November 12, 2012
Eileen Atkins and Michael Gambon star in All That Fall by Samuel Beckett, directed by Trevor Nunn. 5 STARS – The Guardian.
Following a hugely successful run at the Jermyn Street Theatre, All That Fall transfers to the Arts Theatre. Originally written as a radio play, the Becektt Estate has finally allowed the play to be performed on stage on the proviso that it is presented as if the audience are watching a group of actors recording the piece for radio. Eileen Atkins and Michael Gambon perform with scripts in their hands, there are visible microphones, and a host of sound effects, ranging from farmyard animals to hissing steam locomotives.
March 11, 2012
Simon Annand exhibition The Half reveals West End stars backstage
A great deal of mystery surrounds the nightly ritual of a performer preparing to go on stage. The final half-an-hour before curtain up, known as The Half, is when actors spend their last few minutes transforming themselves into someone before going on.
Theatre photographer Simon Annand has captured these intimate moments in a new exhibition in London called The Half, which runs until 8 April 2012 at the Idea Generation gallery in Shoreditch.
The exhibition features portraits from his 2008 book of the same name and a number of new and unseen images of London’s leading theatre performers.
Simon has been building up this project for over 25 years and has gained unprecedented backstage access to a host of big name theatre performers including Anthony Hopkins, Cate Blanchett, Daniel Day Lewis, Judi Dench, John Gielgud, Vanessa Redgrave, Jim Broadbent, Jeremy Irons, Glenda Jackson, Jude Law, Charlotte Rampling, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Martin Sheen, Felicity Kendal, Kevin Spacey and Ralph Fiennes.
New works on show include Amanda Holden in Shrek The Musical, Kelly Brook in Calendar Girls and Danielle Hope as Dorothy.
Simon Annand said: “To photograph actors when they are “getting into character” is to see them at their most photogenic as you can see why they have been attracted to this particular thrill of becoming another… The performer is very exposed and there is something endlessly romantic and heroic about it.”
A series of events will also be held at the exhibition including a book signing by Simon Annand on Sunday 18 March 2012 from 3pm to 6pm, and ’Its Not About The Tits’ with Polly Rae and Simon Annand on 8 April 2012 from 6.30pm, featuring a one off Burlesque performance by the inimitable Miss Rae.
Simon Annand: The Half is open to the public until 8 April 2012 at the Idea Generation Gallery, 11 Chance Street, London E2 7JB. T. +44 (0)20 7749 6850. The gallery is open Monday to Friday 10.00am – 6pm & Sundays 12 – 5pm.
September 27, 2010
Krapp’s Last Tape at the Duchess Theatre – Round-up of reviews
Michael Colgan’s production of Samuel Beckett’s 1958 play, first seen at the Gate Theatre in Dublin, is a critical hit. After Michael Gambon was forced to pull out of the National’s The Habit of Art last year due to illness, the critics hailed his return to the stage and his extraordinary performance as nothing short of a triumph.
Read extracts from Krapp’s Last Tape reviews below, including The Times, The Telegraph, The Stage and The Guardian.
September 13, 2010
It’s an eclectic mix of shows that are opening this week in the West End, as the autumn season of new productions begins apace. From Wonder Woman to Michael Gambon via Noel Coward and Sebastian Faulks, there’s something for everyone.
On Tuesday 14 September, Les Miserables returns to the Barbican Theatre, where it all began 25 years ago. A brand new production of Boublil and Schonberg’s legendary musical has been touring the UK to celebrate its 25th anniversary and completes its run at the Barbican – but for only 22 performances. The show features a dynamic young cast including Gareth Gates.
Noel Coward is never far from the West End, and Wednesday 15 September sees the opening night of Design for Living at the Old Vic Theatre in Waterloo. Anthony Page directs Coward’s 1932 comedy about the complicated three-way relationship between two men and a woman. The play stars Tom Burke (Telstar), Andrew Scott (Lennon Naked) and Lisa Dillon (Cranford) and runs until 27 November.
On the same day Krapp’s Last Tape starts previews at the Duchess Theatre starring one of Britain’s most accomplished actors, Michael Gambon. The Dublin Gate Theatre transfer of Samuel Beckett’s classic enjoyed rave reviews at the Gate directed by Michael Colgan. The 50 minute show is playing two shows a night, keeping Mr Gambon nicely occupied.
