Senna in Theatreland

In which Senna lives for a year in London and spends all her money on theatre.

Reviews, memories, tips on getting cheap tix, performer and production squee.

Big list of shows seen
Shows I’ve Seen  → Holy Warriors, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, July 2014

The good: the first act is a treatment of the Third Crusade, and Saladin facing off against Richard the Lionheart. I really enjoyed it—the acting, the use of the space, the costumes, etc. Energetic and captivating. The second act was less, er, linear, but found its way to a very on-point ending that tied up the point of the narrative very neatly. Great acting all round.
The bad: the second act wandered a bit (justifying the blurb’s description of the show as a “fantasia”). Some of it worked; some of it was a bit WTF, and I did get kinda bored at some points. Some of the chanting was a bit odd — “King, did the West act wisely in these lands?”
The ugly: clear political message about the role of Britain etc in the Holy Lands. Extremely earnest, a bit didactic. Enjoyment may depend on how much you like getting preached to about foreign policy and western imperialism.
Also they’re not lying - the Globe is not a comfortable theatre. Seated on hard benches (£1 to rent a cushion, or bring your own) and probably lacking a back-rest. 
I’d pay: we were sat around the side of the upper gallery, from where the view was OK but not great. From where we were there were bits of the action that were cut off — the tops of anything occurring on the theatre balcony. Not much of a problem for this show but might be an issue for others depending how much they use that space.
I’d probably opt for the cheaper seats on the lower level (they’re around the side so you’d be examining the actors’ ears a lot, but v close to the stage), or if feeling energetic then the £5 standing spaces in the yard, noting that the groundlings got solidly rained on when we saw it, which would be a common hazard, I suspect.

Shows I’ve Seen  → Holy Warriors, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, July 2014

The good: the first act is a treatment of the Third Crusade, and Saladin facing off against Richard the Lionheart. I really enjoyed it—the acting, the use of the space, the costumes, etc. Energetic and captivating. The second act was less, er, linear, but found its way to a very on-point ending that tied up the point of the narrative very neatly. Great acting all round.

The bad: the second act wandered a bit (justifying the blurb’s description of the show as a “fantasia”). Some of it worked; some of it was a bit WTF, and I did get kinda bored at some points. Some of the chanting was a bit odd — “King, did the West act wisely in these lands?”

The ugly: clear political message about the role of Britain etc in the Holy Lands. Extremely earnest, a bit didactic. Enjoyment may depend on how much you like getting preached to about foreign policy and western imperialism.

Also they’re not lying - the Globe is not a comfortable theatre. Seated on hard benches (£1 to rent a cushion, or bring your own) and probably lacking a back-rest. 

I’d pay: we were sat around the side of the upper gallery, from where the view was OK but not great. From where we were there were bits of the action that were cut off — the tops of anything occurring on the theatre balcony. Not much of a problem for this show but might be an issue for others depending how much they use that space.

I’d probably opt for the cheaper seats on the lower level (they’re around the side so you’d be examining the actors’ ears a lot, but v close to the stage), or if feeling energetic then the £5 standing spaces in the yard, noting that the groundlings got solidly rained on when we saw it, which would be a common hazard, I suspect.

Shows I’ve Seen  → Great Britain, Lyttleton Theatre, National Theatre, July 2014

The Good: Billie Piper magnificently led a magnificent cast. The play was laugh-out-loud funny. Nice to get a female playing the sort of love-to-hate-you’re-rooting-for-her-even-through-she’s-awful character. Loved the sets, the use of multimedia, and the mock-headlines. Great satire.

The Bad: Another great play in a string of great plays I’ve seen lately! Can’t think of any bad-ness, but your enjoyment might vary in tandem to your tolerance level for some fairly harsh satire.

The Ugly: transferring to the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, without Billie Piper or Oliver Chris, though I’m sure their replacements will be excellent.

