Monthly Archives: December 2014

BEST THEATRE 2014, UK (ALFRED HICKLING) ·

 

(Hickling’s article appeared in the Guardian, 12/18.)

  1. Sea Breeze Winter Gardens, Morecambe
  2. Raw Material: Llareggub Revisited Laugharne, South Wales
  3. Memories of August 1914 Liverpool
  4. Beryl West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
  5. Kes Crucible, Sheffield
  6. Dead Dog in a Suitcase Everyman, Liverpool
  7. Queen Coal Crucible, Sheffield
  8. The Crucible West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
  9. Krapp’s Last Tape Crucible, Sheffield
  10. Monday’s Child Theatre Royal, York

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/dec/18/alfred-hickling-top-10-theatre-shows-2014

BEST THEATRE 2014, UK (LYN GARDNER) ·

 

(Gardner’s article appeared 12/16/14.)  

Prev

Next

  1. The Father Ustinov, Bath
  2. Every Brilliant Thing Roundabout, Edinburgh
  3. Pomona Orange Tree, London
  4. A Number Nuffield, Southampton
  5. Speak Bitterness online
  6. Idomeneus Gate, London
  7. Mr Burns Almeida, London
  8. The Wild Duck Barbican, London
  9. A Series of Increasingly Impossible Acts King’s Hall, Edinburgh
  10. Wot? No Fish!!BAC, London

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/dec/16/lyn-gardner-top-10-theatre-productions-2014

CONSTRUCTIVISM: BUILDING A BRAVE NEW WORLD WITH ART IN RUSSIA ·

 

(Phoebe Taplin’s article appeared in Russia Beyond the Headlines, 12/2.)

In 1922 the Russian art theorist Alexei Gan published a manifesto for an unprecedented, utopian form of creativity. Christina Lodder, who has produced a new translation of Gan’s extraordinary book, Constructivism, told RBTH: “Constructivism is a radical document and a vivid testament to one of the most experimental periods in the history of art, when political revolution generated a complete re-evaluation of the role of art.”

Tribute to unsung hero

 
 

“Gan is one of the unsung heroes of Constructivism,” Ms Lodder, a specialist in Russian modernism and lecturer in the history of art at the University of Kent, writes in her introduction. He formulated new ideas, “which he was convinced would ultimately lead to a better world”, and argued for them as “agitator, publisher, activist and promoter”. Constructivism explains the movement’s aims, says Ms Lodder, “elaborating its principles, justifying its positions, relating it to socialist theories of art and trying to promote its acceptance by the government”.

Russia Beyond the Headlines – http://rbth.com/literature/2014/12/02/building_a_brave_new_world_with_art_41891.html)

***** ‘CITY OF ANGELS’ (REVIEW PICK, UK) ·

 

(Dominic Cavendish’s article appeared in the Guardian, 12/17.)

There are plenty of great musicals about the American theatre – whether it be 42nd Street, Kiss Me Kate or The Producers; but somewhat fewer about Hollywood. The joy of City of Angels – given a stupendous revival at the Donmar by Josie Rourke 21 years after its West End premiere – is that it’s bitterly amusing about the treacherous LA movie industry but serves as far more than a one-note satire.

In its homage to 1940s noir, it reminds you of the glories of crime-writing and cinema. In its jazz-laden score (Cy Coleman) and sophisticated lyrics and book (David Zippel, Larry Gelbart) it flaunts both the sensual possibilities of the musical and the intellectual high-wire acts that are theatre’s forte.

Two narratives work in complex concert. In the “real” world, clacking away on a typewriter, a hack called Stine is adapting his detective novel City of Angels for the big-screen, at the meddling behest of cigar-chomping producer Buddy Fidler. In the “reel” world, his characters – notably his gumshoe alter-ego, Stone – are embroiled in a mystery involving a rich, decaying man with an iron lung, his grasping younger wife and the pair’s missing daughter/step-daughter.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/theatre-reviews/11293957/City-of-Angels-Donmar-Warehouse-review-frothing-with-wit.html

OSCAR WILDE QUIZ ·

(From the Guardian, 12/8.)

