Thursday, 29 June 2017

Review: The Wind in the Willows, Palladium

"Poop, poop"

Arriving at the London Palladium just in time for the summer holidays, new family musical The Wind in the Willows (seen on tour late last year) is a respectfully traditional treatment of the Kenneth Grahame classic with which so many are familiar. And with kings of musical theatre nostalgia Stiles & Drewe on composing duties, Rachel Kavanaugh’s production is clearly the kind of show that wants you to wistfully remember childhoods past.

Julian Fellowes’ book undulates gently rather than creating any particularly dramatic waves – Rat and Mole’s growing friendship is quietly but effectively done, Toad is characterised as a Boris Johnson-like would-be-lovable-rogue, and the biggest ripples of the first half come in the introduction of various creatures of the forest – like an Andrews Sisters-esque trio of sonorous swallows and an enormously cute family of hedgehogs.

Cast of The Wind in the Willows

Not-a-Review: Bonnie and Clyde, The Other Palace


"This world should be notified.
It'll be a bumpy ride.
Thanks to Bonnie and Clyde!"





My first work-in-progress show at The Other Palace in the form of Bonnie and Clyde and as it is a developmental work, I ain't gonna say a thing!


Review: Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Wyndham's

"Nothing rates above you"

Sometimes the hype is entirely justified. Six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald has the incredible record of winning in all possible categories whether lead or supporting, play or musical, the only actor to ever do so, and so it is a little appropriate that her long-awaited UK stage debut comes in the form of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, a play where she gets to do a whole lotta singing. Read my 5 star review for Official Theatre here.

Running time: 90 minutes (without interval) 
Booking until 9th September

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Review: Mad Man Sad Woman, Space Arts Centre

"Down there the poor are like lemons - whenever anyone gets hold of one, they squeeze it"

It's a good few years ago now that I saw Las Brutas, a play by acclaimed Chilean writer Juan Radrigán but as soon as I heard that Head for Heights were producing another of his plays, my interest was most definitely piqued. Mad Man Sad Woman (El loco y la triste) ha again been translated by Catherine Boyle and directed by Sue Dunderdale and it is easy to see the affinity they have for the material in their sensitively handled and powerfully moving work.

In an abandoned building in a grim area of town, Eva and Huinca seem to be suffering the hangover from hell. She's a lame prostitute and he's dying of cirrhosis of the liver and with just a few days left to live, circumstances have conspired to bring them together. Their relationship is a spiky thing indeed at the start as it transpires this was a plan conceived by others. But in the midst of the desperation of their situation, shoots of green begin to appear through the bleakness as something of a connection starts to grow.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Review: Songs and Solidarity, Trafalgar Studios

"We could see this was a bad one immediately. The sky was glowing."

Touted as an evening of song, dance and poetry, Songs and Solidarity was a remarkable event indeed. A fundraising gala evening pulled together in the space of a week by the superhuman efforts of actor Giles Terera and producer Danielle Tarento, it was a concert for the hundreds of families made homeless and the relatives of those who lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower fire. Hosted by Claire Sweeney, musically directed by the enormously talented Tim Sutton, 

The balance of the programme was just right too. From pure musical loveliness like the gentle harmonies of Tyrone Huntley and Jon Robyns on Cyndi Lauper's 'True Colors' and the simplicity of Rachel Tucker's acapella take on 'She Moved Through The Fair', to the more intense emotion of Terera's own 'Ol' Man River' and a visibly moved Clare Foster's 'Don't Worry About Me' (a song with which I wasn't familiar but rather destroyed me). From the much-needed comic relief of Stiles & Drewe skipping through 'A Little Bit of Nothing On A Big White Plate' to the soul-warming 'Indiscriminate Acts Of Kindness' performed by the ever excellent Julie Atherton.

Cast of Songs and Solidarity continued

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Review: Terror, Lyric Hammersmith

Booking an interactive show in which we the audience get to play the role of the jury?

Using a gimmick to cover the business of reviewing the play....?

 😉

Review: The Quentin Dentin Show, Tristan Bates

"If successful, you can go for the upgrade"

I was rather seduced by The Quentin Dentin Show's charms when I saw it last year - riding post-Edinburgh enthusiasm, this sci-fi musical slotted into the late-night berth at the Above the Arts studio perfectly. Buoyed by that success, producer Hannah Elsy and writer/composer Henry Carpenter brought on a new co-book writer - Tom Crowley - to further expand the show for this new run at the Tristan Bates Theatre.

