Play Review: “Who Is Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” by Edward Albee (NT live)

"Who Is Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" by Edward Albee (NT live)

 

Edward Albee’s award winning play “Who is Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” was produced by Sonia Friedman Productions and broadcasted by NT Live. You might have already heard of Sonia Friedman Productions as they also produced Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch at The Barbican in 2015 (that was broadcasted by NTLive), Much Ado About Nothing, King Charles III (with David Tennant, Catherine Tate) – to name a few. They plan to bring Harry Potter and The Cursed Child on Broadway on 2018 too. And this year they are producing Hamlet with Andrew Scott (also on stage of Harold Pinter Theatre), and I am keeping all of my fingers crossed that NTLive would pick it up too. Because there is no such thing as too much Hamlet.

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Play Review: Obsession – National Theatre Live

 

I went to see the broadcast of “Obsession” play on May 11. It was broadcast live from the Barbican Theatre in London and was only about an hour and a half long with no intermission. The play is a new stage adaptation of Luchino Visconti’s 1943 film. I have never watched the movie, but I was attracted to this play because of two things: one, the main protagonist Gino is played by Jude Law, whom I had never seen on stage; and two, the play was produced by Ivo van Hove, whose in Hedda Gabler I really enjoyed (he also produced A View From The Bridge).

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Book/Play review: The Deep Blue Sea by Terence Rattigan (script + National Theatre)

 

If you have been following me for some time, you probably already know that I go to see every and each NT Live broadcast, time permitting. I saw Helen McCrory in both Medea and The Last of the Haussmans and as a huge fan of The Three Musketeers in general I instantly became a fan of Tom Burke’s Athos in BBC The Musketeers. Needless to say, when I found out that both of those actors were going to be on stage at National Theatre, I knew that I would be seeing it for sure. I purchased tickets for both broadcasts (they were a week or so apart, I believe) and set on reading the play beforehand.

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Play review: My Night with Reg by Kevin Elyot (Mirvish)

My Night with Reg

I watched “My Night with Reg” on February 24, almost by the end of the play’s run, which is unfortunate as I would have loved to see it again. This was one of those plays which I had on my list as something that I would like to see but it was nowhere near at the top. More so, I bought the ticket only because it was on sale on Boxing Day, since I am not too fond of Panasonic Theatre as a venue.

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Play review: The Audience (Mirvish)

The Audience

 

The Audience is a play by Peter Morgan, written and originally produced in 2013 by National Theatre, with magnificent Helen Mirren as The Queen. (Morgan is also the the creator and writer of Netflix original series The Crown.)  The play received several awards, starting with Helen Mirren who received the best actress Olivier for her portrayal of the Queen in 2013. The play was briefly brought to Broadway in 2015 with Helen Mirren reprising her role of Queen Elizabeth II but with the whole new cast. Later in 2015, the play was revived in West End with Dame Kristin Scott Thomas as Queen Elizabeth II.

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Play review: The Entertainer – Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company

