Thursday, August 6

London

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – The Globe
London

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – The Globe

As part of the BBC Culture in Quarantine season, we are offered a selection of Shakespeare’s plays performed at two of the UK’s most well known theatres for Shakespeare.  Written in 1596, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a regular feature in theatres’ Summer calendars for their Summer season.  We have seen many adaptations of this play as theatres become more creative, but this version is like the making a cocktail, the ingredients can be the same, but it is how much of each ingredient that creates its individual flavour.  In Emma Rice’s first play as Artistic Director of The Globe, we were treated to a feast of energy and colour.   The play positively buzzed with excitement as we experienced an adventurous modernised version of this much-loved play. The play is...
Beethoven’s Fidelio – Royal Opera House
London

Beethoven’s Fidelio – Royal Opera House

Recorded just prior to lockdown and largely unedited, conductor Antonio Pappano introduces a new production of Beethoven's only opera, Fidelio, from the Royal Opera House, a story of risk and triumph against a backdrop of revolution, with Tobias Kratzer’s new staging, including some dialogue changes, bringing together the dark reality of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution and the conflicts of the modern age to illuminate Fidelio’s inspiring message of a common humanity. This is very much an opera of two halves with Act One in period as Leonore (Lise Davidsen) attempts to locate her husband, Florestan (David Butt Philip) who is a political prisoner incarcerated in a secret dungeon and subject to torture from the governor of the prison, Don Pizarro (Simon Neal). To secure a...
The Sleeping Beauty – Royal Opera House
London

The Sleeping Beauty – Royal Opera House

‘I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream’. Most people will know the song from Disney’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ but how many people know that the music was actually written 70 years prior to the film’s release and the lyrics were added in 1959 for Disney? Tchaikovsky’s music for the ballet ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ was written in 1889. For anyone who may have never heard of any version of this fairytale before, it tells the story of Princess Aurora. Starting with her christening day, when Carabosse interrupts the ceremony and places a curse on the new princess, meaning she’ll prick her finger on her birthday and die. Luckily, the lilac fairy manages to lessen the curse, to put Aurora and the kingdom into a deep sleep for 100 years, only to be woken by true loves kiss. The ballet consists...
Faust – Royal Opera House
London

Faust – Royal Opera House

Everybody knows the tale of Faust although Gounod’s popular five-act, Parisian grand opera from 1859 is in fact adapted from Michel Carré’s play ‘Faust et Marguerite’ which was itself based on Part I of Goethe’s epic poem Faust. Very much reflective of the nature of Second-Empire Paris at that time, the obvious question is whether its themes remain relevant and recognisable to a 21st C audience. Director David McVicar wisely recognised that human nature doesn’t really change and the issues of sensuality and hedonism, religion and morality, bourgeois consumption versus socialist redistribution, to name but a few at the heart of this opera, continue to go hand in hand, and his richly layered 2004 production for Royal Opera House brilliantly captured these through the artificial edifices ...
Goodbye The (After) Life of Cook and Moore – Museum of Comedy, London
London

Goodbye The (After) Life of Cook and Moore – Museum of Comedy, London

This reviewer will start this review by admitting that she is old enough to remember Pete and Dud in later episodes of Not Only But Also so it was with both trepidation and anticipation that this production was watched. Produced at London's Museum of Comedy in February 2015 to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Peter Cook's death, the play takes an irreverent and rather surreal look at what might have happened to Pete and Dud in the afterlife. Peter Cook died aged 57, on the 9th January 1995 from a gastrointestinal haemorrhage, most likely due to his years of excessive drinking. Some seven years later on the 27th March 2002, Dudley Moore followed his one time comedy partner to the afterlife after spending fourteen years battling the effects of progressive supranuclear palsy. He was ...
Amadeus – National Theatre
London

Amadeus – National Theatre

Director Michael Longhurst’s 2016 production of Peter Shaffer’s iconic play is a stunning piece of theatre starring Lucian Msamati as Salieri alongside Adam Gillen as Mozart with the musicians of Southbank Sinfonia cleverly weaved into the action providing live accompaniment to the story. We begin at Salieri’s end as he recalls the almost Faustian bargain he made with God at the age of sixteen: to become a fêted and famous composer in exchange for living a virtuous life and honouring God at every turn. Fast forward to 1881 Vienna and all Salieri’s dreams have come true in the court of Emperor Joseph II (Tom Edden). But nobody expected Mozart. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. A rowdy young prodigy who arrives with his wife to be, Constanze (Karla Crome), determined to leave his mark  Wh...
Romeo and Juliet – The Royal Ballet
London

Romeo and Juliet – The Royal Ballet

I have a confession to make. Before today I had never watched a ballet in full. Sure, I had seen clips, and as a dancer myself (although clearly not a classical one) I’ve seen many contemporary productions, but never a ballet. Such is the benefit of companies such as The Royal Opera House streaming past productions online – you can give yourself new experiences from the comfort of your own home. Despite me knowing nothing about ballet, I am however much more experienced in the works of the Bard and have played Juliet myself on several occasions. For this reason, I found the story very easy to follow, and could clearly identify who each of the characters were. As in many of Shakespeare’s plays, the female characters are few and far between, but in this production the women were given mo...
The Deep Blue Sea – National Theatre
London

The Deep Blue Sea – National Theatre

Terence Rattigan was one of the finest playwrights of his generation and over the course of many years he wrote some outstanding pieces of work for the theatre. The Deep Blue Sea is probably the best play from his repertoire, an absolute masterpiece set in post-war Britain and centred around a woman caught between worlds and realising that passion can sometimes suffocate and harm. Rattigan’s beautifully constructed play explores many issues including those of mental health, self-worth and self-esteem. The play is set over one day in a flat in West London, it’s 1952 where  we first meet Hester Collyer (Helen McCrory) trying to “end it all” but through the intervention of other people who also live in the building, she thankfully fails. Hester just needs to be heard, to be loved and...
La Bohème – Royal Opera House
London

La Bohème – Royal Opera House

By the time it was retired in 2015, the Royal Opera’s previous production of La Bohème, directed by John Copley, had notched up 25 revivals in its 41-year history, so the pressure was on for its 2017 replacement, directed by Richard Jones and with sets and costumes by Stewart Laing, for what is one of the most frequently performed operas worldwide. The play is set in the Latin Quarter of Paris in about 1830 where on Christmas Eve we meet four struggling bohemians living in a garret: a poet, Rodolfo (Michael Fabiano); a painter, Marcello (Mariusz Kwiecień); a philosopher, Colline (Luca Trittoto); and a musician, Schaunard (Florian Sempes), who arrives having had some good fortune and they agree to celebrate by dining at Café Momus. They are interrupted by their landlord, Benoît (Jeremy ...
Les Blancs – National Theatre at Home
London

Les Blancs – National Theatre at Home

Writer Lorraine Hansberry was a remarkable woman who, despite her early death at age 34, conquered Broadway as the first black writer to see her play ‘Raisin in the Sun’ performed on stage in 1959.  She followed her father into activism and wrote for the newspaper ‘Freedom’, working alongside Africans and African Americans.  This work; and seeing a production called ‘Les Negres’ (The Blacks), inspired Hansberry to write ‘Les Blancs’, which she began writing in 1960 and completed it just before her death.   After her death the play was adapted by her ex-husband Robert Nemiroff.  The 1970 Broadway production was staged at the Longacre Theatre and the National Theatre’s production took place in 2016. The play follows the visit of journalist Charlie Morris (Elliot ...