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Theatre / Re: Coming up....
« on: September 12, 2017, 12:47:42 pm »
Looks great, though I'm a bit sceptical about Mangan as Goldberg.  When I first heard the news I assumed he'd be Stanley.  Wanamaker will have to go some to beat Maggie Steed's Meg but I'm sure she'll be great.  I wonder who they've got as Lulu.

Theatre / Queen Anne - Theatre Royal Haymarket (RSC)
« on: September 11, 2017, 09:03:25 pm »
I wasn’t impressed by Helen Edmundson’s history play, which is a pity because there were good reasons to choose it for the third and final play of my recent visit including 1) Anne is a monarch about whom, and about whose reign, we hear little 2) Emma Cunniffe and Romola Garai are decent actors 3) Yet again I failed to get in to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at a reasonable price!

I suppose the play works on one level in that the main characters are fairly well written.  How historically accurate they are is beyond my competence to comment but they interact well enough within the context of the plot.  The narrative is as much about Sarah Churchill (Garai), Robert Harley (James Garnon) or even Abigail Hill (Beth Park) as about the title character (Cuniffe) but the title is fair enough as the more dynamic characters still had to orbit the throne – comparatively dull as the monarch might be.  I found the device of having Harley and the likes of Dean Swift and Daniel Defoe mounting scurrilous satirical sketches at the Inns of court – and then Hill and Churchill dropping in from time to time – rather contrived though the light relief was welcome enough in a play that was, at 2h50m, overlong according to most opinions I heard.  Likewise, the suggestion that the closeness of Anne and Sarah was a bit more than friendship struck me as rather fanciful.  Unwelcome, though, was the clunky educational content.  Maybe I take this kind of thing too seriously but I cringe when I hear exchanges such as when Anne is warned of the machinations of James Francis Stuart and exclaims ‘The Pretender?’ 

The performances are mostly very good.  Cunniffe draws the short straw in that, though she’s queen, she gets to be dull, overweight, mobility-impaired and stricken with gout and sores while Garai gets both glamour and agency.  Park is somewhere in between – plain and with a pock-marked face but definitely in the driving seat as far as her own destiny is concerned (whether the progress from penury to titled affluence as Lady Masham was quite as straightforward as the narrative suggests is questionable but it makes for a decent sub-plot).  Outstanding among the cast is Garnon – though I suppose the Globe veteran must start with an advantage in a period costume drama.

If you want to see it the £10 front row day seats are very good value and don’t seem very hard to come by (I got mine at 1045 and it was pretty much dead centre).  Short people are at a particular disadvantage at this theatre because of the high stage but there is plenty of legroom in row A (I suspect row AA springs into being if the show is very popular).  The set is pretty unobtrusive, though; in fact it’s pretty much bare until furniture and props are taken on and off.  The biggest item is a four poster bed that’s wheeled on from time to time but it stays pretty much rear-centre so doesn’t impair any important sightlines.  The biggest drawback in the front row is the fact that if your attention tends to stray you might find it drawn to the pit where the musicians under the stage can be seen through a sort of gauze screen.

Runs until 30 Sep:

Theatre / The March on Russia - Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond on Thames
« on: September 10, 2017, 10:15:55 pm »
I thought this was a decent production of a touching piece though I don’t think with the best will in the world anyone could call it a neglected classic.  The ‘neglected’ bit would be accurate enough: the piece was just a name to me before Friday evening and I can’t even remember seeing a production advertised.  It is, however, easy enough to see how people planning production programmes might choose something else to revive ahead of David Storey’s 1989 piece. 

Performed, as always at the Orange Tree, in the round the single set is evocative and thoughtful.  You have to imagine the division between the Pasmores’ living room and kitchen – which is hardly a burden but for some reason you also have to imagine the TV set to which frequent reference is made while the kitchen is furnished with all sorts of things which never get used.  For some reason, too, the coal fire is either in the middle of the floor or built into the imaginary internal wall.  This allows the fire, (which, as Mr Pasmore is a retired miner, has a certain symbolic significance and receives frequent attention) to take centre stage but seems an unlikely position.  All the action takes place on this set on the occasion of the Pasmores’ Diamond Wedding anniversary.  Since, according to the programme, the action is set in 1989 that dates the marriage to 1929 which is not in itself problematic but the title refers to Mr Pasmore’s involvement in the British attempt to subvert the Russian Revolution (which possibly explains the decision to stage this play in 2017.  I wondered whether plans were made before Storey’s death in March).  This would not only make for a 12 year gap between his return and his marriage but would mean, even if he’d added a couple of years to his age to volunteer, that he’d have been in his late eighties at the time of the events in the play – and, as played by Ian Gelder, he seemed a good decade younger to me.  It would make a lot more sense if the date were 1979 as this would not only make his wedding shortly after his homecoming but would make more sense of the fact that Mrs P’s (Sue Wallace) decision to vote Tory was one of the many minor points of conflict in the marriage. 

