Curtains, the murder mystery musical comedy by Chicago and Cabaret creators Kander & Ebb, had its Broadway premiere in 2007 in a production starring Frasier’s David Hyde Pierce. Why has it taken so long for it to at last receive its West End premiere? And why is it so very perfect for the West […]
After Tania Amsel’s new play Blood Orange the night before, I returned to the Old Red Lion Theatre for Paragon Theatre’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ ghost story The Signalman. Dickens in December and it isn’t A Christmas Carol? It’s a must-see for aficionados and newcomers alike.
How well do you know your Dickens? I got […]
Escape From Planet Trash post-show video and photos: Sink the Pink continues its queer trilogy in outer space
An Act of God post-show video and photos: Blasphemy & belly laughs with David Javerbaum, Zoe Lyons & co
The Play That Goes Wrong post-show video and photos: How do costumes add to Mischief Theatre’s global brand?
The House of the Spirits post-show video and photos: How does a country – and a family – recover from dictatorship?
The Good Scout post-show video and photos: How worried should we be about parallels between the 1930s and today?
As part of an ongoing series, I’ve chaired post-show talks with various Mischief Theatre casts this year, all of whom waxed lyrical about the brilliance of the company founders. Last night, I had a chance to pose questions to those original mischief-makers themselves.
Co-writers Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields and fellow founding members […]
I feel like I’ve known writer Sarah Rutherford for years… that’s one of the positives of social media. (We follow each other on Twitter.) The irony is it’s her new play, The Girl Who Fell, about some of the negatives of social media that finally precipitated my meeting her in person.
And what a great […]
A philosophising cat, a famished dog and a family of mites all make appearances – and strong impressions – in Mites, a new play by up-and-coming young British playwright James Mannion, written in the best traditions of the Theatre of the Absurd.
Ruth, a lonely woman abandoned by her husband, lives in isolation with her beloved cat […]
A Day in the Death of Joe Egg Q&A video and photos: What did the late Peter Nichols think of this historic West End casting?
I was back at Trafalgar Studios last night for this much-anticipated revival of Peter Nichols’ 1967 masterpiece A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. And there was so much to discuss with this production, making history for a number of reasons.
Along with Passion Play and Privates on Parade, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg remains […]
The Permanent Way Q&A video and photos: Why is a play about railway privatisation more relevant than ever?
I was lucky enough to see the original Out of Joint production of The Permanent Way at the National Theatre in 2003. I remember being horrified by David Hare’s verbatim play about railway privatisation, based on first-hand accounts, including the people behind the body counts of the four major rail disasters between 1997 and 2002.
With Alexander […]
Can you be a racist if you don’t think you are? Is there a difference between racism and ‘racist attitudes’? How do you find sympathy for white supremacists? By finding sympathy are we making excuses? Peter Hamilton’s new updated staging of his 2005 play Danelaw prompted some serious discussion at my post-show Q&A at […]
The Comedy About a Bank Robbery Q&A video and photos: From UK-wide tour to the West End with a new cast
What fun to return to the Criterion Theatre to see a brand-new cast put their stamp on Mischief Theatre’s The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, as the first in a series of monthly post-show Q&As with the comic geniuses.
In fact, while new to London, many of them recent drama school graduates making their West End […]
At this year’s annual HighTide Festival in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, I was privileged to chair an hour-long “In Conversation With” platform discussion with legendary director Deborah Warner, reflecting on nearly 40 years in the business.
Since launching her career at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1980, Warner has gone on to direct plays and operas at […]
The Eyes of the Night Q&A video and photos: Using darkness to enlighten audiences about visual impairment
A middle-aged businesswoman hires a blind man to spend an hour with her in a hotel room. Why are they really there? Will she be able to experience the darkness in order to see the light?
The Eyes of the Night, written by one of Spain’s leading playwrights Paloma Pedrero, headlines the second Contemporary Spanish […]
Are you worried about the state of politics and society in the UK today? That’s the question I asked at the start of last night’s post-show Q&A at London’s Lion & Unicorn Theatre. The hands of all my panellists and nearly everyone sitting across from them in the audience shot up.
