Henry V

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seen 21 October, Haydn English Cinema Vienna

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Gregory Doran

Having staged both parts of Henry IV last year, the RSC kindly brought us Henry V just in time for the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt with the same company.

Last year, I was fretting about this event in my blog posts about Henry IV part one and two because I couldn’t see Alex Hassell as king Henry V. Continue reading

Hamlet (broadcast)

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seen 15 October 2015, Haydn English Cinema, Vienna

I never thought I would say this about any play, but I actually liked this production a lot better on the big screen than live in the theatre.

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The Importance of Being Earnest

Seen October 8 2015, Haydn English Cinema Vienna

Written by Oscar Wilde
Directed by Adrian Noble

This is my shortest review so far: this play was exactly what it said on the tin. The Importance of Being Earnest is always funny. David Suchet was a good Lady Bracknell, all other performances were solid with Michele Dotrice’s Miss Prism stealing the show. If this isn’t your first time seeing this play, it is nothing worth writing home (or online) about though.

To misquote Lady Bracknell (rather badly): one intermission is a necessity, to have two is overindulgence. I’m pretty sure the set designer could have found a way to spare us the second one. The live broadcast already started later than usual, so adding a second intermission meant we got to go home later than we did when they showed Hamlet or Coriolanus which are after all Shakespeare’s longest plays.

Just in case anyone else wondered where they had seen Michael Benz before (we did) and didn’t get around to looking him up: he was The Globe On Tour’s Hamlet a few years back, and a good one at that.

The Beaux’ Stratagem

“O sister, sister! if ever you marry, beware of a sullen, silent sot, one that’s always musing, but never thinks. There’s some diversion in a talking blockhead; and since a woman must wear chains, I would have the pleasure of hearing ’em rattle a little.”

written by George Farquhar

Cast: Esh Alladi, Samuel Barnett, Jamie Beamish, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Jane Booker, Cornelius Clarke, Susannah Fielding, Molly Gromadzki, John Hastings, Richard Henders, Lloyd Hutchinson, Chris Kelham, Nicholas Khan, Barbara Kirby, Ana-Maria Maskell, Amy Morgan, Pearce Quigley, Mark Rose, Chook Sibtain, Geoffrey Streatfeild, Timothy Watson

Directed by Simon Godwin

Broadcast live from the Natioal Theatre, 3rd September, 2015

Summary: The ‘Beaux’: Mr Aimwell and Mr Archer, two charming, dissolute young men who have blown their fortunes in giddy London. Shamed and debt-ridden, they flee to provincial Lichfield. Their ‘Stratagem’: to marry for money. Lodged at the local inn, posing as master and servant, they encounter a teeming variety of human obstacles: a crooked landlord, a fearsome highwayman, a fervent French Count, a maid on the make, a drunken husband, a furious butler, a natural healer and a strange, turbulent priest. But their greatest obstacle is love. When the Beaux meet their match in Dorinda and Mrs Sullen they are most at risk, for in love they might be truly discovered.

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Othello

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Seen August 26 2015, Haydn English Cinema Vienna

Directed by Iqbal Khan

Firstly, apologies to my regular readers for the lack of new content recently. My day job made it impossible to find the time to write up a review of the last live broadcast, The Merchant of Venice. Not that there was much so say about it except for it relying too heavily on Patsy Ferran and Shylock being too smirkily knife-happy for my taste with no visible conflict, but festered rage and bitterness instead. Pity, this can be done so much better as proven by Graham Greene’s dignified Shylock in the other Stratford in 2007.

We went to London last weekend to see Three Days in the Country and Hamlet (yes, that one) however and I hope I can squeeze in a night at the theatre during a business trip to London in a few weeks, so there is new stuff coming up.

But now on to the next of the bard’s plays that can be problematic to stage nowadays: Othello. Let’s start with what we see first: Continue reading

The Hard Problem

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seen April 16, 2015. Haydn English Cinema Vienna

written by Tom Stoppard

directed by Nicholas Hytner

Cast: Damien Molony, Olivia Vinall, Parth Thakerar, Jonathan Coy, Rosie Hilal, Lucy Robinson, Anthony Calf, Hayley Canham, Eloise Webb, Daisy Jacob, Vera Chok, Kristin Atherton, Benjamin Powell

Flame-finger-brain; brain-finger-ouch. Consciousness.

Tom Stoppard’s newest play ‘about evolutional biology and the banking crisis’ is funny, thought provoking and has some really great rapid fire dialogue. The latter especially when protagonist Hilary shares the stage with her tutor/lover/scientific nemesis Spike.

The stage settings were fitting and functional, set changes accompanied by music from Johann Sebastian Bach,  cameras panning to the beautiful binary/brainwaves lighting installation.

At the start Continue reading