I don’t normally go for adaptations of my favourite novels, but something told me this would be well worth seeing and also that Janie would like it. I was right on both counts. It was probably down to the fact that Simon Stephens was adapting it and also the stellar-looking cast and creatives boasted.
It was a fabulous evening of theatre. This adaptation deserved the plaudits it received in the press and the many transfers and re-runs that have followed.
There is even a Wikipedia entry to document the play’s progress – click here.
…and so on.
From our point of view, this was a cracking night at the theatre. It was also darned close to the 20th anniversary of our very first date, in August 1992, which happened to be at the Cottesloe. There’s cute for you.
This production of an early Eugene O’Neil was twinned with a production of an early Tennessee Williams, Spring Storm, which we went to see a few weeks later, click here.
Janie and I are partial to a bit of Eugene O’Neill; almost as partial as we are to Tennessee Williams. While this early play is not one of O’Neill’s great plays, like the Williams, it shows all the signs of an emerging great playwright and was a thoroughly enjoyable evening at the theatre.
A very strong cast and production from a regional source; the Royal & Derngate Northampton, did great service to both productions.
The critics loved both; this search term – click here – will find you the reviews and stuff; mostly for both but some for this play specifically.
As on the prvious visit to the Cottesloe, we probably got some food from Shanghai Knightsbridge, “May’s”, afterwards. Either that or shawarmas.
We’d been on a relatively poor run at the theatre for six months. This was more like it!
This production of an early Tennessee Williams was twinned with a production of an early Eugene O’Neil, Beyond The Horizon, which we went to see a few weeks later – click here.
Janie and I are partial to a bit of Tennessee Williams. While this early play is not one of his great plays, it shows all the signs of an emerging great playwright and was a thoroughly enjoyable evening at the theatre.
A very strong cast and production from a regional source; the Royal & Derngate Northampton.
The critics loved it; this search term – click here – will find you the reviews and stuff; mostly for both but some for this play specifically.
We probably got some food from Shanghai Knightsbridge, “May’s”, afterwards. Either that or shawarmas.
We were very keen on the idea of this one and booked a preview.
We are glad we did; the play was enjoyable, agonising and thought-provoking in equal measure.
Partly about the domestic and interpersonal aspects of ageing, the play also takes on questions of government policy around ageing, including social care and the potential for robots to provide same.
I make it sound a bit “everything but the kitchen sink” on the topic, because in a way it was, but in a good way. The themes do more or less come together into a coherent whole and there is an element of comedic romp about the play which allows room for some forgiveness.
It was pretty well received on the whole – a rummage through the reviews and materials yielded by this search term should satisfy your curiosity if you remain curious.
Excellent cast, well directed, well produced…
…what do you expect from the Cottesloe?
What a grim evening of theatre this turned out to be.
The only ungrim thing about the evening was bumping into George Littlejohn and his good lady in the foyer before the show and then again in the interval. I have known George since 1994 when we met, for reasons that will only be explained to you if you click here, at the 1994 inaugural Accountancy Awards. Only click if you find pompous awards funny; don’t click if you take them seriously.
The play is about young upwardly mobile Viennese trainee doctors in the 1920’s, who should have been among the most happening people on earth were it not for their unfortunate juxtaposition with time and space (i.e. 1920’s Vienna) and their existential angst.
Janie and I hated the first half of the play and resolved not to stay for the second half. I’m not saying that it was either going to be members of the cast, or us, or a mixture of those two cohorts, but suicide was clearly on the cards during the second half. We made absolutely certain it wasn’t going to be us.
Unfortunately for George and his good lady, they had some sort of connection with someone involved in the production, so they stayed for the second half. We wished them luck as we waved them goodbye.
The irony of the bad straplining of that last piece will not be wasted on George Littlejohn, who was at one time the editor of Accountancy Age, no less, but has since managed to exceed even those giddy heights.
Despite their ordeal, sticking out the whole evening, I am pleasantly surprised, indeed delighted, to report that both the Littlejohns seem hale and hearty at the time of writing (January 2017). Janie and I ran into them both again at the Curzon Bloomsbury on New Year’s Day 2017 – click here, which triggered this memory and hence this write up.
We saw a preview of this new play/production, as oft we did at the Cottesloe.
There is a strong OfficialLondonTheatre.co.uk resource on this play/production – click here. It is basically a stage adaptation of Kureshi’s novel about anti-racism and radical Islam.
Tanya Franks was in it, which was one for the NewsRevue alumni “where are they now” department.
I don’t remember much about this play, which is not a great sign. Perhaps my mind was on the Ashes match unfolding at Lord’s that weekend, but more likely, if the reviews are anything to go by, this was not a classic.
After a rare Friday night marathon with Wally Shawn at the Royal Court the evening before, we went to the Cottesloe the next night to see another affecting play.
Here is the OfficialLondonTheatre.com stub for The Observer.
It is basically about election observers in a West African country getting its first taste of democracy.
We found it interesting and thought provoking. We were a bit “theatred out” by the end of it, but that was as much Wally Shawn’s fault from the night before as anything else. I’ll guess we went to May’s (Shanghai Knightsbridge) for some Chinese food after this one. We had many issues from the two evenings to chat about over dinner and the rest of the weekend.
This one felt like a hot ticket when we booked it months before and also seemed well suited to my mind set just 48 hours after my Gresham Lecture on Commercial Ethics.
But this play was about the arguably thornier topic of political ethics and political pragmatism.
What a posse of cast and creatives for this one – click here for the Official London Theatre information stub.
I recall being most impressed by the performances and the production. Also, the play did its job of getting me and Janie talking about its big issues for the rest of the weekend. Yet this didn’t feel like premier league David Hare to me; I felt there was something lacking in the play.
It was that sort of play/production – influential people were supposed to talk about it but not all that many people got to see it. Janie and I saw a preview, so had every right to wax lyrical from an informed perspective and from the outset.
What good news for everyone that Janie and I tend to keep our counsel to ourselves on such matters.
Well worth seeing.
Janie and I both profoundly hated this play/production.
We normally like Irish plays, even if they are a bit silly. But this one seemed to us to be silly to the point of not having any point at all.
If you read the rubric, still available on the Official London Theatre site along with production details – click here – you can see why we booked it. Sounds interesting. Potentially really good.
So, as the whingers say, what do we know?
So there’s more to Uxbridge than the cricket ground.
Seriously, Janie and I both really liked this play. Simon Stephens is one of our favourite playwrights these days and this one worked really well in the Cottesloe for us.
The eponymous lead is a big part; Lesley Sharp is a correspondingly big part actress who was able to deliver big time on this play/production.
Very shocking in parts and also very moving.