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May 21st

Local Lads Cast in the Return of Dance Spectacular Lord of the Flies

By Cameron Lowe

Twenty two young men and boys, from across Central Scotland, have earned the opportunity to perform with Matthew Bourne’s renowned dance company, New Adventures, in the anticipated return of Lord of the Flies at the Theatre Royal Glasgow from Wednesday 11 until Saturday 14 June 2014.
 
Lord of the Flies

These lads from Glasgow and the surrounding areas, aged from 9 to 25 years old, have stood out among over 160 young hopefuls who have taken part in workshops and auditions over the past few months; finding the best male dance talent in the region and even encouraging those who have never participated in dance before.
 
The twenty two young cast members are:
From Glasgow: Neil Gibson (10) from Glasgow City; Adam Quinn (10) from Govan;  Jacques Heraghty (11) from King's Park; Marcus Hyka(12) from Hogganfield; Ryan Adams(17) from Ballieston; Jatinder Singh Randhawa (18) from Garrowhill, Ross McNally (20) from Castlemilk; Kieran Semple (12) from Auldhouse.
From East Dunbartonshire: John Selkirk (11) from Bearsden, Roderick Gilkison (11) from Bearsden
From Renfrewshire: Cameron Johnstone (12) from Linwood
From East Renfrewshire: Tommy Zing (11) from Newton Mearns
From North Lanarkshire: Taylor Browning-Walker (9) from Motherwell
From South Lanarkshire: Charley Austin (12) from Uddingston; Paul Kenny (15) from Bothwell; Colin Fyfe (25) from Lanark
From South Ayrshire: Kieran Shannon (20) from Girvan
From Edinburgh: Fraser Livingston (12) from Edinburgh City
From East Lothian: Euan Garret (10) from North Berwick
From West Lothian:  Jay Allan (15) from Whitburn, Blair Flucker (19) from Kirknewton
From Argyll and Bute: Isaac Bowry (18) from Oban
Re:Bourne Executive Director, James Mackenzie-Blackman, said:
 
Taylor Browning-Walker, 9, from Motherwell is the youngest member of the cast and has had an unforgettable experience so far: “I have always enjoyed dance and drama alike, but these workshops have inspired me so much more. I love Jack’s intimidating dance and the freedom to move across the room. With an all-male cast, there is a fabulous vibe. The experience has been absolutely exhilarating and one I will remember for the rest of my life.”
 
They will perform alongside New Adventures’ professionals Sam Archer as ‘Maurice’, Luke Murphy as ‘Sam’, Dominic North as ‘Ralph’, Sam Plant as ‘Piggy’, Alastair Postlethwaite as ‘Eric’, Danny Reubens as ‘Jack’ and Dan Wright as ‘Roger’. Making their New Adventures debut’s in this production will be Manchester-born Layton Williams as ‘Simon’ and Jack Hazelton.
 
This unique concept, allowing local talent to collaborate with professional dancers, was spearheaded by ATG Glasgow’s Creative Learning team in 2011. Following its critically acclaimed success Lord of the Flies is now back at the Theatre Royal, on the stage where it all began, as part of a UK tour which engages with youngsters from each city the show visits. The project is delivered by New Adventures in partnership with the company’s charitable arm Re:Bourne who work to find, develop and inspire the next generation of dance-theatre professionals.
 
Glasgow Dance Ambassadors Hayley Earlam and Lucy Wild have been hosting open sessions and working with schools to seek out and nurture local talent. Hayley said: “A lot of the boys who’ve never experienced dance before have flourished into enthusiastic performers. It’s a great privilege to help people realise their potential.  We’re so impressed by the progress made by all the boys and when the show is on Lucy and I will be standing in the wings crying with pride.”
 
James Haworth, General Manager at the Theatre Royal Glasgow, said:
“We are proud that New Adventures is returning to the Theatre Royal with this remarkable production, bringing a unique opportunity for young people to be part of this powerful dance spectacular.  We are committed, through our Creative Learning programme, to finding and developing local talent and it has been a joy to see the dedication and enthusiasm of these boys and young men as they develop skills as performers and grow as individuals.”
 
Lord of the Flies is choreographed by Olivier Award-nominee Scott Ambler and adapted and directed by New Adventures’ Artistic Director Matthew Bourne and Scott Ambler. The project is a rare collaboration which brings together professional performers with young aspiring dancers. No previous experience was needed to apply; just raw talent, passion and commitment.
 
