- Date: 11 April 2012
- Region: London
Ben Chaplin and Tara Fitzgerald in Farewell to Theatre, Hampstead Theatre. Credit: Stephen Cummiskey
Staff at our London office experience lots of great art every week. This month they bring you some of their theatre highlights.
Farewell to Theatre is Richard Nelson's dramatisation of a short episode during Harley Granville Barker's First World War stay in America.
Granville Barker was Britain's first great practitioner of the director's art. This play depicts his reluctant stay at a minor boarding school while on a lecture tour, bracing himself to see the all-American student drama society stage an execrable Twelfth Night and despairing at small-time academic in-fighting which approaches the viciousness of the trenches.
Funny, moving, cleverly written and sensitively directed by Roger Michell, I thought this was a cracker. Jemma Redgrave's quiet, desperate fatalism is worth the price of the ticket on its own, and the interplay between Ben Chaplin and Jason Watkins is a delight. I didn't want the show to end.
Pete Staves, Relationship Manager, Theatre
For their Arts Clubs, Nabakov take over BAC, placing performances in every corner and transforming every room. After their brilliant Halloween event in October, I was very excited for their fable-themed spring time Arts Club.
One highlight was Dusty Limits' acclaimed adult pantomime Cinderella and the Glass Ceiling. Fusing contemporary stories with the classic fable, fun songs and bizarre costumes, the performance perfectly suited the theme and atmosphere of the evening. The Flying Dutchman's Fantastical tale of the boy on the run was also refreshingly inventive. Appointments with a 'Fabulist', who would create you your very own fable, and live beat boxing fused with blues topped the evening off perfectly.
Immersive, frivolous, and magical; the night did not disappoint.
Lara Stavrinou, Assistant, Theatre
For the first part of this year, Theatre Royal Stratford East has been programmed by the local community as part of their Open Stage initiative. They ran a consultation, finding that people wanted new writing that reflected real people's lives. This resulted in ten rehearsed readings of new scripts presented by Rikki Beadle-Blair's Team Angelica, with the theatre planning to develop at least one into a full production.
The diversity of voices and perspectives was striking and fresh - both in the plays and in the audience debates they sparked, with scripts exploring such varied subjects as the dilemmas Black British women face in styling their hair, sibling relationships that disrespect personal boundaries, and the collision of homophobia and racism in a hospital waiting room (including a dazzling monologue about the sexuality of giant slugs!).
James Hadley, Relationship Manager, Theatre