Travelling Light by Nicholas Wright, Lyttelton Theatre, 28 January 2012

We both found this piece charming and entertaining. It is about the birth of the cinema in the late 19th early 20th century shtetl.

It doesn’t get full marks for historical authenticity and it is a very sentimental piece, but that’s not always so terrible.

Superb cast, very well directed and some wonderful effects with the use of film.

Nicholas Wright has previous on these history-based imaginings. We loved Vincent in Brixton for example. Also Mrs Klein – click here or below for that one:

Mrs Klein by Nicholas Wright, Almeida Theatre, 24 October 2009

Travelling Light got mixed reviews – click here for a search term that finds them. Several critics really liked it. Others felt the sentimentality and stereotypes were not for them.

We very much enjoyed our evening, while recognising that this is an entertaining play, not a great play.

Below is the trailer…

…and the following vid has mini interviews with the key cast and creatives.

The Trial Of Ubu by Simon Stephens, Hampstead Theatre, 20 January 2012

We normally love Simon Stephens stuff…

…but this was a stinker.

Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi re-imagined as an International Human Rights trial.

Technically it was very clever – the video/special effects were very innovative. Good cast too.

Great writer but this piece just didn’t work.

The subject matter is so grave that the arty, post-modern “trial of the fictional character” idea just didn’t work for us.

Nor did it work for the critics – click here for a term that finds the reviews. Don’t click if you were involved in this play/production.

The trailer is embedded below:

Constellations by Nick Payne, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, 14 January 2012

Just occasionally we don’t have enough positive adjectives to describe how we felt about a play/production.

Constellations by Nick Payne was such a show.

Here is a link to the Royal Court resource on this production.

Upstairs, but with a stellar cast – Sally Hawkins and Rafe Spall, this was a stunning piece of theatre that genuinely wowed us…

…and by 2012 Janie and I were not easily wowed.

In fact Janie doesn’t usually go for these “science meets love” type plays, but this one is truly exceptional, making her feel neither dumb nor condescended.

Here is a link to a search term for the reviews, which were pretty much universally rave ones – deservedly.

Charles Spencer’s rave review in The Telegraph includes a short vid interview with the stars – click here.


Collaborators by John Hodge, Cottesloe Theatre, 7 January 2012

I think I liked this play more than Janie did.

It was a fictionalised…somewhat fantasised account of encounters (which did occur to some extent in real life) between the writer Mikhail Bulgakov and Joseph Stalin.

We were blessed with Alex Jennings as Bulgakov and Simon Russell Beale as Stalin, with Nicholas Hytner in the director’s chair.

In truth, I don’t think it was a great play. It was a very good idea for a play with some very good scenes within it, but as a whole it didn’t quite work for me as an entire play.

But there was enough really good stuff going on to please me plenty, on  balance. Whereas I think Janie found it a little drawn out and confused/confusing.

The reviewers were more with me (on the plus side) than with Janie (on the “a bit muddled) side – click here for a search term that finds the reviews.

Below is a link to the trailer:

…and the following vid is an interview with John Hodge, the playwright:

Gerhard Richter Panorama, Tate Modern, New Year Bank Holiday, 2 January 2012

We really enjoyed this exhibition, which we saw at the end of the seasonal break.

Here is a link to the excellent Tate Modern resource on this incredibly diverse exhibition. The link also includes an excellent explanatory vid which I have embedded below:

The exhibition was well received by the critics – click here for a search term that finds those reviews.

Fenster Richter Kölner Dom

Little did we know that all hell was about to break loose with both mum and Uncle Michael’s health a few days later.

But that day at the Tate Modern, taking in the Richter and more besides, Janie and I were still well relaxed and rested!