I haven’t reviewed theatre lately as everything I’ve seen has been on for ages, but here’s a quick summary of my thoughts for anyone who might be interested.
King Charles III (Wyndham’s). I was initially put off on hearing it was in verse but I was wrong. Don’t let it put you off as it’s a great satire. Tim Pigott-Smith is perfect as the pig-headed King who can’t leave the government to govern. Harry is trying to learn to live like Common People with a girl who studies art at St Martin’s College, leaving it up to Kate to help William try to move the monarchy into the 21st century. I won’t tell you the outcome as if you haven’t seen it yet then you must.
3 Winters (Lyttelton). Croatia’s history from 1945 to (almost) the present day, as illustrated in its effect on a specific family. It’s a good story, well acted but the first half is too slow. It really picks up after the interval and it doesn’t need to be as long as it is.
Go See (King’s Head). I saw this on the last day of its run so didn’t review it, but it may come back. A tender examination of attitudes to sex in the 1980’s thanks to Norris Church Mailer. It’s a shame all the fuss was about it being the only play by Norman Mailer’s wife, rather than the two excellent performances by Peter Tate (great in American Justice too) and Lauren Fox.
39 Steps and The Play That Goes Wrong – both very silly and very funny, perfect to cheer you up in the depths of winter.
Finally, I saw Beatriz Stix-Brunell as Alice in the Royal Ballet’s Alice in Wonderland. The fact that she came over as such a different character to the original by Lauren Cuthbertson just goes to show how Christopher Wheeldon’s choreography, Joby Talbot’s music and Bob Crowley’s designs have combined to make this ballet the first masterpiece of the century. I hope to see many re-interpretations over the years.
The ENB have very kindly given me some lovely pictures of the ballet to put on my blog, all photographed by Patrick Baldwin:
“Here come the fairies!” (click on any picture for full-size)
The bad fairy Carabosse (the brilliant James Streeter when I saw it) with ‘her’ retainers.
The Lilac Fairy (Lauretta Summerscales) defeats Carbosse
The handsome Prince Désiré wakes Aurora from her long sleep (Esteban Berlanga and the excellent Ksenia Ovsyanick)
The pictures were provided by the ENB (www.ballet.org.uk) and were taken by Patrick Baldwin. It is difficult to tell whether all artists were from the cast I saw up in the balcony but they look wonderful anyway.
At 10 a.m. today, booking opens for Get Into London Theatre offering cheap seats to many productions in January. However, there are many other ways to get into the theatre cheaply. A great resource that pulls together offers from various other sites (e,g, lastminute.com) is Showsavers Plus. You need to join but it is free. Time Out offers are also very useful for both the theatre and restaurants but you need to subscribe to their emails to see all of them. If you are flexible and willing to go up to the West End earlier in the day, the Leicester Square ticket booth is worth checking or you can get cheap day tickets for almost all shows, e.g. £20 for Billy Elliot. Find out when the box office opens and get there a little earlier. Finally, join communities that talk about your interests. For example, I got a fantastic bargain through Ballet News last year and BalletcoForum members share news of offers and sell spare tickets to each other at cost price or less.
I plan to review theatre/opera/ballet in and around London but also exhibitions, restaurants and anything else I think worth sharing. There are better reviewers out there so my reviews will be very short.
However, I will try to add useful bits and pieces that you never get in professional reviews, such as the comfort of the seats, the bar prices, how to find special offers or where to eat before the performance. Isn’t the Freedom Pass wonderful!