fri 22/06/2018

Theatre Features

Interview: Director Peter Brook

james Woodall

Theatre director Peter Brook is back in London. Brightly, eloquently, he's promoting his new show, in English (most of his work since the 1970s has been in French), currently running at the Barbican: entitled Eleven and Twelve, it's a dense chamber piece exploring a religious dispute in early 20th-century Mali. Quiet, sensitively investigative of an unknown strand of north African faith, it will enlighten some and bore others. Classic Brook?

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Tom Paulin on Translating Medea

Tom Paulin

I came to Medea because 26 years back, the Field Day Theatre Company in Derry - started by Brian Friel and Stephen Rea - asked me to a version of Antigone. Entitled The Riot Act, it was staged in the Guildhall in Derry in September 1984 and toured Ireland after that. It has been produced several times since then, most recently at the Gate Theatre in London.

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Tuning in to New Russian Drama

Tom Birchenough On a prayer: the Russian cast of Vladimir Zuev's 'Mums' had to fight to prevent its closure after pressure from authorities

Catching an impression of contemporary Russian drama may have become easier for British theatre goers over the last decade, but the work that has come through nevertheless looks like only parts of a wider picture. Four staged readings by the British-based Sputnik Theatre Company at the Soho Theatre at the beginning of February are the latest chance to take the sometimes chilly temperature of what’s been written there recently.

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A Jubilee for Anton Chekhov, Hampstead Theatre

Michael Pennington

The Russians have always been good at writers' houses. The Soviets especially. When I first saw Tolstoy's house his blue smock was hanging behind the door, a manuscript was on his desk but the chair pushed back as if he'd nipped out for a moment and would be back. It was a frankly theatrical effect and the better for it.

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Ockham's Razor, London International Mime Festival

Jasper Rees The Mill: Ockham's Razor at work

“Don’t look down,” comes the exhortation from somewhere on the floor. "Look ahead." I am testing out a new bit of kit, a large wooden cylinder encased in a metal frame, suspended via ropes and pulleys from a high ceiling. The diameter is big enough for me to be able to stand up and walk. Or not. The inclination is to watch your feet as, like a hamster, you power the rotation of the drum. Trouble is if you look down you lose your balance. So I look ahead and take grandmother’s footsteps which...

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Christian McKay: Me and Orson Welles

Sheila Johnston

"I must apologise for talking ten to the dozen," begins Christian McKay with a confidential air. "I do it when I'm nervous. I'm a rookie - I've never done this before. The stars get media training, but I thought, ‘I'm a naturally gregarious person and I'd rather be an open book'." It can't last, one thinks ruefully.

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Terry Pratchett's Nation at the National

Hilary Whitney Gary Carr as Mau, Emily Taaffe as Daphne

Tomorrow sees the opening night of Terry Pratchett’s Nation at the National Theatre.  Adapted by Mark Ravenhill and directed by Melly Still, it is the latest in what has become a tradition of epic end-of-year family extravaganzas at the National such as Coram Boy, which Still also directed, and War Horse. But although Pratchett is one of UK’s top selling authors, neither Still nor...

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theartsdesk in Cardiff: Birth of a National Theatre

Jasper Rees

From seat 17 of Row 8, Block M35, Stair 14, Level 4, in a gathering of 75,000 spectators, almost all of them Welsh, it’s difficult to argue with the idea that Wales already has a national theatre. It’s called the Millennium Stadium (picture below). Just before kick-off yesterday afternoon, from my high-altitude perch, I looked across to the distant tunnel opposite. Its jaws belched fire and smoke and, in due course, a pumped-up team in red shirts.

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Love Never Dies: The Launch

Edward Seckerson

The sealed invitation was from the man himself: no, not Andrew Lloyd Webber (who can, as we know, work in mysterious ways) but the Phantom. Nightly (and twice on Tuesdays and Saturdays) he vanishes from his underground lair deep in the bowels of the Paris Opera House (aka Her Majesty’s Theatre) leaving only his familiar half-mask as a symbolic reminder of his continuing omnipotence on stages throughout the world.

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