The Pasmores’ son Colin (Colin Tierney) has stayed overnight and their two daughters, Wendy (Sarah Belcher) and Eileen (Connie Walker) arrive unexpectedly leading to a decision to go out for a celebration meal.  The meal includes drinks and several marital and sibling fault lines that are hinted at in the first half of the drama  threaten to split wide open in the second before being resolved with familial love.  All in all it’s an engaging examination of family dynamics in a society founded on under-privilege and struggle and I wouldn’t want to put anyone off seeing it – apart from anything else the performances are very fine and, as with Zigger Zagger earlier, who knows when you’ll get another chance.  It did, however, come across as a rather underpowered version of the kind of thing Arnold Wesker did so well.

Runs until 7 October:

Theatre / Re: Zigger Zagger - Wilton's Music Hall
« on: September 10, 2017, 01:48:50 pm »
I was a little worried in case this production disappointed for one or more of several predictable reasons: over-high expectations on my part; amateurish delivery by inexperienced actors; prissy presentation and editing – this last prompted by the word ‘adaptation’ in the publicity.

I needn’t have worried.  In spite of a few quibbles, which I shall mention later, the experience was probably better than the best I allowed myself to imagine.  From the start the company played to its strengths.  The National Youth Theatre is amateur in the sense that they don’t get paid but in other senses they’d put some professionals to shame.  One of the strengths arising from this kind of amateurism is that the budgetary restraints are less strict when it comes to casting: if actors are good enough and committed enough they can cast as many as will fit on the stage.  With a cast of 50 the opening ensemble is very impressive; even a little intimidating.

For those unfamiliar with Peter Terson’s piece, Zigger Zagger uses football fandom, and the associated hooliganism, as a metaphor and surrogate for many aspects of society.  I wonder whether Terson might have had Bill Shankly’s wry observation that football, far from being a matter of life and death, was much more important in mind.  The energy is maintained throughout with a three level stage going from the Astroturf apron and the corrugated iron panelled rear stage where most of the scenes take place to the gallery where the chanting crowd observes, Greek chorus style.  While never actually advocating hooliganism as an alternative lifestyle Terson highlights, by analogy, the hypocrisy and unattractiveness of the conventional lifestyle.  The metaphor, in this production at least, is underlined by putting the red and white scarf of City round the necks of identifiable, sometimes uniformed, establishment stereotypes – police, teachers, clergy, careers officers etc – as well as the large cast of extras. 

The play revolves around young Harry Philton (Josh Barrow) and his relations with the wider society on the one hand and, on the other, the City supporters, particularly the group led by the charismatic and dangerous Zigger Zagger (a spellbinding performance by Teddy Robson).  As mentioned, the interweaving of football, though not hooliganism, and society is a big feature:  Harry’s good-hearted but flighty mother (Ciara Wright) wants to go to the game as soon as she hears you can stand feet away from athletic young men in tiny shorts; his conformist brother-in-law Les (Ede Bamgboye) wants to discuss the finer points of 4-3-3 as well as introducing Harry to the delights of Reader's Digest and Classics for Pleasure; the copper who detains Harry for throwing a bottle from the terraces is more interested in events on the pitch than supervising his prisoner; even the magistrate follows the sport (or pretends to).  Most striking of all, perhaps, is the trendy vicar (Sebastian Humphreys) who, mindful of the contrast between the empty churches and the teeming terraces, almost seems to want to turn football into a manifestation of Christianity.  Each individual, of course, brings their own needs to football experience.  Terson comes uncomfortably close to suggesting a gender based dichotomy with the boys being attracted to the camaraderie and violence while the girls seem to be motivated by sex (not just Harry’s mother but his girlfriend Sandra (Sedona Rose) who becomes besotted with the star striker Vincent (Dani Ewedemi)) but then let’s not forget he was writing fifty years ago -  and director Juliet Knight includes lots of female actors in the supporters’ chorus which updates the balance to some extent.  Furthermore, the appeal, for the young people of both sexes, is the sheer animal excitement of the football experience.  The performances are all very good with Robson standing out for me, though that might be because, while the other characters are necessarily rather sketchy and stereotypical, Zigger is more archetypal and tremendously powerful; which, I imagine, is the reason the play is named for him rather than for the ostensible protagonist, Harry.