Proforca Theatre’s new play At […]
Arrows & Traps’ 18th production in its five-year history is also its tenth at London’s Brockley Jack Theatre, where it is now an associate company, and its third in a Gothic trilogy. And it’s a corker.
Following versions of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Arrows & Traps founder, writer and director Ross McGregor, […]
The Crown Dual Q&A video and photos: How to condense two Netflix seasons into 70 minutes… with more to come
We were all madly checking our phones for news in the bars afterwards, but while much of last night’s Westminster drama was going on, at Wilton’s Music Hall, we were getting to glorious grip with the (affectionate) comedy potential of the monarchy with The Crown Dual.
In Dan Clarkson’s new comedy The Crown Dual, transferred for […]
I’ve seen Rufus Norris’ multi-award-winning revival of Kander & Ebb’s Broadway musical classic Cabaret twice before in the West End: when it first opened at the Lyric Theatre in 2006 and when it returned for a run at the Savoy Theatre in 2010. It now kicks off a brand-new tour and it’s more powerful than […]
Michael John LaChiusa was on his way back to the States by the time I chaired my post-show Q&A at the West End (and UK) premiere of his musical Queen Of The Mist – but I wonder if his ears were burning badly en route?
A central part of my discussion – with director Dom O’Hanlon, musical […]
After last week’s runaway success with The Girl on the Train post-show Q&A, director Anthony Banks and I had to squeeze in another one together to his second current hit, Games for Lovers – which also meant I got to return to The Vaults for producer James Seabright’s third offering this summer.
What a giggle this […]
The Time Of Our Lies Q&A video and photos: Did historian Howard Zinn predict our era of Trump & #fakenews?
A quick show of hands at last night’s Q&A at the Park Theatre bore out my suspicion: most people, even left-leaning people, have not heard of Howard Zinn. Like those in the audience, before this show, I counted myself amongst them. So by that measure alone, Bianca Bagatourian’s The Time Of Our Lies is a […]
The View Upstairs video and photos: What happened in New Orleans on 24 June 1973? Why should we remember?
I had just enough time to wipe away my tears – I was sobbing – at the end of The View Upstairs before jumping up after the curtain call to announce this post-show Q&A at Soho Theatre.
My family are from Louisiana and I’ve been to New Orleans countless times, but it’s thanks to London theatre […]
Q&A video and photos: Discussing Paula Hawkins’ hit thriller The Girl on the Train with Samantha Womack and cast
What is it about a great whodunnit thriller? What makes us keep turning the page? How does that inquisitive excitement translate onstage?
As modern thrillers go, they don’t get much more successful than Paula Hawkins’ The Girl On the Train. First published in 2015, it quickly became an international publishing phenomenon and has sold more […]
I’m a firm believer that one of the best means of ensuring a long career is an ability to create your own work. Patrick Bayele has honed this skill very early on… and, after seeing what he’s accomplished with his triple-threat professional debut – actor, director and producer (not to mention co-deviser), I feel confident we’ll […]
After chairing events for London transfers of Creation Theatre’s The Pit and The Pendulum and Dracula, I was chuffed to be invited to see them on their ‘home turf’ in Oxford and host a post-show Q&A for their new gaming take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
I’ve seen a few productions of The Tempest – including earlier this […]
How many different ways can one play be interpreted? The company of Equus were very keen not to impose their opinions but the audience at last night’s post-show Q&A at Trafalgar Studios had plenty of their own. Which were right? All of them!
And what a knowledgeable audience it was. Many had seen this or other previous […]
How did New Old Friends come to adapt Anthony Horowitz’s 1986 children’s novel The Falcon’s Malteser into a hit family stage show? How has a new gender-equal, four-strong cast brought it to life for its London premiere? And what do the kids – and parents – in the audience think?
I had such a giggle […]
How much do you know about Nina Simone? Guaranteed: after you see Black Is the Color Of My Voice, the one-woman play with music written by and starring young American theatremaker Apphia Campbell, you will be inspired to learn more.
