• My Gently Down the Stream Q&A with (l-r) Ben Allen, Martin Sherman, Jonathan Hyde & Harry Lawtey. © Peter Jones
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    Gently Down the Stream Q&A podcast and photos: Martin Sherman on passing on gay history and happiness

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 […]

  • This is our selfie pout after my post-show Q&A at My Dad's Gap Year. © Anthony Kelly
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    My Dad’s Gap Year Q&A video and photos: Launching Tom Wright and Rikki Beadle-Blair’s unstoppable collaboration

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 […]

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    Dialektikon Q&A video and photos: How much do you know about Stokely Carmichael? (And four other big thinkers)

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, […]

  • David Haig with Philip Cairns & Malcolm Sinclair at the Pressure post-show Q&A at the Ambassadors Theatre on 2 July 2018. © Peter Jones
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    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?

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 […]

  • My Schism post-show Q&A  with author-activist-actor Athena Stevens at the Park Theatre. © Peter Jones
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    Schism Q&A video and photos: Talking feminism, diversity, accessibility and toxic relationships with author-actor-activist Athena Stevens

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 […]

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    Rothschild & Sons Q&A podcast and photos: Broadway legend Sheldon Harnick on why the Jewish story must be told

Rothschild & Sons Q&A podcast and photos: Broadway legend Sheldon Harnick on why the Jewish story must be told

The Jewish story must continue to be told, Sheldon Harnick told me and a packed house at London’s Park Theatre after Tuesday night’s performance of Rothschild & Sons, for which he wrote the lyrics to the music by late collaborator Jerry Bock.

My post-show Q&A with Sheldon, and the UK premiere of Rothschild & Sons the night […]

  • The Secondary Victim at the Park Theatre 21.11 (5)
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    Q&A video and photos: Talking therapy & sexual misconduct at The Secondary Victim

Q&A video and photos: Talking therapy & sexual misconduct at The Secondary Victim

It was a packed house – including many therapy professionals – for last night’s performance of Matthew Campling’s new play The Secondary Victim at the Park Theatre. Which made for some very knowledgeable comments and insights at the post-show Q&A, for which I was joined by Campling, director Matthew Gould and the entire cast.

The […]

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    ‘A landscape of mystery’: Fishskin Trousers Q&A photos and tweets

‘A landscape of mystery’: Fishskin Trousers Q&A photos and tweets

How much can a landscape shape a person’s identity? How much can a landscape shape a play’s plot? In answer to the latter question, in the case of Elizabeth Kuti’s Fishskin Trousers, the answer is certainly quite a lot.
Inspired in part by the local folk tale of the Wild Man of Orford, found by fisherman, the […]

  • Joanne Pearce, Ameet Chana & Ian McDiarmid at What Shadows Q&A at London's Park Theatre
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    Podcast and photos: Ian McDiarmid and What Shadows cast on Enoch Powell and THAT speech

Podcast and photos: Ian McDiarmid and What Shadows cast on Enoch Powell and THAT speech

How do we talk to those that we hate? How do we speak across the anger that divides us? Those are the opening lines in Chris Hannan’s provocative new play, What Shadows – and they were also amongst the questions raised in the  Q&A I chaired with the cast after last night’s packed performance at London’s Park […]

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    Plays diary: What Shadows, Ink, The Unknown Island, Lucy Light, The Swallow

Plays diary: What Shadows, Ink, The Unknown Island, Lucy Light, The Swallow

I’ve had a rich few weeks for playgoing. In addition to productions I’ve already written about elsewhere – including, of those still running, Arrows and Traps’ Frankenstein at Brockley Jack and Stephen Clark’s Le Grand Mort at Trafalgar Studios 2 – here’s a quick round-up of some other smart plays I’ve seen recently and […]

  • LUV cast Nick Barber, Elsie Bennett and Charles Dorfman at the post-show Q&A
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    Q&A photos and podcast: What’s most absurd about Murray Schisgal’s LUV?

Q&A photos and podcast: What’s most absurd about Murray Schisgal’s LUV?

What’s most absurd about absurdist comedy LUV? That it’s virtually unknown in this country – despite an incredible pedigree.

