In 1913 Connie Reid marries wealthy Nottingham colliery owner Sir Clifford Chatterley but he returns from the Great War disabled and in a wheelchair. Connie is loyal but begins to feel ... See full summary »
Against the backdrop of Hamlet, two hapless minor characters, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, take centre stage. As the young double act stumble their way in and out of the action of ... See full summary »
Tim Van Someren
Johann, a brilliant young scientist, conspires with his friend Eric to perform a dangerous chemical experiment with an exhilarating goal: the secret of eternal life. Their fraternal ... See full summary »
This is performed in the Noël Coward theatre and is an adaptation from the well known film. This story revolves around aspiring actress Eve Harrington (Lily James). Tattered and forlorn, ... See full summary »
This is the second pairing of Lily James and Richard Madden as a romantic couple. In Disney's Cinderella (2015), Lily James played the title role with Richard Madden as her love interest, Prince Kit. See more »
Kenneth Branagh's Romeo & Juliet, broadcast from the Garrick Theater, London, a performance recorded summer, 2016. A lot of bad ideas. No single one of them would have killed it but the concatenation drove me out of the theater. It isn't necessarily a terrible idea to update the production to the 1950s (after all, what else is West Side Story?). It seems unnecessary to try to make the production visually reminiscent of an Italian film, but I might have gone along if the effect had been persuasive. Snippets of dialog in Italian, okay (but why bother?). Song and dance numbers, again, we've already got West Side Story in the repertory. Casting one of Romeo's posse with a very much older actor than the others: I don't reject it. Folks of different generations can indeed be friends.
The problem was that it was Derek Jacobi, and he was determined to be irrepressible. Branagh evidently lacks the directorial gravitas to be able to say to an actor of that standing, "Stop that. Stop doing that. Stop doing that, too. Tone that bit down, the line is good enough without so much mugging."
The production might have survived all the above but two further errors exasperated this listener. The first was that the telecast of the performance was preceded by 10 or 12 minutes of pre-taped interviews with contemporary London teenagers, asking them questions about the play itself and about what life as a teenager is like. The purpose of this was ham-handedly to remind the audience that the title characters are very young. But surely that is the business of the actors?
The other irritant was the decision that the telecast should be in black and white. Obviously the live audience, in the theatre, were not seeing the play in black and white. The sets and costumes could not be equally effective for an audience seeing them in color and a simulcast audience seeing them in black and white. The idea was artsy and artificial, and it never became clear (to this viewer) what the effect was supposed to be.
I stayed through the love scene, curiously devoid of romantic appeal, and fled quietly.
Meera Syal demonstrated once more that the role of the Nurse is the best part in the play.
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