On Friday 17 September the fabulous Lynda Carter, aka Wonder Women, pops to town for two shows of her Lynda Carter: At Last solo sing-fest. Best known to millions as TV superhero Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter: At Last is a musical evening to celebrate her recent solo album. Following dates in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, Lynda Carter will appear in London on 17 and 18 September 2010 at the Garrick Theatre.
Also on Friday, the Chichester Festival Theatre’s sell-out production of Yes, Prime Minister starts previews at the Gielgud Theatre starring Henry Goodman and David Haig. The original writers of the BBC series, Antony Jay & Jonathan Lynn, have reunited for this hilarious 30th anniversary production, promising much topical wit and political spin-doctoring: Jim Hacker and Sir Humphrey Appleby are back and this time to face the country in financial meltdown!
The following day, Saturday 18 September, Trevor Nunn is back in the West End directing Rachel Wagstaff’s adaptation of the best-selling Sebastian Faulks novel Birdsong. The play starts previews at the Comedy Theatre starring British movie star Ben Barnes (The Chronicles of Narnia), Nicholas Farrell, Iain Mitchell, Genevieve O’Reilly and Lee Ross, and tells the moving story of one man’s journey through an all consuming love affair and into the horror of the First World War.
August 17, 2010
It’s all change in the West End next month as September sees a number of shows bid farewell.
September marks a busy time for Theatreland as a slate of new shows open in town, which means a number of summer hits are closing to make way.
This month, Sam Mendes’ Bridge Project shows at the Old Vic, As You Like It and The Tempest, starring Stephen Dillane and Juliet Rylance, closes on 21 August. They are swiftly followed by La Bete at the Comedy Theatre, which closes on 28 August before heading off to Broadway. The Matthew Warchus-helmed show features a starry cast including David Hyde Pearce, Mark Rylance and Joanna Lumley.
In September, things start to get really shaken up and we lose some of the big summer shows. In a reversal of La Bete, HAIR made its debut on Broadway and then came to London – and you only have until 4 September to see what all the fuss was about and catch the New York cast, including Gavin Creel, before they head home.
Also on the 4th we lose David Essex penned musical All The Fun of the Fair, and dance spectacular Burn The Floor , which is clearing its tango shoes and sequins out of the Shaftesbury Theatre to make room for another big dance show, Flashdance The Musical. This will star Matt Willis and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt and is choreographed by Arlene Phillips.
And it’s never just one big dance show that goes: butch and blue-collar Tap Dogs starring Adam Garcia is also leaving the West End the day after Burn The Floor, on 5 September.
The short run of The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, riding high after the BBC’s Sherlock series, will end on 11 September at the Duchess Theatre to make way for Michael Gambon in Krapp’s Last Tape.
And we wave goodbye to Jeff Goldblum and Mercedes Ruehl on 25 September as Neil Simon’s The Prisoner of Second Avenue leaves the Vaudeville Theatre.
BOOKING AND OFFERS
Save £19 on tickets to see HAIR at the Gielgud Theatre
Save £30 on tickets to see All The Fun of the Fair at the Garrick Theatre
Save £21 on tickets to see Burn The Floor at the Shaftesbury Theatre
Save £11 on tickets to see Tap Dogs at the Novello Theatre
Half Price tickets to see The Secret of Sherlock Holmes at the Duchess Theatre
Save £14 on tickets to see The Prisoner of Second Avenue at the Vaudeville Theatre
