As You Like It – February 2019

Experience: 7/10

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Kimberley Sykes

Venue: RST

Date: Thursday 28th February 2019

A good start to the new season. I have been concerned about some of the recent RSC ensembles, but this appears to be a strong group, with the diversity angle not weakening the acting talent at all and adding some interesting aspects to the performance. I’m looking forward to seeing how this ensemble develops over several productions.

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The Country Wife – July 2018

Experience: 7/10

By William Wycherley

Directed by Jonathan Munby

Venue: Chichester Festival Theatre

Date: Friday 6th July 2018

As expected, this had improved with time. The cast were smoother in all aspects of the performance, the dialogue was clearer (or seemed so to us second time around) and one or two of the earlier difficulties had been resolved, at least in part. There was no change to the staging as far as I could see, though of course we spotted more details this time, especially sitting left of centre instead of on the right, as last time. It still didn’t sparkle, and we both felt that the design had to take a lot of the blame for that – the dark, black and white colour scheme simply brought the whole play down.

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Macbeth – June 2018

Experience: 7/10

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Polly Findlay

Venue: RST

Date: Wednesday 27th June 2018

Due to Edward Bennett being unavailable for tonight’s performance, the RSC’s understudies program swung into action at the last minute, providing an able substitute for the part of MacDuff in John Macaulay (usually murderer, chamberlain, member of Scottish forces). Others were bumped up to fill the gaps, and although we were aware he was an understudy, I don’t feel the performance suffered too much from the changeover. Another viewing when Ed has returned would be interesting, but for now we were happy with the cast we saw.

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The Case Of The Frightened Lady – February 2018

Experience: 7/10

By Edgar Wallace, adapted by Antony Lampard

Directed by Roy Marsden

Company: The Classic Thriller Company

Venue: Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Date: Thursday 8th February 2018

Perhaps I’m being a bit kind to this production, but I often find I lower my expectations for these old-fashioned plays: as long as the cast turn in a decent set of performances, the staging is suitably brisk and the set and costumes don’t let the cast down, then I’m prepared to enjoy myself. And that’s how it turned out tonight. The story managed a surprise or two, there were some good laughs, and the cast made the most of their fairly thin characters to provide us with an entertaining evening.

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The Weir – January 2018

Experience: 7/10

By Conor McPherson

Directed by Adele Thomas

Companies: English Touring Theatre and Mercury Theatre Colchester

Venue: Minerva Theatre

Date: Wednesday 31st January 2018

Irish drama isn’t usually my thing, but I was glad I went to this performance. Steve had seen the play some years ago (the revival at the Donmar) and this was certainly as good as that production, and better in at least one role. It’s not an earth-shaking drama – it doesn’t have to be, of course – but it did create a nice sense of the otherworldly, together with a gentle ambiguity which led to more discussion afterwards than many another more straightforward play.

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Hamlet – February 2016

Experience: 7/10

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Andrew Hilton

Produced by STF and Tobacco Factory Theatres

Venue: Tobacco Factory

Date: Wednesday 24th February 2016

Interesting to see another production of Hamlet here after Jonathan Miller’s excellent version with Jamie Ballard back in 2008. This didn’t reach the same heights, but as it was an early performance we expect the overall standard to improve. And there was a lot to like here, with a brisk edition of the text and some lively sword-fighting. We hope to see it again once they’ve settled into it more, but in any case this was a good start. [Didn’t manage to make the second viewing.]

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Dear Lupin – May 2015

Experience: 7/10

By Roger Mortimer and Charlie Mortimer

Directed by Philip Franks

Venue: Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Date: Monday 18th May 2015

This was a sweet, humorous and occasionally moving story about the relationship between a real-life father and son. The son, Charles, was so wayward from an early age that his father Roger named him Lupin after the errant son in Diary Of A Nobody, though from this version of events it’s doubtful whether the original Lupin would have been able to keep up with Charles as he drank, smoked and snorted his way through his schooldays and beyond.

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