Lord of the Flies was originally commissioned by Glasgow Theatres, part of Ambassador Theatre Group.
 
Theatre Royal Glasgow
Wed 11 – Sat 14 June
Wed – Sat eves 7.30pm
Thu mat 2pm
Sat mat 2.30pm
Box Office 08448 717 647 (bkg fee)
www.atgtickets.com/glasgow (bkg fee)
 
May 15th

Fame at Milton Keynes Theatre

By Cameron Lowe
If you were expecting a version of the iconic TV series, or Oscar winning musical film of FAME, think again!!
Fame

Last night’s new production at Milton Keynes Theatre was Fame 2014! The first surprise was the iPads, iPhones and tablets being used for receiving information. Did I really hear Katy Perry mentioned?
You follow the ups and downs of teenagers totally ‘star struck’ (97 of them chosen from 4,000 applicants for High School for Performing Arts, New York!) at a school they believe will jettison through to the dizzy heights to stardom and FAME!
Some think it will just ‘happen’ and others are prepared for hard work and Carmen Diaz (Jodie Steele) is one of those with a big ego and thinks she will succeed no matter what. Tyrone Jackson (Alex Thomas –wow! What a superb dancer, breathtaking and a lovely voice!!), on the other hand is struggling with dyslexia and can’t read. His talent should see him through, but despite the support of Miss Bell (Hermione Lynch) his dance teacher, does not graduate.
There are lots of romantic moments, but the time with Tyrone and Iris (Sasi Strallen) were, in my opinion, special. The combination of superb dancing and the background story brought a lump to my throat.
There is no let up from the excitement and dynamic choreography by Gary Lloyd. Great songs, including “I’m Gonna Live For Ever” and “I’m Gonna Learn How to Fly” and, surprise, surprise a rap from Tyrone!

The band was on view above the stage, and although a little overpowering at time, the individual musicians were multi- talented and versatile. There was a beautiful acoustic guitar solo at one point and I am disappointed the musicians were not acknowledged in the programme.
I am always fascinated by the scenery and how it works with the least amount of disruption. The two blocks of school lockers and varying heights of steps were moved by the cast, silently and fitted every scene!
Joe Vegas, played by Joseph Giacone , with great humour and panache, was the character who brought sexual innuendoes to the forefront. His portrayal had the audience laughing in appreciation.
The vocal highlight was sung by Miss Sherman, Director of PA, singing “These Are My Children”. Played by Landi Oshinowo, there was none of the West End style piercing notes of some others in the cast, but pure passion and beauty.
This is one of those shows with a ‘feel good’ factor. He update is a huge success!!
Everyone was singing and dancing with the cast in the Finale!
A great evening out and thoroughly recommended!
Tickets: £10 - £37.50
Phone: 0844 8717652
atgtickets.com.miltonkeynes
May 9th

Wicked at The King's Theatre, Glasgow

By Cameron Lowe
WICKED flew north of the border to entrance Glasgow audiences this week as this blockbuster musical takes up residence at the King’s Theatre for a 4 week Scottish Premier run.
Wicked Scottish Premier

 
BELIEVE THE HYPE! If you haven’t seen Wicked on stage, you will be mesmerised – if you have seen the show, you will want to see it again and again! Wicked, in case you haven’t heard, is the untold story of the witches of Oz. The question from the uninitiated is “how could there possibly be another side to a tale which we have all known to be the truth since early childhood”? It’s more than a prequel; it explains EVERYTHING!
 
I must confess to having been a little nervous about seeing this show after reading rave reviews from London for almost 8 years. We settled into our seats in the shadow of a giant smoking animatronic dragon with the highest possible expectations … only to have them promptly exceeded. This is an amazing show!
 
OK (deep breath) let’s do this one superlative at a time … Music first; you’ve heard some of the music, right? The big hits from Stephen Schwartz are popular (ahem) at concerts and on TV and Radio and the original cast recording has been a massive hit on Amazon for years (a worthy purchase even if you haven’t seen the show). The live music, under the direction of Dan Jackson, is every bit as fabulous as you might hope and the characters really bring the score to life on stage.
 
Direction from Joe Mantello (and Petra Siniawski in the UK) was crisp - giving the audience barely time to catch their breath or dab a tear before we moved smoothly into the next scene - yet allowed for character development throughout. The visual effects were spectacular without overwhelming the events onstage. Choreography from Wayne Cilento blended perfectly with the action giving us exciting partner work down at the Ozdust Ballroom and atmospheric character movement in the dramatic scenes.
 
