California Literary Review

Theatre

The Cunning Little Vixen, Live-streamed from Glyndebourne Opera House

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June 11th, 2012

It has not been an altogether popular production, not least with the huffy Glyndebourne reactionaries who have found plenty to be affronted about in this raunchy, grotty vision of Janácek’s world.

Theatre Review: The Duchess of Malfi, the Old Vic, London

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June 3rd, 2012

It has an older woman marrying her employee in secret, her incestuously-inclined brother who believes he has become a werewolf and a Cardinal who murders his mistress with a poisoned Bible and then sees demons in the fishponds. What’s not to enthuse about?

Trailer Watch: Les Misérables

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May 30th, 2012

This is, in showbiz terms, the textbook definition of “a big deal.” After all this anticipation, it will almost certainly become the definitive film version of the show, for good or ill. And so it must be done right the first time. We are a long way from Spider-Man now.

Broadway Review: Nice Work If You Can Get It

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May 3rd, 2012

Broderick gives a generous performance, turning on his patented man-child charm when called upon, but also stepping back and allowing his leading lady and sidemen plenty of space to maneuver. O’Hara makes an apt foil for him, as her persona, even in upbeat scenes, always carries an undertone of fragility.

Broadway Review: Jesus Christ Superstar

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April 5th, 2012

Today, with The Book of Mormon taking irreverence to new heights and shows like American Idiot cranking up the power chords, any production of Superstar will have to rely on the score’s intrinsic qualities in order to compete for the attention of younger theatergoers. The good news is that the show’s construction holds up well.

Less Than Kind by Terence Rattigan: Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, England.

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February 15th, 2012

It’s Rattigan’s attempt to take the basic Hamlet situation and write a play which is both funnier (more jokes and stronger sense of the ludicrous in life) and more serious (more realistic and less willing to solve everything with corpses.) If you’ll allow him the chutzpah, it’s much more fun than it sounds.

Neighbourhood Watch by Alan Ayckbourn. Pre-West End Tour.

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February 10th, 2012

Neighbourhood Watch never feels like an “issue” play, but the London riots, the increasingly draconian Law and Order rhetoric from the Conservative-led government, and a series of police shootings make it exceptionally timely.

Hamlet, starring Michael Sheen at the Young Vic, London

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January 27th, 2012

The psychiatric setting also forces – or helps – the production into a particular vision of the play. In some ways this is quite an old-fashioned take, with Hamlet framed as a study of a mind in disintegration.

The Weekly Listicle: The Stage On Screen

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December 17th, 2011

As the holiday season builds to its peak, we movie watchers face a release pattern that seems a bit less robust than usual. However, there are plenty of perfectly interesting options out there. In addition to the major franchises sequels like Sherlock Holmes and Mission Impossible, there are a few titles running on the outside […]

One Man, Two Guvnors, Adelphi Theatre, London

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December 16th, 2011

For this show is funny. I mean, it is really funny. Not the kind of funny you might associate with a National Theatre adaptation of an eighteenth-century Italian play. It’s splutteringly, potato-throwingly, unreasonably hilarious.

Ross Noble and Friends, Cranleigh Arts Centre, England

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December 16th, 2011

It showcased all of Noble’s best points: the delight in the ludicrous, the ideas tripping over each other to get out and the revelling in how foolish he may look to an audience. And of course The Voice.

Broadway Review: Alicia Keys’ Stick Fly

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December 15th, 2011

This setup abounds with comic potential, and Diamond wrings plenty of laughs out of the awkward dynamics at hand. But there is much more here than just the usual dysfunction junction drollery. The youths, especially Taylor, have a lot to say about the way the world looks now, and much of their criticism is justified.

Theatre Review: Noel Coward’s Star Quality, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, England

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December 9th, 2011

There’s a feeling you get about ten minutes into a Noel Coward play. The lights have come up, the set has been admired, the opening salvoes exchanged and then – whether it’s Hay Fever, Present Laughter or Private Lives – you realize that we’re in here for the duration. It’s like a moment of mild claustrophobia.

Theatre Review: The Holly and the Ivy, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, England

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December 2nd, 2011

The characters are built with that terrific assurance of some mid-century writers (C.P. Snow and Anthony Powell spring to mind), which balances the need for them to represent social types or attitudes to life, whilst also allowing them rein to be individual and surprising.

Theatre Review: Three Days in May, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, England

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November 28th, 2011

Clarke certainly made good on his obligations. He barked, he grunted, he rumbled, and, once you got used to the fact that he was acting on a slightly more heightened plane than the rest of the cast, he gave a surprisingly subtle account of a figure who was larger than life even during his life.

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