Helen Edmundson’s The Heresy of Love is a reminder – as would a play about the 12th century mystic and composer, Hildegard of Bingen – that women of independent spirit have existed for a long, long time.
As if an addendum to all the WW1 remembrances of last year, Chichester Festival Theatre’s shrewd revival of W Somerset Maugham’s For Services Rendered not only adds a rider to those war years but sounds a remarkably apt note for our own times.
What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined (Menier Chocolate Factory, London) – review by Carole Woddis.
Anyone growing up in the Sixties will have something of Burt Bacharach in their DNA. The Look of Love, Reach Out For Me, I Say a Little Prayer, Anyone Who Had a Heart…the list is endless of the songs which, with lyricist Hal David, brought Bacharach six Grammys, three Oscars and a staggering 73 US and 52 UK Top 40 hits.
Silent tells the tale of street hobo, Tino, named in honour of his gran’s devotion to the movie star and his father’s singalong to a gramophone recording of how `when one [star] falls [Valentino died young, at 31], God always calls a star to take its place…’
If you told someone about a show featuring depression and being the child of a suicidal mother, most responses would be, `oh, I don’t think so. Not for me. Sounds too depressing.’ They’d be so wrong. On the contrary, they’d be missing something so heart-warming and life affirming as to kick themselves they hadn’t seen it sooner.
Austin Pendleton apparently met and acted with Orson Welles. He never met `Larry’ Olivier or the two other parties to this backstage `comedy’ – the critic Ken Tynan and Olivier’s latest amour, Joan Plowright. He did however encounter Vivien Leigh, Olivier’s soon to be estranged wife. He never forgot her. Or Orson.
Lampedusa, the island at the southern tip of Italy. Junction of two worlds, North Africa and Europe. Site of ancient trade routes. And now with a different, unwanted cargo spilling onto its shores.
Not for nothing has `kafkaesque’ entered the lexicon as the best description of the frustrating minefield encountered in dealing with any corporate or bureaucratic business these days. Or the systemic invasions of privacy at every turn. Joseph K has become the exemplar of the anonymous, numberless state to which we can all now be condemned.
In the past, Gilman has dealt with the pressures on artists to succeed (Baseball), racism in the white ivy-league (Spinning into Butter) and this time tackles child protection and social workers. Heaven knows, the latter’s reputation here has been torn to shreds in recent years. Gilman’s social worker is, typically, hard-working, conscientious, very, very caring. And compromised.
Welsh Rugby captain Gareth Thomas was at the peak of his career when the roof fell in and he `came out’ as gay. Imagine. A sporting legend in the Welsh mining communities where rugby was second only to chapel in reverence. Rugby in Wales is a religion.
Klipdrift brandy, the `kick’ of choice for two Jo’burg teenagers, Thandi and Yolandi. Two `klippies’, as different as you can imagine from each other: Thandi, black, privileged, one parent background; Yolandi, white, tearaway with an alcoholic mother and smalltime criminal brother.
Alan Ayckbourn has always had a fascination with the mechanics of things. His plays, as a colleague once wrote, often resemble the internal intricacies of a Swiss watch. He just likes winding things up, seeing how far he can push dramatic possibilities and the occurrence of things happening simultaneously.