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“No Man’s Land” by Harold Pinter #Theatre

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 No Man’s Land review: ‘Hilariously tragicomic’

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With its all-star cast, this revival of Harold Pinter’s ‘No Man’s Land’ is not to be missed as it opens in the West End following a triumphant UK tour.

It’s been in the offing since Sean Mathias’s acclaimed production of this Pinter classic was unveiled on Broadway in 2013. Now, as we’d hoped, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart – both at the top of their game – have finally brought it to London. After a short UK tour, their version has landed, fittingly enough, in the very theatre where, some forty years ago, John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson continued to put their brilliantly eccentric stamp on the roles of Spooner and Hirst in the West End transfer of the original 1975 National Theatre production.

Mathias’s staging manages to be the funniest account of the play I have seen without underselling its scariness, mystery or…

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Publicado por en septiembre 23, 2016 en Actors, Theatre

 

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Kenneth Branagh dances in Olivier’s shoes in The Entertainer

It’s one of the most iconic roles in post-war theatre: Archie Rice, the clapped-out music-hall act who stands at the demoralised heart of John Osborne’s The Entertainer: the bankrupt exponent of a dying art-form in a country reeling from the Suez Crisis. Laurence Olivier created the part. Now, almost 60 years on, it’s the turn of Kenneth Branagh.

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Kenneth Branagh, CREDIT: JOHAN PERSSON

How does he fare? How does he compare? To some, that line of inquiry might sound moribund. And yet Branagh, 55, has been likened to Olivier more than any other actor of his generation. His early success, his many Shakespearean roles too, makes it hard not to detect a cry of “For God, for Larry and for England!” in this choice, concluding his year at the Garrick.

The blunt truth? Olivier’s – to judge by the 1960 film – is the superior performance, blessed with a mercurial vitality and dangerous mischief that the benign Branagh can’t match. Yet Sir Ken goes some considerable and impressive way to stamping his own authority and personality on the part.

Literally so: the opening vignette replaces Osborne’s bleak scene-setting, introducing the brawling back-streets of a northern coastal town, with the sight of Archie alone, his back to us, head lowered, towel round his neck like a boxer readying for the next round. He conducts a slow tap-dance with a series of stomps and much deliberate, fancy leg-work, joined by a quartet of show-girls in negligées, tip-tapping in the shadows.

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The action switches to the Rices’ draughty, down-at-heel digs, though designer Christopher Oram keeps everything within a decayed stage milieu: there are props and costumes ranged to one side; we’re in a replica proscenium-arch theatre, rafters poking through plasterwork. When Archie jokes “Don’t clap too hard, it’s a very old building”, the gag hits the mark.

Osborne elided the ailing world of the variety hall with microcosmic slices of troubled family life, creating a portrait of a disintegrating artist and a state-of-the-nation play at the same time. Branagh acquits himself with distinctive aplomb in each sphere but it’s his stage-business that captivates most.

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L-R: Kenneth Branagh, Greta Scacchi, Gawn Grainger CREDIT: JOHAN PERSSON

Putting one in mind of Eddie Izzard with his red-lipsticked lips and toady grins, he’s convincing as a resolutely smiling trouper staring down the barrel of deadly audience indifference. Whether shuffling dandily along in tuxedo, dickie-bow tie and boater, cane-a-twirl, or camply dishing out Osborne’s knowingly excruciating, innuendo-laden repartee, you grasp why he’s top of the bill, yet never truly made it.

Director Rob Ashford gives us plenty of salacious suggestions of the “nude revue” that Archie is trying to shackle to his sinking vaudevillian mast. In terms of our own historical moment – with trouble again flaring in the Middle East, and the poignant demise of the Rice’s soldier son Mick hitting home – the revival is timely. But Ashford’s production could do with a more spirited tempo to compensate for the dialogue’s dated, often schematic quality, while there’s no getting around the abundant (to many ears today offensive) prejudice.

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Kenneth Branagh as Archie, with Sophie McShera as Jean CREDIT: JOHAN PERSSON

There’s fine support from Greta Scacchi as Archie’s care-worn, cheated-on wife Phoebe, and Gawn Grainger as his intemperate ex-showman father Billy. Jonah Hauer-King displays promise too as Archie’s conscientious-objector son Frank, as does Sophie McShera as his passionate, politicised daughter Jean.

The evening is bookended by beautiful, solitary silhouettes of Archie and, for all the shadow cast by Olivier, Branagh triumphs in style. Those seeking a night of laugh-out-loud entertainment, though, be warned: if they do, the joke’s on them. National decline and personal failure is, now as then, at root a serious business.

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The Entertainer, CREDIT: JOHAN PERSSON

The Entertainer  is playing at the Garrick Theatre, London until Nov 12. 