The “High Priestess of Soul” Nina Simone was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tryon, North […]
Dylan Coburn Gray’s Citysong won the 2017 Verity Bargate Award for new and emerging playwrights and now receives its world premiere in this acclaimed co-production between Dublin’s Abbey Theatre and London’s Soho Theatre.
I was mesmerised by this time-hopping, Dublin-set urban poem – originally commissioned for a spoken word festival – which, over the course of […]
Q&A photos: Exploring the cosmos with Matthew Broderick, Elizabeth McGovern and The Starry Messenger cast
How fitting to hold a post-show Q&A for The Starry Messenger during Loneliness Awareness Week. Kenneth Lonergan’s beautifully delicate play considers the torment of, as New York Times’ critic Ben Brantley puts it:
“fallible, contradictory, lonely souls who can never quite articulate what’s missing in their lives but always feel the void”
In the play, set in the […]
Philip Ridley’s Vincent River was premiered at Hampstead Theatre in 2000 and has been revived fairly regularly in the intervening years, including this production which was first seen at the Park Theatre last year and has now transferred to the West End’s Trafalgar Studios, where an earlier production ran in 2007. How worried should we […]
Q&A video and photos: How The Wardrobe Ensemble devised Education Education Education… to a 1990s soundtrack
Remember D:Ream’s “Things Can Only Get Better”? I was bopping along in my seat to that New Labour anthem and so many other chart-topping hits from my youth before curtain up at Education Education Education last night at Trafalgar Studios.
The music from the 1990s forms a backbone to this love-letter to the decade and the […]
I closed out #MischiefMay, celebrating the world-dominating achievements of the comedy masters at Mischief Theatre, with my second of two post-show Q&As to the company’s two current West End hits.
The Comedy About a Bank Robbery was the third West End offering from Mischief, following The Play That Goes Wrong (still running at the Duchess Theatre) […]
#MischiefMay: Celebrating 1,999 performances (sort of) with The Play That Goes Wrong‘s West End cast
#MischiefMay is all about celebrating the world-dominating success of the comedy genius of Mischief Theatre onstage (running on all continents except Antarctica) and, increasingly, onscreen. I’m delighted to play a small part of this month’s mischievous activities with back-to-back post-show Q&As to Mischief’s two current West End hits, starting last night with The Play […]
Salome Q&A video and photos: What would the censor have made of this regendered version of Oscar Wilde’s play?
After The Tempest and Lord of the Flies, my last of three post-show Q&As with Lazarus Theatre company for their 2019 season at Greenwich Theatre was last night to their new version of Oscar Wilde’s Salome, adapted and directed (and designed!) by artistic director Ricky Dukes. Ending on a (messy!) high.
“Salomé, Salomé, dance for me.
I pray […]
Q&A photos and video: What would the late Michel Legrand think of this chamber version of his musical Amour?
I’m in love with love… or more precisely with Amour, as in the lushly romantic Michel Legrand musical fantasy now receiving its UK professional premiere at Charing Cross Theatre.
Amour is set in 1950 in post-war Paris where shy civil servant Dusoleil (Gary Tushaw) lives alone and works diligently in a dreary office. To pass […]
Visits to the Coronet Theatre, until last week known as The Print Room at the Coronet, make me miss the days when I lived in Notting Hill (or rather, near enough, Ladbroke Grove). Last week, I went to attend the venue’s relaunch and season announcement under its new-old name; last night, I returned to […]
Bromley Bedlam Bethlehem Q&A video and photos: How to turn traumatic family history into life-affirming drama
Ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week next week, Rachel Tookey’s award-winning new play Bromley Bedlam Bethlehem receives its full-length premiere this week at the Old Red Lion Theatre. I got to speak to Rachel and her producer-sister Hannah about how their own family inspired this story exploring how trauma and mental illness can be […]
The Cervantes Theatre’s headlines its third New Spanish Playwriting season with the full UK and English-language premiere of Denise Despeyroux’s one-woman show The Reality, which had a dramatised reading at the theatre last year.
Can you love the living like you like the dead?