The Entertainer - Kenneth Branagh
I am fortunate to live close to a Cineplex movie theatre which allows me to go to pretty much every special event or theatre play broadcast they do. I try to go to all of them (or 99% of them), regardless of whether I have heard of them or have seen them before. Most of the time I luck out and come home thoroughly impressed by acting, production, etc. I very rarely leave disappointed. But sometimes, just sometimes, I get this “meh” feeling, and, unfortunately, The Entertainer falls into this category. To to put it shortly, The Entertainer failed to entertain me. (Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun!)
The Entertainer is a John Osborne play about a middle-aged man, Archie Rice, who is a musical-hall performer, but his career is a failure. He was married twice, had numerous affairs, and at the beginning of the play he lives in the house with his second wife Phoebe, his father Billy, and his younger son Frank. His daughter Jean comes to visit unexpectedly, following her quarrel with her fiancé Graham who breaks an engagement with her because she went to a Trafalgar Square to join a protest. This family’s get together and their quarrels are quickly overshadowed by the news of Mick, Archie’s elder son, taken prisoner of war in Middle East. The play is set in 1960s in Britain, and is full of various references to “the old days”.
The broadcast opened with a short film about a young John Osborne (not the playwright) who was talking about THE John Osbourne (the playwright), which was somewhat funny but also confusing.
The Entertainer is a production of Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company, in which Kenneth stars as Archie Rice but doesn’t direct it. The play is on stage at London’s Garrick Theatre.
The Entertainer is a three act play, however, this production split into two acts with one intermission. The scenes in the play switch between Rice’s family living room and their bickering and the stage of a theatre where Archie performs. The transformation is quick and fluid with the characters often freezing after a punchline and the limelight suddenly illuminating Archie (and once Frank) who talks or sings or tap dances on the stage, surrounded by dancing girls.
I found the transitions to be quite fascinating. However, when Archie was on the stage of an imaginary music-hall and was looking straight at the audience of Garrick Theatre, it felt as if Kenneth was basically breaking the fourth wall, while still being in character, and I found quite curious but also a bit annoying. He would react to laughs or comments from an imaginary audience and the discrepancy of the reaction of the actual audience at Garrick didn’t seem funny at all. (I was in the audience of a cinema hall watching Kenneth as Archie on the stage of Garrick Theatre pretending to be on stage of a music-hall. It was a bit weird.
Kenneth, undoubtedly, is an extremely skilled actor as he managed to bore me out of my wits by Archie’s performance. Archie is mediocre, grumpy, angry at life. He had an affair with Phoebe when Jean was just born. He continues to have affairs with other girls while being married to Phoebe, and even plans to marry a young girl but his own father prevents it. He has been avoiding to pay taxes for 20 years and he consistently hides from creditors. He is dismissive of Phoebe, his father, not cordial with his daughter. He is a disappointment and acts like one. His character left me confused: are we supposed to sympathize with him, or despise him, or what? Throughout the play, I just wanted to shake him and tell him to get a grip. He was offered a very good option by Phoebe’s brother’s daughter to come to Canada (Toronto no less!) but he refuses to take it even though there is nothing for him in England.
I loved the actor who played his father, Billy Rice. He was really on point, old and grumpy and grumbling about “old times”. He had the funniest silences and face expressions. Jean and Phoebe were plain, boring, and predictable. Frank was nice too, however, I feel that I liked him only because he had a nice voice and reminded me of the lead actor in War Horse (National Theatre).
Unfortunately, the plot of the play was overall way too predictable. I could tell where it was going miles off. And the ending was anti-climatic. The stage design and light were great. I loved how easily the stage transitioned between the house and the music hall. You can see how the stage incorporates the items of both. The music was great too, but the plot was just way too boring. I sat through the whole thing but to be honest I would not recommend it unless you are a fan of Kenneth Branagh or John Osborne’s work or both. For me it was curious but nothing beyond that.

Personal rating: 3 stars

Sources:

New Year Resolutions

I’m quite aware it is February 😉 I wrote those down a month ago, but never got to share them.

  • read 70 books*
  • listen to 10 audiobooks
  • see 10 theatre plays
  • watch 50 movies
  • start art journal again
  • write more
  • blog regularly (once a day)
  • take more photos and share them
  • consistently write book reviews
  • write plays/events reviews
  • take care of my health
  • start going to the gym again
  • travel to new places
  • meet new people
  • smile every day

*I set my goal at GoodReads for 70 books as well, but it is not the same. On GoodReads I keep track of both books and audiobooks, but in my journal I keep them separate. Which means that I will hit my GoodReads goal before my personal one.

I must say that my book reading challenge is going quite nicely AND I have already listened to 10 audiobooks, so that is quite encouraging 😀

I also started a new art journal. I hope to keep doing that throughout the year.

I still suck at writing and posting reviews right after the events/plays/reading books. But I am working on it!