It's an interesting development as the increased running time now carries with it an interval and I'm not entirely convinced that the show carries this off. The Quentin Dentin Show is always amiable, the glint in its eye feels cheeky even as it approaches something darker in tone and so the 'drama' imposed by the cut to black feels a little artificial. It gives the opportunity to go and get another drink sure, but its hard not to feel that the energy flow would be better maintained. 

Friday, 23 June 2017

Round-up of news and treats and other interesting things


Albany Launch Campaign to Provide a Free Theatre Ticket to Every Child in Lewisham

A Theatre Trip for Every Child, Lewisham is a new giving scheme to provide a free theatre ticket for every 5-year-old in the Borough of Lewisham. ‘Every Child’ enables businesses and individuals to give a local child the chance to experience the magic of theatre.

Jude Law has been revealed as patron for the campaign, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Arts Council England, and with the support of founding sponsors, L&Q. A parallel project will launch simultaneously at ARC in Stockton-on-Tees.

Law is a multi-award-winning actor who grew up in Lewisham and went to John Ball school. His TV, film and stage career spans three decades. His exceptional talent and versatility, from leading roles performing Shakespeare in the West End to playing the Pope and Dr. Watson, make him a perfect exemplar for the power of the arts. He commented:
‘I am delighted to support this terrific initiative which has the potential to positively impact the lives of young children in Lewisham. It is crucial for the future of our communities that we find creative ways to nurture and support the next generation. 
Theatre has the power to inspire children and we must encourage them to follow their dreams, no matter how big.’

Lewisham is one of the 25 local authority areas in England where poverty and deprivation were found to be greatest with child poverty effecting 34% of children. Those on low incomes often have least access to opportunities in Lewisham, and that includes arts engagement. A Theatre Trip for Every Child is a tangible strategy aimed at improving access to the arts for children across the borough from an early age.

Gavin Barlow, Chief Executive at the Albany said:
‘We are passionate about every child having the chance to enjoy high quality theatre in their local area. Early access to the arts contributes significantly to a child’s development, sparking their curiosity and giving them new perspectives on the world. We believe very child should have the opportunity to benefit from that experience.’
Annabel Turpin, Chief Executive at ARC, Stockton Arts Centre added:
‘Giving children access to incredible arts experiences on their doorsteps creates a sense of possibility and a very special sense of place locally. Discovering the thrill of theatre at an early age is inspirational for many children as they grow and develop, and life changing for some.’
Paul Nehra, Community Investment Manager at L&Q said:
‘By the L&Q Foundation working with ‘Every Child’, we hope to contribute to supporting future entrepreneurs, artists and leaders to reach their full potential. We’re passionate about the area and delighted to invest in the future of this community.’
The campaign has benefitted from considerable support from both Lewisham Council and Vicky Foxcroft, MP for Lewisham Deptford.

Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham said:
‘We’re lucky enough to have a thriving arts ecology in Lewisham. This campaign provides a brilliant opportunity for local businesses and individuals to support all of our community to access it and be part of it from a young age.’
Vicky Foxcroft, MP added:
Having experienced firsthand the impact of early access to the arts, I’m delighted to be able to support A Theatre Trip for Every Child. It has the potential to make a huge difference to some 400,000 children in our borough each year and to influence their futures in a uniquely positive way.’
A donation of just £10 enables a child to come to the Albany and experience world-class theatre at their local venue and, contributes to making the whole borough of Lewisham a healthier and happier place to live, work and play. There are opportunities to support a whole class, year or even a postcode to experience the magic of theatre.

To support the campaign, visit the crowdfunding page at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/a-theatre-trip-for-every-child.




Casting for the first two events in the National Theatre's Queer Theatre series has been announced. The series marks the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales and runs from 6 – 10 July 2017.

The first in the series of rehearsed readings is Sarah Daniels' Neaptide. Directed by Sarah Frankcom, Neaptide was the National Theatre’s first full-length play by a female playwright. It presents a ferocious but funny account of the public and private battles of a lesbian mother in the 1980s, alongside the ancient myth of Demeter & Persephone. Having recently come out to her family, Claire now faces a bitter custody battle and uncertainty over her teaching career.


