Tag Archives: Donmar Warehouse

Appropriate

Donmar Warehouse, London ***
Box office:   020 3282 3808 (No booking fees, £1 postage fee may apply)                    Telephone Mon-Sat 10am-6pm In person Mon-Sat, 10am-curtain up (with some exceptions, see website) 

© Marc Brenner, Monica Dolan as an angry older sister, Toni, Steven Mackintosh as wry, wheeler-dealer brother Bo and Edward Hogg amidst the rubbish of their family home...

© Marc Brenner, Monica Dolan as an angry older sister, Toni, Steven Mackintosh as wry, wheeler-dealer brother Bo and Edward Hogg as the unkempt and repentant Franz amidst the rubbish of their family home…

Runs: 2hrs 30 mins incl 15 min interval Review of perf seen Aug 23, 2019: Where would American theatre be without the family drama? It seems we have been watching them forever, from Arthur Miller to good old Tennessee, to latter day versions such as Bruce Norris and Tracey Letts. And not forgetting Lorraine Hansberry whose Raisin in the Sun begat August Wilson’s African-American decology of plays, all of them centred around a family. Continue reading

Europe

Donmar Theatre, London ****

Runs: 2hrs 20 mins incl 15 min interval
Review of perf seen July 1, 2019:

© Marc Brenner; Theo Barklem-Biggs (Horse), Stephen Wight (Billy), Billy Howle (Berlin), Kevork Malikyan (Sava), Natalia Tena (Katia) - immigrants and residents clashing up against each other...

© Marc Brenner; Theo Barklem-Biggs (Horse), Stephen Wight (Billy), Billy Howle (Berlin), Ron Cook (fret), Kevork Malikyan (Sava), Natalia Tena (Katia) – immigrants and residents clashing up against each other…

How fascinating to see David Greig’s Europe again twenty-five years on from its premiere. What was Greig thinking about, I wonder, when he first wrote Europe in 1994? – a landscape so far distant from our own in 2019 in terms of optimism in a play also now so prescient of the violence that immigration has unleashed on Europe reigniting the rise of neo fascism barely fifty years after the war that many must have thought had crushed it forever.  Continue reading

Sweet Charity

Donmar Warehouse, London ****

© Johan Persson; Anne-Marie Duff as Charity Hope Valentine, a sweet innocent in a dark world, always looking for something better and hoping to be loved...

© Johan Persson; Anne-Marie Duff as Charity Hope Valentine, a sweet innocent in a dark world, always looking for something better and hoping to be loved…

Runs: 2hrs 30 mins incl 15 min interval
Review of perf seen April 18, 2019:

`A sweet sexy fairy tale’ is how one critic described Sweet Charity on its opening in London in Oct 1967.

And Josie Rourke’s final production as the Donmar’s artistic director before handing over to Michael Longhurst certainly lives up to that description but also makes it something rather more and darker because of the unlikely casting of Anne-Marie Duff as Sweet Charity. Continue reading

The Convert, Sweat, Summer and Smoke

The Convert ****
By Danai Gurira

© Marc Brenner with Letitia Wright (Jekesai/Ester) - the newest convert...

© Marc Brenner with Letitia Wright (Jekesai/Ester) – the newest convert…

Young Vic Theatre,
The Cut,
London SE1 8LZ

Runs: 3hrs incl two 15 min intervals

Sweat ****
By Lyn Nottage

© Johan Persson, with Leanne Best (Jessie), Martha Plimpton (Tracey), Clare Perkins (Cynthia)

© Johan Persson, with Leanne Best (Jessie), Martha Plimpton (Tracey), Clare Perkins (Cynthia)

Donmar Warehouse,
41 Earlham Street,
Seven Dials, London WC2H 9LX

Runs: 2hrs 30 mins incl 15 min interval

Summer and Smoke *****
By Tennessee Williams

© Marc Brenner, Patsy Ferran carries the load as Alma in Rebecca Frenshall's superb revival. Here facing the chorus of pianos and the back brick wall distinctive of the Almeida auditorium and replicated in the West End setting.