Wicked - steampunk styling
 
Despite the blockbuster nature of this huge touring show, one of the most impressive aspects was the styling; with credit largely going to Eugene Lee, Susan Hilferty and Kenneth Posner being respectively responsible for Scenery, Costume and Lighting. There was a wonderfully cohesive steampunk style throughout with the Act 1 scenes at “Dear Old Shiz” integrating appealing Harry Potter overtones. This manifested itself in glorious costumes featuring tail coats, canes, sunglasses, bustles and the most beautifully outlandish hats. These were complemented by sympathetic lighting and a set adorned with fantastic clockwork machinery and 19th century props and vehicles – most appropriate for a story based on characters from a novel written in 1900.
 
Performances from Nikki Davis-Jones (Elphaba) and Emily Tierney (Glinda) were nothing short of awesome. Without any exaexaggeration -  awesome! Ms Davis-Jones gave us tears from the low tones of I’m Not That Girl all the way up to goosebumps at the dizzy heights of Defying Gravity. Meanwhile Ms Tierney had us in stiches during Popular yet we were welling up as she sang Thank Goodness. Both characters developed smoothly (almost imperceptibly) throughout the performance. Let’s face it, we were all asking “can they bring talent the equal of Menzel and Chenoweth all the way to Scotland?” – the answer is a resounding “YES”! Liam Doyal transformed Fiyero into a hero to the audience’s delight. The supporting characters were flawless, humorous, beautiful and grotesque just where we needed them to be.
 
With a wickedly modern sense of humour this show delivers a fiendishly clever plot and a spellbinding score in a perfectly styled steampunk package. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself floating 6 inches above your seat and return home to find your cat doing the crossword! I have a new favouri
te musical!

If you want to see this show in Glasgow, you’ll need to take a time machine back a few months as it is already SOLD OUT! Tickets are being snapped up quickly for dates in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Whatever you do, order your ticket today!
 
WICKED – Glasgow King’s Theatre
ALL PERFORMANCES ARE NOW SOLD OUT.  APPLY DAILY FOR RETURNS AND CANCELLATIONS.
IN PERSON: KING’S THEATRE BOX OFFICE - NO BOOKING FEE
TELEPHONE BOOKINGS: 0844 871 7648
BOOK ONLINE: www.atgtickets.com/Glasgow
 
Edinburgh Playhouse
Wednesday 19 November 2014 – Saturday 10 January 2015
TICKET PRICES
For Online and Telephone Bookings a £4 Transaction Fee per booking applies
Monday – Thursday: £52.50, £42.50, £32.50, £25, £20
Friday, Saturday, Sunday 28 Dec & w/c 29 Dec: £55, £47.50, £35.50, £27.50, £22.50
Premium seats available at all performances (£75 / £72.50)
Box Office (0844 871 3014)
 
His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen
Tuesday 5 May 2015 – Saturday 30 May 2015
TICKET PRICES
Monday – Thursday: £53.50, £49.50, £44.50, £38.50, £26
Friday & Saturday: £56, £52, £47, £41, £28
Premium seats available at all performances (£73.50 / £76)
Box Office (01224 641 122)
May 2nd

A Wicked Sellout at the King's Theatre, Glasgow!

By Cameron Lowe

WICKED IS OFFICIALLY HIGHEST GROSSING SHOW IN HISTORY OF THE KING’S THEATRE

 
WICKED, the global musical phenomenon that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, is officially the highest grossing production in the history of the King’s Theatre Glasgow, with the largest ever number of tickets sold in a four week run. Over 53,000 tickets have been snapped up for the show’s sell-out Scottish premiere, which plays from 6 May until 31 May. The record-breaking national tour will also visit the Edinburgh Playhouse (19 November 2014-10 January 2015) and His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen (5-30 May 2015).

 

Wicked UK Tour

James Haworth
, General Manager at the King’s Theatre Glasgow, said: “I am extremely proud that the King’s is staging Wicked and bringing this global phenomenon to Scottish theatre fans for the first time. It’s no surprise the long running West End musical has cast its magical spell over Glasgow audiences, but its unrivalled success has surpassed all expectations.”

 

Wicked Executive Producer, Michael McCabe, said: "We are truly overwhelmed by the incredible response from Glasgow's theatregoers, who have ensured that our Scottish premiere engagement is a sell-out even before we arrive. Thank you to everyone who has enabled us to break Box Office records and for your generous embrace of Wicked.”