I had a few quibbles about the production.   Most of the overt racist language has been edited out which, though understandable, is disappointing.  It’s not even as if there is any suggestion that the authorial voice is indulgent towards ignorant abuse (in the scene on the bus – scene 28 in my text, omitted from this production – the hooligans are clearly shown to get the worst of the exchanges). For some reason the action has been located slightly after the original to the mid-1970s but they’ve left in some lines that would be anachronistic in that setting (eg the reference to proposals to raise the school leaving age to 16 – which was officially completed by 1972 but in practical operation some time before).  Overall, though, I was delighted to see this again and full of praise for the production and performances.  I remain puzzled by the exclusion of Peter Terson’s work, and this piece in particular, from mainstream stages in recent decades.  And, as far as I can see, not one national paper bothered to send a critic or even give space to a blogger for this 50th anniversary production.

Theatre / Zigger Zagger - Wilton's Music Hall
« on: September 09, 2017, 10:45:28 am »
It's a bit odd putting the recommendation before the report but there are only today's two performances left of a very short run.  If you have the chance to see this I suggest you grab it as, apart from anything else, heaven knows when another chance will arise.  Choose front stalls if you can because the rake in this auditorium is very slight if it exists at all.  Highly recommended.  Report follows when I get home but by then it will be too late for recommendations.

The Coffee Bar / Re: Grumpy Old Rant Room
« on: September 07, 2017, 09:30:26 am »
Vivaldi, the opening of "Spring", naturally. Now, there is very little music I despise as much as that,

I'm sure I'd like The Four Seasons a lot more if I could avoid hearing snippets of it so frequently.

the people I've dealt with at the DWP have been above and beyond fantastic, and I have nothing but praise for them

Vivaldi bad, DWP good.  Not an opinion you read every day!

Proms / Prom 46 (2017) - LSO, Rattle, choirs & soloists: Gurrelieder
« on: August 22, 2017, 10:58:26 pm »
This will almost certainly be the highlight of my 2017 Proms.  Coming hotfoot from Loot at Finsbury Park I just missed the start of the Proms Extra talk but even that turned out to my advantage as if I’d gone to the talk I’d have missed the moving outdoor a capella tribute to Barcelona from Orfeó Català, one of the three choirs involved in Simon Rattle and the LSO’s truly magnificent Gurrelieder.  The Arena was packed but the slight discomfort was a small price to pay for what seemed to me an almost flawless performance.  Soloists Eva-Maria Westbroek, Simon O’Neill, Karen Cargill, Peter Hoare and Christopher Purves all sang superbly with Thomas Quasthoff taking the role of the Speaker.  Rattle’s rapport with the LSO augured well for their coming partnership and the contribution of the choirs (the other two were the LS Chorus and the CBSO Chorus) was wonderful.  The blazing finale was breathtakingly impressive and the audience was still applauding when I headed out a good five minutes after the end.   

Proms / Prom 45 (2017) - BBCSO & Chorus, Oramo, Kulman Watts: Mahler
« on: August 22, 2017, 10:54:34 pm »
A packed hall heard a very fine Resurrection Symphony from Sakari Oramo and the BBC Symphony Orchestra supported by a couple of choirs and a good solo vocals from a heavily pregnant Elizabeth Watts and from Elisabeth Kulman.  While it might not suit purists the cavernous hall makes this massive symphony quite an experience with the brass and percussion sounds from the gallery contributing to a memorable immersive feel.  A very good start to my weekend.

