Another Brexit deadline missed (thank goodness). This may be catching: my posts are getting further apart, reports increasingly late.
I’ve been delightfully distracted from blog writing: first, I enjoyed interviewing William Nicholson about his play Shadowlands (the fruits of which encounter will ultimately appear on the Arts Desk site). Then there was a call to write about 1930s culture (providing an excuse to listen to some big band music and scroll through fashion plates of ladies with hair set in finger waves and wearing slinky, bias-cut dresses). Stealing some time off, I visited the Elizabethan Treasures exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery to wonder at the techniques employed by Nicholas Hilliard and Isaac Oliver and wield my magnifying glass over gorgeous lace ruffs and twirling moustaches.
Theatre-going has been sporadic. I chickened out of seeing Ghost Stories, billed as so frightening that those of a nervous disposition should think twice about seeing it. I knew I’d be trying to slide under my seat or digging my nails into the stranger next to me, so I opted just to show you this picture (Garry Cooper playing Tony Matthews ©Chris Payne) instead. No doubt my lack of gumption will be sufficient to encourage others to brave Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson’s “ghoulish”, “terrifying” cult horror show with its shocks and scares, sound and lighting surprises. It’s back at the Lyric Hammersmith where its worldwide success (including a spin-off film) began nearly a decade ago. It has already been extended until May 18th.
Not many more chances to see Jonathan Church’s beautifully nuanced production of Arthur Miller’s The Price, first seen in Bath, now at Wyndham’s Theatre. Unfortunately, Brendan Coyle (playing policeman brother Victor) was off when I caught up with it, although his understudy Sion Lloyd did a sterling job and Adrian Lukis as the successful brother and Sara Stewart as Victor’s long-suffering wife were excellent. David Suchet’s amusing old furniture dealer, wise, straight-talking but business-minded, almost steals the show from the two brothers forced to see the truth of the effect of the Depression on their relationship with each other and their father. Should Walter feel guilty about having the freedom to become a wealthy surgeon while Victor sacrificed his education to look after their father? Or was Victor wilfully ignoring a way out? Until April 27th.
The Donmar will very soon be under new management. Talented director Michael Longhurst recently introduced an exciting raft of new and contemporary work for his first season, beginning in June with David Greig’s prescient Europe. More information on donmarwarehouse.com.
TheatreVoice is back. Its first two interviewees of the season are, each in their own way, absolute treasures of the theatre: actor Penelope Wilton, appearing in David Hare’s The Bay at Nice, and legendary South African actor-director, John Kani. Enjoy listening to their insights and experiences on theatrevoice.com.