 

This thrillingly entertaining show” (Manchester Evening News) has broken countless Box Office records, won multiple five star reviews across the UK and Ireland and has already been seen by over 400,000 people.  

The award-winning London production continues its open-ended run at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, where tickets are currently on sale into its 9th year. The “hugely popular show” (The Times) is already the 15th longest-running musical in West End theatre history and recently celebrated its landmark 3000th performance.

 

Around the world, Wicked has already been seen by over 39 million people and has 9 productions running concurrently. The original Broadway production remains “Broadway’s biggest blockbuster” (The New York Times) after a decade at the Gershwin Theatre.

 

In a brilliantly witty re-imagining of the stories and characters created by L. Frank Baum in ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, Wicked tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two sorcery students. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.

 

WICKED UK & IRELAND TOUR

SCOTTISH PREMIERE ENGAGEMENT: TUESDAY 6 MAY 2014 - SATURDAY 31 MAY 2014

King’s Theatre

297 Bath Street

Glasgow

G2 4JN

ALL PERFORMANCES ARE NOW SOLD OUT.  APPLY DAILY FOR RETURNS AND CANCELLATIONS.

IN PERSON: KING’S THEATRE BOX OFFICE - NO BOOKING FEE

TELEPHONE BOOKINGS: 0844 871 7648

BOOK ONLINE: www.atgtickets.com/Glasgow

Transaction fees apply online and by phone

 

EDINBURGH ENGAGEMENT: 19 November 2014 to 10 January 2015

Edinburgh Playhouse

Box Office: 0844 871 3014

www.atgtickets.com/edinburgh


ABERDEEN ENGAGEMENT
: 5 to 30 May 2015

His Majesty's Theatre

Box Office: 01224 641122

www.aberdeenperformingarts.com

May 1st

'The West-End Unites' Raises £15,000 for the Philippines

By Cameron Lowe

YOULL NEVER WALK ALONE

THE WEST END UNITES FOR THE PHILIPPINES

RAISES £15,000 FOR THE DISASTERS EMERGENCY COMMITTEE PHILIPPINES TYPHOON APPEAL

 

Youll Never Walk Alone, the one night only gala concert in aid of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Philippines Typhoon Appeal, has raised £15,000 for the charity it was announced today. The concert, which took place at the West Ends Queens Theatre on Sunday 2nd March, was hosted by multi-award winning presenter Gok Wan, and starred a multitude of talent from the West End and beyond.

The show featured special performances from stars including: Hollywood actor Luke Evans (The Three Musketeers, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Fast & Furious 6), who returned to the West End stage for the first time since 2008 to perform especially for the event; stars of BBCs Strictly Come Dancing Pasha and Katya ; Britain’s Got Talent finalist Francine Lewis; and theatrical favourites such as Michael Xavier, Danielle Hope, Cynthia Erivo, Hugh Maynard and Joanna Riding, as well as an ensemble of Filipino performers. The concert also brought together the original cast of Avenue Q - re-united on stage for the first time in 6 years, and performances from Filipino talents Joseph Apostol and Emmanuel Vass. Speakers included TV presenters Adrian Chiles and Esther Rantzen, and Emmerdale's Fiona Wade.

The event was instigated by the UK based Filipino theatre community, many of whom moved to London in the 1990’s to take part in the original production of Miss Saigon, the worldwide smash-hit musical produced by British theatre impresario, Cameron Mackintosh.

You’ll Never Walk Alone producer Paul Spicer said:

YNWA Total Raised.jpg“This event is testament to what the West End community can achieve when we unite as one. We were offered support across the length and breadth of Theatreland, on stage and off, and because of that generosity we are able to donate £15,000 to the DEC Philippines Typhoon Appeal to help put people’s shattered lives back on track. The DEC also registered a huge spike in media activity and a surge of awareness for the appeal. Everyone involved in the show was incredibly proud to be a part of such a worthwhile project. We want the legacy of this production to live on, and would like to see West End Unites continue to support the DEC in their phenomenal work.”

Typhoon Haiyan tore a path of destruction over 100 miles wide through the Philippines after making landfall early in the morning on the 8th of November local time. It brought torrential rain, winds of over 170mph and a storm surge of up to 25 feet that devastated coastal areas. Over 14 million people had their lives torn apart, and more than 4 million people were left homeless. The DEC Philippines Typhoon Appeal has raised over £90 million and DEC member agencies and their partners have delivered aid to more than 4 million people.