Declare your genius: complete Oscar Wilde’s epigrams – quiz

  1. 1.We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the …
  2. 2.I can resist everything except…
  3. 3.There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about and that is…
  4. 4.When people agree with me I always feel that I must be…     

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/quiz/2014/dec/08/oscar-wilde-epigrams-quiz

FIVE ITALIAN INDELICACIES REMIXED FROM BOCCACCIO (BBC RADIO DRAMA ON 3–LISTEN NOW) ·

 

Terry Jones introduces five ripping Renaissance yarns from The Decameron, starring John Finnemore, Ingrid Oliver, Carrie Quinlan, Lydia Leonard, Samuel Barnett and Colin McFarlane.

Listen to Parts 1 and 2 at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04t9719

The one hundred stories which make up Giovanni Boccaccio's humane and comic masterpiece, come from all over the world. They are vividly reset by Boccaccio among the flourishing merchant classes in the cities of Renaissance Italy. But their witty, satirical, bawdy voice sounds utterly modern, and their subjects – love, fate, sex, religion, morality – are universal.

Radio 3 is retelling ten of these choice Florentine Fancies, this week and next, adapted by Robin Brooks. Tonight's selection box of five tales has been broadcast every evening this week in the Essay. A further five dainties will be served in next week's Drama on 3.

Boccaccio was born to a Florentine banking family in 1313. After an unsuccessful start in law, he turned to his true love: poetry. A humanist and a pupil of Petrarch, Boccaccio's Latin poetry was famous across Europe, and provided the sources for his near-contemporary Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, and The Knight's Tale. But his real innovation was the vibrant, vernacular prose in which he wrote The Decameron. Beautifully realised in the teeming voices of merchants and prostitutes, knights and nuns, shopkeepers and conmen, these stories have become a bedrock of our storytelling tradition, mined ever since by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Moliere, Lope de Vega, Christine de Pizan, Swift, Keats, Shelley, Tennyson, Edgar Allan Poe, Caryl Churchill and many more.

The music for the series is arranged and performed by Robert Hollingworth, Director of I Fagiolini, and the lutenist Paula Chateauneuf, with translations by Silvia Reseghetti. The script consultant is Guyda Armstrong.

SAINT CIAPPELLETTO

All is not what it seems, when a fourteenth-century Tony Soprano makes his deathbed confession.

FEDERIGO AND HIS FALCON

Courtly Federigo spends every last groat trying to win the affections of the beautiful Monna. But there is only one thing of his that she wants. And it has feathers.

HOW ELENA BLEW HOT AND COLD

Widowed Elena sleeps around, though she likes to keep up appearances. But when she snubs one man for the amusement of another, she picks the wrong victim.

HOW TO GET IT OFF YOUR CHEST

When Zeppa discovers his wife with his best friend, he's keen to make a proportionate response.

KIND HEARTS AND BAYONETS

Mithridanes wants to be a wise and generous benefactor. Sadly, his neighbour Nathan is always wiser and more generous. How best to deal with this problem? Wisely and generously? Or…. not so much?

BEST THEATRE, CHI (CHRIS JONES) ·

 

 

(Jones’s article appeared in The Chicago Tribune, 12/14.)

The year 2014 in Chicago theater could perhaps best be described in the words of Samuel Beckett: "I can't go on, I'll go on."For many of the creative professionals whose work fuels the Chicago theater, 2014 was a year marked by unspeakable personal and professional losses, given the abnormally high number of deaths of so many essential artists, many taken in the prime of their Chicago-based careers. So it's perhaps not surprising that 2014 also was an excellent year for serious work by ensembles. Even in happier years, the main strength of the Chicago theater has been the power of its acting ensembles.

http://www.dailynews724.com/entertainment/an-intense-year-of-tough-stories-h336784.html

‘THE NEW YORKER’ THEATRE LISTINGS, 12/2 and 12/29 PLAYDECK ·

  

Openings and Previews

Constellations

Samuel J. Friedman

Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson star in a new play by Nick Payne, which imagines the possibilities of the relationship between a man and the physicist he falls in love with. Michael Longhurst directs. In previews.

