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!