The £15,000 raised by Youll Never Walk Alone, through a combination of ticket sales and text to donate contributions, will be used to fund essential aid and recovery work in the Philippines. For example, DEC member agencies are educating children in temporary school tents; they are providing construction kits with nails, timber, corrugated iron sheets, plywood, hammers and other tools so people can rebuild their homes; they are also providing training to ensure that when people do repair or rebuild a damaged home, it will be more earthquake and typhoon resistant. Farmers are being given seeds and tools so they can provide for their families, and those who have lost their income are learning new skills so that they can earn a living once again.

DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said:

Disasters Emergency Committee“’You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was an extraordinary and uplifting evening. We are enormously grateful to the incredibly talented cast and the backstage team who made it all possible. It really was a fantastic show and a remarkable collaboration of some of the leading theatrical talent in the UK. This wonderful donation we have received as a result will support vital recovery work. Six months after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, DEC member agencies are working across affected areas to restore people’s lives and livelihoods, and a sense of normality. Given the vast scale of destruction in the Philippines, it will take a long time to recover.”

To donate to the DEC Philippines Typhoon Appeal, go to http://www.dec.org.uk/ .

You’ll Never Walk Alone was produced by Paul Spicer and Matt Firth for Stage Acts Productions with the kind support of Delfont Mackintosh Theatres.
Apr 30th

Let It Be at The King's Theatre, Glasgow

By Cameron Lowe

Review by Christopher Lowe

Following huge success in London’s West End, the hit Beatles show “Let It Be” has made its way to the Kings Theatre, Glasgow! (28th April – 3rd May).

Let it be

Let It Be is an exciting and inviting reminder of the magic and mystery that the Beatles created. This spectacular theatrical concert charts the band’s rise to stardom; beginning at Liverpool’s Cavern Club and progressing to their final legendary masterpieces.

The show is filled with over 40 of The Beatles greatest hits including: All You Need Is Love, Day Tripper, Drive My Car, A Hard Day’s Night, Hey Jude, Magical Mystery Tour, Twist and Shout, When I’m 64 and many more!!

Band Members James Fox, Michael Gagliano, Paul Mannion, Ben Cullingworth supported by Steve Geere are talented performers in every way imaginable. Their energy and enthusiasm are limitless and will pull you in from the very start.

A combination of lighting, costume, video, sound, set, and great performance create a production as powerful as a rock concert. Credit to everyone involved in the production and creation of this show as they capture the atmosphere and spirit of The Beatles and their historical journey.

Let It Be

With humorous transitions between songs and sets, and a powerful selection of ballads to entertain you, this show is not one to be missed! It will have you screaming for more!

Let It Be
28 April – 3 May 2014

King’s Theatre Glasgow

297 Bath St, Glasgow G2 4JN

www.atgtickets.com/venues/kings-theatre

0844 871 7648

Apr 29th

New York Review: Amaluna

By Cameron Lowe

By Lucy Komisar in New York

The greeting is “Meine Damen und Damen.” In German, it means “My ladies and ladies.” Amaluna in Latin means mother and moon. Clearly this is a woman’s show, by and about women. There’s even a moon goddess.

Andréanne Nadeau as Moon Goddess.

Andréanne Nadeau as Moon Goddess, photo Charles William Pelletier.

It’s not feminist in the sense it has a political message.

But showing women circus performers in roles other than their bodies being tossed around by men is certainly feminist and very welcome.

Comparing this to other Cirque du Soleil production’s I’ve seen, the distinction was that the women exhibited grace above proficiency in tricks. They are aerialists, trapeze artists, acrobats, tumblers, balancers.

Virginie Canovas, Kylee Maupoux, Marina Tomanova

Virginie Canovas, Kylee Maupoux, Marina Tomanova, photo Charles William Pelletier.

The best guy was Viktor Kee, a juggler with a lizard’s tail that he flicked around expertly.

Lili Chao, who balanced precariously on the edge of a huge glass bowl, also swam in it. I didn’t know what that was about.

The only part I didn’t like – and I never like this in Cirque du Soleil productions – was the clowns. The female clowns were no less unfunny than the usual male clowns. Is this something about French Canadians, or what? A bit about a woman in a baby carriage undergoing labor and giving birth to a bunch of footballs was especially silly.

Viktor Kee

Viktor Kee, photo Charles William Pelletier.