© Marc Brenner, Patsy Ferran carries the load as Alma in Rebecca Frecknall’s superb revival. Here facing the chorus of pianos and the back brick wall distinctive of the Almeida auditorium and replicated in the West End setting.

Duke of York’s Theatre
St Martin’s Lane
London WC2N 4BG

Runs: 2hrs 40mins incl 15 min interval

Review by Carole Woddis of performances seen Dec 18, 20, and Dec 22, 2018:

After something of an enforced lay-off, this week has been one of those weeks. Three shows via our three of our foremost subsidised London theatres, the Young Vic, Donmar Warehouse and the third, an Almeida Theatre transfer to the West End at the Duke of York’s. Continue reading

Measure for Measure

Donmar Warehouse, London ***
Review by Carole Woddis of performance seen Oct 13, 2018:

© Manuel Harlan, Jack Lowden as Angelo and Hayley Atwell as Isabella in the tables-turned, modern setting second half...

© Manuel Harlan, Jack Lowden as Angelo and Hayley Atwell as Isabella in the tables-turned, modern setting second half…

There’s every reason why Josie Rourke should have chosen Measure for Measure to direct in her final season as the Donmar’s artistic director.

Anyone with half an ear to public events in the arena of gender relations and abuse of power in the past two years would recognise its extraordinary pertinence.

Lines shoot out that could have been new minted just a few months ago. `To whom should I complain? says Isabella after Angelo, the Duke’s deputy offers to commute the life of her brother in exchange for her renunciation of her chastity.

And on protesting that she will make his profane offer public, Angelo’s reply, surely hand written by scribes at the recent Supreme Court hearings in Washington answers:

`Who will believe thee, Isabel? My unsoil’d name, the austereness of my life, My vouch against you, and my place i’ the state, Will so your accusation overweigh
That you shall stifle in your own report. And smell of calumny.’

© Manuel Harlan, Jack Lowden as Angelo, the deputy confessing his forbidden desires...

© Manuel Harlan, Jack Lowden as Angelo, the deputy confessing his forbidden desires…

Goodness gracious. Every accused male in high office must have mouthed these words many times over. And Rourke, ever alive during her tenure at the Donmar to current day political and social currents, makes sure in her production these words carry their full weight particularly with Jack Lowden’s marvellously cool Scottish Presbyterian abuser who delivers  them with all the confidence of the highly privileged.

Lowden’s is one of the high points in production that, however, takes some curious turns on the way to dealing with the play’s other theme – redemption and the role of the Duke.

Always equivocal, is he God incarnate, reclaiming justice and bringing corruption to light? Or a meddling, over-controlling, slightly malevolent, not to say devious manipulator, side-stepping the unpleasant role of retribution and passing it on to a deputy.

In Rourke’s production, Nicholas Burns’ Duke ends up copying Angelo’s attempt at coercive sex with Isabella by flinging himself at Jack Lowden’s Angelo who, in this re-aligned, flip-coined production, becomes the recoiling victim.

© Manuel Harlan, Nicholas Burns as The Duke, disguised as the manipulating friar, and Hayley Atwell as Isabella, taking guidance...

© Manuel Harlan, Nicholas Burns as The Duke, disguised as the manipulating friar, and Hayley Atwell as Isabella, taking guidance…

Hayley Atwell’s modern day Isabella – in the first part looking like a renegade from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale – has now become a smart, high-heeled lawyer aggressor.

It’s a daring reversal but one that, in truth, for all its reframing, actually loses impact by repetition. Lines that resonate so strongly in the male-female equation tend in the second half to be less effective partly to do with hearing the lines for a second time but also partly because Lowden’s stage presence is simply more charismatic than Atwell.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely in whatever hands they tend to be, female or male.

So Rourke’s reappraisal should stand on its own merit. The fact that it fails to do so also has to do with the cuts imposed. Whilst in the first half, her edited version exerts a magnetic hold, in the second half, rather, it gives the impression of just riding rough-shod over large swathes of the play.