Dying for It

Atlantic Theatre Company

Atlantic Theatre Company presents the American première of a play by Moira Buffini, adapted from “The Suicide,” by Nikolai Erdman, in which a man who wants to kill himself becomes an object of interest in his community. Neil Pepe directs. In previews.

Get Tickets

Into the Woods

Laura Pels

Roundabout Theatre Company presents Fiasco Theatre’s unplugged version of the classic musical by Stephen Sondheim, with a book by James Lapine, featuring ten actors and one piano. Directed by Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld. In previews.

Get Tickets

Manhattan Parisienne

59E59

Alain Boublil (co-creator of "Les Misérables" and "Miss Saigon") wrote this play, a love story involving a New York musician and a French actress and singer. Graciela Daniele directs. Opens Dec. 18. 

Sandra Bernhard Is #blessed

Joe's Pub

Joe's Pub hosts the comedienne for a limited holiday engagement. Opens Dec. 26.

Get Tickets

The Temptations & the Four Tops

Palace

The two groups unite in a seven-night stand, for a concert of their hits—“My Girl,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” “I Can’t Help Myself,” and many more. Opens Dec. 29.

Get Tickets

http://www.newyorker.com/goings-on-about-town/theatre

BEST THEATRE, NY (CHARLES ISHERWOOD) ·

 

(Isherwood’s article appeared in The New York Times, 12/10; via Pam Green.)

The older you get, the quicker Top 10 time seems to arrive. The past year in theater seemed more than usually breathless, but the rewards were many, sometimes seemingly constant. An exciting new play one month, a revitalized Broadway musical the next, and always what astonishes me most: the breadth and depth of the acting talent to be seen on New York stages. All my choices, and many shows that didn’t make the final cut, left me immensely gratified by the dedication and sometimes necessary fearlessness of New York’s theater actors.

‘Father Comes Home From the Wars, Parts 1, 2 & 3’ The first third of Suzan-Lori Parks’s ambitious work, ultimately to consist of nine plays spanning more than a century and a half, was the most audacious and exciting stage production of the year. Directed by Jo Bonney with a fine feel for its gloriously motley texture — incantaory lyricism in one passage, fine-grained naturalism elsewhere, and even a talking dog — “Father” follows the fortunes of a slave who fights in the Civil War on the side of his master, a Confederate colonel. This was the rare production in which text, design, acting and direction were all in consummate accord. I can’t wait to see more.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/14/theater/charles-isherwoods-best-theater-of-2014-father-comes-home-from-the-wars-and-more.html?_r=0

‘THE MERCHANT OF VENICE’ SHYLOCK MEETS ELVIS IN VEGAS (REVIEW PICK, UK) ·

(Michael Billington’s article appeared in the Guardian 12/16.)

Rupert Goold’s revelatory production of this problematic play abruptly disappeared after a season at Stratford in 2011. It is now back, with many of the original cast, and I found it even more impressive. By setting the play in modern Las Vegas, Goold shows capitalism at its kitschiest being invaded by emotional reality.

Goold is not the first director to realise this is a play about money: money lent, borrowed, stolen and invested. But his most brilliant touch is to juxtapose the casino culture of Vegas with the showbiz fantasy-land of Belmont. Susannah Fielding’s Portia isn’t just the prize in a ritzy TV gameshow called Destiny: in one of the evening’s wittiest touches she justifies the text’s classical allusions by dressing as a golden-wigged Hesione to be won by a Herculean Bassanio. But the beauty of Fielding’s performance lies in its ambivalence. One moment her Portia is an instinctive racist. In the trial scene, she stages a breathtakingly last-minute rescue of Antonio. But the abiding image is of Fielding going heart-rendingly berserk, to the strains of Are You Lonesome Tonight, as she realises her husband is unshakeably in love with a man.

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/dec/16/the-merchant-of-venice-almeida-review