Is darkness hindered by light?
In this haunting new play, written by Denise Despeyroux and […]
Are you a David Bowie fan? What first turned you on? Was it seeing his Top of the Pops debut as Ziggy Stardust? Was it your parents taking you to your first Bowie concert when you were still a baby? Was it memorising the album liner notes in your bedroom?
Bebe Barry inherited her love of […]
I had a fabulous time last week in Stratford-upon-Avon seeing Justin Audibert’s new re-gendered production of Shakespeare’s early “battle of the sexes” comedy The Taming of the Shrew (1591), set in a parallel Elizabethan universe where women are in charge.
Afterwards, I had the privilege of chairing a discussion about the play as part of the “Society […]
I’ve spent quite a lot of my Easter weekend thinking about Donald Trump. As a thankful respite from trying to read the 448 pages of the Mueller Report, it was for positive reasons on Good Friday night at Southwark Playhouse.
‘They can pass all the laws they want. All they do is change the rules – […]
Intra Muros Q&A video and photos: What is the point of theatre? How do actors marry up their dual lives?
What does theatre mean to you? How do actors marry up the dual emotional demands of their chosen profession? How many ‘characters’ or versions of ourselves to the rest of us play in our own lives?
Those are some of the questions which are raised in Alexis Michalik’s fascinating play Intra Muros and which we […]
How lucky am I? Last night I got to spend a second night in a row with lovely Olivier Awards nominee Marc Antolin.
After sitting behind him at the ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday night, when he was nominated for Best Actor in a Musical for Little Shop of Horrors at the Open Air […]
Tony’s Last Tape Q&A video and photos: What would Tony Benn have thought of Brexit, Corbyn & this play about him?
This past Wednesday (3 April 2019) would have been Tony Benn’s 94th birthday. Great celebratory timing for the return of Tony’s Last Tape, the one-man play celebrating the Labour firebrand, who died in 2014. And last night, I was delighted to return to the play myself and to chair a warm and celebratory post-show discussion.
Many in the […]
Half Me, Half You Q&A video and photos: It’s not easy to talk about racism & hate crime, but it’s necessary
Did seeing fascist Tommy Robinson denouncing Muslims and immigrants on a big screen in Whitehall terrify you? What are the long-term consequences of today’s political rhetoric in Trump’s America and Brexit Britain? How much does it fuel hate crimes against minority groups? How worried should we be? What can we do about it?
Debut playwright […]
Last night I chaired my second of three post-show Q&As with Lazarus Theatre Company as part of their 2019 residency at Greenwich Theatre – their highly acclaimed return production of Lord of the Flies.
William Golding’s novel was published in 1954 and was highly influenced by the wartime experiences he’d lived through. “Anyone who moved […]
How can a 60-seat black box studio above a pub stand out amongst nearly 100 Off-West End and fringe theatres in London? THIS is how.
There was palpable excitement in the room on last night at Proforca Theatre Company’s industry relaunch of the Lion & Unicorn Theatre, with a very warm reciprocal embrace for the company’s […]
Do You Love This Planet? Q&A video and photos: Philosophy, individual responsibility and climate change
How often do you ask yourself this question: Do you love this planet? No, but seriously, do you really love this planet? How much? And how much are you willing to sacrifice to prove it in the face of impending Armageddon? What are you actually doing?
What philosopher and life-long nuclear disarmament activist Alexander Matthews […]
It was a great big family affair for my post-show Q&A at Call Me Vicky at the Pleasance Theatre this weekend. The new one-act comedy-drama marks the playwriting debut for sisters Stacey and Nicola Bland, who also perform in the cast, and their mum, dad and nan were in proud attendance.
Call Me Vicky is […]
A lot has been said about All in a Row online (especially on Twitter around #puppetgate) – about the play itself, its depiction of autism and its use of a puppet in portraying the non-verbal autistic 11-year-old character. Last night we were able to take the conversation offline.
