Originally posted at Last Minute Theatre Tickets.
The story starts with the arrival of Rose and Michael, the executor of her mother’s will who is a married man in his 40s. It becomes apparent immediately that the two are lovers, a fact that does not fail to register with Rose’s relatives, the strict Helen, her sister Teresa and their brother James, a priest who is in a wheelchair. Helen is determined to keep the two apart.
The chemistry between Rose and Michael is vital to make this story believable, and sparks truly fly between the two. At one point Rose sucks on Michael’s finger, while looking up at him with eyes that sparkle with desire, and the way they keep sneaking touches behind people’s backs feels realistic despite the age gap.These small intimate moments have looks filled with promises and you feel they are just one touch away from losing control and ripping each others’ clothes off.
The oldest character, Teresa, is masterfully played by Caroline Blakiston. Teresa is kept in the dark about what transpires around her for most of the play, and while her confusion is part comic relief that works, there’s a gentle desperation to her when she realises she is being kept in the dark. Teresa is in ways the heart of the play, the gentle soul that finds strength and when she finally takes charge, it is powerful to everyone around her.
Diane Fletcher’s Helen is a very complex character who appears trapped by her religious piety and fear of death. She displays a strong need to control everyone around her, and manipulates Rose into staying with the family. You have to wonder how she grew to become like this, and if she has the capability of opening up to grief and fully dealing with emotions, which appears to be what she fears the most.
But the meat of the play is with Father James. His conversations with Rose, which are increasingly honest and without judgement, are at the same time thought provoking and amusing. Rose attempts to shock him, but as a Catholic priest who used to take confessions, he has heard everything and instead of talking down to her he challenges her and makes her think. Unfortunately that’s the last thing Rose wants, she wants to be told what to do. You feel for Father James, who wants more than anything to be able to help someone again, and has gotten a second chance to be useful by being there for Rose.
In some ways, Rose is a very passive character. She is determined and strong against her Aunt Helen, but when it comes to love she is inexperienced and naive, and when she can no longer hide from the reality of the consequences of her affair with a married man, she cannot cope.
Every character goes through a journey of growth through the play, and as you leave the theatre you find yourself wanting to stay a bit longer and see what happens to all of them next. There are many questions left unanswered, just like in life. It isn’t wrapped up with a neat and tidy happy ending, instead you feel you’ve seen something that at the core of it feels real.
If there’s one thing to criticize, it’s the odd choice of having the actors sitting with their backs to the audience during some scenes. It’s more difficult to grasp a character’s thought process when you don’t see their faces. It also takes away some of the magic when the paralysed priest keeps moving his legs under the blanket. But these are minor nitpicks on an otherwise very interesting and engaging production.
The Living Room was written by Graham Greene in the 1950s, and this is the first major revival of the play.
Review by Tori Jo Lau
THE LIVING ROOM by Graham Greene
Directed by Tom Littler
Set Design by Cherry Truluck
Lighting Design by Tim Bray
Sound Design by George Dennis
Costume Design by Emily Stuart
Caroline Blakiston, Emma Davies, Diane Fletcher, Tuppence Middleton, Christopher Timothy and Christopher Villiers.
Primavera has assembled an outstanding all-star cast for this revival.
Christopher Timothy, well known for his roles as James Herriot in All Creatures
Great and Small and Mac McGuire in Doctors, plays Father James Browne, Rose’s uncle.
Her aunts Teresa and Helen are played by distinguished actors Caroline Blakiston (Brass and, previously at Jermyn Street Theatre, Black Bread and Cucumber) and Diane Fletcher (House of Cards).
Rising star Tuppence Middleton (Tormented, Cleanskin, and the BBC’s forthcoming The Lady Vanishes) makes her theatre debut as Rose.
Mr and Mrs Dennis are played by Christopher Villiers and Emma Davies, both widely known from their extensive television and stage work.
I’ve mentioned on twitter and facebook that I’m about to move again, and because I don’t think it’s the last time, I’ve decided to do a serious cull. The result is that I’m giving away craft supplies.
This post will be very image heavy.
Rules: preference will be given to IRL friends. I’ll give away for free to people who can meet me in person. Otherwise I’ll send to you if you pay postage.
Please tweet or email me if you’re interested in any of the stuff in the pictures.
