Category Archives: Performance

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS: ‘THE GLASS MENAGERIE’ (LISTEN NOW ON DRAMA ON 3–LINK BELOW) ·

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‘The Glass Menagerie’

By Tennessee Williams

The Glass Menagerie was Tennessee Williams’ first big success when it opened on Broadway in 1945, and has remained the most touching, tender and painful of his works. Closely based on the playwright’s own life and family in St Louis in the 1930s, Williams breaks away from naturalism to create a dream-like atmosphere. The narrator Tom conjures up recollections of the cramped and claustrophobic tenement home he shares with his often over-bearing mother Amanda, and his painfully shy sister, Laura.

The play simmers with frustration as each character is trapped in their own unhappy situation. Tom (also Williams’ birth name) works in a warehouse but dreams of being a poet and escaping his mundane life supporting his mother and sister. Laura hides at home lacking the confidence to engage meaningfully with the outside world, preferring instead to get lose herself in her collection of fragile glass animals. Amanda sells magazine subscriptions over the phone and commits herself to finding a match for her daughter. One day, Tom succumbs to his mother’s pressure and brings home a gentleman caller to visit his sister, and their quiet existence is shattered.

The programme is introduced by John Lahr, author of the acclaimed biography Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh.

Amanda . . . . . Anastasia Hille
Tom . . . . . George MacKay
Laura . . . . . Patsy Ferran
Jim . . . . . Sope Dirisu

Music for violin arranged and performed by Bogdan Vacarescu.

Director: Sasha Yevtushenko.

Photo: BBC

 

CHEKHOV/FRAYN: ‘WILD HONEY’ WITH DAVID TENNANT (LISTEN NOW ON BBC RADIO 4—LINK BELOW) ·

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David Tennant stars in Michael Frayn’s brilliant adaptation of the riotous Chekhov comedy.

When Wild Honey was first produced at the National in 1984, Ian McKellan played Platonov at exactly the same age as David Tennant is now. It’s a rumbustious cornucopia of characters and themes covering sexual comedy, morality, melodramatics, the state of contemporary Russia and a hint of tragedy.

The play was famously discovered in a bank vault in 1920, sixteen years after Chekhov’s death – with the title page of the play missing, leading to its rather varied history of titles. The original piece was nearly six hours long and Michael Frayn has done a masterful job of turning the work into something quintessentially Checkhovian. Most critics agree that if it shows examples of Chekhov’s juvenilia – it also shows clear displays of what a genius he was to become.

Platonov himself is half Hamlet, half Benedict. A sharp and witty tongue – but somehow incapable of decision. Comedic with an underpinning of the tragic.

“I love everyone – and everyone loves me. I insult them, I treat them abominably – and they love me just the same!”

Village schoolmaster Platonov has it all – wit, intelligence, a comfortable and respectable life in provincial Russia, and the attentions of four beautiful women – one of whom is his devoted wife. As summer arrives and the seasonal festivities commence, the rapidly intensifying heat makes everyone giddy with sunlight, vodka and passion.

Platonov – What’s going to become of us all?
Anna – You seem just a tiny bit less married
Platonov – How are we going to survive our lives?
Anna – First of all by enjoying the fireworks.

And fireworks is what follows…..

Adapted by Michael Frayn

Produced and Directed by Clive Brill
A Brill production for BBC Radio 4.

Photo: BBC Radio 4

 

OSCAR WILDE: ‘LADY WINDERMERE’S FAN’ WITH MIRA SORVINO–ON BBC RADIO 3 ·

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A fresh look at Wilde’s masterpiece of secrets, lies andb betrayal. His subtitle: ‘A play about a good woman’. 

Produced by award-winning Jarvis & Ayres Productions. Martin Jarvis directs a star cast: Mira Sorvino, Susannah Fielding, Jonathan Cake, James Callis, Ian Ogilvy, Rosalind Ayres, Peter Woodward. Social outsider Mrs Erlynne and respectable Lord Windermere share a secret. Are they having an affair? Confronted by young wife Margaret, her husband denies it. Unconvinced, she decides to leave him. A roller-coaster examination of ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Deceit. Infidelity. Love. The tell-tale fan becomes a vital clue as the truth finally becomes clear. But who actually is the ‘good’ woman? 

Masterly thriller – its timelessness reflected in specially composed music. Drawing-room-comedy turned on its head in Wilde’s amazingly up-to-date study of hypocrisy.

