Sunday, 17 July 2011

Seen onstage - Harry Potter cast members

In honour of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 coming out this weekend, and inspired by Rev Stan, I have done a count up of how many Harry Potter movie cast members I have seen in shows. While I'm here, I will say I don't feel especially bereft by the movie saga finally being over after ten years. For me, the story came to an end with the final pages of the final book. I knew what happened. I had my closure. The movies are just a nice added extra. But I have enjoyed watching them and got FAR more of a kick out of compiling this list than I should have. So here it is! (With occasional commentary, but not for everyone.)

By the way, you all should totally do this yourselves. Here is an almost definitive list of cast members. Link to your posts when you've finished!

Friday, 1 July 2011

2011 Interval Awards - the rest

And last but by no means least, a lot of random stuff that has just made me happy during the first six months of 2011 theatre-going goshdarnit.

2011 Interval Awards - the performers

If you were here in January, you know the drill. If not, it is as follows: musical performers and play performers are not differentiated between. Leading performers and supporting performers are not differentiated between. This is simply a top 5 of actors and a top 5 of actresses. And maybe a stray or two at the bottom, we'll see how it goes.

2011 Interval Awards - the creatives

Seriously, the creatives work SO HARD and receive SO LITTLE recognition. We should start applauding good technical work. Next time you're at a play with nifty lighting, try shouting "BRAVO FOR THE LIGHTING!" while you applaud, let me know how it goes. It'd be brilliant if we could turn it into a thing!

2011 Interval Awards - the productions

Blame Lorannah. She gets to December, and she can't remember what she saw in the first half of the year. Or something. So she thought it might be quite nice to do a six month round-up, in much the manner or a yearly round-up, to make sure that the first half of the year doesn't get neglected when the blogosphere gets happy with awards. As I am a sucker for anything that gets me blogging without the commitment of writing regular reviews, I am ALL OVER THIS. So without further ado! Let's get intervalling!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Last 10 things seen at the theatre: #004

Presented without comment, but with a hope to recommence blogging before long (note to all: never be in three shows all at once).

Monday, 25 April 2011

Last 10 things seen at the theatre: #003

Finally! Another ten trips have passed! I very much hope to increase the amount of posts I make in future (o my poor neglected blog!), and figure this is as good an entry to restart with as any.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Friday 5: life lessons from this month's theatre

Theatre is not just for entertainment. Theatre can also be for imparting valuable life lessons that we should all learn. Here is what I have learned in March by going to the theatre.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Last 10 things seen at the theatre: #002

Hello! I'm very much afraid that life is still getting in the way of reviewing. However, it's not getting in the way of theatre trips, so out comes this meme again. The last 10 trips seem to have gone by very quickly!

Friday, 11 March 2011

Friday 5: favourite seats

When you go to the theatre a lot, it's inevitable you will find yourself returning to the same theatres. And when you return to the same theatres a lot, especially the smaller ones, sooner or later you will notice yourself sitting in a seat you've sat in before. And when that happens, you start picking favourites, based on both location and cost. Here are some of mine.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Friday 5: favourite Shakespeare plays

I've been in Stratford-upon-Avon all evening, and I'm now very very sleepy, so I hope you'll forgive me for just bashing out a quick, easy, and Shakespeare-related Friday 5 this week.

You can basically split Shakespeare's plays into five categories - Comedy, Tragedy, History, Romance, and Problem. (Sometimes I'm half-convinced there's a sub-category called What The Hell is Troilus and Cressida Anyway? but that could just be me.) So if you ever wondered what my favourite play of each type is, click for more!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Last 10 things seen at the theatre: #001

The purpose of starting this blog was to see if I could keep up any sort of regularity in reviewing the various plays, musicals, and other things I go to see at the theatre. My output thus far, however, has served mostly to suggest that I was trying to run before I could walk.

While I'm mostly keeping on top of my weekly "Friday 5" opinion posts (apart from this week, when illness got in the way), I'm finding it an extraordinary challenge to actually write coherent theatre reviews. It's not so very difficult when you absolutely adore a production, and it's even easier when the production goes out of its way to hit you over head with flaws. But the vast majority of productions - for better or for worse - land somewhere between the two extremes. Hence the difficulty in knowing what to write.

I'm going to keep working at it. I actually have a mess of unfinished reviews tucked away in my drafts folder, and I'm expecting to write a great many more in the future. But for now, I want to do something that publicly lists what I've been to see and records opinions I have. So I've dug out this questionnaire that I like to fill in every now and then, and I'll be redoing it every ten theatre trips, even if I do manage to get up to speed with my reviewing. I hope it'll somewhat serve as an interim opinion post despite not being especially indepth.

Review: Frankenstein, National (Olivier)

The hot ticket for spring 2011 is Danny Boyle's triumphant return to theatre directing with an adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Not only does it have Benedict Cumberbatch, not only does it have Jonny Lee Miller, but they're both playing the Doctor and the Creature! In turns! For anyone who's a fan of either actor, or just intrigued to see how the dynamics differ according to who's who, this crafty gimmick has ensured that Frankenstein is now a doubly hot ticket. And at Wednesday's second press night, the 1,000+ seat Olivier was absolutely crammed to the gills with people curious to see if this production is really worth all the hype.

