Othello

Shakespeare’s Globe, London ***

© Simon Anand, Andre Holland as Othello, Jessica Warbeck, Desdemona

Review by Carole Woddis of performance seen Aug 1, 2018:

Shakespeare took a particular delight, it seems to me, in investigating great men who by an intrinsic fault in their personality bring about their own downfall: Coriolanus and the bond with his mother; Macbeth’s relationship with his wife and his over-weaning ambition coupled with a surprisingly lively conscience. And Othello, a man who `loved not wisely but too well’, whose love, stirred up by the impatient and resentful NCO, Iago, brings about his own downfall. Continue reading

The Meeting

Minerva, Chichester Theatre, East Sussex ****

© Helen Maybanks, Lydia Leonard (Rachel), Gerald Kyd (Adam)

© Helen Maybanks, Lydia Leonard (Rachel), Gerald Kyd (Adam)

It opens at a Quaker meeting, a circle of people, being silent, waiting for the spirit to move in them to speak. At the end, there is a catalystic moment when one of their number does indeed speak.  Continue reading

The Lehman Trilogy

Lyttelton, National Theatre, London ****

© Mark Douet, Henry, Emanuel and Mayer Lehman - the three Lehman Brothers: Simon Russell Beale, Ben Miles and Adam Godley

© Mark Douet, Henry, Emanuel and Mayer Lehman – the three Lehman Brothers: Simon Russell Beale, Ben Miles and Adam Godley

The cast would be worth the ticket alone, Simon Russell Beale, Ben Miles and Adam Godley. They could read the old-fashioned telephone directory and still make it sound significant. Continue reading

The Wooster Group – The Town Hall Affair

Barbican Theatre, London ****

© Hervé  Veronese, Scott  Shepherd,  Ari  Fliakos  as the two Normal Mailers and  Greg  Mehrten as Diana Trilling,

© Hervé Veronese, Scott Shepherd, Ari Fliakos as the two Normal Mailers and Greg Mehrten as Diana Trilling, and behind them, the Pennebaker and Hegedus documentary showing Greer, Mailer and Trilling

To say The Wooster Group are iconic is a bit like saying in the summer, the sun shines. It’s a given. The Wooster Group have been at the forefront of experimental theatre-making for nearly half a century. Continue reading

Notes From the Field

Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, London *****

© Joan Marcus, Anna Deavere Smith

© Joan Marcus, Anna Deavere Smith

Sometimes you just know you’ve seen the experience of a lifetime.

Twenty five years ago, Anna Deavere Smith came to London with a heart-felt, revealing portrait of New York tensions between the Jewish and Afro-American communities. She was a force to be reckoned with then, pioneering a form of theatre based in verbatim reports but energised by performance. Continue reading

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Donmar Warehouse, London ****

© Manuel Harlan, Lia Williams as Jean Brodie with her girls, the Brodie set...

© Manuel Harlan, Lia Williams as Jean Brodie with her girls, the Brodie set…

It’s interesting how Maggie Smith’s iconic 1969 performance as Edinburg teacher Jean Brodie has so stuck in people’s minds. Definitive in many ways, it was therefore brave of Josie Rourke to programme a revival.

Polly Findlay’s fine production, in David Harrower’s new adaptation, certainly justifies her decision. Continue reading