March 30th, 2012

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NT Live: She Stoops to Conquer was today

Cut and pasted from an email from the National Theatre:

She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith

The National Theatre Live season continues with the smash-hit production She Stoops to Conquer, currently playing to packed houses in the National's Olivier Theatre. One of the great, generous-hearted and ingenious comedies of the English language, the play is a celebration of chaos, courtship and the dysfunctional family.

Follow the link for more information about the production and to find your nearest venue:

Raks's Says

In marked contrast to the rest of the NT audience, and also the NT staff, She Stoops to Conquer is NOT one of my favourite productions currently on at the NT; that is reserved for Travelling Light. As far as She Stoops is concerned, I enjoy the show but I can't get that excited about it.

However, the best thing about the show for me is John Heffernan. John played Peter in Emperor and Galilean and, along with the other three male leads in the production, will always have a special place in my heart as a result!

John Heffernan, Rehearsal Photo, She Stoops to Conquer
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John Heffernan, Production Photo, She Stoops to Conquer
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Julius Caesar, RSC, Noel Coward Theatre

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Cut and pasted from the RSC Website:

The dictator must be assassinated. But who will replace him?

Shakespeare's great political thriller finds dark contemporary echoes in modern Africa, directed by RSC Chief Associate Director Gregory Doran.

The company includes Paterson Joseph as Brutus, Cyril Nri as Cassius, Ray Fearon as Mark Anthony and Jeffery Kissoon as Caesar.

Raks's says
This sounds amazing, I am tipping it already, and I have got my tickets in. Paterson Joseph is Brutus - what more could you want?! :)

Follow the link for all the details. It is playing in Stratford-upon-Avon, London and also touring the UK:
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Last Chance Saloon: The Comedy of Errors is closing in 3 days (Sunday 1 April)

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Cut and pasted from the National Theatre Website:

The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s furiously paced comedy will be staged in a contemporary world into which walk three prohibited foreigners who see everything for the first time.

Two sets of twins separated at birth collide in the same city without meeting for one crazy day, as multiple mistaken identities lead to confusion on a grand scale. And for no one more so than Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant Dromio who, in search of their brothers, arrive in a land entirely foreign to their distant home. A buzzing metropolis, to the outsiders it appears a place of wonderment and terror, where baffling gifts and unexplained hostilities abound.

Consistently recognised by strangers, the visitors question their very selves as the turmoil escalates. Meanwhile, Aegeon, father to the Antipholus twins, has been captured searching for his sons and, as an illegal immigrant, is sentenced to death at sunset.

Lenny Henry plays Antipholus of Syracuse.

For more information, to view the trailer, to see the rehearsal and production galleries, and to book tickets follow the link:
The trailer gives a good taster for the production if you want to get a feel for what you will be going to see.

Photograph: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian
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Just some of the slapstick comedy on offer.
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Raks's Review

I saw this back in January. I will be honest. I was not at all excited about it, even though my friends who had seen it, and theatre buffs whom I trust, had all said it was excellent. The reason is ... I don't really like Shakespearean comedies with happy endings. I much prefer Shakespearean tragedies packed with heartbreak and despair, murder and death. The ones where all the key characters die at the end. I think that tells you more about me than about the plays!

However, I LOVED this adaptation. It was set in contemporary London and all the key parts - father and mother, the two twin sons and the two twin servants were all played by Black actors (the premise being Africans newly arrived in London), all of whom were excellent. The adaptation was strong on laughs and slapstick and the full range of humour, but it managed to be touching and moving when it needed to be eg the reconciliation scene at the end, where the family and the two sets of twins are reunited.

Spoiler Alert - Skip this paragraph if you want
The best bit for me (which totally surprised me and took my breath away with its audacity) was when - in the manner of the helicopter landing on stage during Miss Saigon - they had a real ambulance drive on and off the stage during the production, complete with flashing lights and siren. Gob-smacking!

I had gone along, convinced that I was not going to like this but I was proved wrong! I love it when that happens!

Due to the humour, the slapstick and the fact that it is well and truly played for laughs, this is also a good Shakespeare production to take young people along to if you want to give them a taste for Shakespeare, and show them that he is relevant to the here and now, and can speak to today's audience about today's world.

I just LOVE this production to pieces! Highly recommended.
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Masterclass: Black British Plays, National Theatre

Image from Elmina's Kitchen
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Cut and pasted from an email from the National Theatre:

Masterclass: Black British Plays - Monday 30 April, 2–4.30pm

Join us for an exploration of the history, the diverse identity and the changing perceptions of black British playwriting, with readings from key plays written since the 1950s.

Open to the public and school parties. £7.50 (1 tutor FREE with student groups of 10+).

Follow the link for the full details and to book tickets:
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Easter DVD Recommendations (Surprise, surprise both Benedict Cumberbatch films!)

Forget Easter Eggs (you don't want to get fat!) treat yourself to one of the two DVDs below, which are both now retailing on Amazon for under £6.

Stuart: A Life Backwards

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Buy it here:

Third Star

Buy it here:

Stuart has to be my favourite Benedict piece of all time (yes, more than Sherlock!). And Third Star gives it a good run for its money, as I love the male friendships and the male bonding depicted in the film.