grondfic: (FuchsParadise)
I've recently found some difficulties in sleeping straight through the night; waking at odd, inopportune hours and not being able immediately to drop back to sleep again. So I took up reciting poetry again; and one night found bits of The Lady of Shalott circling round my head in random fashion.

As some of you may know, Loreena McKennitt set most of the poem to a tune some years ago; but I'm more familiar, as a singer, with Ann Lister's version (available on her album Spreading Rings (https://open.spotify.com/album/48AfEG9ss45nEUYYhcEg9I)

So I set about learning the words in the right order, to (an approximation of) Anne's tune. For me, singing a poem is the best way for me to get inside the words; so here are the fruits of my meditations on Tennyson's Lady of Shalott

Part I
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Part II
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Part III
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Part IV
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grondfic: (FuchsParadise)
We're back from holiday (guess where we went!); me having first undergone a tooth extraction, barely finishing the penicillin in time to fly out and drink lots of wine.

So now we're back, and facing the autumn theatre season. So far we have -

September
'The Girl from the North Country' (Old Vic)
'Mrs Orwell' (Southwark Playhouse)
'Against' (Almeida)
'King Lear' (The Globe)

October
'Apologia' (Trafalgar Studios)
'St George and the Dragon' (The National)
Richard Thompson Concert (The Bridge Theatre - brand new venue; really exciting!)

November
'Young Marx' (The Bridge)
'A Murder is Announced' (Churchill, Bromley)
'Albion' (Almeida)
'A Woman of No Importance' (Vaudeville)
'The Lady from the Sea' (Donmar)

December
'A Christmas Carol' (Old Vic)

That's it so far for 2017; but we already have a couple of things (including Essiedou's Hamlet which goes on tour).

However, I've just noticed that Southwark will be putting on J M Barrie's Dear Brutus over the Christmas season. It hasn't even been cast yet; but I'm very tempted. I read it as an A level student, saw one production and then it kinda sank without trace. It's a great, funny, dark, thought-provoking whimsy
grondfic: (FuchsParadise)
The news that Tom Hiddlestone (directed by Kenneth Branagh) is to take on Hamlet, in a very select short run (https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2017/aug/01/tom-hiddleston-to-star-in-branaghs-hamlet-for-three-weeks-only), following hard on the heels of Andrew Scott, got me reflecting on just how many Hamlets I've seen in my life.

So I made a list, and hope I've remembered them all. This time, I'm going to include Hamlets on film and dvd, as well as the live performances. It comes to quite a tally.

Film 1948: Laurence Olivier
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RSC 1961: Ian Bannen
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Film 1964 dir. Grigori Kozintsev: Innokenty Smoktunovsky (Russian trans. by Boris Pasternak)
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RSC 1965/6: David Warner
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Bankside Globe 1972: Keith Michell
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BBC Shakespeare/Hamlet 1980: Derek Jacobi (tv/dvd)
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RSC 1984: Roger Rees
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Film 1990: Mel Gibson
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RSC (Barbican) 1993: Kenneth Branagh
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Peter Hall Co. at the Gielgud 1994: Stephen Dillane
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The National 2000: Simon Russell Beale
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RSC (dvd) 2008: David Tennant
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Barbican (livestream) 2015: Benedict Cumberbatch
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Royal Exchange Manchester (dvd) 2014/15: Maxine Peake
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Almeida/Harold Pinter 2017: Andrew Scott
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And here are some who got away:

Hamlets I Have Missed

1992 Riverside Studios: Alan Rickman
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1980 Royal Court: Jonathan Pryce
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2004 Old Vic: Ben Whishaw
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2004 RSC: Toby Stephens
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2010 The National: Rory Kinnear
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grondfic: (FuchsParadise)
Queen Anne (RSC at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket)
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Dessert (Southwark Playhouse)
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The Play that Goes Wrong (The Duchess Theatre)
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grondfic: (FuchsParadise)
Mitridate, re di Ponto (Royal Opera House)
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The Tempest (RSC at the Barbican)
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The final two plays that we've seen are both set within my own lifetime - Ink in 1969 Fleet Street; and The Ferryman in 1981 rural Armagh. Thus I kept getting fragments of memory; and experiencing slight relief when the 'dots got joined' between then and now.

