I've now enjoyed seeing this production twice at the Menier & twice in the West End. Every time, it's a real treat. The performances get stronger & richer with each viewing, Theres not a weak link in the entire cast & thanks to Maria Friedman's brilliant direction, this production is pretty damn near perfect. I can't recommend it highly enough
Merrily We Roll Along on Friday, Jun 14th, 2013
The American Play is a highly compelling drama. Cleverly written, its enthralling from beginning to end. The top notch ensemble deliver excellent performances, making this a hugely enjoyable evening of theatre
The American Plan on Thursday, Jul 11th, 2013
Compelling if imperfect
Firstly, the theatre. This was my first visit to the new Park Theatre. What a great space that reminded me a lot of the Donmar. I enjoyed Daytona. The play made for compelling viewing. All the actors give fine performances. John Bowe is angry & forceful, Harry Shearer is calm & understated whilst Maureen Lipman is deeply moving. They interact very well. The play is fascinating though at times it felt a little implausible, particularly towards the end. I won't go into detail but given all that had gone before, to me the ending felt strange & incomplete. Nonetheless it's a hugely enjoyable evening at the theatre. Oh, at tonight's performance, Lipman dropped a pot of coffee during a scene with Shearer but they remained in character as an old, married Jewish couple. Impressive stuff.
Daytona on Saturday, Jul 27th, 2013
Theatre at its best
Wow. What an incredible piece of theatre. An epic, complex, extraordinary play, superbly staged with a faultless cast. One of the best plays I've seen in a LONG time
Chimerica on Wednesday, Aug 28th, 2013
Innovative & enjoyable
I will admit that for a little while at the beginning I thought I might hate this production but actually I loved it. A very modern staging of a classic text, this was a clever, inventive & innovative evening of theatre. The staging presented new ways in which the Olivier can be used to full effect. The acting was excellent especially John Hefferman in the lead role. Suspend your prejudices, take a deep breath and go with it & this production will reward you with a hugely enjoyable evening
Edward II on Monday, Sep 9th, 2013
Intense, uncompromising & at times brutal....
Intense, uncompromising & at times brutal, the play works in no small part thanks to the obvious chemistry between Olivia Williams & Mark Bazeley in the lead roles making the relationship between their characters completely believable. Both deliver strong, powerful performances as they navigate through the ups & downs of married life. There is good support from the ensemble cast but the evening belongs to Williams & Bazeley. Another excellent production from the wonderful St James Theatre
Scenes from a Marriage on Thursday, Oct 3rd, 2013
Brilliant, fast moving & harrowing
Adapted by Richard Eyre, this version of the Ibsen classic is gripping & fast paced with the entire played out in one 90 minute act. Lesley Manville's portrayal of Mrs Alving is superb. As a woman who loses everything, her performance is heart-breaking. With fine support especially from Jack Lowden as Oswald & Will Keen as the Pastor. The ending is one of the most harrowing endings I've ever seen in stage, brilliantly played but very hard to watch.
Ghosts on Friday, Oct 4th, 2013
An excellent cast but an underwhelming production
There's nothing wrong with re-setting a Jacobean comedy to 50's Soho, in fact it's a great idea, but despite some funny moments & the best efforts of the actors, the plot with its different strands just didn't come together for me leaving me somewhat underwhelmed & slightly baffled. A real disappointment & judging by the empty seats after the interval, I wasn't the only one who felt that.
A Mad World, My Masters on Wednesday, Oct 9th, 2013
A good idea but sadly it doesn't work
The critics may have been a tad harsh about Much Ado About Nothing at The Old Vic Theatre but sadly what seemed like a good idea to reimagine the play with an older Benedict & Beatrice doesn't work. The result is a slow, plodding & mostly dull production without the usual spark & energy between the main characters. Out of Vanessa Redgrave & James Earl Jones, it was surprisingly the latter who I felt gave a slightly more engaging performance but overall there was little warmth or emotion & not just between them. Others like the actors playing Claudio & Hero were disappointing. The plain, featureless set doesn't help things much either. Such a shame
Much Ado About Nothing on Thursday, Oct 10th, 2013
Enjoyable & wonderfully acted
With its roots in the Cyprus war of 1974, this is a fascinating & very enjoyable play. It's performed by a strong cast. Sally Dexter in the central role is mesmerising delivering a strong, rich & touching performance, a very enjoyable evening indeed
Hidden in the Sand on Thursday, Oct 17th, 2013
It's ok but......
There's nothing to actively dislike in this production but then again there's nothing to love about it either. It's perfectly ok but for me it never really sparked into life. I've seen previous productions of the play which left me laughing uncontrollably. Done well, A Midsummer Nights Dream is very funny. Alas in this production, the joy & humour of the play seemed rather subdued.
A Midsummer Night's Dream on Saturday, Oct 19th, 2013
Cleverly conceived & incredibly funny, the play charts the supposed relationship between The Queen & Mrs Thatcher during her 11 years in power. It touches on some of the events that took place & issues that arose in that time. The cast are stupendous. Both The Queen & Mrs Thatcher are played by two actors playing their younger & older selves. They're on stage simultaneously & it works fantastically well. All are just wonderful. A range of remaining roles from Denis Thatcher to Nancy Reagan are played by just two actors, both very fine indeed. This is one if the best productions I've seen this year. I hope it gets a West End transfer.
Handbagged on Wednesday, Oct 23rd, 2013
A fantastic play
A clever, incisive & witty play by the brilliant James Graham about one of the Tory continual bête noires, being a Conservative & gay. Performed by the wonderful National Youth Theatre, I thought it was excellent
Tory Boyz on Tuesday, Oct 29th, 2013