I felt a great responsibility in chairing what I view as […]
Gently Down the Stream Q&A podcast and photos: Martin Sherman on passing on gay history and happiness
“It’s so rare these days to see a play about optimism,” the wonderful actor Malcolm Sinclair told me after Wednesday night’s performance of Gently Down the Stream at the Park Theatre. Malcolm had attended the press night two days earlier and loved Martin Sherman’s new play so much that he returned with his partner […]
The Tempest Q&A video and photos: What happens when Prospero & Miranda becomes a mother-son relationship?
In my first of three post-show Q&As this year with Lazarus Theatre, I was at Greenwich Theatre for this pioneering ensemble company’s exciting re-examination of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Sure, we’ve had Prospero played by a woman before – not least Vanessa Redgrave, Helen Mirren and Harriet Walter – but what happens when you take […]
The bookworm in me adores everything about libraries and they don’t get much more atmospheric, or historic, than The London Library, the world’s oldest independent lending library – and now a highly unconventional theatrical venue for Creation Theatre Company’s latest offering.
Dubbed by Stephen Fry as a “gym of the mind”, The London Library, with its […]
My Dad’s Gap Year Q&A video and photos: Launching Tom Wright and Rikki Beadle-Blair’s unstoppable collaboration
The Park Theatre was absolutely buzzing last night with two sell-out shows, including in Park 90, Tom Wright’s debut play My Dad’s Gap Year, which has nearly sold out the rest of its run too. What’s the secret alchemy between Wright and his director Rikki Beadle-Blair?
I suspect that a key element is their mutual […]
It’s only a matter of days until the UK is scheduled to depart the European Union. As anyone who follows me knows, Brexit is an outcome I’ve been fighting, marching and campaigning against since David Cameron first announced the date for the 2016 referendum.
So to be invited to chair Counting Sheep, in a new co-production with Belarus Free […]
One of the reasons I love chairing post-show Q&As so much is the chance I get to learn new things from incredibly talented and knowledgeable panellists. Last night’s event for Jean Anouilh’s play The Orchestra at Omnibus Theatre was a special treat as the expert on hand was also an old friend of mine: award-winning director, […]
The Ministry of Biscuits Q&A video and photos: Sharing biscuits and a love of G&S with Philip Reeve and co
Charming, delectable, delicious. And those are just the custard creams… It’s not often I get offered biscuits at the post-show Q&As I chair, but at a show called The Ministry of Biscuits, it would have seemed remiss not to.
Since its 1998 premiere, this delightful musical has been scaled down to a bijou four-hander performed by […]
The Showstoppers Q&A video and photos: ‘Just give us something with heart’ say the musical improv masters
I’ve been following the insanely talented improv geniuses of The Showstoppers for most of their eleven years. How do they do it? I still can’t really fathom it, but I was pleased to gain a few more insights – and a new well of admiration – after chairing a post-show Q&A with them this […]
I started this past weekend in a room full of wonderful, talented and inspiring women (and some great male allies) at London’s Tristan Bates Theatre chairing a BOSSY all-female panel after a performance of Robert Luxford’s Nuns.
Thanks to the Dutch Dame Productions’ co-founders Cecile Sinclair and Natalya Wolter-Ferguson, She’s Diverse co-producer Valerie Isaiah-Sadoh and their company […]
Coming Clean Q&A video and photos: Why has it taken 37 years for Kevin Elyot’s play to get its West End premiere?
In the first of my two back-to-back King’s Head Theatre post-show Q&As, I was at Trafalgar Studios for the West End premiere of Kevin Elyot’s first play, Coming Clean, 37 years after the actor-turned-writer made his playwriting debut with it at London’s Bush Theatre.
Artistic director Adam Spreadbury-Maher’s acclaimed revival was first seen at the […]
There’s a staggering amount of up-and-coming talent on display with the world premiere of “post-Weinstein, post-Spacey drama” Anomaly, now running at London’s Old Red Lion Theatre.
In the young Wild Child Productions company, there are no fewer than three debuts: for playwright Liv Warden for two of the three-hander’s actors, Alice Handoll and Katherine Samuelson. Even […]
How does it feel to have a one-woman show written especially for you by one of your country’s leading writers? Pretty damn good, according to Songs for Nobodies’ Bernadette Robinson – though, to be clear, there was nothing passive about this privilege in her case.