Neaptide is on stage in the Lyttelton Theatre on 6 July at 7.30pm, cast includes:
Ronke Adekoluejo (Val), Adjoa Andoh (Beatrice), Simon Armstrong (Sid & Cyril), Thomas Arnold (Colin & Roger), Maureen Beattie (Joyce), Morfydd Clark (Poppy & Terri), Karla Crome (Diane), Helena Lymbery (Anette & Marion), Sarah Niles (Linda) and Jessica Raine (Claire).

The reading will be followed by a free discussion with Sarah Daniels and Sarah Frankcom about the play.


Wig Out! Is the second in the series of LGBT+ rehearsed readings at the NT. Written and directed by Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight), Wig Out! tells of the fiercest battle in New York as the House Of Light compete with the House Of Diabolique for drag family supremacy at the Cinderella Ball. When Eric meets Wilson, it’s a good old-fashioned boy meets boy fairy tale. However, when Wilson reveals his drag alter-ego Nina, questions of masculinity and gender come to the fore. In the tradition of Paris Is Burning, this big, bold and riotous play looks at gender, drag and fabulousness.

              

Wig Out! is on stage in the Lyttelton Theatre on July 7 at 7.30pm, cast includes:
Tarell Alvin McCraney (Rey Rey), Arun Blair-Mangat (directions), Tunji Kasim (Eric), Alexia Khadime (Fate), Kadiff Kirwan (Ms Nina), Abiona Omonua (Faith), Jonjo O’Neill (Serena), Tom Rhys-Harries (Loki), Ukweli Roach (Lucian), Cat Simmons (Fay) and Craig Stein (Venus).

The rest of the programme includes:
Certain Young Men written and directed by Peter Gill, Saturday 8 July, 7.30pm
Bent by Martin Sherman, directed by Stephen Daldry, Sunday 9 July, 2.30pm
The Drag by Mae West, directed by Polly Stenham, Monday 10 July, 7.30pm.




The Old Vic have announced the next One Voice at The Old Vic which will take place on 7 July featuring new monologues written by Mark Watson and Amelia Bullmore performed by Katherine Parkinson and Niamh Cusack as well as a monologue by Yasmina Reza.

The programme on 7 July features Statuesque written by Mark Watson, performed by Katherine Parkinson and directed by Annabel Bolton, Anyway written by Amelia Bullmore, performed by Niamh Cusack and directed by Max Webster and Robert Toscano from Happy Are the Happy by Yasmina Reza, directed by Chelsea Walker.

One Voice celebrates the rawest of theatre forms – a single voice on a stage without scenery, without costume and with nothing to rely on but words. This series of monologues is specially commissioned by The Old Vic with one-off performances from renowned actors.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Review: Sweet Bird of Youth, Chichester Festival Theatre

"'I think that hate is a feeling that can only exist where there is no understanding"

There's something a little depressingly predictable about my inability to resist a neat bit of star casting - Marcia Gay Harden's long-in-the-making UK theatrical debut being the guilty party here. It's depressing because Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth is a play I wasn't much of a fan of the one time I saw it before and the heart wasn't beating any faster at the prospect of sitting through it once again.

And maybe there's an element of self-defeating prophecy at work because I was bored rigid by Jonathan Kent's production here for Chichester Festival Theatre. A quiet audience (never seen the upper seats curtained off like that before) sweltered in the stifling atmosphere but sadly, there was no heat being generated on the stage of Anthony Ward's distractingly-conceived design.

Cast of Terror continued

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Review: Gloria, Hampstead

"She's like an emotional terrorist"

Truth be told I hadn't intended to see Gloria, my own little act of protest at the Hampstead's continuing gender imbalance - six shows straight on their main stage both written and directed by men. But the delights of An Octoroon introduced me to the writing of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and he definitely feels like a playwright with a lot to say so I sucked it up and went to Swiss Cottage for a cheeky preview, ironically the location for the Women Centre Stage festival late last year.

Gloria sets out as a dark office comedy, shady and sharp as it navigates the ruthless ambition of a pool of young(ish) editorial assistants in the Manhattan offices of a national magazine. It's a scathing satire of the journalism industry and the way it has evolved, or not as the case may be - time was that a foot on the bottom of the ladder meant you could reasonably expect to get to the top but times change, cubicle warfare has intensified, and in this uncertain modern world, you've gotta do what you've gotta do.