June 18, 2010
OLIVIER AWARDS – Best Actor Winners
2012 Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller for Frankenstein
2011 Roger Allam for Henry IV Parts 1 & 2
2010 Mark Rylance for Jerusalem
2009 Derek Jacobi for Twelfth Night
2008 Chiwetel Ejiofor in Othello
2007 Rufus Sewell for Rock ‘N’ Roll
2006 Brian Dennehy for Death Of A Salesman
2005 Richard Griffiths for The History Boys
2004 Matthew Kelly for Of Mice And Men
2003 Simon Russell Beale for Uncle Vanya
2002 Roger Allam for Privates On Parade
2001 Conleth Hill for Stones In His Pockets
2000 Henry Goodman for The Merchant Of Venice
1999 Kevin Spacey for The Iceman Cometh
1998 Ian Holm for King Lear
1997 Antony Sher for Stanley
1996 Alex Jennings for Peer Gynt
1995 David Bamber for My Night With Reg
1994 Mark Rylance for Much Ado About Nothing
1993 Robert Stephens for Henry IV (Parts 1 and 2)
1992 Nigel Hawthorne for The Madness Of George III
1991 Ian McKellen for Richard III
1989/90 Oliver Ford Davies for Racing Demon
1987 Michael Gambon for A View From The Bridge
1986 Albert Finney for Orphans
1985 Antony Sher for Richard III and Torch Song Trilogy
Actor of the Year in a New Play
1988 David Haig for Our Country’s Good
1984 Brian Cox for Rat In The Skull
1983 Jack Shepherd for Glengarry Glen Ross
1982 Ian McDiarmid for lnsignificance
1981 Trevor Eve for Children Of A Lesser God
1980 Roger Rees for Nicholas Nickleby
1979 Ian McKellen for Bent
1978 Tom Conti for Whose Life Is It Anyway?
1977 Michael Bryant for State Of Revolution
1976 Paul Copley for King And Country
Actor of the Year in a Revival
1988 Brian Cox for Titus Andronicus
1984 Ian McKellen for Wild Honey
1983 Derek Jacobi for Cyrano De Bergerac
1982 Stephen Moore for A Doll’s House
1981 Daniel Massey for Man And Superman
1980 Jonathan Pryce for Hamlet
1979 Warren Mitchell for Death Of A Salesman
1978 Alan Howard for Coriolanus
1977 Ian McKellen for Pillars Of The Community
1976 Alan Howard for Henry IV (Parts 1 and 2) and Henry V
Best Actor in a Musical
2012 Bertie Carvel for Matilda The Musical
2011 David Thaxton for Passion
2010 Aneurin Barnard for Spring Awakening
2009 Douglas Hodge for La Cage aux Folles
2008 Michael Ball for Hairspray
2007 Daniel Evans for Sunday In The Park With George
2006 James Lomas, George Maguire and Liam Mower for Billy Elliot – The Musical
2005 Nathan Lane for The Producers
2004 David Bedella for Jerry Springer – The Opera
2003 Alex Jennings for My Fair Lady
2002 Philip Quast for South Pacific
2001 Daniel Evans for Merrily We Roll Along
2000 Simon Russell Beale for Candide
1999 The cast of Kat and The Kings
1998 Philip Quast for The Fix
1997 Robert Lindsay for Oliver!
1996 Adrian Lester for Company
1995 John Gordon Sinclair for She Loves Me
1994 Alun Armstrong for Sweeney Todd
1993 Henry Goodman for Assassins
1992 Alan Bennett for Talking Heads
1991 Philip Quast for Sunday In The Park With George
1989/90 Jonathan Pryce for Miss Saigon
1988 Con O’Neill for Blood Brothers
1987 John Bardon and Emil Wolk for Kiss Me Kate
1986 Michael Crawford for The Phantom Of The Opera
1985 Robert Lindsay for Me And My Girl
1984 Paul Clarkson for The Hired Man
1983 Denis Lawson for Mr. Cinders
1982 Roy Hudd for Underneath The Arches
1981 Michael Crawford for Barnum
1980 Denis Quilley for Sweeney Todd
1979 Anton Rodgers for Songbook
June 14, 2010
OLIVIER AWARDS – Best Comedy Winners
Best New Comedy
2010 The Priory
2009 God of Carnage
2008 Rafta Rafta
2007 John Buchan’s The 39 Steps adapted by Patrick Barlow from an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon
2006 Heroes by Gerald Sibleyras translated by Tom Stoppard
2003 The Lieutenant Of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh
2002 The Play What I Wrote by Hamish McColl, Sean Foley and Eddie Braben
2001 Stones In His Pockets by Marie Jones
2000 The Memory Of Water by Shelagh Stephenson
1999 Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle And Dick by Terry Johnson
1998 Popcorn by Ben Elton
1997 Art by Yasmina Reza
1996 Mojo by Jez Butterworth
1995 My Night With Reg by Kevin Elyot
1994 Hysteria by Terry Johnson
1993 The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice by Jim Cartwright
1992 La Bête by David Hirson
1991 Out Of Order by Ray Cooney
1989/90 Single Spies by Alan Bennett
1988 Shirley Valentine by Willy Russell
1987 Three Men On A Horse by John Cecil Holm and George Abbott
1986 When We Are Married by J.B. Priestley
1985 A Chorus Of Disapproval by Alan Ayckbourn
1984 Up’N’Under by John Godber
1983 Daisy Pulls It Off by Denise Deegan
1982 Noises Off by Michael Frayn
