Sunday, June 16

Tag: Jonathan Black

The Audience – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse
North West

The Audience – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse

Back in 2013, well before ‘The Crown’ became a Netflix sensation, Peter Morgan wrote ‘The Audience’. This reimagining of the weekly meetings that take place between the monarch and her first twelve Prime ministers was a smash hit in both the West End and on Broadway, garnering Olivier and Tony awards for Helen Mirren in her role as Elizabeth II. Altrincham Garrick Playhouse has now taken up the challenge of producing this deep dive into post war British history, resulting in a sumptuous and informative production sprinkled with excellent performances. The set (Barry Purves) could not be simpler; two chairs on a bare stage - which Equerry (Howard Yaffe) informs us may or may not be Hepplewhite - allow Queen Elizabeth (Ros Greenwood) and her various Prime Ministers to illustrate politica...
A Christmas Carol – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse
North West

A Christmas Carol – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse

The Christmas season is well and truly on now, with Altrincham Garrick’s performance of A Christmas Carol kicking off the festive roster. This production had flashes of theatrical excellence, but sadly there were a number of areas that just didn’t capture the audience in the way director Barry J C Purves would perhaps have wanted. The lead antagonist, Jonathan Black as Ebenezer Scrooge, gave a fantastically nuanced and well-delivered performance - the audience really bought into him in the first act as the well-known miser who struck fear into the heart of the people of Victorian London, yet in the second act you could really believe his redemption after seeing the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Given the supernatural nature of the story, it was a difficult narrat...
House of Ghosts – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse
North West

House of Ghosts – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse

Murder mysteries are one of my favourite genres of fiction. So, I was extremely intrigued to see Alma Cullen transporting the iconic Inspector Morse from television to stage. Cullen has written some of the episodes for the TV series, so she should be able to bring some of that magic to the stage production. From the beginning this has the busy going ons of a play within a play. It was rather amusing to start with, but then got far too complicated. A lot of the actors looked and sounded very similar, so it was difficult to distinguish who’s who - which is vital in a murder mystery! The play is set in Oxford in the 1980s where a production of Hamlet is taking place. However, the young actor playing Ophelia (in this case Ciara Booker) collapses and dies on stage during the performance....
The Lady in the Van – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse
North West

The Lady in the Van – Altrincham Garrick Playhouse

In common with most people who love the theatre, I adore the prodigious output of plays, books and diaries that Alan Bennett has produced over the course of the last half century, however, I have never really subscribed to the view that he belongs in the pantheon of comfortable personalities that make up our 'National Treasures'. Bennett himself despises the term, and there has always been as much vinegar as sugar in his writing as he wryly chronicles the state of the nation, so to bracket him with as characters as bland as David Beckham and Joanna Lumley, is to give a somewhat distorted view of his place in modern Britain. His style is perfectly exemplified by his 1999 play 'The Lady in the Van', which started its week long run at the Garrick Playhouse in Altrincham this evening, in this...