Of Kith And Kin by Chris Thompson, Bush Theatre, 28 October 2017

Another night at the theatre, another enjoyable evening despite a rather messy play.

We enjoyed Of Kith And Kin, especially once the narrative got past the rather sitcom meets soap opera first act. There were interesting issues and a nice mixture of comedy, tension and tragedy.

But my goodness did we have to suspend belief a lot at times. No amount of desperation, deep-seated psychological damage and troubled back story would, in my view, lead a solicitor to behave as Daniel behaves at times in the second and third acts.

The acting felt a bit patchy too. All three female parts were very well-expressed but the central (male) couple felt a bit weak at times. Perhaps it was the play. Perhaps it was the way the play was directed.

The Bush has published a trailer on YouTube:

The Bush anchor and details can be found by clicking here.

I’ll guess the play will get/is getting mixed reviews – this search term should find whatever is out there whenever you come to look.

Still, we had a good evening.

We met again the nice young chap who sat next to us and chatted with us at The Gate the other week, serving behind the bar at The Bush.

We tried a very tasty Thai takeaway from the Sisters Cafe in Pitshanger Lane after the show.

Scarlett by Colette Kane, Hampstead Theatre Downstairs, 4 March 2017

I’m almost boring myself by going on about how good the Hampstead Theatre Downstairs is, so goodness knows what effect such comments are having on long-suffering Ogblog readers. But by gosh the quality of productions and performances is high.

The one paragraph description of Scarlett – a play about a woman who escapes to try and start afresh in the Welsh countryside – might not have caught our eye as being different enough, but we set that “synopsis bar” a little lower for the Hampstead Downstairs, as we so consistently enjoy our evenings there.

Yet again, we are so glad we chose to book this one.

Interestingly (and unusually) it is pretty much an all woman production – i.e. the writer, director, designer and all five performers are women.

Here’s a link to the excellent Hampstead resource on this production for all the details.

We had seen a Colette Kane play at the Hampstead Downstairs before; “I Know How I Feel About Eve” about four years ago – that will be Ogblogged in the fullness of time – for now here is a link to an introductory piece/mini-interview with Colette Kane at that time.

In both Colette Kane plays we have seen so far, the writing is delightful and thought provoking. Perhaps she has yet entirely to find her own voice. She is clearly a playwright steeped in modern theatre who knows how to cherry-pick style and tone without quite making her pieces unmistakably her own.

Still, Scarlett is a really superb 75-80 minutes of drama. All five performers are excellent, especially Kate Ashfield as the eponymous lead. All five surprise us a little at some point in the drama, but without interrupting a natural-seeming flow to the simple but compelling story.

Scarlett is very well directed too, by Mel Hillyard. We have seen her work before, quite recently; The Brink at the Orange Tree last April. We were very impressed then too. A young director to watch, methinks.

We started the evening by bumping into John and Linda – a couple we know simply because we quite regularly see them at theatres and who coincidentally (it transpires) live just across the road from the Notting Hill Gate flat. They were seeing Sex With Strangers upstairs – a production that didn’t appeal to us for booking. Janie and I rounded off our evening with some Iranian food from Mohsen.

At the time of writing, Scarlett still has three weeks to run. Janie and I would both recommend it thoroughly to people who enjoy top notch productions of well-crafted, short plays in small theatres.

Beyond The Horizon by Eugene O’Neill, Cottesloe Theatre. 19 June 2010

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.

Spring Storm by Tennessee Williams, Cottesloe Theatre, 15 May 2010

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.