In the post-show Q&A I chaired with Robinson at the West End’s Ambassadors Theatre […]
My final post-show Q&A of the year, to the stage premiere of Chasing Bono, was an absolute Irish corker! After a revealing discussion about the fine line between success and failure and the perils of fame, it ended with an impromptu song performance. Could someone in stage management get us a guitar at Soho Theatre? They could and […]
Dialektikon Q&A video and photos: How much do you know about Stokely Carmichael? (And four other big thinkers)
Author Jacky Ivimy was inspired to start writing Dialektikon after coming across film and transcripts from the Liberation of Dialectics Congress.
At this two-week event, held at London’s Roundhouse in 1967, some of the late 20th century’s leading thinkers convened – including Trinidadian-born civil rights activist and Black Panther Stokely Carmichael, English scientist Gregory Bateson, […]
You know you’re at a different type of theatre experience when you find yourself singing along – loudly – about how much we all love looking at cocks in the locker room. (Even when you’ve never been in a cocker-room.)
The party spirit for Hot Gay Time Machine starts before the performance as co-stars Toby […]
An Honourable Man Q&A video and photos: Has there ever been a more poisonous time in UK politics? (Insiders’ views)
Populism, patriotism, political theatre, predictions for Brexit and the fast-paced nature of life-imitating-art-imitating-life were amongst the topics covered in an incredibly good-natured discussion across a wide partisan spectrum at the post-show debate I chaired on Wednesday night at the premiere of An Honourable Man.
Michael McManus’ play had a sell-out, try-out week in June, which attracted […]
One of my favourite reviews of Fanatical, the new British musical currently receiving its world premiere season at London’s Playground Theatre, opines: “It will remind you why you love whatever it is that you’re a fan of”.
This warm, big-hearted, unashamedly geeky show is indeed “a love letter to fandom”, and at last night’s post-show […]
The Acting Gymnasium, founded by Gavin McAlinden, runs weekly creative performance workshops that help individuals develop their acting skills, build confidence, exercise their imagination, improve vocal techniques and… perform in a professional show.
You can see the product of their work in a season of French comedies running now at London’s Theatro Technis. On Friday, […]
How much do you know about the British tradition of drag? British drag artists are the “punks of performance”, according to Ginger Johnson, who has written, directed, designed and performs in a show that brilliantly illustrates and celebrates this tradition.
How to Catch a Krampus is the latest offering from Sink the Pink. After a decade of […]
The Pit & the Pendulum Q&A video and photos: Reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s horror story with hijabs and headsets
Edgar Allan Poe wrote the short story The Pit & the Pendulum in 1842, inspired by the idea of a political prisoner tormented during the Spanish Inquisition.
In this new version, written and directed by Christopher York for Oxford-based site-specific specialists Creation Theatre Company, the inmate is a woman from Tehran (played by Iranian-British actress Afsaneh […]
Looking for Gatsby Q&A video and photos: How does F Scott Fitzgerald’s story look from Daisy’s perspective?
Swift but swinging! We had less than twenty minutes for last night’s post-show Q&A for new musical Looking for Gatsby but – taking a leaf out of this incredible company’s book – we made the most of it. It’s amazing how much you can ground you can cover when you’re up against the clock!
What happens […]
Federico Garcia Lorca spent three months in Cuba in 1930 – six years before he was assassinated (aged just 38) by Franco nationalists in his native Spain. He fell in love with the Caribbean island nation and it with him. And it’s this association that inspired Jorge de Juan in his new adaptation of Lorca […]
Does a soldier ever stop being a soldier? “No!” shouted several from the audience at last night’s post-show discussion for Soldier On at The Other Palace.
The play, dubbed “The Full Military Monty”, was developed and workshopped with real soldiers and their families and shows how all are affected by PTSD. It’s performed by a […]
A Guide for the Homesick Q&A video and photos: How did Doctors Without Borders & homophobia inspire this new play?