Theatre / Loot - Park Theatre, Finsbury Park
« on: August 22, 2017, 12:32:16 am »
It’s my own lookout, I know, if I book for a preview but at least I can advise anyone planning to see this new production of Loot to leave it until later in the run as it seems to be rather less than ready right now.  As a matter of fact, the first preview was actually cancelled for ‘technical reasons’.  All I could elicit from the staff was that there were problems with the set – which struck me as rather odd when I saw that the set was pretty static and remained more or less the same throughout.  OK, there was a coffin in the middle of  the living room and McLeavy’s status as ‘the leading Catholic layman within a radius of forty miles’ was, rather unnecessarily I thought, underlined by giving the room stained glass windows; but there was nothing too complex about the set.  I was a little concerned at the way Mrs Mcleavy’s corpse banged against some of the props because, for the first time I can remember*, the corpse was played by a live actor (Anah Ruddin, whose inertia throughout was probably the most convincing acting performance on display here).  Whatever the problems with the set, though, it’s the delivery of the lines that is the biggest problem.  Almost everyone on stage trips over their lines several times and they are almost all delivered too quickly.  Perhaps it’s just me, but I think the grotesque absurdity of some of Orton’s dialogue comes across best when delivered dead straight – not rattled off as if the characters know that what they’re saying is hilarious.  Sinead Matthews as Fay is particularly guilty of sounding like a conscious comic while the two young men - Sam Frenchum as Hal and Calvin Demba as Dennis - seemed to be in a rush to get to the end of every sentence and on to the next.  When a line like ‘she’s three parts papal nuncio’ flies by without raising a laugh there’s something wrong.  An exception was Christopher Fulford as Truscott who, for me, got the pomposity of the character more or less right without seeming to be sending himself up (if that makes sense!).

I’m betting that this production will improve as it goes on because I want to recommend it but, at the same time, think badly staged Orton must be very puzzling to people coming to the plays for the first time who must wonder what all this bizarre dialogue is getting at.  However  the attacks on all aspects of the establishment, while they might not be as unusual as they were in Orton’s day, are brilliantly aimed.  In Loot the police come in for particularly savage treatment – which, I dare say, will play well in North London.  For those who haven't been before I should mention that the theatre is an intimate, well designed space where the stalls are not so deep that it's hard to see from the back and even the second row in the circle should offer a decent view as it's raised very high above the front row.  You might want to avoid anything at the sides too close to the back of the stage as (like me) you'll be unable to see inside the cupboard (which is probably not too big a loss but knowing that there's something you can't see is a bit frustrating).  Let’s hope the production gets its act together by Wednesday’s Press Night and presents Orton’s work in all its glory right through to Sep 24:

and then at Newbury for another month:

*The production claims to be the first to use Orton’s original script but of the Lord Chamberlain’s requirements (as listed in the Methuen script), the only one I’ve never seen ignored before was his stipulation that ‘the corpse is inanimate and not played by an actress’.  If memory serves, all the lines he wanted cut or amended have been restored before.  I was a little puzzled by the fact that this production changed Hal’s ‘spade bird’ to ‘black bird’ in his description of his proposed brothel.  Could this have been in Orton’s original only to be changed when he realised that ‘black bird’ sounds too much like one of our feathered friends?  It seems unlikely that the change was due to political correctness because Dennis’s reference to the ‘club with the spade dancer’ had already been delivered unaltered .  Furthermore, the speech that I most feared would be cut – the one ending ‘Stock up with Mars bars’ – survives unamended despite the obvious topical sensitivity.

News and Current Affairs / Re: Robert Hardy / Hywel Bennett
« on: August 08, 2017, 05:59:23 pm »
Belated farewell from me, too. 

And a mention for Sam Shepard and Jeanne Moreau.  It's a bit late for a separate thread but they do seem to be dropping two by two, don't they (though Shepard had been gone a few days before his death was announced on the same day as Moreau's)?


Theatre / Touch - Soho Theatre
« on: August 08, 2017, 04:59:24 pm »
I don’t know whether to be disappointed at the fact that, to my mind anyway, Vicky Jones’s follow-up to The One is rather less sharp and startling than her debut piece or to treat Touch on its own considerable merits and suggest it’s another fine piece from an emerging talent.  I think I’ll go with the latter as, apart from anything else, disappointment is, I think, more appropriate for the fact that Jones is still being mainly spoken of as a collaborator of Phoebe Waller-Bridge rather than a fine writer.  Such, I suppose, is the power of TV – even the online-only BBC3 – and the success of Fleabag which, in my opinion, is much less impressive than either of the Jones plays.