Review: Bat out of Hell, London Coliseum

"Will you hose me down with holy water, if I get too hot?"

I think it is safe to say that Bat out of Hell is one of the most random things you'll see in the West End this year, if not ever, whether you're a fan of Meatloaf or not. It is a deliciously over-the-top production quite unlike the usual fare in the august surroundings of the London Coliseum but that's part of its charm here - what would be sacrilegious is actually cheekily charming. Find production photos of the show here and read my 4 star review for Cheap Theatre Tickets here.

Running time: 2 hour 50 minutes (with interval)
Booking until 5th August

Cast of Bat Out Of Hell continued

Cast of Bat Out Of Hell continued

Monday, 19 June 2017

TV Review: Fearless Episode 1

"You let a terrorist's wife live in your home and you set a murderer free"

Fearless is a new six-part drama on ITV and whilst some people might be excited by the fact that it is written by one of the writers of Homeland (Patrick Harbinson), all right-thinking people will of course be psyched that it is giving Helen McCrory a stonking leading role. She plays human rights lawyer Emma Banville who is utterly unafraid to butt heads with the world as she investigates miscarriages of justice.

Her latest case draws her into the orbit of Kevin Russell (definite fave Sam Swainsbury) whose conviction for murder looks to be a little iffy. With perhaps a little too much ease, she finds it unsafe and secures a retrial but looks set to have opened up quite the can of national security-flavoured worms as a serious-looking transatlantic phone call on a secure line seems to suggest that there is much more to this than meets the eye.

Cast of Fearless continued

Round-up of news and treats and other interesting things


News, news everywhere - Joe Orton's Loot has had its initial casting revealed in the shape of Calvin Demba and Sam Frenchum pictured up top, and the glorious Sinéad Matthews.

Review: Trinity, The Asylum Peckham

Ovalhouse and BraveNewWorlds' Trinity describes itself as a design-led performance and it does feel more art installation than conventional theatre. And like much of modern art, it benefits from explanation by its creators, captions explaining and connecting the artistic vision behind what might otherwise seem vague and untethered. 

So in their words, Trinity "explores the aesthetics of gender and female iconography in society’s visual culture, from pagan and religious artefacts to pop culture’s bedroom selfies". |In mine, it exploits the visual representation of female roles to stunning effect but decreasing returns, as it offers little more that is tangible.

News: Camden Stands with Grenfell Tower - an evening of music and poetry

Camden Stands with Grenfell Tower: An evening of music and poetry in aid of Grenfell Tower Fire Fund.

Hosted by Ché Walker, Friday 23rd June sees a night of music and poetry in honour of the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and to benefit the Grenfell Tower Fire Fund. Doors will open at 7pm, with the event starting at 7.30pm at Wac Arts' premises near Belsize Park.

Tickets £20, £10 concessions: bookings can be made online here.

If you want to donate directly to the fund established by Queen's Park Councillor Eartha Pond, the link is https://www.gofundme.com/grenfell-tower-fire-fund.

News: Songs and Solidarity - a concert for those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire

Adding to the fundraising efforts already established, actor Giles Terera and producer Danielle Tarento have put together a theatrically inclined evening of song, dance and comedy in aid of those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

Songs and Solidarity takes place on Sunday 25 June at 7.30pm, and will feature performances from West End stars including Olivier Award-winner Noma Dumezweni, Rachel Tucker (Wicked), Tyrone Huntley (Dreamgirls), Clare Foster (Travesties), Cassidy Janson (Beautiful) and Alexia Khadime (The Book of Mormon).

They will be joined by a host of performers and comedians including Julie Atherton, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Jon Robyns, Jason Manford, Mark Thomas, Stiles and Drewe, Rikki Beadle-Blair, Vikash Bhai, Bonnie Greer, David McAlmont, Omar F Okai Company, Earl Okin, Claire Sweeney, Rakhee Thakrar, Gok Wan and the West End Gospel Choir.

The concert will also feature contributions from Dame Judi Dench, and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.