I don’t particularly blog much anymore, and there’s a good reason why, I just don’t have time. Every now and then I sit down and look at how much I have going on and it feels a bit mental. This is not a boasting post, it’s just letting you know how nuts it actually is.
It’s February 18. So far this year I’ve..
- Attended an open dance day with four dance classes
- Completed 21 exercises of the 30 day shred
- Seen 4 plays and 2 musicals
- 3 ballet classes
- 3 tap dance classes
- 2 acting classes
- 6 musical theatre rehearsals
- 2 English language improvement classes
- 3 private acting lessons
- 2 private singing lessons
- Had the flu
Things I’m doing before Easter
- Auditioning for a cabaret night
- Performing at a student showcase
- Rehearsals with the musical theatre company every Monday
- 3 booked singing lessons
- 2 booked private acting lessons
- 2 tap dance classes
- 5 group acting lessons
- 3 group ballet classes
- 4 spoken English group lessons
- Seeing 1 play, 2 musicals and Kristin Chenoweth
- Going to Test Bash in Brighton
- Completing the full 30 day shred programme
I know. It’s completely worth it though.
Originally published at Last Minute Theatre Tickets.
Great Expectations, now playing at the Vaudeville Theatre, is based on the novel by Charles Dickens, a work that has seen many adaptations on the big and small screen.
The story is played out on one set, a decaying room filled with cobwebs and dust, with parts of the wall fallen off to make an interesting point of entry for characters. The set is impressive, but unfortunately all of the action takes place around this one set, centred on a massive dining table, which characters walk around, go over and sometimes perform on top of.
The cobweb theme continues through the play as all the characters apart from the adult Pip are covered in dust, made up like ghosts and look more like they’re off to a Halloween party. It takes a bit away from the characters and at times it appears a bit silly, especially when Pip is dressed up in his gentleman clothes and there is a gigantic cobweb on the back of his jacket. Is it so that everything in the play matches the decaying room of Havisham? I suspect so, but it doesn’t entirely work.
What also doesn’t work is having the adult Pip present as the narrator on stage for the entire play. You feel really sorry for Paul Nivison after a while, as he is on stage nearly the whole play with no other purpose than reacting to the other actors, and pausing to narrate. It looks dreadfully boring, and it’s not great to watch. The problem with the running narration is that we as an audience are told important plot points rather than shown them, especially in the first act where the performers keep going from one side of the stage to the other doing quick scenes to get through the important parts with narration to set us up for the second act where Pip is in his gentleman training. It feels very rushed and is difficult to follow.
The play calms down in the second act where more time is spent with the characters and their growth, and you have moments where the play gets very interesting, although the ending is a let down, as is the lack of chemistry between our Pip and Estella.
The highlight of the play is Chris Ellison as Magwitch, who is believable and engaging. While his character is one of a criminal, in the end he’s the one you sympathise the most with as you learn how much he has lost. A good second is Josh Elwell as Joe Gargery, who you can’t help but feel pity for, as he remains upbeat while living with a frankly verbally abusing wife.
The play is in the end mostly let down by a messy script and direction, you can see the actors trying their hardest to make it engaging, but it’s difficult to care too much when you have seen so little character development. It was unfortunate for the show also that an audience member was taken ill in the last five minutes of the show, which meant an abrupt pause while it was determined the audience member was okay. They then cracked on with great professionalism and finished the play’s last minutes.
It is not an outright bad show, but with a work as immense and powerful as Great Expectations can be, you can’t help but expect a bit more.
The below is a notice from the director of my theatre company, City Academy Musical Theatre Company.
Have you ever wanted to play for a musical?!!!
We are looking for an assortment of musicians to play on our production of the Witches of Eastwick on the 27th and 28th July. Rehearsals would be on the 25th and 26th July and our MD Leigh Thompson has worked extensively all over the country and West End, he is currently running his own Cabaret season and frequently books young musicians for professional work.
We are looking for strong sight readers and the instruments we need include:
2nd Keys, Guitar, Percussion, Brass and Woodwind. We also need an excellent Cellist and violinist.
If this sounds like fun please drop me an email on email@example.com.
It is not paid but we can cover expenses and guarantee it will be a valuable experience for anyone wanting to do session or west end work, plus it will be lots of fun!