Touch’s protagonist, Dee, has been described in some (p)reviews as a sort of uncensored Bridget Jones but I seriously hope she doesn’t escape the confines of this play to become a twee, serialised stereotype like Helen Fielding’s creation.  Or, to put it another way, let Touch stand alone as a fascinating comic drama rather than expand the study into endless TV episodes like Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag.  One of the beauties of Jones’s writing is that she allows her female characters to have human appetites and failings without either glorifying or demonising them.  There is a definite, though not overwhelming, flavour of gender-role reversal in the snapshots we get of Dee’s rather chaotic existence.  It is surely significant that one of her dates is, much to her amusement, terrified of a mouse in her unruly flat or that she indulges in a spot of cradle snatching.  The ideas of a woman being disgusted by domestic rodents or a man bringing a young intern home after work (and the obligatory drinking session) are staples of popular fiction and while Jones has fun confounding the stereotypes she doesn’t overdo it.  Touch is, at heart, a human story and, as I saw it anyway, underlines the fact that, with the onward march of equality, the distribution of both rewards and pressures will be evened out between the sexes. 

Dee is presented as a person in a sort of Zugzwang.  She’s having fun but she’s under enormous pressure to make a move because, well, the world doesn’t stand still.  The encapsulation of this is (if it’s not too much of a spoiler) that rather than arrange for her plumbing to be fixed (or allow someone else to arrange it) she finds urinating in her shower (and waiting until she goes to the gym for anything more) an acceptable compromise.  On a less mechanical level, this self described feminist is, presumably because she pragmatically puts her sex life above her principles, involved with a man who calls her ‘kitten’ and is, by his own admission, in the process of ‘training’ her to be a better human being.  Neither of these situations would be particularly remarkable with a male protagonist but Touch seems to be reminding us that they are now available to today’s liberated woman.  It’s a message that Jones gets across without being judgemental and with a fine comic voice.*

It just struck me that, caught up in musing about the play, I forgot to mention the performances!  Amy Morgan (who was Gwendolen in the recent Travesties) as Dee is very impressive, catching the character’s combination of gutsy haplessness in a way that must, I presume, be what the author intended given that the author is also the director.  James Clyde is also very fine as the rather sinister Myles – a character from the S&M scene with the vampiric characteristics of a desire to dominate accompanied by an insistence that his partner’s submission should, at least initially, be freely given.  Then there was James Marlowe as the insufferable Eddie, the pretentious git whose mission was to train Dee up to be a worthwhile human being but who remains blissfully unaware of his own shortcomings.  Matthew Aubrey plays Dee’s down-to-earth ex from back home in Swansea and Naana Agyei-Ampadu is Vera – the Sapphic option in Dee’s mission to try out all the alternatives.  Finally there was toy boy Paddy played by Edward Bluemel who hadn’t moved very far in distance or in character since I last saw him.  That was just around the corner at the Apollo where he played Michael in Love in Idleness.  I didn’t report on that because I saw it on the very last day; but Bluemel seems to have moved from opinionated poor boy railing against privilege – and getting romantically entangled with the enemy – to arrogant rich intern slumming with the likes of Dee.  He does both passably well, by the way.

Anyway, enough of my rambling.  The bottom line is that, while I prefer Jones’s earlier piece, Touch is worth seeing if you can get a ticket.  The set - which is basically Dee’s tiny, extremely untidy, flatlet periodically rotating to give a different perspective – probably has invisible parts wherever you’re sitting so there’s no need to worry about the cheaper seats (not that there are any really cheap ones at a production where it’s £19 to stand!).

 *I particularly liked Dee’s question to her date when preparing to seduce him with an erotic dance:

“Have you ever been to a strip club Eddie?  Don’t say yes, by the way”

The highlight of my Prom weekend was, as I expected, Khovanschchina; though it was by some way the least well attended of the three.  Perhaps the length and the dark content put some people off but, as the saying goes, that’s their loss.  Rather flatteringly described  as semi-staged, the drama really came through with gorgeously expressive music, fine singing and, perhaps most strikingly, the Proms’s adoption of surtitles.  I still followed the libretto (included in the £5 programme) but the strategically placed and easily readable English surtitles must have been a boon to those who have difficulty reading smallish print or following parallel text (as well as to those who don’t buy the programme).  Despite the lack of any real staging most of the soloists did a good job of bringing out the characters as well as singing the lines superbly.  Ante Jerkunica was very convincing as the arrogant Ivan Khovansky and Ain Anger as Dosify really got across the uncompromising stance of the leader of the Old Believers.  Perhaps least convincing as an actor was Elena Maximova as Marfa but her voice, in my opinion the best on the platform, more than compensated for the fact that she seemed to wear the same expression of pained resignation throughout (though, for some reason that wasn’t clear to me, they had her unpin her hair towards the end of Act 1). 

