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

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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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

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

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Seen: March 12, NTL Broadcast Haydn English Cinema Vienna

Cast: Hiran Abeysekera, Assad Zaman, Anjana Vasan, Stephanie Street, Shane Zaza, Ranjit Krishnamma, Sartaj Garewal, Gavi Singh Chera, Meera Syal, Anjli Mohindra, Vincent Ebrahim, Chook Sibtain, Muzz Khan, Thusitha Jayasundera, Ronak Patani, Anneika Rose, Manjeet Mann, Mariam Haque, Tia-Lana Chinapyel, Nikita Mehta, Tia Palamathanan, Ahsani Stevens, Nathalie Armin, Esh Alladi, Pal Aron, Bharti Patel

Directed by Rufus Norris

a new play by David Hare based on the book by Katherine Boo

We saw so many great productions in the last year or so, I knew it was too good to last. Continue reading

Love’s Labour’s Won (Much Ado About Nothing)

Seen: March 4, live broadcast at Haydn English Cinema Vienna

Cast: Sam Alexander, Peter Basham, William Belchambers, Edward Bennett, Nick Haverson, John Hodgkinson, David Horovitch, Tunji Kasim, Sophie Khan, Oliver Lynes, Emma Manton, Chris McCalphy, Frances McNamee, Peter McGovern, Chris Nayak, Jamie Newall, Roderick Smith, Flora Spencer-Longhurst, Michelle Terry, Harry Waller, Thomas Wheatley

Directed by Christopher Luscombe

What I am starting to realise after nearly one and a half years of RSC and NTL broadcasts is that the RSC productions really fail to knock me out of my boots. This is especially disappointing because there are so many ways Shakespeare’s work can be interpreted and brought to stage other than just reciting the words. While they are all good and nice, ‘nice’ is probably the worst thing I can say about a theatre production. It’s the equivalent of a band playing their album note for note and then leaving the stage; I could have listened to that – or in case of theatre read the playtext – at home. Actually, I even prefer strongly disliking a production if I can respect what those involved tried to do. If you’ve read my reviews of The Ruling Class and A Midsummer Night’s Dream you might have noticed how much I appreciate when having balls actually pays off.

I held back on writing this thinking that maybe I would see things a bit differently after having finished the online course connected to the production (https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/much-ado-about-nothing ) but, alas, no. While that course was so much better than the Hamlet one (I can honestly say I haven’t learned anything new except the professor’s obsession with Freud) and those from the RSC involved all seem like very nice people (in case of people, my above definition of ‘nice’ of course does not apply in the least), the most innovative things about the production remain calling it Love’s Labour Won, following the theory this is actually the one Shakespaeare play thought to have been lost and making it a companion production to Love’s Labour’s Lost (see iwishyoumuchmirth’s review https://butmadnorth.com/2015/02/12/loves-labours-lost/) and moving it from Messina to England after WWI.

The setting was a bit unusual in the beginning, but it made sense and the Christmas tree was a great prop, especially for Edward Bennett’s Benedick. Both Bennett and Michelle Terry (Beatrice) were very good, even if Terry seemed to have momentarily forgotten she was wearing a microphone, so she was painfully shrill at the very beginning. Bennett also proved apt at adapting to unforeseen situations like a rather vocal patron or his own corpsing.

Setting the play this close to the 20s allowed for some entertaining musical numbers as well as great costumes. While I’m generally not the biggest fan of Shakespeare’s comedies and there are of course a lot of issues viewing them as a woman born in the 1970s instead of 1600s, Much Ado is actually the one I do like because I enjoy the quickfire bantering between the two perceived as the main characters even though in fact they hardly have any time together on stage.

I usually find more humour in the tragedies, so I might not be the best person judging this production. I can for example never relate to the audience laughing at ‘Kill Claudio’. The play is however one my sister’s favourites, so maybe she wants to add her view.

To sum it up: it was an entertaining time in the cinema, but I wouldn’t want to watch this again.

Love’s Labour’s Lost

11 February, 2015
broadcast live from the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-Avon

by William Shakespeare

Cast: Sam Alexander, Peter Basham, William Belchambers, Edward Bennett, Nick Haverson, John Hodgkinson, David Horovitch, Tunji Kasim, Sophie Khan Levy, Oliver Lynes, Emma Manton, Chris McCalphy, Frances McNamee, Peter McGovern, Chris Nayak, Jamie Newall, Roderick Smith, Flora Spencer-Longhurst, Michelle Terry, Harry Waller, Thomas Wheatley, Leah Whitaker, featuring Teddy the Bear

directed by Christopher Luscombe

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