Book now to avoid disappointment: visit  Telegraph Tickets  or call 0844 871 2118.

Live broadcast to cinemas on October 27.

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/theatre/what-to-see/kenneth-branagh-dances-in-oliviers-shoes-in-the-entertainer–rev/

 

 
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Publicado por en agosto 31, 2016 en Actors, Theatre

 

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Benedict Cumberbatch: The dream came true … and succeeded.

Benedict Cumberbatch: The dream came true … and succeeded.

From August 5 to October 31, 2015 was the exact time when the brilliant British actor Benedict Cumberbatch became the Danish Prince that one day out of the hands inky and prodigious imagination of William Shakespeare and he called “Hamlet“.

Since then, with total deserving much is what has been said about this new theatrical version which caused great excitement even a year before its release, selling out all their tickets in a short time. Since then, with total deserving, much is what has been said about this new theatrical version which caused great excitement even a year before its release, selling out all their tickets in a short time. They expected great things from it and especially of its principal actor who dreamed of playing this character throughout his life. A dream comes true for him and for all the lucky ones who could see him, along with an exceptional cast at the Barbican Theatre.

I must admit that I was one of those privileged to have the opportunity to see and experience, as always when I go to London theatre was unique, intense and magical. All the good things have been said about this version is deserved. I found a display of talent of actors and actresses on stage.

For me the theater is or should be that place where man meets the actor and the actor with the man. A mixture which must be perfect to be able to transmit to the audience every feeling on it. And Benedict Cumberbatch gets it and no doubt. He leaves the skin, sweat, laughter and even tears in a vibrant adaptation which’s what made him to get Best Actor in a Play in WhatsOnStage Awards of this year. Also Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet has received four Oliver Award nominations, including best actor for his portrayal of the Shakespearean prince Hamlet.

This has been a perfect excuse to remember that moment at the Barbican Theatre … watching as the curtain rises and find a Hamlet listening to the song of Nat King Cole: Nature Boy playing on an old record player.

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Congratulations.

 

Directed by por Lyndsey Turner

Produced by por Sonia Friedman Production

Photo credit by Johan Persson

http://www.whatsonstage.com/

For a full list of nominations, go to: http://www.olivierawards.com/nominations/view/item274537/best-revival/

 
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Publicado por en marzo 7, 2016 en Actors, Theatre

 

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Ralph Fiennes in ‘The Master Builder’

Ralph Fiennes in ‘The Master Builder’

Ralph Fiennes likes a challenge. He picks his parts like a pole-vaulter pushing himself higher. Last year, it was Jack Tanner in the moral maze of Shaw’s “Man and Superman,” a four-hour tongue twister in human form. Now, it’s the title character of Ibsen’s “The Master Builder,” Halvard Solness — a tangle of ambition, paranoia and buried guilt. It’s a commanding performance, but not a revealing one, and David Hare’s light-touch adaptation offers little steer for navigating the mix of myth, symbolism and psychology that’s typical of late Ibsen.

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Solness is Ibsen’s Icarus. A great architect (self-taught, he prefers “master builder”), he dreads being usurped by his young assistant Ragnar (Martin Hutson), son to the man he himself supplanted years earlier. Gradually, his thoughts turn to legacy: a grand steeple, high enough to make a mark on the world.

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The Master Builder

Hare makes clear that Halvard’s success is rooted in circumstance. His wife Aline (Linda Emond) lost twin sons in infancy, both poisoned by her breast milk, following a huge fire at home. Not only did the fire clear land for the building that made Halvard’s name, their childlessness — and Hare goes so far as to declare the master builder impotent — allowed his career to flourish. However, with no one to transfer ambition onto, buildings are all Halvard can leave behind.

Fiennes doesn’t reveal a role; he takes his shirt off and wrestles with it. He’ll push a part to its extremes, and his Halvard can ricochet with inspiration or slow to a still despair, but you feel you’re watching postures instead of a person. It’s hard to see the character for all the acting. Every sentence is crisp, like speech deep-fried, and every action’s so definite. Even vulnerability’s played with attack.

The Master Builder Rehearsal

Ralph Fiennes Charlie Cameron The Master Builder rehearsal photos

He starts clenched, grudgingly offering a glass of water to an old dying man, but frazzles as the play goes on. The trigger for Halvard’s break-down is the presence of Hilde Wangel (Sarah Snook) — a girl half his age, infatuated ever since he kissed her, inappropriately, as a child. Snook strides onstage, skirt hitched up at the knee, a confusion of sex, youth and nature in one. She can be every bit as stilted as Fiennes.

