rsc.org.uk to book online.
Tuesday, August 9th, 2005
11:47 pm
[mmmcrack3rs]
The Far Pavillion
My mum got free tickets to The Far Pavillion for Monday, and got four tickets. Roochi was keen, so I invited her along.

Whee! We got the tickets, found we were sitting Row B- which was good, as they never fill up Row A anyway, unless the theatre has a full booking, and settled down to watch the show.

We were first distracted by the Conductor. Very very fit from the back. Gorgeous. Then he turned round, and from then on we paid attention to the show, and try not to think of his face.


It started off great. The fit, fit actor... omg. I love fit actors! Roochi said he had the American kinda hunk to him, but I could see the British hunk in him too. He grinned a lot. We found that quite uncomfortable.

The story started off by showing the mans background. He was looking back on himself when he was a servent boy in India, who had made friends with the Indian princess. So Big Ash, and Little Ash, it was a really nice effect, and the type that made you catch on really quickly, instead of point and wonder what the hell was going on. Me and Roochi loved the kid actors. I love young actors. Especially on West Ends. How intelligent, how very talented they are. What a normal kid might screw up, or find embarrassing, these young un's don't do they? They are amazing. I love them. Superb.

The story continued, where obviously it was all about rescusing his indian princess.. and finally marrying her. Not much of a story line. After the interval, it actually got a bit "ugh" and me and Roochi turned our attention to the conductor again, who seemed to really go mad with the jumping and bopping and grinning at the pretty violinist or whatever.

The encore came- the kids didn't come out- of which really disappointed us.

And overall came to the conclusion:
1. The story dragged on. They coulda cut so much out, the songs were repetitive and showed no originality.
2. Lead guy- Ash, was creepy. But fit, and likeable. Great actor. He turned on the tears like... a click on the fingers. Amazing. But he grinned a lot. Grinned. Yes- grinned. A lot. Sorta uncomfortable. He tended to spit too. It reminded me of that friends episode where Joey was taught to spit over the actor, to get emphasis or something :P Hilarious.
3. The music wasn't catchy. Sure me and Roochi were singing "There's a mountain far away..." afterwards in the car, but I couldn't do it now. Not catchy enough.
4. Storyline was feeble. As mentioned before- could have been cut out, but also... well. They were childhood friends, and he came back to rescue and marry her. Ugh. Pur-lease.


That's my report. I'd have done one on 'Dancing in the Streets' but I hated it, and won't even comment.
Wednesday, July 20th, 2005
2:31 pm
[hulmerist]
Mary Stuart at the Donmar
Mary Stuart - fabulous production at the equally fabulous Donmar.

First night was last Thursday, and guessing that some people would wimp out of London after the bombs I booled down to get a return.

Schiller is popular in the West End at the moment after the huge success of the transfer from Yorkshire of Don Carlos, with Derek Jacobi. Michael Grandage, director here at the Donmar, was director of that too, and what a wonderful night in the theatre that was.

This delivers too, satisfying on so many levels that it deserves to be another big hit. A really excellent cast, better even than Don Carlos, was on top form with a translation by Peter Osvald, who sat just in front of me, that was often witty and kept the switchback pace of Schiller's literate plot very much in the foreground.

Harriet Walter shone as Queen Elizabeth, a perfect virgin queen who keeps her virginity to keep her independence to keep her power to keep her head. She is dark, measured in her speech, always calculating in her replies and aware of her royalty.

Janet McTeer's blonde Mary, Queen of Scots, is tall, muscular, charismatic, impulsive, revelling in life. She is the antithesis of Elizabeth, a device Schiller exploits to debate the nature of justice, royalty, power, conscience and even love.

Superb support from James Fleet as an honourable aristocratic warder, David Burke as the very human and big-hearted Shrewsbury, Guy Henry as the wily and self-serving Leicester, David Horovitch as the ultimate bureaucrat Birley and Barbara Jefford, brilliant as Mary's steward.

The thought of two and a half hours in the theatre with a dry and philosphic Schiller play could have been dire but this production was alive with compassion for all its characters and their flaws.
2:25 pm
[hulmerist]
Aristocrats by Brian Friel
A weekend or too ago K and I were left with a loose Saturday night and plumped for a trip to the theatre. Having enjoyed Theatre of Blood and The UN Inspector I chose Aristocrats, a Lyttleton revival of Irishman Brian Friel's 1988 award-winning hit.

It was still in the final days of preview when we saw it. But that doesn't explain why it was such a limpid affair. An excellent cast was a little lost in a play which appeared to have no direction. Despite its Chekhovian theme of a fading aristocratic family in a tumbling big mansion in Ireland it really didn't go very far. Andrew Scott, in the pivotal role of the fantasist Casimir who would have been the village idiot had he not been born in the Big House (in his father's view), fatally led the production off in the wrong direction.

His detailed and well observed Casimir was pitched for a studio performance and not the big stage and theatre of the Lyttleton with his lines often being gabbled up in his tics or lost beyond the proscenium.

