Life may be a CABARET, old chums, but they have to ring down the curtain some time and for the production at the Savoy it all comes to an end this month! If you want to see Will Young in lederhosen then you better get down to the Savoy before the 19th January.
The season of giving is over and so is the run of SCROOGE at The London Palladium. This Saturday – 12th January – is your last chance to catch Tommy Steel in the eponymous role.
So long old chums. Come back soon.
Happy New Year to you from all of us here at WasThatGood.com
Are you looking forward to 2013? Does it hold great opportunities? I hope so!
I know the theatrical world can be a superstitious lot but I have decided that despite the number 13 featuring heavily in the title 2013 is going to be fantastic.
My resolution is to see more theatre – I hope you do too!
Lots of love
Well, it’s opened. Viva Forever! The Spice Girls musical has finally opened for reviews.
Here is what the Guardian said:
“banal”, “fatuous”, “ghastly mistake”
The Daily Express
“what happened to the oomph, pizzazz and sheer excitement of Girl Power?”
The Daily Mail
“Spicy?, No it’s a prize christmas turkey”
Here is what out first reviewer said:
If you want to check it out for yourself…
Viva Forever! Tickets
Enjoy – I think…
Agatha Christie’s iconic whodunnit The Mousetrap has been running on the West End now for 60 years.
Sunday 18th November saw its 25,00th performance in St Martin’s Theatre – making it the longest running play on the West End – or indeed anywhere. After opening in The Ambassador’s Theatre in 1958 the play ran for 21 years before moving next door to the St Martin’s Theatre in 1973, without missing a performance.
The day was commemorated with an all-star cast in a rehearsed reading with luminaries including Patrick Stewart, Hugh Bonneville, Tamsin Greig and Julie Walters. In the time -honoured tradition, after the performance, the audience were asked to keep the murderer’s identity a secret.
We wish it it continued success and may even attend the show – in its 70th year perhaps?
Break a leg darlings.
The Mousetrap Tickets
When Stephen Fry did a runner from the West End production of Simon Gray’s play “Cell Mates” in 1995 and dropped out of public view it was a mystery worthy of Agatha Christie’s disappearance.
Perhaps he even had Christie’s creation – Poirrot – in mind as he did in deed turn up in Belgium! Poirrot’s native land! Hmmmmm! Okay – it might just be my personal theory.
After his return – thank God he did! – he cited stage fright brought on by his much-documented and continued battle with BiPolar Disorder.
Well, he’s back on stage, and better than ever apparently.
He had a public dry run of previews when the critics were banned from reviewing the piece but he needn’t have worried. Having played the “Mal” myself in college I can truly say he was made for the role and is indeed inspired casting. This run at the Apollo on Shaftesbury Avenue is a most welcome and triumphant return to the stage.
The production is an all-male show with Fry playing Malvolio, the uptight manservant, to the Tony-Award-winning Rylance’s Olivia.
I am booking as we speak, if I can do such a thing.
I say – go see, go see, go see! I am!
Twelfth Night Tickets with Stephen Fry
Bruce Norris has pulled the rights to a German production of Clybourne Park – his 2011 Pulitzer Award winning play – after the company planned to use a white woman “blacked up” to play a woman of African descent.
The practice used to be common here and elsewhere in Europe – Google The Black and White Minstrel Show for a recent historical eye-opener – but has since been largely discontinued as discriminatory against black actors – and roundly considered to be somewhat distasteful. Except in Germany apparently.
Norris discovered the proposal when he was contacted by the black actress who had previously played the role in a recent German production. He contacted them to confirm this and he was advised that the Deutsches Theatre in Berlin did indeed plan to “experiment with make-up” on a white actress. This was when Norris pulled the rights.
I totally agree with him, not least because the play actually highlights race issues. Not to cast according to race here would be idiocy.
He went further and asked playwrights to boycott the practice (of “blackface”). He asked them “to boycott productions of your own work by German theatres that continue this asinine tradition (The Deutsches Theatre and the Schlosspark are only two examples) ”
Hurrah for Bruce!
I must confess, however, that I once did this. In my defence it was a long time ago in an galaxy far, far away from such sensibilities and before they were so acknowledged. I played Abdul in an amateur production of Overheard by Peter Ustinov and I admit I wore brown make-up. There may even have been an accent. (Eurgh!) I didn’t have any idea I was inappropriate, it was all just part of the dress up and make-believe, and there was no other more appropriately-raced or perhaps naive member of the company to do it – It was my first part with them – I would have done it in a dress! I note, however that the role in the professional, West End production with Ian Carmichael and Deborah Kerr was played by an actor called William Thomas in 1981 – who I am guessing was not cast according to his ethnicity either – so I don’t feel so bad. Much. Honestly, I would rather now that I hadn’t done it, but there it is.
This production of Clybourne Park on the professional stage, in 2012, in a major city like Berlin, is, I tell myself, entirely another matter, and I believe Norris is right to withhold the rights to his play on this matter. I very much hope other playwrights do to.
Bonzer Bruce! Write us another!
Paul Taylor in The Independent describes this as a relentlessly bland and cheery musical version of the story.
Steel’s voice is apparently in good nick and he commands this august theatre well – he should – he holds the record as a headliner there – no mean feat for a 75 year old!
It garners only 2 stars however and left Mr Taylor looking forward to Christmas slightly less. Ouch!
But what do you think?
Congratulations to The Finborough Theatre on their winning The Empty Space… Peter Brook Award 2012.
The panel recognised the theatre for its ability to combine both the production of new writing and producing revivals “with ease”.
Hats off to you!
Sir Peter Hall went to the theatre on Friday night and nodded off. Well, he is nearly 82 and what he was dreaming of may have been more interesting than the production of Uncle Vanya he had been watching ’til the theatre fairy sprinkled some sleep dust in his eyes.
The problem arose when he awoke – loudly – during the final speech by Laura Carmichael. I am sure it wasn’t a comment on her or the production and I am pretty sure he wasn’t heckling, as some have suggested.
I think I have fallen asleep in the cinema but to my recollection never in the theatre. There are some interminable productions I would have liked to have slept through but that’s for another day…
Do you have any embarassing snoozing stories from theatreland?
Love to hear them…
The Arts Council in England have managed to incorporate the 50% admin cut imposed by the previous Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt – but at some cost. Instead of eight regions there will now be five and with 117.5 fewer staff.
The chief executive Alan Davey says there is a need for the ACE to be an investor in the arts so that it can lead growth and ambition. He also says ”We’ll do less, and we’ll do it differently, but we’ll do it well. ”
I suppose he has to be upbeat but it must be debilitating to see your budget halved and your staff quartered especially since the last structure – just three years ago – saw the staff cut by 21%.
What is the next trick the ACE will have to attempt? To disappear entirely? Maybe…
The current Culture secretary – Maria Miller – is still singing the song started by Hunt while in office to the tune of philanthropy. The words go something like… the arts need to get better at “asking, not receiving”.
Get out the playing cards and the begging bowl – it might be up to us to come up with our own tricks if the ACE disappears entirely.