Rapture, Blister, Burn by Gina Gionfriddo, Hampstead Theatre, 17 January 2014

It seemed like only a week since we last went to Harry’s and then The Hampstead…

…but this one did less for us.

I seem to recall finding the whole evening a bit irritating and we really didn’t like this play.

It’s had great reviews so don’t take our word for it.

Emilia Fox doesn’t do much for us and the play seemed very laboured and obvious in places.

The Hampstead resource on the play/production can be found here.

This search term will find you the reviews.

Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo, Almeida Theatre, 22 January 2011

Janie and I both really enjoyed this play and production. It is an American comedy about disastrous blind dating, with enough issues in it to keep it interesting as well as amusing.

Superbly acted and beautifully directed and produced.

Here is a link to the Almeida resource on the play/production.

Here is the trailer:

Here is a link to a search term that should bring up reviews and other resources on this play/production. The reviews are a bit mixed – everyone seems to praise the production but not all of the reviewers liked the play as much as we did.

Six Degrees Of Separation, John Guare, The Old Vic, 16 January 2010

Around the time that we booked this play, I was writing the chapter of The Price of Fish, coincidentally Chapter Six, that explains the “shrinking world” theory known as six degrees of separation.

In theory, this play is all about that concept. In practice, I struggled at times to link this social comedy with the theory.

Without the futile search for intellectual insight, it was a reasonably fun evening at the theatre but a rather lightweight one. A super cast for this revival, but I’m not sure this play is worthy of a revival within 20 years, even though the world has/had changed between times.

Here is a link to The Old Vic resource on the production.

Here is a link to a search term that finds plenty of reviews, mostly indifferent ones. The consensus seemed to be that the production was excellent but the play somewhat lacking. Although neither Janie nor I had seen the play first time around, we thought that assessment was right.

Happy Now? by Lucinda Coxon, Cottesloe Theatre, 9 February 2008

Unusually, we took Phillie to the theatre with us on this occasion. It must have been a long prearranged thing; I think Tony was doing one of his long business trips in the far east, so we had Phillie to stay for the weekend and it was planned far enough in advance for us to book a good Cottesloe production for us all to see.

This was a very good play/production. Funny, thought-provoking and very well acted. Great cast; not least Stanley Townsend, Olivia Williams and Dominic Rowan. Thea Sharrock, who had impressed us so much directing at the Gate, was starting to get higher profile gigs; this being an early example of one of those.

This award-winning play and production has a comprehensive Wikipedia entry – click here, which includes links to some of the better reviews.

Phillie, bless her, unaccustomed as she was to the theatre, was a bit “west-end theatre-ish” at first, talking as if she was in her living room watching TV, until Janie gave her “the look” a couple of times. I think Phillie enjoyed that theatre trip very much.

I’m pretty sure this was the occasion that, afterwards, we went on to Zinc Bar and Grill in Heddon Street.  Now gone, I believe, a couple of reviews of that Conran place survive:

Anyway, Phillie really enjoyed herself that evening – she got quite tipsy at Zinc, as was her wont by then, but the important thing was that she had a good time.

Big White Fog by Theodore Ward, Almeida Theatre, 12 May 2007

We rounded off a real culture vulture week by going to the Almeida Theatre to see Big White Fog.

The play is about Garveyism in the 1920s and 1930s, a subject about which I knew little and was pleased to learn more.

The Almeida Archive stub, linked above and here, summarises several of the excellent reviews this production justifiably received.  This is Michael Billington’s type of play, so no surprises he loved it, click here.

Michael Attenborough did a great job at the Almeida.  We probably saw at least half of the main theatre productions there during his tenure.