The night after they faced the press, the team behind the European premiere production of A Guide for the Homesick faced a packed audience, most of whom stayed on to take part enthusiastically in our post-show discussion.
Ken Urban’s play was commissioned in 2011 and had its world premiere last year in Boston. This new production […]
The Wider Earth Q&A video and photos: Puppetry evolution & Charles Darwin at the Natural History Museum
The Wider Earth is billed as one of the theatre events of the year – and, on this occasion, that’s no exaggeration. What a privilege for me to play a small part in helping to launch this spectacular and historic production, which tells the story of a young Charles Darwin and is staged in […]
The Sweet Science of Bruising Q&A video and photos: Why’s now the right time for a play about Victorian female boxers?
This weekend, I got to enter the boxing ring at London’s Southwark Playhouse to chair a post-show Q&A at Troupe Theatre’s world premiere production of Joy Wilkinson’s The Sweet Science of Bruising.
London, 1869. Four very different Victorian women are drawn into the dark underground world of female boxing by the eccentric Professor Sharp. Controlled by men […]
When a show has as many twists and turns as Glenn Chandler’s KIDS PLAY, there are special challenges in live-streaming and live-tweeting a post-show discussion. Last night, Chander, his London stars David Mullen and Joseph Clarke, myself and the audience at Above the Stag did our best to avoid spoilers. Though it was difficult at points!
How much do you know about the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)? Who fought on the side of the Republicans and who for the Nationalists? What happened to those who got caught in the middle, such as Paulino and Carmelo in Jose Sanchis Sinisterra’s Ay, Carmela!?
In the 1986 stage play, famously made into a 1990 Spanish […]
Should country of birth define your identity or determine where you end up?
Set in the near-future, Stand and Be Counted Theatre’s highly political new play Where We Began imagines a world where a new universal law mandates that everyone must return to where they were born and stay there. Borders are built everywhere and strictly enforced: […]
What a reminder that live theatre is LIVE, that things can go wrong and that that’s all part of the excitement.
At the Omnibus Theatre last night, Blood Wedding’s 7.30pm start time was delayed as one of the actors was trapped on a broken down overground train. I was already there to chair a post-show Q&A […]
Adrenaline still pumping as I type this! SIX The Musical was the undisputed hit of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe and it’s now transferred back to the West End’s Arts Theatre for an extended run at the Arts Theatre, where it had a handful of showcase performances over the Christmas/New Year period.
I first saw the show […]
How do you buy drugs online? What was Silk Road? Could the libertarians on it actually be steering us towards a more humane drug policy? Or is a play about this dark-web marketplace glamourising drugs? What do you do with a bitcoin production donation? Who’s actually read Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island?
Not the usual questions […]
Knights of the Rose Q&A video and photos: Defining the new ‘rockspeare’ genre and celebrating understudies (sort of)
On Wednesday afternoon, Jennifer Caldwell was working in the box office at the Arts Theatre, where new musical Knights of the Rose is currently playing. That night, with less than three hours’ rehearsal and having never even seen the show all the way through, she was onstage playing one of the female leads. As […]
Are women punished in drama for liking sex and drink? What has modern classic The Rise and Fall of Little Voice got in common with Greek drama? What’s the secret to vocal impressions?
I was delighted to return to Cirencester this weekend to chair my third consecutive post-show discussion at the pioneering Barn Theatre. For this […]
Andrew Lloyd Webber came up twice in conversation at last night’s post-show for It Happened in Key West. The second pertained to the title of the show which, many years ago, when Jeremiah James was first inspired by a late-night television documentary about Carl von Cosel. James had originally wanted to call this musical Love Never Dies… […]
If you had to choose just three Hollywood legends to build a theatre show around, who would you choose? For Sirens of the Silver Screen, Beth Burrows selected Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. At last night’s post-show discussion at the Tabard Theatre, she explained why she did, how much fun she had researching […]
Pressure Q&A video and photos: How did David Haig come to write and star in a play about unsung Scottish hero and weatherman James Stagg?