Postscript: I read later that the “plot,” to the extent there is one, was inspired by Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” Oh, the huge water bowl was the sea. But it didn’t say that to me. And without a scorecard (appropriate for Citifield) or a written program, it might have been anyone’s guess. Why weren’t audience members informed?

But, if you like elegant acrobatics, especially as performed by women, this is a good show. Very good.

Amaluna.” Creative Direction by Fernand Rainville; directed by Diane Paulus. CitiField in Queens, at the Willets stop of the 7 train. 800 450-1480. Opened March 27, 2014; closes May 18 2014.

Lucy Komisar is a New York journalist and theatre critic.  Her web site is The Komisar Scoop.

Apr 23rd

Shakespeare / Marlowe Readathon at the Rose Playhouse, Bankside

By Cameron Lowe

The Rose Playhouse, Bankside are holding a sponsored Reading Marathon on the 31st May from 10am to 10pm to raise money for the Rose Revealed Project.  The public are invited to join professional actors in taking part in plays -  some of which were originally performed at the Rose Playhouse.  

 

Schedule of ALL plays 
 

Time      Play                                  

10am      Tamburlaine           

11am      Twelfth Night           

12am      Henry VI part I    

1 pm       Macbeth            

2 pm       Edward II     

3 pm       Titus Andronicus             

4 pm       Dr. Faustus     

5 pm       As You Like It     

6 pm       The Massacre at Paris     

7 pm       Romeo and Juliet     

8 pm       Dido, Queen of Carthage     

9 pm       Hamlet      

 

Each play has been reduced to approximately 1 hour.  The idea is to have one set of readers exiting as the next set enters and starts reading.  If there is a break in the reading a volunteer will step in and read a sonnet.

 

To join as a Sponsored Actor / Reader - Download the information and the sponsorship form and proceed to www.wegottickets.com to register for the play of your choice.  Please note the time schedule is very approximate.  You may participate in more than one play, but will need to register each time.  

Registration fee £10 per person, per play. 

 

To come and hear the reading as an Audience member - visit www.wegottickets.com to purchase a ticket to the play of your choice. We would request that the audience leaves promptly at the end of each play so the next one can start smoothly without interruption. 

Tickets £10 per person. Sorry No Concessions.

 

Refreshments will be on sale, please note there are no toilet facilities on site. 

 

There will be a unique certificate for everyone participating in this event.

Further information will be sent on registration.

The Rose Playhouse, Bankside (1587)The Rose Theatre is a government-protected Scheduled Ancient Monument, now At Risk, looked after by English Heritage who monitor it regularly. The aim of the Rose Theatre Trust (established in 1989) is to start urgent conservation, following a public archaeological excavation to reveal the eastern third of the Rose (the entrance and possible stair turret) in 2014, the 450
th anniversary of Shakespeare and Marlowe’s birth. Once the entire site is protected with a new conservation system, the project will provide new interpretive displays and visitor facilities and a performance space. Completion should be in 2016, the 400th anniversary of the deaths of Shakespeare and Henslowe, the Rose owner/manager. The Trust has been successful in being awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) First-Round development grant of £248,000 to draw up detailed plans. The Trust must now raise pledges of £3m before HLF will consider the Second-Round application for a further £780,000 for a delivery grant.
Apr 22nd

NEW YORK REVIEW: The Heir Apparent

By Cameron Lowe

By Lucy Komisar in New York

Amelia Pedlow as Isabelle, Suzanne Bertish as Mme Argante, Dave Quay as Eraste, photo Richard Termine.

Amelia Pedlow as Isabelle, Suzanne Bertish as Mme Argante, Dave Quay as Eraste, photo Richard Termine.

Can an early 18th century French play be hysterically funny and up to the minute in New York? Yes, if the author is David Ives who has turned a 1708 restoration comedy by Jean-Franҁois Regnard into a very witty commentary on greed, including the ethics of cut-throat capitalism. Plus ҁa change

The masterful director is John Rando, who gave us the political satires “Urinetown,” “The Toxic Avenger” and Ives’ “All in the Timing.” This is one of the best plays of the season.

Ives has crafted a broad modern on a tale about greed written in rhyming couplets at the turn of the century – that is the 17th-to-18th century. It’s aristocratic (1%) France. Gilt chandeliers adorn a rich man’s sitting room. His nephew, Eraste (an appealing Dave Quay) in an aquamarine velvet coat, has been waiting around for years to collect a lucrative inheritance. He wants to marry the fetching Isabelle (charming Amelia Pedlow in violet gown), but her mother Madame Argante (a tough, take-no-prisoners Suzanne Bertish) won’t consent unless he has ready cash.