 

Mrs Erlynne ….. Mira Sorvino
Lady Windermere ….. Susannah Fielding
Lord Windermere ….. James Callis 
Lord Darlington ….. Jonathan Cake 
Duchess of Berwick ….. Rosalind Ayres
Lord Lorton ….. Ian Ogilvy 
Mr Dumby ….. Peter Woodward
Cecil Graham …… Matthew Wolf 
Mr Hopper ….. Darren Keefe 
Parker ….. Darren Richardson
Agatha/Lady Stutfield ….. Elizabeth Knowelden 
Lady Plymdale/Rosalie ….. Edita Brychta
Lady Jedburgh ….. Jean Gilpin

Sound Design: Mark Holden
Specially composed music: A-Mnemonic 
Director: Martin Jarvis 
A Jarvis & Ayres Production.

Photo: BBC Radio 3

IBSEN: ‘THE WILD DUCK’ TRANSLATED AND ADAPTED BY CHRISTOPHER HAMPTON ·

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David Threlfall, Samuel West and James Fox star in Henrik Ibsen’s masterpiece – as strong on comedy as profound, tragic drama. A family creates an imaginary forest in their loft room for a wounded wild duck.But will someone come to shatter their dreams?

Translated and adapted by Christopher Hampton

Hjalmar ….. David Threlfall
Gregers ….. Samuel West
Werle ….. James Fox
Gina ….. Lise-Ann McLaughlin
Hedvig ….. Lauren Cornelius
Ekdal ….. Clive Hayward
Relling ….. Michael Bertenshaw
Mrs Sørby ….. Georgie Glen

Solo flute played by Martin Feinstein

Director: Peter Kavanagh.

‘SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM’: LISTEN TO BBC RADIO 3 IN CONCERT ·

SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM: LISTEN TO RADIO 3 IN CONCERT

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Keith Lockhart conducts the BBC Concert Orchestra and a host of music theatre stars in the European premiere of a brand new review of the work of Stephen Sondheim, featuring some of his best-known songs such as ‘Send in the Clowns’ and ‘Losing my Mind’, from some of his greatest shows including Company, Follies, Gypsy and A Little Night Music. The concert includes specially recorded introductions to some of the songs by Stephen Sondheim himself.

Singers: Liz Callaway, Claire Moore, Julian Ovenden; Rebecca Trehearn, Tyrone Huntley, Damian Humbley

BBC Concert Orchestra, conductor Keith Lockhart
Director: Bill Deamer.

Photo: BBC Radio 3

JON FOSSE: ‘THE NAME’ (LISTEN NOW ON BBC 3—LINK BELOW) ·

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Norwegian Jon Fosse, winner of the prestigious International Ibsen Prize in 2010, is one of the world’s most performed playwrights. His breakthrough came with Namnet (‘The Name’), written in 1995, and itremains one of his most widely produced plays. It tells the story of a pregnant young woman’s return to the claustrophobia of family home with the reluctant father-to-be in tow. Translated by Gregory Motton.

The Girl ….. Norah Lopez Holden
The Boy ….. Joseph Ayre
The Mother ….. Ellie Darvill
The Father ….. Philip Bretherton
The Sister ….. Isabella Inchbald
Bjarne ….. Nikhil Parmar

Directed by Toby Swift

British playwright Simon Stephens introduces the drama. His adaptation of Fosse’s play I AM THE WIND was performed at the Young Vic in 2011.

LUCY PREBBLE: ‘THE EFFECT’  (LISTEN NOW ON BBC RADIO 3–LINK BELOW) ·

‘THE EFFECT’

by Lucy Prebble.

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Starring Jessie Buckley, Christine Entwisle, Damien Molony and Samuel West.

“I can tell the difference between who I am and a side effect.”

Award-winning chemical romance. 

Connie (Jessie Buckley – ‘The Last Post’, ‘Taboo’) and Tristan (Damien Molony – ‘Crashing’, ‘Being Human’) are taking part in a clinical trial for a new psychoactive drug. So when they start to feel attracted to each other, can they really trust how they feel?

A profound, and funny, play about love, depression and selfhood, winner of the Critics’ Circle Award for Best New Play when it was performed at the National Theatre in 2012.

Dr Lorna James …. Christine Entwisle
Connie …. Jessie Buckley
Tristan …. Damien Molony
Dr Toby Sealey …. Samuel West

Composer, Richard Hammarton
Writer, Lucy Prebble
Director, Abigail le Fleming

THE WRITER
Lucy Prebble is a writer for film, television, games and theatre. Before THE EFFECT she wrote the hugely successful ENRON (2010). Her first play, THE SUGAR SYNDROME (2003), won her the George Devine Award and was performed at the Royal Court.
Lucy is an Associate Artist at the Old Vic Theatre.
For television, she is the creator of the TV series SECRET DIARY OF A CALL GIRL. She is Co-Executive Producer and writer on HBO’s media mogul drama, SUCCESSION.