If you’d never heard of the James Stagg before David Haig’s latest play Pressure, don’t feel bad: neither had he. Haig was approached by director John Dove and Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre who wanted to create a play about an unsung Scottish hero. They drew up a list of possible candidates and Stagg caught […]
A warning to start: Beirut is not for the prudish. In this two-hander, Robert Rees’ Torch starts the evening buck naked (doing pull-ups) and he and co-star Louisa Connolly-Burnham, as his lustily willing-to-risk-anything girlfriend Blue, spend the next 65 minutes in various stages of undress, tumbling in and out of bed (well, a single mattress on […]
The Yellow Wallpaper Q&A video and photos: What does a 19th-century American short story tell us about modern misogyny and mental health?
Audience member Jessica McClellan at the Omnibus Theatre tweeted that last night’s post-show discussion for The Yellow Wallpaper was “deep AF” (I’ll assume you know what the AF stands for in social media speak…). It was pretty deep, in keeping with the extraordinary performance we’d just witnessed of Gemma Yates-Round as Alice, a woman suffering from […]
Schism Q&A video and photos: Talking feminism, diversity, accessibility and toxic relationships with author-actor-activist Athena Stevens
Two scratch-your-head stats shared during my post-show Q&A for Schism last night at London’s Park Theatre: one, less than five percent of the UK population has dated someone with a disability, and two – wait for it – only one in four have even had a conversation with a disabled person.
Is it any wonder that diverse […]
When I first saw the Barn Theatre revival of Simon Stephens’ 2003 play One Minute, the things that struck me most were, in no particular order: the ground-breaking video projection design (by PJ McEvoy, film sequences by Ben Collins), the delicate performances of the five-strong cast, the seamless-but-sinister weaving of social media into a […]
Another post-show Q&A first for me. Due to a last-minute scheduling conflict, Spanish playwright Guillem Clua had to cancel his flight to London to attend last night’s performance of his acclaimed two-hander THE SWALLOW at the Cervantes Theatre, but he desperately wanted to take part in the post-show discussion – so the game team at […]
The Big Things, currently running at Barons Court Theatre, brings us into the world of Grace who, after meeting and falling in love with Malcolm and becoming a parent, is diagnosed with autism.
The London premiere is presented by Kibo Productions, who selected it from some 200 scripts received after an open submissions call. It’s […]
What a provocative play and post-show discussion! Are we all racist? How different are racial relations in 21st-century America versus Britain? How do we get more unheard voices onstage? Can white men tell valid stories about minority groups? Should they?
Joel Drake Johnson’s four-hander Rasheeda Speaking caused a stir when it was first seen in Chicago and New […]
I missed a trick with my questions last night at the world premiere of DAMES, the surreal comedy about six millennial women who meet in a nightclub loo, which marks the playwriting debut of Charlotte Merriam and the producing debut of Siberian Lights, the company she co-founded with three of her peers at Royal Welsh College […]
I’m pretty certain that my event last night at SOLDIER ON was my largest-ever panel for a post-show Q&A: in total, there were 19 of us, including me. Thank goodness the Playground Theatre had plenty of chairs and just enough room to arrange them in arc across the stage (I chose to stand and rove!).
Such enthusiasm for the piece […]
When you hold a post-show Q&A on Mothering Sunday, it’s awfully helpful to have a mother of one of the show’s stars in the cast. (Though I do hope After the Ball cast member Emily Tucker treated her mum to a slap-up meal afterwards in the buzzing bar and restaurant at the Gatehouse!)
Inevitably, we […]
I’ve been raving about Julius Caesar to everyone over the past few weeks, and particularly the experience of seeing it in the pit of the staggeringly versatile Bridge Theatre. This second production in the new 900-seater founded by former National Theatre Nicks Hytner and Starr really flaunts its wide-ranging ambition with this modern-dress Shakespeare.
I officially finished my one-month blog challenge on 9 May 2014. And to celebrate, I set myself a new learning challenge: to film and edit my first-ever video blog, in which I grade my progress. So here’s my challenge on the challenge and the challenges I faced in completing it… You get the idea.