Saturday, 30 April 2011

60. Hamlet 1603 - White Bear Theatre

Ah, my first Hamlet since deciding to attempt the Grand Hamlet-Off of 2011 and given that this was a chance to see the rarely performed Bad Quarto of 1603 (hence the title) - one I was very excited for. And I was far from disappointed, in fact I’m looking forward to heading back to see this when I’m a little less exhausted in May. In short, I adored it and I fear large parts of this entry will just be me listing all the things I loved most.

59. Clybourne Park - Wyndham Theatre

Given the rave reviews that Clybourne Park has been receiving for the last year or so, I was extremely thankful to finally find a Saturday in my schedule to slip in a successful visit to their day ticket queue (I would day ticket more if I were less tired and more organised, alas I am rarely either). In the end I came out feeling it was definitely worth the early morning, but I wasn’t quite sure it was worth the hype.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

58. Macbeth - Belt Up at Clerkenwell House of Detention

Macbeth was one of the Shakespeare’s I studied at school and I vividly remember (being the only one in the class who apparently could speak verse) reading both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s parts out loud. It’s made this one of those plays that I’m irrationally fond of, but so far I’ve somehow managed to only see the play once before, with Song of the Goats slightly unusual lyrical approach last year, a situation I was keen to remedy. Belt Up have also been on my list of troupes to catch for a while after hearing interesting things. So hearing that Macbeth and Belt Up were combining themselves with the creepy Clerkenwell House of Detention not far from where I worked, I couldn’t resist.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

57. The Fat Girl Gets A Haircut & Other Stories - Roundhouse

It’s really difficult to know what to say about this one, which is the feeling I seem to be taking away from a whole heap of plays at the moment, though here at least I think the feeling is justified. The Fat Girl Gets A Hair Cut & Other Stories is a piece difficult to classify – it crosses the borders of theatre, performance art, modern dance, illusion and poetry.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

56. Weak Edward - Rose Bankside

The Rose Bankside is fast becoming one of my favourite venues in London, despite all its rough and ready edges (and lack of toilets). Or perhaps it’s because of those edges, which add an indefinable atmosphere to productions – even with Weak Edward, a retelling of Edward II set in South America, demanding bright sunshine and heat, it worked because of the dark underlying tone of the play reflected by the surroundings.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

55. Little Eagles - RSC at the Hampstead Theatre

Hmmm... I’ve been struggling to work out what I think or feel about this one, let alone what I should write. There were a lot of things I really liked about the play, when I reread it a week later the memory of lots of the scenes made me grin, and it’s a great story they’re telling, a story I’ve loved for years. But overall this didn’t work, there was something vaguely unsatisfying about the experience and it’s taken me a while to put my finger on what the problem was.

Friday, 15 April 2011

54. Clockwork Orange - Southwark Playhouse

I can remember distinctly the booking thought process for this one as I spotted it on the Southwark Playhouse website: Oooh.... Clockwork Orange, that might be interesting.... Clockwork Orange with PUPPETS!?!?!?T That’s... that’s... that’s just wrong *books*. Which makes it a shame, really, that there weren’t actually any puppets.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

53. Sunday Morning At The Centre Of The World - Southwark Playhouse

Possibly one of the oddest theatrical experiences I’ve had this year so far – if not least because I actually have no idea whether the people in the pictures below were the ones I saw perform, since I was blindfolded for the entire show. It’s odd knowing that I wouldn’t spot them again as I quite enjoy those oddly disorientating moments when you try to work out what you saw someone in. Curiosity more than anything else probably leads me to book for shows (though there are other, weirder, reasons – I might be about to book a show simply because one of the actors has an awesome name – it’s a thing). Anyway, the idea of a spoken word play where the audience is blindfolded inspired by Under Milkwood definitely raised the curiosity factor sky high, luckily for me.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

52. Iolanthe - Wilton's Music Hall

This was a surprise favourite during its appearance last year at the Union Theatre after booking it to fill a gap in my schedule and despite having never seen any Gilbert and Sullivan before. It was love at first sight. In fact the only description I could find for the experience was that I was charmingly beguiled. So it didn’t take much to talk myself into catching it again especially once I heard it was moving to Wilton’s Music Hall, which has been on my list of places to visit for ages.

