Category Archives: Theatre

The Threepenny Opera at the Olivier Theatre, London

Entrance to the National Theatre on the South Bank
Entrance to the National Theatre on the South Bank

Went to a brilliant matinee performance of The Threepenny Opera – a Socialist critique of the capitalist world by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill – at the National Theatre on the South Bank. It first opened on August 31st at Berlin’s Theater am Schiffbauerdamm.

As we are warned on the National Theatre website, this new translation by Simon Stephens certainly does contain a lot of filthy language and immoral behaviour – a lot more than in the production we saw in 1956 – the Lord Chancellor’s rules were stringent then.

Rory Kinnear, son of the comedian Roy Kinnear, was great as Macheath, with a surprisingly good singing voice. I always enjoy seeing live musicians on the stage – the last time was the production of Nell Gwynn. The deep bass tones of the Balladeer (George Ikediashi) and Mr Peachum (Nick Holder) resounded in the Olivier theatre.

Mr Peachum's Souvenir Shop
Mr Peachum’s Souvenir Shop

If you’re in good time you can browse the ground floor souvenir shop. I’m always a sucker for little things – I have a large collection of erasers from the major London galleries and museums.

The view from the balcon with the London Eye in the distance
The view from the balcon with the London Eye in the distance

 

 

 

Take a river trip on a sunny afternoon
Take a river trip on a sunny afternoon

Or wander out onto the  balcony for fabulous London views.

FABULOUS PRODUCTION OF THE PLAY NELL GWYNN

Nice to have a n oldfashinioned set for a change
Nice to have an old fashioned set for a change

Brilliant production of Nell Gwynn by the British Woman Playwright, Jessica Swale,
at the Apollo Theatre. All the members of the cast are wonderful with the incredible Gemma Arterton in the lead. Fantastic all acting, all singing , all dancing production with live musicians on-stage.  A must-see.

The original ceiling from 1901
The original ceiling from 1901

We had tickets for The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time a couple of days after the roof of the Apollo Theatre collapsed on  December 19th 2013. We were offered tickets at the John Gielgud theatre to which the play transferred but we had bought tickets for Louise and her family and she was about to return to Spain.

The new ceiling post the collapse on Dec 19th 2013
The new ceiling added after the collapse on Dec 19th 2013

On their next visit they saw and loved the Curious Incident. We saw it in the cinema – a film of the National Theatre production – but felt it didn’t quite come off. CGI in films is so brilliant now. Filming the audio-visual effects suitable for a theatre just didn’t do it for me.

 

 

‘Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio:’ (Hamlet Act 5 Scene 1)

Peyote Beaded Skulls
Peyote Beaded Skulls

No – Benedict Cumberbatch didn’t find one of these Peyote Beaded Skulls from the British Museum in the grave in the brilliant production of Hamlet directed by Lyndsey Turner. He picked up a facsimile of a real human skull.

HamletI wasn’t sure I wanted to see the film of the Barbican production but it was on at the local Curzon and Jane had come over for the weekend.

I was used to a Hamlet who declaimed.  I came from a generation that had seen Shakespeare performed by great Shakespearian actors like  Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson and Margaret Leighton – powerful but very traditional and mannered. This production was completely different, timeless but in the present and utterly convincing. A friend has seen the film of Hamlet twice and if it’s shown again I will too.

And don’t fall into the trap of misquoting Hamlet. He did not say ‘Alas poor Yorick I knew him well’!!

The Theatre Museum, V&A

Two Lords of the Waves
Two Lords of the Waves. Costumes by Robert Allsop

The fascinating Theatre Museum within the V&A is yet another gallery I had never visited until the members’ tour. They even have the complete contents of Kylie Minogue’s dressing room!

The brilliant lighting makes the costumes glow. The figures in my photo are of the two sinister Lords of the Waves from Kate Bush’s stage show ‘Before the Dawn’ at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith in 2014 – her first stage show for 35 years.