Long before he wrote the screenplay for the hit 1982 film Tootsie starring Dustin Hoffman, American Murray Schisgal made a name for himself in New York with this 1964 stage play, which is a riotous celebration of the […]

  • Deny, Deny, Deny and Saving Jason are both running at London's Park Theatre until 3 December 2016.
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    Overdosing at the Park Theatre: Deny, Deny, Deny & Saving Jason

Overdosing at the Park Theatre: Deny, Deny, Deny & Saving Jason

Everyone’s on drugs at the Park Theatre, I tweeted last Monday night. For a theatre that consistently impresses with the diversity of its received productions, it’s interesting that it should be hosting premieres in both of its houses, opened within days of each other, that both concern drug abuse. Admittedly, abuse of a very […]

  • The Boys in the Band cast members Greg Lockett, John Hopkins, Ben Mansfield & Mark Gatiss reacting to another gem from playwright Mart Crowley
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    Photos and podcast: Mart Crowley and The Boys in the Band cast on making history

Photos and podcast: Mart Crowley and The Boys in the Band cast on making history

UPDATED: The Boys in the Band transfers to the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre for a strictly limited season from 7 to 18 February 2017. Buy tickets here.

Mart Crowley’s seminal play, The Boys in the Band, premiered in New York in 1968, just 14 months before the Stonewall riots that ignited the gay rights movement. […]

  • Ralph Pezzullo & Stephen Fife. © Peter Jones
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    Photos and podcast: Discussing the ‘war on terror’ at The American Wife Q&A

Photos and podcast: Discussing the ‘war on terror’ at The American Wife Q&A

What if everything you’re ever known was thrown into question? And everything you ever trusted was subjected to doubt? When San Diego housewife Karen Ruiz’s husband is accused of being a terrorist, she endeavours to clear his name. Can she maintain her faith in her husband, her marriage and her government? Or will she […]

  • The cast of Some Girl(s) with director Gary Condes at post-show Q&A, chaired by Terri Paddock at Park Theatre
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    Photos and podcast: Men, misogyny and Neil LaBute at Some Girl(s) Q&A

Photos and podcast: Men, misogyny and Neil LaBute at Some Girl(s) Q&A

I first – and last – saw Neil LaBute’s Some Girl(s) in its world premiere in the West End in 2005, in a production that starred Friends’ David Schwimmer along with “girls” including Catherine Tate and Lesley Manville. In this first major London revival, Charles Dorfman takes on the pivotal role of a writer (never addressed […]

  • The Trial of Jane Fonda post-show Q&A on 19 July 2016. All event photos © Peter Jones
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    Photos and podcast: Jane Fonda and war on trial with Anne Archer and co

Photos and podcast: Jane Fonda and war on trial with Anne Archer and co

What does The Trial of Jane Fonda, concerning the actor-activist’s controversial protests during the Vietnam War (in which the UK did not support our US allies), have to tell us about more recent conflicts in Syria and Iraq (in which we did)? Particularly in the wake of the Chilcot Report? (And was the timing of […]

PHOTOS: The new cast of Some Girl(s) show their sassiness

Character portraits aren’t just for Harry Potter. Photographer Darren Bell gained access to the new cast of Buckland Theatre’s revival of Neil LaBute’s Some Girl(s) to snap these beauties.
In the play, directed by Gary Condes, Guy (played by Charles Dorfman) is desperate to clear his conscience before he gets married. So he sets off on […]

  • Cast Lauren Samuels, Natasha Cottriall and Maimuna Memon at the post-show Q&A
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    Photos and podcast: Talking politics and musicals at The Buskers Opera

Photos and podcast: Talking politics and musicals at The Buskers Opera

The Buskers Opera, set during the London 2012 Olympics, is inspired by John Gay’s 1728 The Beggar’s Opera which, amongst other works, has also inspired Brecht’s 1928 piece The Threepenny Opera, revived later this month at the National Theatre.

But while the basic structure and characters are owed to Gay, the zany genius of The Buskers Opera […]

British musical theatre has just had its Woodstock moment: I was there

This time last week I was coming down from the buzz of BEAM:2016. Today, as I was re-reading my notes and other people’s write-ups for this blog, I received news on casting for The Toxic Avenger, starring Mark Anderson (who I saw performing at Beam) and produced by Aria Entertainment’s Katy Lipson (one of the […]

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    My theatre diary: Plays 4000 Days, Hangmen, The Dazzle, Jane Wenham, The Long Road South

My theatre diary: Plays 4000 Days, Hangmen, The Dazzle, Jane Wenham, The Long Road South