© Manuel Harlan, Jackie Clune as Pompey - modern version

© Manuel Harlan, Jackie Clune as Pompey – modern version

There is still much to admire. In its casting, this Measure for Measure wittily reflects our contemporary sensibilities in all its mobile phone, racial and physical guises. Jackie Clune’s female Pompey, Rachel Denning’s Mistress Overdone and Sule Rimi’s Claudio are cases in point as are the trans-gender bawds who line the backstage even if they have hardly more to do than `dress’ the stage.

© Manuel Harlan, Hayley Atwell as Isabella and Sule Rimi as Claudio, her brother, imprisoned for fornication, pleading for his life and the compact she must make to save it...

© Manuel Harlan, Hayley Atwell as Isabella and Sule Rimi as Claudio, her brother, imprisoned for fornication, pleading for his life and the compact she must make to save it…

Certainly Rourke’s production does bring out – as if, strangely, a rebuttal to the #MeToo Movement – the sad fact that essentially the (patriarchal) system remains the same. The Duke’s imposition of marriage on Angelo to Mariana (the young woman to whom he was formally promised) and here, of Isabella to a young man, Frederick, are both miscarriages, in a sense, cruelly unjust solutions. And continuing…

So there is no redemption here and Shakespeare’s `unromantic comedy’ becomes, initially speedy but an increasingly unfunny echo of today’s sexual and social injustices.

Good though to see the next generation of acting talent steadily making ground.

Lowden who made such an impression in Richard Eyre’s award-winning Ghosts (2014) as Oswald to Lesley Manville’s Mrs Alving follows it up here with a performance as intelligent as it is mercurial.

© Manuel Harlan, Helena Wilson as Mariana, Angelo's wronged lover...

© Manuel Harlan, Helena Wilson as Mariana, Angelo’s wronged lover…

The other one to watch, in my book, is Helena Wilson, making her third Donmar appearance after last year’s Lady From the Sea, and this year’s The Prime of Jean Brodie. Here, she brings another delicately drawn, heartfelt touch to the comparatively small part of Mariana, Angelo’s wronged lover. Actually, I would love to have seen her play Isabella. Surely, leading roles await her. I hope so.

 

Measure for Measure
by William Shakespeare

Cast:

Duke Vincentio: Nicholas Burns
Escalus: Raad Rawi
Angelo: Jack Lowden
Thomas: Anwar Russell
Mistress Overdone: Rachel Denning
Lucio: Matt Burdock
Pompey: Jackie Clune
Claudio: Sule Rimi
Provost: Adam McNamara
Isabella: Hayley Atwell
Francisca: Molly Harris
Mariana/Justice: Helena Wilson
Frederick/Justice: Ben Allen

Director: Josie Rourke
Designer: Peter McKintosh
Lighting Designer: Howard Harrison
Sound Designer: Emma Laxton
Composer: Michael Bruce
Casting: Alastair Coomer CDG

Costume Supervisor: Mary Charlton
Hair, Wigs and Make-Up: Carole Hancock
Voice and Dialect Coach: Zabarjad Salam
Resident Assistant Director: Tom Bellerby

First perf of this production of Measure for Measure at the Donmar Warehouse Theatre, London, Sept 28, 2018.  Runs to Nov 24, 2018.

Review published on this site, Oct 14, 2018

 

 

Aristocrats

Donmar Warehouse, London ***
Review by Carole Woddis of performance seen Aug 10, 2018:

© Johan Persson, David Ganly (centre), Aisling Loftus (right), Emmet Kirwan (Eamon) - picnic, Ballybeg Hall style...

© Johan Persson, David Ganly (centre), Aisling Loftus (right), Emmet Kirwan (Eamon) – picnic, Ballybeg Hall style…

Amazing to think it’s nearly forty years, 1979, since Brian Friel wrote Aristocrats and thirteen years (2005) since the National revived it in a Tom Cairns production which included a budding Andrew Scott. Continue reading