1981 Steaming by Nell Dunn
1980 Educating Rita by Willy Russell
1979 Middle Age Spread by Roger Hall
1978 Filumena by Eduardo de Filippo, adapted by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
1977 Privates On Parade by Peter Nichols
1976 Donkey’s Years by Michael Frayn
Best Comedy Performance
1995 Niall Buggy for Dead Funny
1994 Griff Rhys Jones for An Absolute Turkey
1993 Simon Cadell for Travels With My Aunt
1992 Desmond Barrit for The Comedy Of Errors
1991 Alan Cumming for Accidental Death Of An Anarchist
1989/90 Michael Gambon for Man Of The Moment
1988 Alex Jennings for Too Clever By Half
1987 John Woodvine for The Henrys
1986 Bill Fraser for When We Are Married
1985 Michael Gambon for A Chorus Of Disapproval
1984 Maureen Lipman for See How They Run
1983 Griff Rhys Jones for Charley’s Aunt
1982 Geoffrey Hutchings for Poppy
1981 Rowan Atkinson for Rowan Atkinson in Revue
1980 Beryl Reid for Born In The Gardens
1979 Barry Humphries for A Night With Dame Edna
1978 Ian McKellen for The Alchemist
1977 Denis Quilley for Privates On Parade
1976 Penelope Keith for Donkey’s Years
November 6, 2008
As Briggs describes a route involving an intricate one-way system, with unfathomable twists and turns, it soon becomes clear that his directions lead to a kind of no man’s land. ‘This trip you’ve got in mind,’ he says, ‘drop it, it could prove fatal.’
The speech could be a metaphor for the play itself though its two central characters. Hirst (Michael Gambon – pictured), a successful, well-heeled poet and essayist, and Spooner (David Bradley), a dishevelled, impecunious poet manque Hirst picks up at a pub near Hampstead Heath and invites back for a drink, have their own definitions of ‘no man’s land.’ It never changes, never moves, never grows older. But which remains forever icy and silent.
The play’s narrative thrust could not be simpler. After Hirst invites Spooner into his luxurious home (courtesy of designer Giles Cadle) dominated by a well-stocked bar, Spooner attempts to ingratiate himself with his wealthy host hoping that an on-going friendship might be of benefit to him.
What he has not reckoned with, however, is the menacing presence of Foster (David Walliams) and Briggs, incipient thugs who may or may not be lovers, and whose job is to make sure their boss is protected from leeches like Spooner. They succeed.
The idea of a derelict stranger imposing on the hospitality of another was, of course, explored by Pinter in The Caretaker, his first major success. Indeed, No Man’s Land borrows, in mood and atmosphere, quite liberally from several of the playwright’s earlier pieces – notably The Birthday Party and The Homecoming.
Particularly mysterious is the ambiguity that exists between Hirst and Spooner. Could they actually have once known each other at Oxford and have even been friends?
The play’s second comic set-piece, in which the pair exchange a series of long-past social reminiscences involving names like Lord Lancer (‘He’s not one of the Bengal Lancers, is he?’ enquires Briggs), Burston-Smith, Bunty Winstanley, and Doreen Busby, suggests a once-intimate association.
The play also broke new grounds for Pinter. For the first time, his protagonist is a man of means and, like Pinter himself, a poet.
Fascinating, too, is that Spooner, despite having his eye clearly on the main chance, brings a whiff of life into a house literally plunged into darkness. Briggs and Foster, on the other hand, would appear to be waiting for Hirst to die – which, as the play ends, he seems to be doing.
When No Man’s Land was first performed in 1975, John Gielgud played Spooner and Ralph Richardson was Hirst – a double act hard to forget, even harder to follow, and pointless to compare with succeeding casts.
Gambon’s glazed introspection as he peers silently into the middle-distance contemplating ‘the last lap of a race I had long forgotten to run’, is extraordinarily moving and contrasts brilliantly with his stealthier more buoyant moments when, after a good night’s sleep, he bounds into view with an energy and a sprightly playfulness (albeit short-lived) unseen until this point.
Bradley’s crumpled, delusional Spooner whose every wrinkle speaks of failure and failed potential, is very moving too, a muted cello to Gambon’s periodic, trumpet-like outbursts.
Walliams and Dunning are appropriately sinister as Hirst’s manservants, and exude a homoerotic frisson echoed in a production by wunderkind Rupert Goold, that never allows the play’s fair share of laughter to upstage the darkness at its heart.
CLIVE HIRSCHHORN. Courtesy of This Is London.