The casting combo for this particular performance saw Benedict Cumberbatch as the Creature and Jonny Lee Miller as the Doctor.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Friday 5: time travel theatre - 2004

If they invent time travel and make it available to the masses within my lifetime, then I am going to seize the opportunity to fill some gaps in my theatrical history. And I know I'm not the only theatre fan who gets all daydreamy and sad at the thought of all the amazing shows that have passed by either! So if they invent time travel and make it available to the masses within my lifetime, then my first stop is going to be 2004, to see (at least) these five amazing-sounding shows.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Friday 5: the "reviewing previews" debate

If you're reading this, odds are good you'll have stumbled across Matt Trueman's rather contentious article on the Guardian website this week - Theatre bloggers must leave previews alone. There's already been an array of responses to this article, but I'm still going to add my tuppence (or fivepence) nonetheless.

If we ignore Trueman's inflammatory language and logical fallacies and just look at the basics, there are two real responses to the question "is it ethical for theatre bloggers to review a production they saw in preview?". The "yes" side point out that they are writing more for themselves than a national audience, that there may have been a discounted ticket price but they were still charged money to see the show, that a show may be in previews and have a lot of work to do but if they're charging audiences money then they should be ready for the audiences, and that they always make allowances for shows being in previews and point out to their readers when they're reviewing a preview.

The "no" side, on the other hand, would like it to be known that a preview period is for the production to iron out its flaws - which may involve more than just a few seconds on the theatrical ironing board - with the added bonus of getting to find out what does and does not work for a real live audience. Indeed, it is possible for a show to change so much between the first preview and the press night that it is nothing short of disrespectful and rude to form and publish an opinion in a public forum before the production is properly ready to go.

Both sides of the argument have their merits. Everyone who has an opinion on this subject has thoroughly thought it through, and there have been some good debates on the subject. For the record, I fall down on the "yes" side for myself, and will be offering up reviews of preview performances when applicable. If you'd care to click the "Read more >>", you'll find five reasons why this works for me.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Friday 5: shows to look forward to (and the women to watch)

There's still a lot of interesting-sounding shows coming up for 2011 and my bank balance is still quivering with fear at the sight of them. So this week, as last, I'm going to be picking out the ones that have the most interesting casting to me and talking them up a bit.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Friday 5: shows to look forward to (and the men to watch)

There's a lot of interesting-sounding shows coming up for 2011 and my bank balance is already quivering with fear at the sight of them. So this week and next, I'm going to be picking out the ones that have the most interesting casting to me and talking them up a bit.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Review: Midsummer, Tricycle Theatre

Have you ever seen a production that was so profoundly wonderful, so genuinely life-affirming, that you just can't quite manage to find the words to tell people about it? If so, you'll understand the issues I've been having with writing this review. If not, HURRY - you only have a few days more to catch Midsummer at the Tricycle Theatre!

Friday, 21 January 2011

Friday 5: most unbearably sad death scenes in Shakespeare

You know you're watching a Shakespearean Comedy when everyone gets married at the end. And you know you're watching a Shakespearean Tragedy when everyone dies at the end. And you know you're watching a Shakespearean History when at least half the characters are named after places and a lot of them die.

Comedies aside, William Shakespeare is responsible for an awful lot of death scenes. Some of them are among the most famous death scenes in literature, bywords for tragedy and heartbreak. And others just seem to slip by almost unnoticed. Heck, some of these characters don't even have names. But for some reason, I find these lesser-known deaths infinitely more heartbreaking than the more renowned ones. So because I am morbid, I have compiled a list of my top 5 most unbearably sad death scenes in Shakespeare.

Caution: here be spoilers for Henry VI Part 1, Henry VI Part 3, Julius Caesar, King Lear, and The Winter's Tale.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Review: Salad Days, Riverside Studios

Is the cold soggy greyness of January getting to you? Do you read the news and feel overwhelmed with pessimism and dread? Are you just down in the dumps generally? Well, fear not! I have a cure for you! And you don't need to go to the ends of the earth either - only as far as Hammersmith.

Monday, 3 January 2011

2010 retrospective - the performers

Having not seen a great deal of musicals, I've decided to lump all actors together into one category, and same for actresses. I'm also not differentiating between performances in lead roles or supporting roles; if someone's amazing, then they're amazing no matter how much they had to do! So instead of shortlisting and categorising and ultimately awarding, I have instead simply listed my top 5 actors and my top 5 actresses this year (with a couple of strays down at the bottom).

2010 retrospective - the creatives

It takes more than a writer and a few performers to make a play, so I try and keep an eye on the creative types as well. The perfect sound design can absolutely make a play, and who doesn't love a fantastic set? I'm working hard on developing opinions on and paying extra attention to the creative types who don't get as much credit as performers, but often deserve far more.

2010 retrospective - the productions

2010 has been a quiet but nice year. I've seen 80 different productions this year - 63 plays, 12 musicals, and a small handful that defy such neat categorisation. Personally, it has been great. I saw almost everything I wanted to see, only missing out on a couple, and my average ticket cost came in at a hair under £10 per show. Artistically, it has been a bit of a slow-burner; there were a couple of gems sneaking into the first half of the year, but things didn't really pick up and become properly exciting until at least June. At which point, they most certainly did pick up and become properly exciting! So without further ado, my favourites for 2010.

Mission statement

Welcome to Notes from the Earlham Street Gutter, my long-procrastinated theatre blog. Check in for reviews, round-ups, recommendations, thoughts, and nonsense. Probably with a bias towards nonsense. Happy new year, chaps!