thu 01/12/2022

Theatre Features

Theatre Lockdown Special 6: A prolific playwright, a timeless play, and speeches galore

Matt Wolf

Can we really be entering a third month in lockdown? Indeed we can, and culture, thank heavens, shows no signs whatsoever of leaving us in the lurch. This week's lineup of highlights offers a typically electic bunch, ranging from two sizable American talents streaming a two-hander for one night only to the arrival online of the latest work from an octogenarian playwriting treasure, Sir Alan Ayckbourn, who ought to be more celebrated of late than he is.

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Theatre Lockdown Special 5: A solo show for the ages, Ibsen refreshed, and yet more frolicsome cats

Matt Wolf

No one can accuse the gods of streaming of failing to cast a wide net. That's even more so with an array of streaming opportunities over the next week that ranges from Off West End Ibsen given a second chance to shine to an online encounter with, yes, The Encounter, and, should you wish, with its protean creator and leading man, as well.

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Theatre Lockdown Special 4: Little-known Lloyd Webber, prize-winning Shakespeare, and starry David Mamet

Matt Wolf

Has anyone else noticed how fulltime this streaming thing has become?  Those who were of a mind to (and who never slept) could find enough cultural output to satisfy 24/7, especially if one adds to the free offerings that crop up by the week the ongoing back catalogue made available on sites such as Marquee TV or Digital Theatre, and the like.

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First Person: Sam Yates on directing a Tom Stoppard play in real time via Zoom

Sam Yates

I am fortunate to have worked as a director in theatre, film, television and radio, and so it was hugely intriguing to be invited to direct an online reading of Tom Stoppard’s beautiful 1964 play, A Separate Peace.

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Theatre Lockdown Special 2: Birthdays aplenty, songs of hope, a starry quiz - and more

Matt Wolf

As lockdown continues, so does the ability of the theatre community to find new ways to tantalise and entertain. The urge to create and perform surely isn't going to be reined-in by a virus, which explains the explosion of creatives lending their gifts to song cycles, readings, or even the odd quiz night. At the same time, venues and theatre companies the world over continue to unlock cupboards full of goodies, almost too many to absorb.

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Theatre Lockdown Special 1: Starry podcasts, late-career Shakespeare, a celebrity basement - and more

Matt Wolf

The lockdown has been extended, but here's the good news: each week whereby we are shut inside seems to bring with it ever-enticing arrays of theatre from across the spectrum, from online cabarets to freshly conceived podcasts and all manner of archival offerings of tites both familiar and not. Below is an unscientific sampling of items of interest to look out for either at the moment or during the week ahead.

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Sondheim at 90 Songs: 5 - 'Every Day A Little Death'

Sam Marlowe

“Whipped cream with knives” is how Harold Prince, who directed the Broadway premiere of A Little Night Music in 1973, famously described this particular Sondheim show. And nowhere is that borne out with more exquisite agony than in this duet between two unhappily married women.

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Sondheim at 90 Songs: 4 - 'America'

aleks Sierz

Ever since I heard the quintessential prog rock group The Nice do a psychedelic instrumental version of “America” in 1968, I have loved this song. Later on, I was better able to appreciate Sondheim’s lyrics, whose satirical sharpness and superb inventiveness make this the definitive song about migration.

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Sondheim at 90 Songs: 3 - 'Johanna' (Quartet Version)

graham Rickson

Along with many others, my first exposure to Stephen Sondheim’s art was through watching the film of Bernstein’s West Side Story as a child. The song which still floors me is the Quintet near the end of Act 1. Bernstein’s ecstatic, dynamic music is  splendid in itself, but the number’s perfection is sealed by Sondheim’s lyrics, each character distinctly voiced, the rhythms and rhymes flawless. “Sperm to worm,” still makes me grin.

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Sondheim at 90 Songs: 2 - 'Epiphany'/'A Little Priest'

David Nice

Two numbers, one hair-raising slice of music-theatre. When Sondheim's paying homage to the older, revue type of musical, you can extract a string of top hits: Follies, from which Marianka Swain chose "I'm Still Here" yesterday, could yield at least half a dozen more choices, Company almost as many.

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Advertising feature

★★★★★

A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway

 

Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.

 

★★★★★

This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman

 

Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.

 

Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.


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