Ink (The Almeida)
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The Ferryman (The Gielgud)
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grondfic: (FuchsParadise)
(Part 1 can be found here http://grondfic.dreamwidth.org/5907.html )

The Ensemble:

It’s a bit invidious of me to divide the cast into ‘Hamlet’ and ‘Ensemble’; mainly because (unlike the last Hamlet production I saw *cough*), we’re not looking at a play consisting of STAR and the rest. Every character is fully integrated, and can be seen to possess their own backstory. In other words – all their performances are are all layered and nuanced; and each has their ‘moment in the sun’ onstage. The ensemble contains stars, sure. Andrew Scott, Juliet Stevenson, Jessica Brown Findlay, David Rintoul and, arguably Peter Wight and Angus Wright could reasonably lay claim to star-(or one-time-star-)status; whilst Luke Thompson is surely a star of the future on stage and tv.

So here are my impressions of some fine actors doing their job supremely:

Horatio
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Gertrude and Claudius
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’The Polonii’
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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
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Old Hamlet/The Ghost
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I've treated some of this miles-deep interpretation of Hamlet in some depth .. and yet STILL there are things I've had to leave out. The Players and their wonderful dumb-show of The Mousetrap; the Gravedigger; the soldiery; the actors who only appeared on the screens. I can only say that the play runs until September 2. There's still time to see it if you can get hold of a ticket!
grondfic: (FuchsParadise)
How can I even BEGIN to talk about this play?

This is not because - as was the case with Common (http://grondfic.livejournal.com/245180.html) - it was so bad. Quite the opposite in fact. It was so full of fresh ideas and novel takes on this best-known of all Shakespeare's works, that my head is jammed with things to say; each point spawning at least a dozen more insights. So I shall just have to write it as an essay, in 2 parts, under section headings. In this part, I'll give a sense of the play and look specifically at Scott's Hamlet; and in Part 2 I'll look at the brilliant ensemble, and maybe tackle a couple of problematic areas in reaching an absolute reading - OK? Ooooookay -

General Overview
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Scott's Hamlet
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So now, it’s time to introduce the rest of the cast, in Part 2, here - http://grondfic.dreamwidth.org/6204.html
grondfic: (DeathHorse)
June has been a month of mixed fortunes for us as theatregoers. A nervous edge has been added to each visit with the post-Borough-Market re-imposition of bag searches, plus an airport-like limit on the size of our 'handbag-age'. Cue the metallic tape-measure, and a lot of heart-searching about what outfit goes with which (reduced) handbag.

Anyway, onwards and upwards to -

Love in Idleness (Apollo Theatre)
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Common (National Theatre)
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Well, I WAS going to add a third review here - Andrew Scott's Hamlet. But after that last review, I think I should maybe write more fully in a separate entry. After I've re-read the programme, looked at all the pictures, and purged myself from the contemplation of Common.
grondfic: (FuchsParadise)
At long last, after rather an epic, we made it to the penultimate performance of the play's run. Originally we'd booked for Wednesday's matinee, but it was mysteriously cancelled, taking with it our lovely front row-seats. So, having braved the idiosyncrasies of Saturday Public Transport, we fell into the theatre and were ushered into two back-row end-row seats behind the two largest people in the audience.*sigh*

However, cutting across the stage en route to these unenviable perches, we passed the hunched figure of Greg Hicks' Richard; already ensconced at a table alternatively buffing it with his sleeve and then deploying a small metal spinning-top on its surface. It was an intimate start.
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grondfic: (FuchsParadise)
It's been a rather dispiriting spring chez nous, with a number of health issues taking precedence. This included what turned out to be our worst Viennese Easter ever. I may try to give a brief account (because it wasn't all bad, and we saw a lot of new places and things); but first - May's three very disparate plays:

Salomé (The National)
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The Philanthropist (Trafalgar Studio 1)
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A Lie of the Mind (Southwark Playhouse)
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Well, that's May done. Now on to a theatrically-epic June, which holds the following -

Richard III, with Greg Hicks (Arcola)
Love in Idleness, starring Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Anthony Head) and Toby from The Halcyon (Edward Bluemel) (Apollo)
Common, starring Anne-Marie Duff at the National, and last but not least -
Hamlet,with Moriarty (Andrew Scott), Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey (Jessica Brown Findlay) and Juliet Stevenson (The Harold Pinter)
grondfic: (FuchsParadise)
.... to my dear friend [personal profile] rusty_armour.