I’d pay: £28 nets you decent seats up the back of the circle, if there’s any available. Day Seats likely to be a long line-up (7am or earlier for a 10am buy). Might be worth holding off until it transfers and picking up tickets then — although you do miss out on Billie Piper by doing that, and she is totally amazing.

londontheatredirect:

DON’T MISS: EVITA at Dominion Theatre - Only 55 performances!http://www.londontheatredirect.com/musical/1573/Evita-tickets.aspx

Saw this in Edinburgh. Quite good.

londontheatredirect:

DON’T MISS: EVITA at Dominion Theatre - Only 55 performances!
http://www.londontheatredirect.com/musical/1573/Evita-tickets.aspx

Saw this in Edinburgh. Quite good.

alwaysiambic:

Anne Hathaway (Viola), Audra McDonald (Olivia) and Raul Esparza (Orsino) in the Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night

(via hairbrushsinger)

Shows I’ve Seen  → Wolf Hall, The Aldwych, July 2014

The Good: oh my goodness, this show is amazing. I was quite ambivalent about seeing it; I expected a turgid Tudor drama, but actually it is REALLY. FUNNY. My favourite line was Anne Boleyn talking about her brother George, and describing him as, “Pretty, pretty, pretty… empty, empty, empty.” Great cast, great minimalist set design, which is modern concrete blocky etc, but somehow works really well with the period costumes and props. The show has a lot of momentum, swinging through events quickly and never stopping for too long. Henry VIII is surprisingly sympathetic, as is arch-schemer Cromwell. Anne Boleyn is wonderful (the repeated “Anne always gets her way” is so far accurate…). 

Wolf Hall is playing in repertory with the sequel Bring Up The Bodies, which I haven’t seen, but definitely plan to.

The Bad: I can’t really think of anything I didn’t like about this. Not only was I pleasantly surprised, I really loved it. 

The Ugly: I am not sure how well someone who didn’t know the history would follow this? It does move very fast through events and has a rogue’s gallery of characters, some of whom are played by the same actors. Probably it would be fine if you were content to go with the flow.

I’d pay: £10 day seats located wherever the box office wants to put you. We were in the dress circle slips, which were great for £10, although slightly RV. We did the Wednesday matinee, and were third in line at 9.20ish (box office opens at 10.30). 

Shows I’ve Seen  → The Crucible, Old Vic Theatre, June 2014

The Good: an excellent production. Atmospheric, modern but at the same time old, good use of costumes and (minimalist) sets, excellent cast. Richard Armitage was excellent as John Proctor, and he and Anna Madeley (Elizabeth Proctor) actually managed to inspire me to sympathy for characters I didn’t really like last time around. The girl who played Abigail had the most amazing hair.

The Bad: nothing, really. I think if you like the Crucible as a play you’d like this production.

The Ugly: good use made of Richard Armitage’s size and power; he spends most of the first act and bits of the second flinging the girls around the stage, grabbing them, throwing them to the ground, pulling them by the hair, etc, which is impressive, but also makes him seem (intentionally?) like a bit of a thug.

I’d pay: good seats in the circle for £25, but ‘ware you will be surrounded by school groups, and teenagers cannot. sit. still.

Shows I’ve Seen  → Bakersfield Mist, Duchess Theatre, June 2014

The Good: a very straight-down-the-line modernist play, one really detailed set, two actors who play brilliantly off one another, and the insight and energy garnered from the meeting of two different types of people. Entertaining and one leaves with the feeling that one has thought a little bit about things without being preached to. Also, Ian McDiarmid is a constant delight.

The Bad: a very safe play that isn’t trying to be more than it is. Not necessarily a “bad” given how much I can hate plays that do try to be more than they are, but still. Might explain the lukewarm reception.

The Ugly: Ian McDiarmid waving his arms around and thrusting at the floor as he describes Jackson Pollock’s art style. *uncomfortable giggling*

I’d pay: small theatre so cheap seats probably pretty good. 

TONIGHT.

Mr @thedavidhunter at @WestEndLIVE #WestEndLIVE @OnceMusicalLDN 

(via fuckyeahoncethemusical)