The Importance of Being Earnest

IMG_7309I went to the press night for the new production of The Importance of Being Earnest at the Vaudeville.  Now this play is one of my favourites and one I know reasonably well I’ve seen it a number of times, not least getting to play Gwendolen as part of my A-Level in theatre studies performance element. Its a text I’m familiar with and I love the wit in the text.

Most productions I have seen have been quite restrained.  Clipped words with precision and everything being so very proper.  But this production really reinvigorated the text for me and made the play incredibly sexy and beautifully queer. Gwendolen (PippaNixon) rubs up against the piano suggestively and Cecily (Fiona Button) is not the doe-eyed ingenue but a young lady who knows exactly what she wants.

It feels like a very modern direction, everyone is very definitely inhabiting their bodies and reacting physically.  Algernon (Fehinti Balogan) is louche, decadent and intent on living for pleasure.  Jack (Jacob Fortune-Lloyd)is wound so tight, clearly adoring Algernon and so frustrated with him, often in the same speech.

But I have to single out Lady Bracknell because Sophie Thompson was amazing using her incredible vocal dexterity to wring out every nuance she could from the script yet deliberately underplayed ‘a handbag?!?’ So much so I almost missed it.  But that could also be said for the rest of the cast.  Subtext was brought to fore, everything was enunciated and inflected so that the audience could be left in no doubt what the characters were thinking.  It felt stylised but it also showcased the script so that we didn’t miss a thing and I bloody loved it.

I loved that food was important characters stress ate, fed each other often in a counter point to what people were saying.

This production shone new light on an old favourite and made it new and glorious and I would definitely want to see it again.IMG_7310

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I’ve wanted to see this since it premiered and thanks to some serendipity I am finally going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child this evening.

I will be going in completely unspoiled.  I’ve avoided reading anything about the plot and I will be going in cold.

I’m not quite sure what to expect but I will be seeing parts one and two on consecutive nights.

I will be reporting back.  I am fully expecting to flail.  Consider this your warning.

A Substitute for Life and Lucid

The RADA Festival takes place each year in the summer term there are many productions to see and workshops to attend as well as art installations it has been fantastic to see so much going on.

I only had time to catch a couple of productions.

The first was Simon Brett’s play A Substitute for Life performed in the Gielgud studio theatre at RADA was quite an intense hour.  The Second was Lucid by New Public which was a physical theatre performance and I hadn’t been to one in such a long time.

In A Substitute for Life Tim Hardy played Francis Kenworthy a man we are introduced to and who through that hour offers us a portrait of a man who has arrived at this point in his life and reveals his story incrementally throughout the performance.

Hardy’s performance is compelling.  The piece itself is  and Hardy is confined to his desk for much of the performance. Hemming him in and concentrating his performance from the waist up. The character of Francis is brought vividly to life with a stammer and a love of literature or at least that is how we are introduced.  He narrates his own history and does so assuming some characters who had the most impact on his life.

The play is a tantalising slow reveal of a man who has suffered at the hands of all of the adults in his life and ill equipped for adulthood.

The tension in his play is based on the contract between the protagonist and the audience, who are in essence hearing a confession and as each new piece of information is revealed the relationship between audience and actor evolves. It was an in-depth character study wonderfully rendered.

Lucid on the other hand was incredible.  An ensemble piece about what happens when you dream. An hour full of vignettes which take you through nightmares as well as those amazing dreams where everything goes right. A devised piece that moves through several forms, mime, dance, karaoke, dance, combat a riot of recorded sounds and music soundtrack the impeccably choreographed moves.  From rage and despair to euphoria and every beat in-between.  

Glorious, clever and very funny.

Lucid moved me in ways I didn’t expect. If you get the chance to see its well worth your time.

A Substitute for Life is will be playing at the Edinburgh Festival

More info on New Public


Ham4hanI am beyond excited. This evening I am headed to Victoria to see Hamilton at the Victoria Palace.

I completely fell in love with the sound track when it came out and I’ve listened to it on repeat for months. In fact listening to Hamilton got me through some very tough projects when I worked in a school. Ugly crying at my desk as I listened to act two. It sounds depressing but it worked.

Tonight I will go to the room where it happens and with any like the cast will blow us all away.

I fully expect to sob through act 2.

Bring it.