THE COMPOSER
Richard Hammarton is a composer and sound designer for Theatre, TV and Film. His work has been heard throughout the UK and Internationally. He was part of the design team that won the Manchester Evening News “Best Design” award for DR FAUSTUS in 2010 and was Sound Designer for the Olivier Award winning play, THE MOUNTAINTOP. He also worked on the Ivor Novello winning RIPPER STREET for TV.

 

ARTHUR MILLER:  ‘DEATH OF A SALESMAN’ WITH DAVID SUCHET, ZOË WANAMAKER (LISTEN NOW ON BBC RADIO 3—LINK BELOW) ·

Listen at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06gpwk4

Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller

David Suchet, Zoë Wanamaker and director Howard Davies, who all won awards for the sell-out production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons in the West End in 2010, reunite to create a new production for Radio 3 ofMiller’s 1949 classic about the American dream and his second big Broadway success. The original won The Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award and Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play. This new radio production is part of the celebrations across BBC Radio 3, 4 and 4 Extra to mark the centenary of the birth of one of the most important American playwrights of the twentieth century.

Willy Loman is a 63-year-old travelling salesman worn out by a life on the road. His wife Linda has supported him throughout and borne him two sons, Biff and Happy. Biff is working away and has returned home for the first time in years, so the whole family are reunited. But there is a secret between Willy and Biff, which has destroyed what was a mutual hero-worshipping relationship when Biff was a star athlete in High School, and still haunts them both.

Penny whistle, Wilf Dalton
Technical presentation, Eloise Whitmore

A Watershed production for BBC Radio 3.

BRIAN FRIEL: ‘FATHERS AND SONS’, AFTER TURGENEV (LISTEN NOW ON BBC, RADIO 3—LINK BELOW) ·

Listen at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09czx1d

‘Fathers and Sons’ by Brian Friel, after the novel by Ivan Turgenev. Fathers: Charles Dance, James Fleet. Sons: Edward Bennett, George Blagden.

In Turgenev’s prescient 1859 story of generational collision, both young heroes seem, at first, passionate revolutionaries, believing the old Russia should be swept away. But they’re unsure what they’d replace it with. This clash of values is dramatic, funny and recognisably up-to-date, with Julia McKenzie as a batty princess, Lisa Dillon a self-searching widow, Gabrielle Lloyd a loving mother and Martin Jarvis as odd-ball Uncle Pavel. 

Turgenev’s darkly observant human comedy examines a particular period in Russian history which, in this epic production, foregrounds the eventual political struggle. And Friel, with benefit of hindsight, allows a glimpse of the future. Movingly, the play reminds us that it’s the eternal values of love, friendship, loyalty and devotion that will, ultimately – hopefully – survive.

Nikolai Kirsanov … James Fleet 
Arkady … George Blagden 
Vassily Bazarov … Charles Dance 
Yevgeny … Edward Bennett 
Princess Olga … Julia McKenzie 
Anna Sergeevna … Lisa Dillon 
Pavel … Martin Jarvis
Arina … Gabrielle Lloyd
Fenichka … Lucy Phelps
Dunyasha … Joanna Cassidy
Katya … Matilda Wickham
Piotr … Kieran Hodgeson 
Fedka … Darren Richardson
Prokofyich and Timofeich … Nigel Anthony

Musicians: Michael Lan, Stavros Dritsas, Louis Baily, 
Djordje Gajic, Richard Sisson 
Music advisers: Lucy Parham, Richard Sisson
Sound design: Mark Holden

Produced and directed by Martin Jarvis and Rosalind Ayres 
A Jarvis and Ayres Production for BBC Radio 3.

 

CHEKHOV: ‘THREE SISTERS’ (LISTEN NOW ON BBC RADIO 3–LINK BELOW) ·

Listen at: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0739rh4

Three sisters living in a garrison town in provincial Russia dream of the day that they will return to their home city of Moscow. Maybe then their lives will really start. But in Anton Chekhov’s poignant classic somehow real life keeps getting in the way.

Three Sisters was written in 1900 and is a meticulously observed play for an ensemble cast. In its wry portrayal of dreams and self-delusion, and of the folly of believing that life is always better elsewhere, Chekhov’s drama captures universal truths, joys and sorrows but his greatness as a writer of the human condition lies in his avoidance of either sentimentality or judgement.

With Peter Ringrose on additional piano

Sound: Nigel Lewis

Adapted for radio by D.J.Britton
Directed by Alison Hindell
BBC Cymru Wales production