Ralph Fiennes 'Halvard Solness' in The Master Builder rehearsals. Photo. Manuel Harlan

alph Fiennes ‘Halvard Solness’ in The Master Builder rehearsals. Photo. Manuel Harlan

Rob Howell’s set gives the play shape. A wooden disc overhead tilts for each act: ascent first, then descent, and, finally, a crash landing. Around the edges, a thicket of charred timber encloses the action. Lit by Hugh Vanstone, it shifts from dense pine forest to flaming inferno, both manifestations of Halvard’s headspace. Hilde might be the same. Halvard lays himself open with her, babbling hidden grief and guilt. She drives him on, a devil on his shoulder. At one stage, Snook hops onto a table like a visitation. Matthew Warchus sometimes overplays the expressionism — a cello underscores recollections of grief, for instance — but he catches the feverish tone of the play as the master builder starts to fray.

London Theater Review: Ralph Fiennes in ‘The Master Builder’

Old Vic, London; 1067 seats; £25 ($35) top. Opened Feb. 3rd, 2016; reviewed Feb. 6, 2016. Running time: 2 HOURS, 45 MIN.

Production

An Old Vic production of a play in three acts by Henrik Ibsen, adapted by David Hare.

Creative

Directed by Matthew Warchus. Production design, Rob Howell; lighting, Hugh Vanstone; sound, Simon Baker; music, Gary Yershon.

Cast

Charlie Cameron, James Dreyfus, Linda Emond, Ralph Fiennes, Owen Findlay, Martin Hutson, James Laurenson, John McAndrew, Eleanor Montgomery, Sarah Snook, Eleanor Sutton, Peter Yapp.
Article via: Variety.com
The Master Builder - Old Vic
 
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Publicado por en febrero 8, 2016 en Actors, Theatre

 

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“This is the winter of our discontent” … and Martin Freeman was Richard III

“This is the winter of our discontent” … and Martin Freeman was Richard III

Transformed Trafalgar is located in the heart of London, five minutes from the famous Trafalgar Square in the iconic Trafalgar Studios in Whitehall. His second season started full of politically-charged, with an amazing new production of Richard III, the historical play written approximately in 1952 by William Shakespeare. Directed by James Lloyd and the wonderful actor Martin  Freeman as the undisputed star in the role of Richard III, this peculiar adaptation reached its final performance on 27 September with great public success and moderated criticism.

If who had the opportunity to see it thought at some point that they were going to find a classic and entirely conventional adaptation of Richard III by Shakespeare, I am totally convinced that changed their opinion as the play began. They have found a vibrant, innovative, interesting and exciting production. Just needed to open the mind and let in this new approach to this classic. If in addition they got a front row seat, I hope you’d be careful with blood splatter (like me) in this bloody rise to power that undertakes Richard III.

If Iago allow me, I would say that Richard III could be the biggest villain in Shakespeare highlighting among many other things, for all those amusing moments and sinister scenes adorned with comicality in a long, dark and very bloody journey to his way to the throne. A character full of much literary wealth (as everything is in Shakespeare) always carries a risk and at the same time, a challenging to interpret in any environment.

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In this case, the challenge was released to splendid actor Martin Freeman who in my humble opinion of spectator has been able to give all that requires a character of these features, with the added difficulty involved in having located far from his natural period. This means that the director Jamie Lloyd decided to reinvent to Shakespeare and moving story of Richard III to Great Britain in 1970s, adapting the events at that time with the story written by Shakespeare.

Perhaps here is where it gets more risky this new production. This change was one of the most censored by critics but is just a part that I consider makes this production a referent. At first it overflows and you can feel confused by the drastic change in the environment in which the play takes place respect to the original. The setting is centered in an office and the building is located is established as the basis for the military have taken over in response to industrial and economic problems of the country, in which the characters talk, argue, give campaign speeches, fight and murder. The set design created by Soutra Gilmour is superb. It focuses on desktops, TVs, conference tables, office phones and aquariums that become an improvised battlefield, as the play progresses. Two elevators on both sides give input and output characters and situations, all in a frantic rhythm, where actors and especially Mr. Freeman interacts with the audience allowing them to share his purposes, in a tone of dark and perverse humor. A task which is particularly difficult to carry out for an actor without seeming forced, faked or lack of seriousness. Martin Freeman gets it perfectly.

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26DE0F00F-A8D0-681D-C07BA6CDAF149939Complete the production a group of actors and actresses difficult to forget for their brilliant work. I love this part of the theater that in giving you the opportunity to discover new names to form as part of your emotions lived under the magic of theater. Highlight the beautiful actress Gina McKee who knows how to express the anguish, anger and pain of a totally cornered woman as Queen Elizabeth.

