The Lehman Trilogy at the NT – Loved it (and I worked there)!

We’ve just returned from a performance of the Lehman Trilogy at the National Theatre. It was one of the best plays we’ve seen in years, truly awesome. While previous performances of the play across Europe have involved vast casts, Ben Power‘s (the NT deputy artistic director’s) English language version of Italian playwright Stefano Massini’s play involves just three actors. They re-enact the one and a half centuries of the Lehman brothers’ family history from when the first of the initial three brothers emigrated from a small village in Bavaria (where I’m from) to Montgomery, Alabama, in the South of the U.S. From when they were god-fearing, law-abiding, humble, not-so-well-to-do corner store owners (and later on cotton merchants) to them losing control of their investment bank in the 1960s, and to the bank’s demise as a faceless global investment bank in the Financial Crisis of 2008, when godless monsters like Dick […]

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Andrew Scott in Sea Wall, celebrating 200 years at the Old Vic

We’ve just returned from our visit to the Old Vic to watch Sea Wall, a monologue performed by Andrew Scott. It was written specifically for him more than ten years ago by Simon Stephens. This time around, it was staged again to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the theatre. Scott’s character Alex tells the audience about his life with his loving family. How he made friends with his wife’s father, an ex-soldier, how their young daughter brings joy to their life, how he’s happy with his job and where he lives.    Photo of Andrew Scott (c) Kevin Cummins; rest (c) BSqB Gradually the monologue steers towards the revelation of perhaps the most horrible event that can happen to man. As you would expect from an actor of Scott’s calibre, his performance is smooth and precise. The audience is laughing out loud one second and holding back tears the next […]

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Toneelgroep, Barbican, Obsession, the play

We’ve just returned from tonight’s performance of Obsession, the play with Jude Law, at the Barbican, and we were not very pleased. It is one of three Toneelgroep (“Theatre Group”) Amsterdam productions directed by Ivo van Hove at the Barbican this year. The play is based on a homonymous 1942 Luchino Visconti film, which is itself based on a well-known novel by James M Cain called ‘The Postman Always Rings Twice.’ The movie was adapted seven times with the 1946 version, named after the book, starring Lana Turner and John Garfield being the best-known one. It is not the first Visconti movie that van Hove has adapted for the stage. We watched part of the original film on Youtube after our visit to the theatre and we enjoyed it. The movie is very intense and its title does not need any explaining. We had read about the plot (but not […]

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‘Wish List’, Zero Hour Contract Play

We’ve just watched Katherine Soper’s debut play at the Royal Court (it premiered in Manchester and won the Bruntwood Prize). Absolutely fabulous! It adds to the intimacy of the experience that the Jerwood Upstairs seats just 85 people and the acting takes place between two sets of rows, with the remaining two ends of the room being set up as the work place and the home of Tamsin (Erin Doherty). She is a 19-year old woman, who works full-time in a soul-destroying zero-hour contract job as a packer in a warehouse, packing boxes with goods from customers’ twist-of-the-moment wish lists, while caring for her 17-year old mentally unwell, housebound brother Dean (Jonathan Quinn) since the death of their mother. He can already be seen while the audience gets seated, engaging in his obsessive compulsive rituals of putting gel into his hair behind the transparent walls of the bathroom, tapping rhythmically […]

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Ed Harris in Buried Child – Don’t Miss This One

We’ve just come back from seeing 66-year old Hollywood veteran Ed Harris star in his West End debut in Buried Child at the Trafalgar Studios, and what a pleasure it was! Ed Harris’ intensity and aplomb on stage are riveting. It would have been worth the visit just for his acting alone, but as it happens all the other talented actors involved were giving their best too. Well, and can’t really go wrong with a Pulitzer-prize winning play like this that is about the breakdown of the American Dream and its values in rural 1970s America, when most family-run farms descended into poverty and despair due to economic slowdown and the consolidation of the market with a few hundred big players ruling the game. To add to it, it’s so cool that Ed is starring with his wife, Amy Madigan, as he did on various occasions before, both on stage […]

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