Sunday, 18 June 2017

Too-hot-to-re-review: Hamlet, Harold Pinter

"I shall not look upon his like again"

My lack of willpower when it comes to theatre is infamous, even more so on the rare occasions when I get invited to be someone's plus one, with the responsibility of filing my own review lifted from the shoulders for once. Thus I found myself at the Harold Pinter for the transfer of the Almeida's Hamlet, a production I enjoyed immensely on the two occasions I saw it in North London and whose charms I wasn't entirely sure would translate to the larger theatre here. 

Those fears were largely unfounded - the scale of the intimate family drama that Robert Icke has fashioned from Shakespeare's ever-present tragedy amplifies effectively, and Andrew Scott's deeply conversational style still resonates strongly (in the stalls at least) through the familiar verse, finding new readings and meanings. If I'm brutally honest, I don't think I gained too much from this repeat viewing but that's just my rarified position - it is still a thrilling piece of theatre and it's a thrill to see it in the West End.

Running time: 3 hours 35 minutes (with 2 intervals)
Booking until 2nd September, Juliet Stevenson leaves the company on 1st July when she is replaced by Derbhle Crotty

Cast of Hamlet continued

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Re-review: An Octoroon, Orange Tree

Reader, I went back

And it was good

So good

Here's my original review

Here's the booking info


And here's the rapid response evening tomorrow that I'm also going to!


Too-hot-to-review: Woyzeck, Old Vic

"We are too desperate to do anything but live our lives desperately"

To be quite honest, I hadn't intended to see Woyzeck, little about it appealing to me (despite the presence of Nancy Carroll and Ben Batt in the cast - attractive to me in EXACTLY THE SAME WAY). But a bargain and the chance to catch up with an old friend got me to the Old Vic on a gorgeously sunny afternoon where, inevitably, I found myself enjoying it more than I thought I would. There's just a few performances left though if you want to catch it for yourself/bask in their air-con.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Cast announced for Bonnie and Clyde

Part of The Other Palace's rebranding has been to establish it as an incubator for new musical theatre pieces and so it has been opening its doors for work-in-progress performances of shows like Heathers and Joybubbles. 

And in a couple of weeks we get Bonnie and Clyde - music by Frank Wildhorn, lyrics by Don Black and a book by Ivan Menchell - which flopped on Broadway despite the best attempts of stars Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan. And rather excitingly, for this production, we get the talents of Evelyn Hoskins and Jamie Muscato in the leading roles.

They are joined by
Sam Ferriday (Ted)
Joshua Dever (Buck)
Rebecca Trehearn (Blanche)
Ako Mitchell (Preacher/Ensemble)
Amy Booth-Steel (Clyde's Mother / Governor/ Ensemble)
Nicolas Colicos (Clyde's Father/ Ensemble)
Rebecca Lock (Emma Parker / Ensemble)
Graham Bickley (Sheriff / Ensemble)
Stanley Jarvis (Young Clyde)
Lucy Simmonds (Young Bonnie)

Bonnie and Clyde runs in the studio at The Other Palace for 26th June ti 1st July.


Round-up of news and treats and other interesting things

Christine Edzard will be writing and directing a new version of The Good Soldier Schwejkbased on the satirical Czech novel by Jaroslav Hašek, and creating a daring theatrical and filmic experience.  

Published in serial form, The Good Soldier Schwejk became an instant success. Hažek died in 1923 leaving the novel unfinished. By 1926 it was translated into German and spread across Europe, acquiring cult status. Since then, the good soldier has appeared in many forms across the world, as a powerfully comic symbol of anti authoritarianism, anti militarism and resistance.

Edzard will present a contemporary ‘take’ on Hašek’s original, in an unconventional, rule-breaking adaptation. The subject of Edzard’s film is in fact a play, a comedy, which she has scripted as a live, cabaret style performance. Her Schwejk will be filmed from curtain up to curtain down as performed over the course of a week in the intimate wooden theatre at Sands Studios in Rotherhithe. The compression of Hažek's sprawling novel into cabaret form will add bite and contemporary relevance to the satire. The Cabaret form also reflects the background of Schwejk’s original creator - Jaroslav Hašek was a frequent performer of politically engaged cabaret in Prague.