Finally, I would end up talking a little more about Martin Freeman. His reputation about knowing how to give perfect rhythm and interesting approaches to texts comedy is more than deserved, just like his ability to make you shudder, terrifying and thrilling at the same time. He’s perfect, immense reciting lines from Shakespeare so mythical as “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!.”

In short, a show that may have gotten closer to a new audience and excited too old. With the legendary phrase: “Now is the winter of our discontent” Richard III begins his speech. In my case I would say this was the summer of my content, my theater, in my second home: London.

Thank you all for your time reading my reflections. I hope to able to forgive if with my poor English I have offended the word of the master Shakespeare.

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Publicado por en octubre 6, 2014 en Actors, Actresses, Shakespeare, Theatre

 

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“The Crucible” with Richard Armitage (The Old Vic)

“The Crucible” with Richard Armitage (The Old Vic)

Travel to London is always a privilege and also a small dream come true if you have the opportunity to enjoy of the special magic that theater has. My last visit was doubly wrapped in magic because I could enjoy two so different, extraordinary and impressive plays simultaneously. First I will talk briefly about the play “The Crucible” which just finished its tour last September 13 at The Old Vic Theater.

Make a new representation of a theater play of so much prestige and popularity as written by Arthur Miller is certainly a very challenging job. Arthur Miller wrote this play in 1952 based on the named Salem witch trials occurred within the period of colonization of the United States in 1692 in the village of Salem (currently the state of Massachusetts). In this period of struggles between colonial families and Puritan fanaticism involved in paranoia, were sentenced to death 25 people accused of witchcraft, mostly women, and an even larger number incarcerated.

Coincidentally the play was first performed in London at The Old Vic in 1954 directed by Warren Jenkins with the actress Rosemary Harris and in 1965 Sir Laurence Olivier directed it with Colin Blakeley and Joyce Redman. This time is the multiple award-winning director and playwright Yaël Farber commissioned to take it back to the same theater and with an undeniable success. The excellent reviews and high audience approval have ratified.

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Yaël Farber has managed to capture accurately the potential that the text of this play within. Perhaps the most commonly used adjective to describe this new production is ‘intense’. I totally agree with this but also add that it is electrifying, captivating, overwhelming, devastating. In summary, an immense work with a group of extraordinary actors and actresses without whom this success would not be possible.

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Richard Armitage is the star of this classic Arthur Miller’s drama, giving life to the character of John Proctor. Many say that he seems born to play Proctor. I do not know if he was born or not for it but I can assure that his performance is masterful, transmitting without fear the pain, the suffering of a man who’s just trying to get his life back, his family and honor and honesty which means his name. Along with the exceptional work of Richard Armitage can admire the flawless performance of the young actress Samantha Colley in the role of Abigail Williams. It would be almost a crime not to mention some names more of this incomparable casting, such as Harry Attwell (Thomas Putnam), Marama Corlett (Betty Parris), Jack Ellis (Deputy Gov. Danforth), Ann Firbank (Rebecca Nurse), William Gaunt (Giles Corey), Anna Madeley (Elizabeth Proctor), Sarah Niles (Tituba), Adrian Schiller (Reverend John Hale), Michael Thomas (Reverend Parris) among others, without which the intensity of this production would not be possible.

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I left amazed the care of every detail. Nothing left to chance, from the costumes, setting, and decoration of the entire theater to the haunting music that accompanies mainly scene changes in this production. Composed by composer and Sound-Designer Richard Hammarton, music creates a disturbing and dense atmosphere on stage. The actors and actresses themselves are responsible to shape the decor of each scene, something that seems almost like an elegant and slow choreography movements. Chairs that crawl or hit the ground hard echoing throughout the theater. As I have said, nothing is left to chance. A luxury have being able to enjoy this wonder twice.

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If you have not had a chance to see it, I’m sorry that you have lost one of the most prodigious productions I’ve had the privilege of seeing in a long time. If you were among the lucky ones who attended The Old Vic know exactly what I’m talking about and I have no doubt that as much as I have enjoyed. In any case, there is still a chance to see this production as The Old Vic has announced that Digital Theatre was filming the production and will be broadcast to cinemas around the world and also available as a download, with dates and territories to be announced later this year. Definitely, rewarding and expected news. Now I invite you to watch the trailer, and I promise I’ll talk later about another play which I had the chance to see in my last visit to London: Richard III with Martin Freeman.

Thanks to all for reading.

Trailer: The Crucible starring Richard Armitage at the Old Vic

 
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Publicado por en septiembre 24, 2014 en Actors, Actresses, Theatre

 

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Actor-Director Richard Attenborough Dies at 90

Actor-Director Richard Attenborough Dies at 90
 
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Publicado por en agosto 24, 2014 en Actors, Movies, Television, Theatre

 

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