There is something about the Tudors that seems to grab us all. Whether it be the Shakespearean legacy or the modernised tv series, The Tudors, we can’t seem to get enough of them. Four years ago, Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall followed shortly after by Bring Up The Bodies took most of us by storm.
Gina Gionfriddo had a great success a couple of years ago with the comic blind-date-and-its-repercussions play, Becky Shaw. Gionfriddo returns to the highly personal again in her latest, Rapture, Blister, Burn but expands it to cast a comprehensive look over modern feminism, its theory and practise and particularly in relation to pornography and the internet.
Within the confines of its sandy restriction, Happy Days encompasses still a vision at once amiable, pitiable, comic and horrific about our shared human condition, about its frailties and abundant optimism.
1914 and the Great War. Given the centenary is upon us, it is everywhere. And perhaps rightly so although heaven knows, there is enough mayhem still going on in the world for us to wonder whether anything has been learnt from past history.
Blurred Lines/Women of Twilight (The Shed, National Theatre; The White Bear Theatre, Kennington) – reviews by Carole Woddis.
‘Blurred Lines’ is a coolly sophisticated but disturbing addition to the feminist debate with a plethora of statistics interwoven into a series of fragmented scenes about the way women are represented in society. ‘Women of Twilight’, Sylvia Rayman’s 1951/2 drama, focuses on the unhappy fate of unmarried mothers in a way we might find hard to completely comprehend today.
In the character of Richard – the weak 14th century English king, swayed by favourites who allowed himself to be deposed – Shakespeare wrote some of his most poetic and fascinating psychological insights into kingship and collapse of fortunes. He’s a `problem’ character alright.
The Donmar Warehouse stages Josie Rourke’s own take on Coriolanus, the Roman general who could not stoop to flatter the public and who pays the highest price for his `arrogance’.
‘Hansel and Gretel’ emerges here as a clever, imaginative, splendidly sung and designed festive bauble, suitable for all the family. And in a different key altogether, Swedish gothic and vampirism meets sweet innocence in the outstandingly beautiful and moving ‘let the right one in’.
Merely a year separates the Leonard Bernstein musical Candide and J C Sherriff’s The White Carnation but they could have come from different planets.
It’s now 50 years since Lee Harvey Oswald is said to have pulled the trigger in the Book Depository building opposite from John F Kennedy’s cavalcade as it made its way through downtown Dallas. Forty eight hours later, as he was being transferred to a county jail, he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby.
Janice Okoh’s Three Birds, which won the prestigious Bruntwood playwriting prize for 2011, was warmly praised by Simon Stephens, one of this country’s foremost playwrights and Chair of the judges for the award.