I’m well overdue for a theatre diary, aren’t I? So here goes with a quick one on more new plays I’ve seen in recent (and not-so recent) weeks that I’d recommend catching and haven’t yet managed to squeeze in to separate blogs. As usual, I’ve listed productions in closing date order: the first three finishing […]

  • Jeremy Corbyn with Rapunzel's "Prince Corbyn", played by Alex Hope, and Fairy Jane and Fairy John
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    Local MP Jeremy Corbyn and the art of the theatre publicity pic

Local MP Jeremy Corbyn and the art of the theatre publicity pic

When news of the Park Theatre’s pantomime, Rapunzel, came through earlier this year, I remember clocking the name of the hero character Prince Corbyn – names are never a coincidence when it comes to pantomimes, surely?

But had naming considerations also played a part in casting the role? Finding an actor named Alex Hope to […]

  • Huw Parmenter and Tom Maller in Dark Tourism at the Park Theatre. © Oli Sones
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    Dark Tourism and the art of the theatrical put-down: 17 top insults

Dark Tourism and the art of the theatrical put-down: 17 top insults

Richard, one of the central characters in Daniel Dingsdale's debut play Dark Tourism (like me) has a thing for quotations. The irony is that he's a peddler of lowest common denominator culture, a "celebrity" PR with a hotline to the tabloids, who once dreamed of high-brow literary success.
  • Steve Nallon voiced the Margaret Thatcher puppet for TV's Spitting Image and now plays her onstage in Dead Sheep at the Park Theatre, London. April 2015
    Permalink Steve Nallon voiced the Margaret Thatcher puppet for TV's Spitting Image and now plays her onstage in Dead Sheep at the Park Theatre, London. April 2015Gallery

    Counting Sheep and Maggies: 18+ Thatchers onstage in the past decade

Counting Sheep and Maggies: 18+ Thatchers onstage in the past decade

When Margaret Thatcher died on 8 April 2013, she remained alive and well in two West End characterisations, neither particularly flattering.

In Billy Elliot The Musical, during the “Merry Christmas, Maggie Thatcher” set-piece, her giant Spitting Image-style head loomed large above a group of festive miners, one kitted out in a trademark Iron Lady blue […]

  • Hattie Morahan in The Changeling at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare's Globe, London
    Permalink Hattie Morahan in The Changeling at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare's Globe, LondonGallery

    My theatre diary: Dramas Taken at Midnight, The Changeling, Out of the Cage and The Separation

My theatre diary: Dramas Taken at Midnight, The Changeling, Out of the Cage and The Separation

The infinite variety of theatre in London means you can be laughing at the theatre one night, crying the next night. Or, when it’s really powerful, alternating between both on the same night. In my companion Theatre Diary piece, I shared some of the comedies I’ve enjoyed recently. Now I turn to the top-notch […]

  • Alexander Hanson and Abigail Cruttenden in Accolade at the St James Theatre, London, Nov 2014
    Permalink Alexander Hanson and Abigail Cruttenden in Accolade at the St James Theatre, London, Nov 2014Gallery

    My theatre diary: Off-West End plays Accolade, Jonah and Otto and Grand Guignol

My theatre diary: Off-West End plays Accolade, Jonah and Otto and Grand Guignol

There are plenty of plays to choose from on London’s fringe and Off-West End. Here are some that I’ve seen recently and am happy to recommend. As usual, I’ve listed them in closing date order. Don’t delay with the first two in particular, both of which finish their limited seasons this week.

If you follow […]

  • Tim Pigott-Smith as King Charles III at Wyndham's Theatre, London's West End, September 2014
    Permalink Tim Pigott-Smith as King Charles III at Wyndham's Theatre, London's West End, September 2014Gallery

    My theatre diary: King Charles III, True West, Toast, Eye of a Needle and Breeders

My theatre diary: King Charles III, True West, Toast, Eye of a Needle and Breeders

Knowing that my theatregoing – and overall mental and emotional bandwidth – would be going into tailspin this week, I packed in as many shows as I could over the past fortnight.

Amongst them, the five notable plays below. As usual, I’ve listed them in closing date order. Don’t delay with the first two in […]

Photos and podcast: Therese Raquin post-show Q&A

What a turnout! After a Twitter RT frenzy with the cast of Therese Raquin yesterday, every single one of them joined me for a post-show Q&A after their sensational performance last night at the Park Theatre – including, as promised, feline star, Francois the Cat!

We were also joined by Nona Sheppard, who adapted Emile […]