Another enjoyable performance from LAMDA. There’s lots of lust for blood and lots of lust for sex in this lurid melodrama. The direction was good, playing some parts for laughs, some for tragedy to add variation to a rather relentless story of men plotting and carrying out revenge, with lots of corpses and the odd severed head. As to be expected from LAMDA, the production is low cost but the principal roles are well acted, particularly by David Young as Vindici and Sam McAvoy as Lussurioso. There are still a few more performances and they are completely free, so if you’ve never seen this infamous Thomas Middleton play then grab this chance.
An excellent production of Mark Ravenhill’s hard-hitting play about sexual politics. LAMDA can find some period works a bit difficult but every contemporary play I’ve seen them tackle has been good (and they can be very good with Shakespeare too). As always, the actors are rather young to play some of the parts (and they don’t mess around with talcum powder in their hair or painted wrinkles). However, relative ages soon become clear and the play powers along demonstrating what an excellent playwright Ravenhill can be. Not or the faint hearted though – this is definitely unsuitable for children.
I am not sure what logic LAMDA use in deciding where to stage which productions but this certainly benefited from the intimate space of the Linbury studio. There are two plays at the studio and three at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith until 6th June and more to come in July. They are all free but do make a donation – they deserve it!
Gorky wrote this in the same year as Chekhov wrote the Cherry Orchard and it has a very similar feel. It is the world of the new, educated middle class. All grew up in the working class but now they are doctors, engineers, etc. At the centre are the ‘summerfolk’ staying at their dachas in the country, lazing about, drinking too much, having affairs. In the background are the real workers, the maid on constant call, the watchmen patrolling through the night to protect them from the poor. Gorky has a harder political edge than Chekhov which can get a little heavy handed but this is well worth watching, especially as it is free! LAMDA may be students but they are some our best, many already working professionally. They were very good in this but did not seem quite as home with the period as they were with the Prisoner’s Dilemma. Having just seen my first Gorky play, I’m looking forward to Children of the Sun at the National Theatre next week.
It is difficult to believe this was not a professional production. The excellent play by David Edgar is a gripping analysis of attempts to bring peace to a post-Soviet country loosely based on Yugoslavia. It is mostly talk, but punctuated by one very dramatic scene. I have previously seen LAMDA in commercial theatres such as the Lyric and Riverside Studios but this was in the small studio (previously Royal Ballet rehearsal studio) at LAMDA itself, taking the audience right into the action. I am reluctant to single out any one performance as they were all so good!
The Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music hold many free concerts, mostly at lunchtime or early evening and there are also free concerts at lunchtimes in churches, such as St Martin in the Fields. Check the length as many concerts are short, so not worth travelling to unless you’ve are shopping or work nearby. I’ve mentioned the drama schools’ free plays (see the new LAMDA season) but commercial theatres also give away seats via audience filling or ‘papering’ schemes. Most productions are in fringe theatres but larger productions do come up, mostly at very short notice, for previews and press nights. These schemes often cost money to join and there’s a booking fee of around £3 for a seat. I am a member of two of these: one was advertised on my work intranet and is free to join; the other has an annual fee. As part of their conditions, I will not name either, not will I ever mention that I have been to a play or concert in this way. If you work in the NHS or other public services you might well find such a scheme available to you. Otherwise, these schemes are open to all (in alphabetic order): Audience Club, Play by Play, Showsavers Plus and Theatre Club. All limit the number of members and I am not sure which are open right now.
Another LAMDA production at the Riverside Studios. It was not as good as Much Ado last week but better than a professional production of the play that I saw a few years ago. Nic Jackman was superb as Romes, Aisha Fabienne Ross and Alexandra Ross were very good as Juliet and her mother. Cameron Chapman was a very lewd and crude Mercutio, discovering doubles entendres in Shakespeare’s words that I hadn’t spotted before. There was lots of rumbustious sword play and dancing making a very entertaining two hours.
Student productions are a great way to see some really good theatre free (but please make a donation). London has some of the best drama schools in the world, such as LAMDA and RADA, whose reputations depend on making sure these productions are first class (often better than many professional productions).
The actors in this production may have been students but the director, designer, costume designer, choreographer and vocal coach were all staff members or visiting artists.
This terrific production is from LAMDA students but you’d hardly know it apart from some actors being a little young for their parts. In particular, the chemistry between Holly Augustine as Beatrice and Ryan Donaldson as Benedick is fabulous and I’m sure they are both actors we’ll see again soon. The great direction by Janet Suzman is certainly not amateur! It is free to book from the Riverside Studios website www.riversidestudios.co.uk (I’ve still got to work out how to add links), as is Romeo and Juliet., but please make a donation to LAMDA. They both run until 6th December.