Gloria by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Hampstead Theatre, 24 June 2017

We’re on a bit of a roll at the moment; this was another very interesting piece.

It is a bit difficult to describe this play without spoilers – indeed the Hampstead Theatre staff we spoke to were bemoaning the fact that some of the formal reviews contain spoilers. Janie and I always avoid reading the reviews before we see a play/production, so it wasn’t spoiled for us and I’ll try not to spoil it for you.

The first act is a fairly conventional office politics satire set in a magazine publishing house; well acted and with some delightful vignettes. One ranting speech, towards the end of that act, by the chief fact-checker (played by Bo Poraj) will live long in our memories. Still, such office satires have been done many times and we have seen plenty to know that we are not wild about the genre…

…but…

…there is a pivotal moment at the end of the first act which reassured us that the second half of the play would be quite different.

Indeed, the second half was far more interesting and progresses, through two more, shorter, acts, in intriguing ways from the slow build of the first act.

Here is a link to the Hampstead Theatre’s resource on this play/production. 

Gloria has deservedly had good reviews from all the majors. It was a great success in its native USA and should do well in the UK too – at the time of writing the Hampstead run has already been extended and a West End run surely beckons.

Go see it.

Janie and I rewarded ourselves with some Chinese food from Four Seasons afterwards.

Cloud Nine by Caryl Churchill, Almeida Theatre, 10 November 2007

This is a weird play. But then, it is Caryl Churchill. Indeed, by Caryl Churchill standards, it is not that weird a play.

But Janie and I had never seen the play and this, as it turned out, was a good production of this play. Thea Sharrock directed it; we’d been really impressed with her at The Gate and this production no doubt added to her rising stardom.

There’s a good Almeida stub for this production – here, although the reviews are just quotes.

Reviews to be found that can be read in full are as follows:

Enough evidence – this was good. We enjoyed ourselves and felt thoroughly sated with good theatre that weekend, having seen a super short play, Truck Stop, at the Hampstead the night before.