But though the rich uncle, Geronte (a wonderful Paxton Whitehead), seems always at death’s door, he never seems to wheeze his last. And worse, the old guy wants to marry Isabelle, though he calls her Georgina (a former love?)

Things come to a head when he calls a lawyer to write his will. He tells Eraste that he plans to leave some money to relatives he’s just heard from, an American nephew and a niece who’s a pig farmer’s wife.

Paxton Whitehead as Geronte, Carson Elrod as Crispin, Claire Karpen as Lisette, photo Richard Termine.

Paxton Whitehead as Geronte, Carson Elrod as Crispin, Claire Karpen as Lisette, photo Richard Termine.

Eraste is frantic. But his clever valet Crispin (Carson Elrod), disguises himself as the obnoxious loud mouthed American, with a coonskin cap, woodsman’s garb and Texas accent, to destroy this fellow’s chances. Elrod is wonderfully physical, jittery, jumpy, limbs akimbo, almost acrobatic.

Then Crispin, his lover Lisette (Claire Karpen), who is Geronte’s maid, and Isabelle, arrive one after the other, each dressed as the feckless pig farmer’s wife.

When they have persuaded Geronte to disinherit these fraudsters, they cry, “A million! A million! A million!” And Lisette declaims to Eraste, “Congratulations, sir, from social scum!” The four join hands and Crispin declares, “Now all for one, and one… The rest you know. And here’s to holy matri-money! “

Meanwhile, Ives livens up the script with current politics. Geronte complains about the prices charged by doctors and declares, “Of course if we had national health insurance…But this is seventeen-oh-what?” (oh-eight)

When Madame Argante appears to have solved the cash flow problem with a box of Geronte’s francs she has acquired, she declares to the impecunious suitor Eraste, “Is it my fault your spending powers are spent? That you’re one of the Ninety-Nine Percent?” Estate punches the air.

Claire Karpen as Lisette, Paxton Whitehead as Geronte, Dave Quay as Eraste, David Pittu as Scruple, photo Richard Termine.

Claire Karpen as Lisette, Paxton Whitehead as Geronte, Dave Quay as Eraste, David Pittu as Scruple, photo Richard Termine.

Ives inserts a couple of comic faux film moments where the lovers, Eraste and Isabelle, in spotlight, declaim:

Eraste: “Ah, mon amour!
Isabelle: Je t’aime!
Eraste: Je t’aime!
Isabelle: La lune!
Eraste: Le soir!

(Et plus.)

The lawyer, smartly named Scruple (a funny, sharp David Pittu), is described as no bigger than a loophole. Pittu plays him on his knees.

These plays always had a moral, and Crispin establishes one here: “… capitalism, cut throat, self-promotion/ In case you didn’t know the ethic this is about.”

And he inquires if it isn’t also “the rise of the bourgeoisie and a proto-capitalist society / devoted to competition, consumerism, and cut-throat self-promotion?” (One assumes Ives updated Regnard’s text of 1708.)

Geronte, who suddenly regains his health, finally understands what is going on and gets philosophical, “And let me toss this thought into the cup:/If people hope you dead, you have Fucked Up.”

Claire Karpen as Lisette, Paxton Whitehead as Geronte, Suzanne Bertish as Mme Argante, Dave Quay as Eraste, photo Richard Termine.

Claire Karpen as Lisette, Paxton Whitehead as Geronte, Suzanne Bertish as Mme Argante, Dave Quay as Eraste, photo Richard Termine.

Madame Argante also gets the moral, declaiming:

How gold has “clogged history’s onward march with wars of greed/,
Usurped the common good for private need,/
Transforming me into a heartless vulture/
Who as a blushing maid craved art, and culture!/
Who played bad folk songs wearing purple tights, /
Smoked weed, and argued for the people’s rights!/
Well, I’ll no more be slave to money’s chains,/
But do what mere humanity ordains!/
SOCIALISM!

The others hold up fists. Geronte says: “This is America! “ They sigh, and take down their fists. He corrects himself. “France!” They hold up their fists and twist-dance off stage.

Lucky America that, in spite of the money-buys-all political and economic system that the text suggests, it has Ives’s terrific play.

The Heir Apparent.” By David Ives, adapted from play by Jean-Franҁois Regnard; directed by John Rando. Classic Stage Company, 136 East 13th Street, New York City. 212-352-3101. Opened April 9, 2014; closes May 4, 2014.