Stephen Boxer's American academic researching the family as part of a thesis on life in the Catholic country aristocracy is nothing more than Friel's clumsy device to put the family under the microscope where there comfortable supporting fantasies crumble away like the house they come from.

Dirvla Kirwan was beautiful and effective as the alcoholic daughter and Gina McKee made the best of her part as the daughter who gave up her life to look after her father. TP McKenna as the father was thrown away in the role.

Not a good night at the theatre - at the end we just didn't care about these people, and the fault for that is all Friel's.
Thursday, June 30th, 2005
6:45 pm
[hulmerist]
The UN Inspector
<P>National Theatre's latest production of The UN Inspector in the Olivier Theatre.</P>
<P>Michael Sheen gives an energetic and skilled performance as the eponymous innocent fool, but you are always reminded of either Rik Mayall's Alan B'Stard or of Del Boy, both of which figure in Sheen's take on a pin-striped, failed-Yuppie, English estate agent on the make and on the slide in a modern Russian republic. That really is praise, and gives you an idea of the class of Sheen - up there with Sir David Jason and Wik from the Young Ones. Sheen has pushed very successfully a line in faintly disturbed and disturbing characters on a high-strung edge - his Turette's Syndrome sufferer for TV, Tony Blair in the Granita meal, and Caligula at the Donmar.</P>
<P>Other performances are up to the mark, especially Kenneth Cranham (now a Principal Skinner lookalike) as the President of the republic and the marvellous apparatchik of David Ryall.</P>
<P>However the trajectory of the farce propels the play so far over the top by halfway through the second half that you, crucially, have no sympathy for any of the characters and couldn't care less whether they live or die, keep their jobs or are exiled. The suffering proles are the most sympathetic characters, carrying the burden of the corrupt government which pulls out the tongues of troublesome journalists. The tongue, much to the audience's disgust, makes several appearances in the second half.</P>
<P>Very good value as part of the £10 Travelex season, and even at £25 NT price, but I'm not sure I'd want to see this in the West End.</P>
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005
4:39 pm
[hulmerist]
Theatre of Blood
I went to see this the other night - comments welcome. Apologies for cross-posting.

National Theatre, starring Jim Broadbent. An Improbable Theatre Company presentation as part of the Travelex 'cheap' season. Only £10 a pop! A reworking of the classic 1970s Brit horror flic starring Vincent Price and Diana Rigg with a supporting cast of Robert Coote, Dennis Price, Michael Hordern, Coral Browne, Ian Hendrie, Arthur Lowe.

Excellent night out. Very different audience, full of young and very young people and not the usual metropolitan theatre crowd (people like me).

Broadbent hammed as the ham; Rachael Stirling looked and sounded great in the part her mother created in the 1973 film.

Bette Bourne and two poodles ('My babies, Cicely and Gwendolyne) were magnificent. One of the poodles stealing the show at one point with a cute and unscripted attempt to get on Bourne's lap by standing on his hind legs and waggling his permed tail.

Later the dog was baked in a pie, with his head as a garnish ('my babies, my babies'), and the other pooch was fed into an *enormous mincer*. And then fed into the bloated stomach of Bourne's critic cum mother (Titus Andronicus) until he exploded.

Other Shakespearean deaths included knifed to death on the ides of March (Julius Caesar), drowning in a butt of Margaux (!!!) (Henry V), electrocution at the hairdressers (Henry VI part i), spiking like a rag doll (Troilus and Cressida), live open-heart surgery (Merchant of Venice), and attempted eye-gouging, like Gloucester in King Lear.

Funniest line: 'Come and see me at the National. We'll see if we can find you some funding to workshop some ideas'.

Self-referential in a retro and cross-media fashion - Stirling is Rigg's daughter and looks and sounds like her. The set is a lovely recreation of a partially burnt and rotting proscenium arch with velvet stage curtain - beautifully done and representing a theatrical world which the National was utterly opposed to and did its best to minimise.

The backdrop to Mark Lockyer's flat (Devlin, the Hendrie part) is of an uncompleted National Theatre. The National is mentioned continually; and the climax and perhaps the best part of the play is a passionated duologue about what the theatre is or should be, given by Devlin (Pro: the National, the primacy of text, the cathartic ability of theatre to change lives) and Lionheart (Pro: the actor, the event, the wildness, the uncontrollable, the anarchic, and Anti: Posh boys, 'Magdalen wasn't it' who want to intellectualise theatre and rule its soul by committee). It's naughty of Improbable to do this as one suspects they are far far more on the Lionheart side of the argument than the Devlin.

The Lyttleton is bathed in light at one point as Lionheart uses it as evidence in his speech against Devlin's theatre; and at the end it is the Lyttleton's iron-jaw of a stage curtain coming together that signals the end of the play.
Sunday, April 10th, 2005
6:43 pm
[mmmcrack3rs]
Phantom of the Opera
Best Andrew Lloyd Webber still out there. Always was the best, always will be the best. London theatre rules! I really wanna go see something new! I think the last one I watched was Jailhouse Rock.
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