thu 22/08/2019

Theatre Features

Iram: Shalom Aleichem's shtetl life comes to London

james Woodall `Holy and not so holy; superstitious, avaricious, ambitious, loving and cruel': the vanished Jews of Iram

Tonight at the Barbican's Pit, kicking off a run of ten performances, a rather unusual piece of theatre opens. It's not a big play, it probably won't make great waves and it does involve reading surtitles. Called Iram, it's an Israeli adaptation, in Hebrew, of the stories of the Yiddish writer Shalom Aleichem. Outside Israel - excluding, at a pinch, bookish circles in transatlantic Jewish communities (Aleichem emigrated from the Ukraine to the US before the First World War) - this...

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theartsdesk in New York: Sondheim On Sondheim On Broadway

Matt Wolf

Broadway tends to go into overdrive in May, that time of the theatrical year when New York stages are at their buzziest in the run-up to the Tony Awards (to be awarded on 13 June).

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Interview: Heiner Goebbels, on staging strange worlds

james Woodall

First, the name. There’s no family link between the 57-year-old German composer and Hitler’s Doctor Death. This Goebbels cuts an impressive figure. Solidly built, with thick white hair and slightly cherubic features, and speaking fluent English, he’s above all accessible and unpretentious.

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Interview: Barrie Keeffe on Sus, The Long Good Friday and London's Changing East End

Sheila Johnston

Within the space of a single year - 1979 - Barrie Keeffe  wrote two scripts which together summed up the very essence of the East End on the eve of Thatcherism. The first, which barely needs introduction, was the now-classic The Long Good Friday. The other was Sus, an explosive play about a black man detained by two racist police officers on the night of the General Election.

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The Seckerson Tapes: Fiona Shaw

Edward Seckerson Stage polymath Fiona Shaw talks Lady Gay Spanker and directing a Hans Werner Henze opera

Fiona Shaw talks about the not inconsiderable demands of juggling Restoration comedy with German Expressionism. It almost doesn’t bear thinking about. Between shows at the National Theatre, where she’s been delighting audiences with her rollocking Lady Gay Spanker in London Assurance, she enthuses about her second foray into the challenging business of...

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Corin Redgrave, 1939-2010

Jasper Rees Corin Redgrave: 'Very good, but his eyes too close together' according to his father Michael Redgrave

I once witnessed Corin Redgrave, who died last week, terrify a member of the audience at the National Theatre. He was playing an old beast of a journalist in Joanna Murray-Smith’s play, Honour. It opened with Redgrave in mid-rant, so when a mobile phone trilled about five seconds after his entrance, Redgrave was already in the zone. This was a traverse staging in the Cottesloe, and the woman rummaging in her bag was in the second row, so he was practically on top of her when,...

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The Seckerson Tapes: Stephen Sondheim 80th birthday tribute

Edward Seckerson

Commissioned by Josef Weinberger Ltd on the occasion of Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday today, In Good Company is a unique three-part collage of intimate conversations I have had with some of Sondheim’s closest colleagues and collaborators.

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Olivier Awards 2010: All Surprises

Matt Wolf

Furthering their reputation as the least predictable prize-giving organisation out there, the Laurence Olivier Awards last night gave their top prizes to a host of productions that have long departed London, starting with Best Play for Tennessee-born writer Katori Hall's The Mountaintop. You were thinking Enron or (my personal best) Jerusalem? You'd be wrong.

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Digital Theatre: From Page to Stage to Screen

Josh Spero Rebecca O'Mara as Bathsheba Everdene addressing country folk in Far from the Madding Crowd

The thought of watching a filmed play is enough to make even the hardiest theatregoer flee screaming down the aisle. Recording the stage has a poor history, causing even the nimblest staging to seem thudding and deep performances transparent. But that was before Digital Theatre came along.

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Interview: Director Peter Brook

james Woodall

Theatre director Peter Brook is back in London. Brightly, eloquently, he's promoting his new show, in English (most of his work since the 1970s has been in French), currently running at the Barbican: entitled Eleven and Twelve, it's a dense chamber piece exploring a religious dispute in early 20th-century Mali. Quiet, sensitively investigative of an unknown strand of north African faith, it will enlighten some and bore others. Classic Brook?

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