Stevie by Hugh Whitemore, Hampstead Theatre, 6 March 2015

We rather liked this one. Not as much as the critics, who mostly lapped it up, but we did enjoy the play.

It’s about the poet Stevie Smith and of course Zoë Wannamaker is a superb actress; indeed all three of the cast were.

It’s a bit twee; both the setting (but then Stevie Smith did live a twee suburban life in Palmers Green) and also the play, which is a little old-fashioned in style. It reminded me of the sort of play that did well in the Hampstead Theatre’s portacabin glory days, back in the eighties and nineties.

Excellent Hampstead on-line resource saves me most of the trouble – click here – reviews too but of course only those effusive ones.

I think we were still going to Harry Morgan pre-theatre back then; the Friday evening Hampstead theatre gig worked that way most times.

The Knot Of The Heart by David Eldridge, Almeida Theatre, 16 April 2011

This was a challenging play about addiction and the impact of those with addictions/addictive personalities on their loved ones.

Lisa Dillon was superb in the lead; it seems the lead part was pretty-much written for her. As usual at the Almeida, it was a well-chosen play, extremely well acted, directed and produced.

Islington Almeida Theatre 2011
David Eldridge was very much on our watch list as a writer; we’d seen a few of his that we really liked, not least his adaptation of Festen at the Almeida.

I must admit though, we both found this a tough watch. Perhaps it was too soon after Phillie’s passing for us to be suitably sympathetic to a character whose misery and tragedy seemed largely self-inflicted. But it was undeniably an excellent evening’s theatre.

Here is the Almeida resource on this play/production.

Below is a good trailer with quotes David Eldridge and Michael Attenborough commenting:

The play and production were (deservedly) very well received by the critics – here is a search term that finds reviews and other relevant resources.

Extremely powerful stuff.

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.

Amongst Friends by April De Angelis, Hampstead Theatre, 30 May 2009

We were more than a little disappointed with this one.

We’d fallen out of love with the Hampstead Theatre during this Anthony Clark era, so hadn’t been going there as much. But this cast looked terrific and the play sounded interesting…promising more than it delivered.

Here is the OfficialLondonTheatre.co.uk stub on the play/production.

What a difference once the Ed Hall era started.

Anyway I’m sure we enjoyed our dinner at Harry Morgan’s before the show.

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.