Have a great day; and all fond wishes for a successful year.

Here are some images from our recent trip to Vienna:
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grondfic: (DeathHorse)
Solar Heroes? Pffui - who needs them whilst the Dragon guards the Golden Hoard.

Here's one we've met during our travels -

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grondfic: (FuchsParadise)
We managed tickets at the midweek matinee, taking the far left of the stalls back row. I recommend these seats - the sightline is pretty good; the legroom is opulent. But best of all, you're handily placed to leap to your feet at the interval and win the race to the limited Ladies' Facilities. WIN!
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It was a slightly odd experience seeing bits of Hamlet ‘from the rear’ so to speak. Odd characters take on prominence – William Chubb’s Polonius was particularly ‘visible’. One commentator noted that R&G proved to be a balance, after they’d seen Andrew Scott at the Almeida.

Well, guys, we have good news. WE are going to be able to make that comparison too – but not until late June. Scott’s Hamlet is transferring to the Pinter Theatre for a more extended season from June to early September; AND WE HAVE TICKETS! *does a happy dance of Dionysiac ecstasy*

(And next week, we shall be Elswhere – guess where? – for Easter)
grondfic: (FuchsParadise)
I've had a number of varied experiences recently, so I thought I'd review them all. Naturally they include theatre and concert visits; but also some other stuff:

Pure Everyday Theatre - Dental Implant Procedure
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Loreena McKennitt (London Palladium)
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Beauty and the Beast (at a cinema near everyone right now)
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Twelfth Night (The National)
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Next-up: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern at the Old Vic, next week; and thereafter our usual Easter arrangement.
grondfic: (FuchsParadise)
Whilst agonising over sundry Trackers, Shakespearian avatars and genius composers, I've racked up rather a backlog of other theatre/ballet visits.

We've started 2017 in lavish style in this regard; and yet, selfishly and childishly, I'm lamenting the One that Got Away. We couldn't secure tickets for Andrew Scott's Hamlet *weeps buckets*.

Anyway - here are some (I hope! mercifully-)brief accounts of what we DID see:

Red Shoes (Sadlers Wells)
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The Verdict (Churchill Theatre, Bromley)
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Hedda Gabler (The National)
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Saint Joan (livestreamed from The Donmar Warehouse)
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Travesties (Apollo Theatre)
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The Cherry Orchard (Arcola Theatre)
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And, indeed, we're not stopping there. So far, we're booked for:

March
Loreena McKennitt's concert at the London Palladium
Twelfth Night at the National, with Tamsin Greig's Malvolia

April
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at the Old Vic

May
Salome at the National
The Philanthropist at the Trafalgar Studio (first visit here for us)

June
Richard III at the Arcola, starring my fave Greg Hicks
Common at the National, with Anne-Marie Duff

July
The Tempest, RSC at the Barbican. Yup - the one we saw livestreamed.
The Ferryman at the Gielgud

August
Nothing booked, but Billie Piper's Yerma is being livestreamed.

September
Girl from the North Country at the Old Vic

And that's it so far. So - we'll hardly repine over Andrew Scott at all, will we?

YES WE WILL!! *continues sobbing*
grondfic: (FuchsParadise)
the quote is from The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus by Tony Harrison (with a little help from Sophocles).

Following on from The Trackers review (http://grondfic.dreamwidth.org/2645.html) and The Tempest review (http://grondfic.dreamwidth.org/2822.html), here are my impressions of All the Angels at the Wanamaker Theatre:
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grondfic: (FuchsParadise)
the quote is from The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus by Tony Harrison (with a little help from Sophocles).

Following on from The Trackers review (http://grondfic.dreamwidth.org/2645.html), here are my impressions of The Tempest (Livestreamed by RSC from Stratford)
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grondfic: (FuchsParadise)
the quote is from The Trackers by Tony Harrison (with a little help from Sophocles).

****

Since New Year, I've seen 3 plays which, in retrospect, seem to me to be linked in their various themes and ambience. They appear to be outlined and pulled together most intensely in the final work I saw - The aforementioned Trackers.

I shall therefore begin with a very full appraisal of this play; and of the performance I saw; and then review the other two plays (The Tempest, livestreamed by the RSC from Stratford; and All the Angels at The Wanamaker Theatre) in the light of those common themes, in a separate post.

The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus (Finborough Theatre)
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