Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Uncle Vanya - St James Theatre

Maybe it was just me, but I really didn’t understand RussellBolam’s interpretation of this Chekhov piece. Rather than a country state house, the play is set in a farmhouse, fair enough, but the modern day costumes I feel really let it down. John Hannah, who plays Vanya, was my inspiration for seeing this piece as I’ve always enjoyed his screen work. Not so for the stage in this instance I’m afraid. Yelena, played by Rebecca Knight, seemed like a pointless character who strutted up and down the stage looking gorgeous but brought nothing to the piece.  Thank God for Astrov (Joe Dixon) the handsome doctor who at least brought some air of a comedic element to the piece and saved me dying of complete boredom. I did, however, really enjoy the scene changes carried out by the actors as one of the characters strummed away on his guitar. This guitar playing was fine and even slightly amusing for the set changes but during the course of the performance it seemed out of place, unnecessary and sometimes a little annoying.

Uncle Vanya can be seen @ St James Theatre until 8th November

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Made In Dagenham - Adelphi Theatre

It’s always nice when something exceeds your expectations and Made In Dagenham did just that for me. The last few musicals I saw had me waning slightly by the second half but this time round I couldn’t wait to see the outcome of these feisty women and their insistent placards. The songs are funny (I could relate to ‘If you want something done ask a busy woman’). Stand out performance came from Sophie-Louise Dann with her solo for the character Barbara Castle. I also enjoyed the set which is imaginative, my favourite being Eddie O’Grady, played by Adrian der Gregorian, awaking from bed in the morning. With a great mixture of humour and sensitivities surrounding what was a victorious historical event, this show hits the nail on the head. Here’s hopping it doesn’t meet the same fate of several recent musicals that have had to close early.

Made In Dagenham can be seen @ the Adelphi Theatre until 28th March 2015

Sunday, 19 October 2014

King Charles III - Wyndham's Theatre

I loved everything about this production. The story (though slightly unrealistic in places) the minimal but effective staging and the actors who have been terrifically casted. Act I of this comedy offers laugh after laugh. The uncanny likeness of Prince Harry played by Richard Goulding and many of Prince Charles mannerisms captured by Tim Piggott-Smith. As the laughs subside a little in the second half, we’re faced with the slightly more serious question of what future awaits the monarchy after the Queens dies. Even if you’re not vaguely interested in the Royal Family nor our government I would still recommend you go see this play – even if purely for the entertainment factor.

King Charles III can be seen @ Wynham's Theatre until 31st January 2015

Monday, 13 October 2014

Electra - The Old Vic

I couldn’t quite determine if what I considered the low energy in parts of this piece should be attributed to the way it was directed or the customary poise and coolness that Kristin Scott Thomas exudes in all the roles I’ve seen her in to date. Still, looking frail and gaunt, she does a tremendous job of portraying Electra, a daughter who is so consumed by sheer wrath over the murder of her father that she resolves to kill her mother in revenge. Her sister’s character, Chrysothemis (played by Liz White) is more subtle yet in my opinion, more intriguing.
All the action takes place besides a solitary tree in the dusty court yard of the palace where her mother now resides with Aegisthus, her lover who assisted in the killing of Electra’s father.

I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Aegisthus (her mother’s lover) before his quick demise…but the focus of this play is very much on the females.

Electra can be seen at The Old Vic until 20th December