A small cast:
Alfie Stewart 
Joe Armstrong
Kevin Brewer
Sean Gilder
Michael Mears
Aaron Neil
Andrew Tiernan
and
Michele Wade 
will take on multiple roles and there will be live music and (partially scripted) audience participation. Editing will take place after the shoot in the normal way

It all sounds very intriguing indeed (follow their Twitter here for more info) and I'm pleased to be able to share some rehearsal images for Good Soldier Schwejk with you below.







Following on from his success with Daytona at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket Oliver Cotton, has written a new play for our time, Dessert, running at Southwark Playhouse from 12th July til 5th August.


Directed by Trevor Nunn and starring Teresa Banham, Alexandra Gilbreath, Stephen Hagan, Stuart Milligan, Michael Simkins and Graham Turner, Dessert is a thought-provoking play about wealth, greed and the lengths to which people will go to claim what’s theirs.

A British financier and his wife host a lavish dinner party for their affluent American friends. The food is delicious, the conversation animated and dessert is on its way – when, from one second to another, the evening takes a sinister and alarming turn...



Mosquitoes by Lucy Kirkwood will have its world premiere in the Dorfman Theatre in July with Rufus Norris directing. The rather exciting full cast is Amanda Boxer, Olivia Colman (Jenny), Cait Davis, Vanessa Emme, Yoli Fuller, Paul Hilton, Joseph Quinn, Sofia Stuart and Olivia Williams (Alice). And creatively, the show is designed by Katrina Lindsay, lighting design by Paule Constable, music by Adam Cork, sound design by Paul Arditti and video design by Finn Ross & Ian William Galloway.

'Alice is a scientist. She lives in Geneva. As the Large Hadron particle collider starts up in 2008, she is on the brink of the most exciting work of her life, searching for the Higgs Boson. Jenny is her sister. She lives in Luton. She spends a lot of time Googling. When tragedy throws them together, the collision threatens all with chaos.'

The combination of the two Olivias will make this a must-see and most likely, difficult to get tickets for so I'd get booking now!


The Donmar Warehouse announced two new plays for the 2017 autumn period and whilst they have a certain appeal, I can't say they are making me to rush to get my booking diary to hand... 


Internationally-acclaimed theatre artist, Yaël Farber, makes her Donmar debut directing David Harrower’s haunting Knives in Hens with full casting that includes Christian Cooke, Judith Roddy and Matt Ryan. This will be the play’s first major London revival since its premiere in 1995, when it instantly established Harrower as one of the UK’s leading playwrights (apparently the Arcola's second studio doesn't count!).





Kwame Kwei-Armah then returns to the Donmar stage after his hit production of One Night in Miami… to direct Ibsen’s masterpiece, The Lady from the Sea, in a new version by Elinor Cook. BAFTA-nominated Nikki Amuka-Bird will lead the cast, playing Ellida. Masterpiece or no, it's still Ibsen...

Making theatre accessible to as many people as possible is at the heart of the Donmar’s mission. Knives in Hens and The Lady from the Sea will have KLAXON tickets available throughout the run: an allocation of tickets, starting from £10, put on sale every Monday for performances in the following three weeks. Tickets will be available across the auditorium at every price band.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Review: Holy Crap, King's Head

"Paralysis sets in every time I try to sin"

There's something to admire in the King's Head's devotion to offering something different for the Upper Street theatregoer - diverse programming with a decided LGBT focus, late night slots to allow festival-friendly shows a moment in the capital and to attract perhaps a different kind of audience. With Holy Crap though, it feels like a bit of a swing and a miss.

An 8.45pm start time and a 2 hours 15 minutes run time are uneasy bedfellows at the best of times and sad to say, these are not the best of times. Written by The Heather Brothers (best known for A Slice of Saturday Night), Holy Crap aims squarely for cult status with its bad-taste scything through religious hypocrisy and (the lack of) media ethics but in all honesty, it struggles to get past the barely puerile.

New season at the NT: June 2017 to January 2018

Lots of exciting news in the National's new season announcement, taking us up to January 2018, rather putting the lie to the cries of "crisis" that pop up far too easily when a less-than-well-received show (or two) takes up residency there.

Highlights for me include the perfection of this production pic:

The return of Barber Shop Chronicles:

Justine Mitchell and Sam Troughton appearing in a thing together (this may or may not be their feet:

And of course the Ivo van Hove/Lee Hall/Bryan Cranston amazefest that will be Network (which will have some onstage seating!):