Monday, 11 April 2011

51. Wastwater - Royal Court

This was a bit of an odd one as, despite being quite excited when I booked I went in with increasingly lowered expectations as various friends expressed their disappointment, dissatisfaction and frustration with the play. In the end, though, I came away feeling not exactly happy, certainly not like I’d been blown away but definitely like I hadn’t disliked it as much as everyone else.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

50. The Children's Hour - Comedy Theatre

My 50th production of the year scarily and I’d say this was a bit of a departure from seeing The Tempest earlier in the day – but bleak, queer themes and with a manipulative character at it’s heart – maybe it really wasn’t. Given the high profile casting and high ticket prices, I thought I was going to have to give this one a miss but then I heard about the wonder of the restricted view seats. Sure your view is sometimes blocked by a pillar but there’s something ultimately satisfying in knowing that you paid £5 whilst the person next to you forked out £40 (it’s all about the small victories).

49. The Tempest - Cheek By Jowl at the Barbican

This was another excellent word of mouth purchase, particularly pleasing because The Tempest is quite possibly my favourite Shakespeare – it’s certainly the play I’ve seen the most excellent productions of, even the less lustrous ones have been good. Right back to my very first, though it’s long enough ago to be only the vaguest memory, was memorable for having taken place outside in an actual storm. So perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised to be treated to two superb (if very different) ones within a month of each other – still it’s definitely a thing of joy.

Friday, 8 April 2011

48. Project Snowflake - Brockley Jack Theatre

Another new pub theatre for me and I have to admit I was a bit impressed – the Brockley Jack looked like an ace pub (even if I was accused of dying my hair to be Irish) and the theatre upstairs had the most comfortable seats I’ve ever seen in a fringe venue. Highly looking forward to their Midsummer Nights Dream now. The theatre also has the advantage of being close to a co- workers house, so I was treated to a ridiculously good home cooked slap up meal before heading to the theatre (there were three courses and homemade pesto and hors d’ouevres and cats – though should point out the latter were not part of the meal and were mostly just eyeing me suspiciously).

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

47. The Little Shop of Horrors - White Bear Theatre

Ah, this was a much more enjoyable trip to the White Bear Theatre than last time I was there, despite managing to book for a football night again. This time I even managed to get served at the bar (cider – if I’m going to end up the evening being eaten by a shrub, I’d like to know I inflicted some damage to the plant world first). Plus whilst last time I had trouble with the actors being drowned out by the rowdy disco next door, this time the small cast were loud enough for it not to be a problem.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

46. Betty Blue Eyes - Novello Theatre

Sometimes you find a show that is so utterly, ridiculously delightful from start to finish that you can’t help but be completely charmed. Betty Blue Eyes is one of those shows. Even rubbish seats and a throbbing knee (a recent injury aggravated by all the steps to get to the upper circle) couldn’t spoil the joy of it, I came out of it grinning from ear to ear and floating on air. A perfect post-musical combination.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

King Lear / Romeo and Juliet - RST (The Final Shows)

This is an even more not-quite-review than normal as I’ve already discussed King Lear and Romeo and Juliet before, at length (ridiculous, ridiculous length). But I can’t not write something about these last two shows, as they feel slightly momentous to me in an oddly difficult to define way. I suppose it’s just that these productions have been a major part of my life over the last year and it’s still slightly hard to comprehend that I won’t be seeing them again. Plus even with the three Hampstead plays to go, this felt a little like we were saying goodbye to the ensemble (none of this is rational of course – but emotions generally aren’t).

45. YPS Comedy of Errors - RST

We possibly couldn’t have chosen a more dramatic shift in mood than going from The Rape of Lucrece to the YPS Comedy of Errors – thankfully a night of mild drinking, a legendary Adelphi breakfast and the fact that this production is something of an old friend (I first saw it in 2009) – eased us between the two. So by the next morning we were ready for the crazed, slightly psychotically gleeful, utterly energetically mad hour we were set to enjoy. And I have to say I still utterly love it.

Friday, 1 April 2011

44. The Rape of Lucrece - Swan Theatre

I know that when people talk about completing the Shakespeare canon they’re not normally including his poetry, but hearing that the RSC were creating a version of the Rape of Lucrece accompanied by music was nothing short of irresistible. I didn’t really know what we would get, only being vaguely familiar with the poem, not having seen anything like this before and having no idea who Camille O’Sullivan was – I certainly didn’t expect how powerful it would be (or that we would be sharing the theatre with half the Romeo and Juliet cast).