From the archive: Ian McDiarmid talks about Macbeth at the Other Place

We had a few Macbeths this year, most famously James McAvoy’s – which I loved – and Kenneth Branagh’s and the one at the Little Angel theatre – which I missed but might just be the most glorious of them all.

At the other side of the Atlantic, Ethan Hawke and Anne-Marie Duff are opening tonight as M and lady M, the reviews will be here soon enough.

Perfect timing then to hear Ian McDiarmid talk about the legendary 1976 production at the Other Place, directed by Trevor Nunn and starring Judi Dench and Ian McKellen. McDiarmid played the Porter and Ross and it is a fascinating account:

 

(Source: National Theatre podcast,  recording of a platform event from August 2011)

In Praise of Douglas Hodge: Albin sings A Little More Mascara

With only a few days before the first performance of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the return of Douglas Hodge to the London stage, it’s only appropriate to remember the 2008 Menier (and West End) production of La Cage Aux Folles.

Douglas Hodge as Albin is one of my favourite performances of all time, moving, light, truthful, a precious and personal memory from the first time I saw the production at the Menier. Repeat visits to the Playhouse theatre were exhilarating – with one memorable scene having Zaza / Albin singing I Am What I Am, taking the wig off and bursting to the street from a side door in full drag.

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From the archive: David Tennant talks about working with Greg Doran (audio – 2008)

I have never hidden (or moderated) my excitement for the upcoming Royal Shakespeare Company production of Richard II. David Tennant’s most recent work in Stratford – with Hamlet but also Love’s Labour’s Lost – holds some of my best theatre memories and I am unashamedly overexcited by the prospect of seeing him again in a favourite Shakespeare play under the direction of Greg Doran. (Very few names of the remaining cast have been announced, but if Michael Pennington and Oliver Ford Davies are any indication, I won’t be disappointed).

In place of a countdown – or just because I was poking around my archives – here is a short audio clip of David Tennant talking about Greg Doran and the way he works with the actors. Continue reading

Martin Crimp talks about the audience walking out In The Republic of Happiness

Back in December, I made no secret how much I disliked Martin Crimp’s In The Republic of Happiness. It was unrelentlessly boring, further more its central theme – the myopic indulgence of the middle classes – is at least five years behind the times. Until 2008, the middle classes thought the world was their oyster, happiness, success, security their entitlement. After 2008, the main story is fear. Entitlement is still wedged in the consciousness of the middle classes, yet it doesn’t match reality. Casual cruelty, confusion, shame drive the narrative.

A few days ago, Martin Crimp was interviewed at Front Row by Mark Lawson, a propos of his opera Written on Skin playing at the Royal Opera House. The conversation turned to In The Republic of Happiness, and here is what Martin Crimp said about members of the audience walking out in the middle of the performance. Continue reading

Richard II: Who is fit to abdicate the crown?

davidtennant_richardIt’s been coming for a while, but at last, this past week, it was formally announced that David Tennant will return to the Royal Shakespeare Company to play the title role in Richard II. Greg Doran starts his time as artistic director with an exciting season that, in addition to Tennant’s Richard II, includes stage adaptations of  Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies at the Swan theatre. But undoubtedly the big media story is Tennant as the deposed king.

We have several months to debate actors, performances  and who is going to play Bolingbroke, and Lyn Gardner at the Guardian kicked off the game with a collection of her favourite Richard II moments. It’s breathtaking to see such rich tradition, with the technology providing image and sound at our fingertips. Continue reading

Podcasts and Audio content relating to theatre – the Definitive List

(And by “definitive” I mean the ones I like).

I love audio content of any description. Audio content plus theatre combines two of my favourite things, and this is a quick rundown of theatre podcasts (or rather audio content relating to theatre) that I visit on a regular basis. The order is random, so make sure you go through the whole list as some of the gems are right at the end. Continue reading