Sneak Preview Reviews of: A Christmas Carol, Husbands and Sons, Hangmen, Red Velvet

by Lynn on January 27, 2016

in The Passionate Playgoer

Sneak Preview Review of A Christmas Carol

At the Noël Coward Theatre, London, England

By Patrick Barlow
Adapted from the Christmas story by Charles Dickens
Directed by Phelim McDermott
Starring: Adeel Akhtar
Jim Broadbent
Amelia Bullmore
Keir Charles
Jack Parker
Kim Scopes
Samantha Spiro

A production that turns the harrowing, somber story on its ear but is still true to the spirit of Dickens’ wonderful tale of redemption and forgiveness. Presented as an over the top Music Hall entertainment with the wonderful Jim Broadbent as Scrooge. Five actors play almost all the parts and two puppeteers create the rest. Director Phelim McDermott’s work as always is inventive, dazzlingly silly and smart. Patrick Barlow’s script adds a timely dash that speaks directly to a contemporary audience.

Sneak Preview Review of Husbands and Sons

At the National Theatre, London, England

By D.H. Lawrence
Adapted by Ben Power
Directed by Marianne Elliott
Starring: Joe Armstrong
Susan Brown
Anne-Marie Duff
Julia Ford
Lloyd Hutchinson
Martin Marquez

Three plays by D.H. Lawrence are adapted together and presented simultaneously. A Herculean effort by adapter Ben Power. Set in mining town and the worries and woes that attend that occupation and affect three families. Marriages and relationships are shattered or hang on by a thread. Anger chokes the air.

Suffocating? Not a bit of it. The production by Marianne Elliott is typical of this director who rarely makes a wrong move. Detail is everywhere in her production as each separate family lives in its own way. The acting is superb.

Sneak preview review of Hangmen

At the Wyndham’s Theatre, London, England

By Martin McDonagh
Directed by Matthew Dunster
Cast: Johnny Flynn
Bronwyn James
David Morrissey
Craig Parkinson
Sally Rogers

A typical Martin McDonagh play. Dark, hilarious violent, shady, scummy, manipulative characters and a bully of a former hangman who now runs a pub. A stupid crime happens with many witnesses. They will clutch the short and curlies of the perpetrator of the crime for a long time and keep him breathing hard in future.

But, it seems like a one joke play. It goes on for too long. It needs cutting. Thick Manchester accents should keep those not in the know, scratching their heads as to what is being said.

Sneak preview review of Red Velvet

At the Garrick Theatre, London, England.
Written by Lolita Chakrabarti
Directed by Indhu Rubasingham
Cast: Ayesha Antoine
Emun Elliott
Adrian Lester
Charlotte Lucas

A play about Ira Aldridge a celebrated black American actor who lived in the 1800 and was celebrated for his acting of Shakespeare, particularly Othello. The play is informed by a run in London in which Aldridge tried to modernize the acting of the play as he replaced an ailing Edmund Kean. Racism, xenophobia and prejudice dogged him.

A sobering, haunting play that is timely considering the whole thorny issues of colour-blind casting and political correctness today.

Adrian Lester is wonderful as Ira Aldridge. His playwright-wife Lolita Chakrabarty brings up a lot of issues to chew on. Strong direction by Indhu Rubasingham.

Full reviews to follow shortly.

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