Lucy Komisar is a New York journalist and theatre critic.  Her web site is The Komisar Scoop.
Apr 16th

NEW YORK REVIEW: Potion

By Cameron Lowe

By Lucy Komisar in New York

The Stolen Chair Company did last year’s brilliant (and Drama Desk nominated) production, “The Man Who Laughs.” So it is no surprise that this season’s offering is a supremely inventive and clever site-specific production at a Soho bar. It takes place in the People Lounge on Allen Street south of Delancey. The admission includes three very exotic, interesting, tasty cocktails!

But more than that, the production is an intimate look – from a fly-on-the-wall vantage point – of what happens at a bar among the owners, bartender and patrons, especially regarding their romantic desires and connections.

Raife Bakeras Tom and Natalie Hegg as Charley, photo Carrie Leonard.

Raife Bakeras as Tom and Natalie Hegg as Charley, photo Carrie Leonard.

Since the Stolen Chair Company is never ordinary, the dialogue is done as non-musical opera. That means that the text is spoken, not sung, but it’s said in cadences, in duets and pieces for four, characters speaking over each other as if they would do singing opera. And the pieces and cadences are based on real operas. Quite extraordinary!

The place is Charley’s Potion Lounge Speakeasy. Patrons are seated at low seats along the walls opposite a real bar.

The founder and owner, Charley/Charlotte (Natalie Hegg), is dressed gypsy style with a too-low-cut top. Turns out she is in love with her business partner, Tom (Raife Baker).

The bartender Jim (Noah Schultz), with a Dali moustache, is ready to deal with patrons’ problems (but not those of his bosses).

The plot is a bit like a bar-scene soap opera, but much more immediate, up-close, and more diverting. The cast is first-rate. Collaborators Rikhye and Stancato create an utterly realistic mood.

Noah Schultz as Jim, Molly O'Neill as Emma, Liz Eckert as Andi, David Skeist as Philip, photo Carrie Leonard.

Noah Schultz as Jim, Molly O’Neill as Emma, Liz Eckert as Andi, David Skeist as Philip, photo Carrie Leonard.

Andi (Liz Eckert) an unhappy character who doesn’t like anybody, arrives and soon tells all that “humanity is pitiful.” Jim says, “You hate us, but come here…” Andi: “Because you allow me a minute or two of relief.”

It’s a reality show, like overhearing a bar conversation. Emma (Molly O’Neill), a patron, says, “I don’t think I’ve found who I am.” Charley replies, “We can make you whoever you please.” Charley says, “Everyone wants to change something.”

There’s also interaction among the staff, especially between Charley, who is secretly sweet on Tom. “Charlotte why do we have ten crates of lychee nuts?” She: “They were such a bargain.”

Patrons come in. A guy, Philip (David Skeist) comes on to Andi, hitting on her.

Ed Forth (Jon Forehlich) a health inspector, suggesting he might give the place a bad report, wants a drink potion that makes woman fall in love with him.

David Skeist as Philip and Liz Eckert as Andi, photo Carrie Leonard.

David Skeist as Philip and Liz Eckert as Andi, photo Carrie Leonard.

There’s also the magic of the cocktails that are served through the evening, with labels such as “Curiosity.” They are, we are told, potions that affect how you are. Charley says, “Our drinks intoxicate but do much more.”

The bar is a drinks hall of mirrors that takes peoples’ traits and problems and magnifies them. Philip and Andi have a hot interaction that moves through the bar salon/audience.

Patrons get to sample drinks called “Curiosity,” “Pins Needles,” and “Love Potion. It’s all indeed quite intoxicating.

“Potion, a play in 3 cocktails.” Conceived by Kiran Rikhye and Jon Stancato; written by Rikhye, directed by Stancato. Stolen Chair at People Lounge, 163 Allen Street (south of Delancey Street; F train to 2nd Avenue stop; Allen is a continuation of First Avenue, so take First Avenue exit.) Live music by Sean Cronin; cocktails by Mixologist Marlo Gamora. Sundays at 7pm. The bar is small, so online reservations recommended.

The cocktails are “Curiosity:” rye, cynar, lemon juice, honey, lemon twist; “Pins & Needles:” mescal, ginger beer, green chartreuse, lime juice, chili salt rim, lime twist, and “Love Potion:” lambrusco, gin, absinthe, syrup, lemon juice, lemon twist.

Lucy Komisar is a New York journalist and theatre critic.  Her web site is The Komisar Scoop.