With extraordinary, even eerily apt timing, in the week that a judge ruled that a woman who felt she had lost her sparkle at 50 had a right to refuse life-saving dialysis treatment, the Royal Court’s latest deals precisely with the invisibility felt by older women.
Why don’t we know more about Queen Anne (1665-1714)? Squashed between William and Mary and the first of the Hanoverians, George I, Anne seems to have been completely overlooked by history or, at least, our agreed cultural narrative that favours Elizabeth and Victoria over the stout, rather solemn figure who stares out from royal portraiture.
Richard Eyre is making himself something of a specialist when it comes to Ibsen. Having adapted and directed Hedda Gabler and Ghosts to loud acclaim, now he’s taken on Ibsen’s less familiar Little Eyolf. What emerges is a taut chamber portrait of marriage and guilt – a template for later studies of marital warfare from Strindberg to Albee.
The battle of Agincourt and our ancient enmities with France take on a darker hue today in the light of events in Paris. Beside which, Greg Doran’s Henry V coincidentally sits as a sombre, sober comment on war.
**** Ah, the magic of theatre! A frequently over-used, derided phrase, for once, it really applies to this delicious, fun-giving Hampstead transfer with Simon Russell Beale, Joseph Millson and Dervla Kirwan in the leading roles.
Hungarian writer Kristóf’s book is the witness of twin brothers who live with their grandmother in rural Hungary during World War Two. The text is extraordinary. It is both naïve and profound in its exploration of two innocents who survive the Nazi and Soviet invasions by cunning and an original form of justice.
This fascinating play is a study of the famous playwright and screenwriter Ben Hecht and his relationship with his daughter Jenny. The action takes place in the late sixties as actor Jenny works with The Living Theatre and is caught up in the radical politics of directors Judith Malina and Julian Beck.
Given our ageing population, the number of plays coming our way dealing with Alzheimers is only likely to increase. If so Nicola Wilson’s Plaques and Tangles will be right up there as a moving anatomy of Alzheimers’ devastating effect not only on the individual undergoing it but the trauma it produces on their nearest and dearest.
How do you like your Chekhov? Do you even like Chekhov? Like Shakespeare, debates range around his texts, none more so than the early plays of Platonov and Ivanov, the latter his first full length play.
First performed in Vienna in 1782, the plot of this Mozart opera seems very silly. However, this is a provocative opera for our times. It is beautiful, funny and disturbing.
Wars of the Roses/Pure Imagination (Rose Theatre, Kingston; St James Theatre, London) – reviews by Carole Woddis.
Peter Hall and John Barton’s The Wars of the Roses in 1963 was a defining moment, one of many for the RSC in the 1960s.
On a completely different note, award-winning writer/composer/songwriter Leslie Bricusse is being celebrated in a musical entitled Pure Imagination – a compilation of his best-known and other songs.
It’s hard to over-state the pleasure that is the Globe’s final production of their 2015 summer season and Dominic Dromgoole’s last as artistic director. Next year, Emma Rice, formerly of Kneehigh, takes over the reins.