Semyon Bychkov got a fine sound out of the BBCSO and no fewer than four choirs (Schola Cantorum of The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, Tiffin Boys’ Choir, BBC Singers and Slovak Philharmonic Choir) contributed massively to an evening to remember.  It’s well worth catching this while it’s still on the I-player.  I think it’s a pity that they could get the TV cameras to the previous two Proms but this one – where sur/subtitles would add significantly to understanding – is radio only.

Proms / Prom 28 (2017) - NYOGB, Ades: Coll, Ades, Stravinsky
« on: August 08, 2017, 12:37:34 pm »
Following Friday’s Dizzy & Ella prom, another packed hall greeted the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain on Saturday – not even waiting for the leader to make her entrance but, presumably because of a large friends and family contingent, applauding from the time the first musician took the platform.   Thomas Ades guided the oversized orchestra through a first half comprising Francesco Coll’s Mural and Ades’s own PolarisMural is a pleasant enough piece which, according to Coll’s programme note, can be described as a five movement symphony but it struck me as a bit bland.  Polaris - Voyage for Orchestra is rather more vibrant and, though I’ve never heard it before, I imagine the orchestra did it justice. After the interval came a rousing Rite of Spring.  Ades, wisely I suspect, didn’t try and bring out the full violence of some passages but, as you might expect from such a big orchestra, the power of the piece was very effectively conveyed.  Despite thunderous and lengthy applause, no encore was forthcoming – which was a minor disappointment on a generally enjoyable evening.

Proms / Prom 27 (2017) - Reeves, Morrison, BBCCO (Mauceri): Dizzy & Ella
« on: August 08, 2017, 10:54:58 am »
I found some aspects of this Prom rather frustrating though, overall, it was well worth catching.  It might, indeed, have been rather better via the broadcast as one of the problems I had was with the amplification of Dianne Reeves’s voice.  The Arena is, acoustically, usually one of the better parts of a notoriously difficult hall but standing just a few feet away from Ms Reeves as she sang into the microphone had the effect – perhaps partly illusion – of giving the vocals a faltering quality.  Once I adjusted to it, the sound was lovely and the phrasing superb and the packed hall certainly appreciated it.  I had no problems, though, with James Morrison’s trumpet.  I must admit that when I heard the first few bars of Cherokee I feared the approach was going to be rather conservative; but within seconds Morrison was treating us to flights of extraordinary audacity. 

The other main reservation I had concerned the programme selected.  Billed as a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie the concert had, in my opinion, too much bias towards Gershwin and Ellington and missed some of the other material associated with Ella – most regrettably, in my opinion, failing to give us a single Cole Porter piece.  I suspect the intention was to mark the contribution of John Mauceri and the BBC Concert Orchestra as well as those of Reeves, Connolly and the backing trio’ but the inclusion of lengthy, mainly orchestral, pieces such as Ellington’s Harlem and Gershwin’s Manhattan Rhapsody seemed, to me, to detract from the focus of the concert.  Still, a fine start to the weekend; and worth catching online if you didn’t see, hear it.

Theatre / Re: Coming up....
« on: July 26, 2017, 09:21:21 pm »
I remember mentioning the mysterious disappearance of Peter Terson from public consciousness – not one of this once-prolific playwright’s scripts is on the shelves of the NT shop, for example.  I was excited, therefore, to see that his work is back on stage.  It is, it must be said, his most famous piece, Zigger Zagger, and it’s only a very short run at Wilton’s in Whitechapel.  But it is, at least, something – and it’s done by the National Youth Theatre to celebrate the fact that that body is still around half a century after they gave the piece its premiere.  I’ve already booked:

Around the same time another relatively neglected playwright has a revival at the Orange Tree:

Coming back up to date, some of you might remember my being impressed by Vicky Jones’s debut effort The One.  Well, she has another piece at the Soho.  It’s being marketed, quite successfully, on the back of Jones’s association with Phoebe Waller-Bridge whose Fleabag – while, imo, not a patch on The One – has achieved a certain notoriety and a TV adaptation:

Chichester is putting on The Norman Conquests – including 7 trilogy days in the run.  I’ll be trying to get to one of them:

Meanwhile, the Menier is putting on yet another Florian Zeller/Christopher Hampton piece, The Lie.  Public booking opens next week and, if previous similar productions are anything to go by, it might be as well to get in early if you want to see it in the Chocolate Factory’s cosy space:

Finally, a body called the Cervantes theatre is taking on The House of Bernarda Alba with alternating performances in English and Spanish.  Ambitious, to say the least!

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