Ends 11th May 2019.
Runs 2 hours 15 minutes approximately, with no interval.
PETER GYNT (play)
Previews from 27th June, opens 9th July 2019. Ends 8th October 2019.
Captioned performances: 16th September 2019 at 7pm, 26th September 2019 at 1pm,
2nd October 2019 at 7pm.
Audio described performances: 13th September 2019 at 7pm, 14th September 2019 at
1pm (touch tour available - ask box office for details).
SMALL ISLAND (play)
Previews from 17th April, opens 1st May 2019. Ends 10th August 2019.
Captioned performances: 12th June 2019 at 2pm, 27th July 2019 at 2pm
Audio described performances: 19th July 2019 at 7.30pm, 20th July 2019 at 2pm
(touch tour available - ask box office for details)
THE SECRET RIVER (play)
Previews from 22nd August, opens 27th August 2019. Ends 7th September 2019.
PUBLIC BOOKING FOR ALL PERFORMANCES OPENS ON 3rd MAY 2019.
Captioned performances: 2nd September 2019 at 7pm, 4th September 2019 at 1pm.
Audio described performances: 6th September 2019 at 7pm, 7th September 2019 at
1pm (touch tour available).
Previews from 15th October, opens 21st October 2019.
PUBLIC BOOKING FOR ALL PERFORMANCES OPENS ON 3rd MAY 2019.
Follies: Tomorrow, the Weismann Theatre will be demolished... tonight,
those "Beautiful Girls" reminisce... The Sondheim classic is revived at the
National, following a successful run in 2017. Dominic Cooke directs.
Peter Gynt: Peter steals a bride and begins a lifelong trip around the
world with her. Ibsen updated to the 21st century by David Hare.
Small Island: Three lives from the Second World War until 1948.
Jamaican and British, Helen Edmundson adapts the Andrea Levey epic novel for a
cast of 40.
The Secret River: Native Australia's Dharug people don't take kindly
to transportee William Thornhill farming thier land. This tale of Australian
history is adapted from Kate Grenville's novel by Andrew Bovell, and performed
by the Sydney Theatre Company.
Translations: Eire. Soldiers arrive to change the local Gaelic names
to English ones. Brian Friel's classic play is given a direction by Ian Rickson
in a revival of the 2018 Olivier Theatre hit production.
Follies: (update: seen at the afternoon performance on 9th March 2019). Some
new faces in the cast - Alexander Hanson as Ben smashing out of the theatre (the
reason the walls are half gone, thinks the monkey) his numbers, Joanna Riding
(Sally) likewise hers - Bennett and Dee dazzling as usual. Lovely shadow work
from Gemma Sutton and Christine Tucker as well - sometimes curious, later
confused and indeed angry by turn. A note too for the two waiting staff too -
once more the programme letting us down with no headshots. Rest assured your
work at the edges of the stage and the details (tired foot rub, wave) didn't go
un-noticed and unappreciated.
Better still, on second viewing, "Loveland"
suddenly made sense to the monkey. It's still slightly odd in tone compared to
the rest, but now at least it feels as if it truly belongs. Maybe familiarity,
maybe some subtle changes in tone from the performers and director.
way, this is still a five star standing ovation smash hit, really and truly not
to be missed as it is unlikely the show will ever be done on this scale again.
(from the previous run, seen at the afternoon performance on 23rd
September 2017. Some actors have now left the cast). The latest incarnation
of many has arrived at the National Theatre, London. Dominic Cooke uses the full
resources of the National to present something remarkable. Played without an
interval, if it weren't for the structure of the show itself, probably nobody
would notice the passage of time - appropriate, as that is the key theme.
In a partly demolished theatre (perfectly realised by Vicki Mortimer) former
showgirls, their husbands and impresarios meet for a final time. Hauntingly
beautiful, their younger spirits shadow them, as lives are played and re-played
like the spectaculars in which all once participated.
The first two-thirds of the production could have been called "Ghosts" for the
construct, but the monkey preferred "triste" (Latin for "Sadness"). It's a
feeling that lifts as the evening progresses and re-connection is made with the
energies of youth. The final third, the tricky "Loveland" in which the muddled
emotions of the four leads are explored in four individual songs thus makes an
odd contrast - and is the singularity never really solved for the monkey.
Fortunately, the performances overcome all.
Imelda Staunton (Sally) re-claims "Losing My Mind" from cabaret, an internal
monologue sung with breathtaking control and punctilious phrasing. It's just one
of several other "standards," returning to their rightful home. Tracie Bennett
(Carlotta) gives "I'm Still Here" unique animation, Philip Quast (Ben) hold the
audience enthralled with "The Road You Didn't Take," Janie Dee's (Phyllis) late
"The Story of Lucy and Jessie" is pure emotional energy, and ensemble numbers
"Beautiful Girls" and "Loveland" are particularly impressive.
Notes too for the shadows - Adam Rhys-Charles (Young Ben) and Fred Haig (Young
Buddy) forming the principal male team, beautifully over-confident in their
naivety, with Zizi Strallen (Young Phyllis) and Alex Young (Young Sally) as
sisters in spirit (Ms Young, unusually managing without actual spirits, too).
The pairing bring out the most in each other, two rising musical theatre
performers a joy to watch.
A huge supporting cast, too numerous to mention* but every one of them
contributing unique movement, costume and background shadow (note in particular
the period showgirl costumes worn by youngsters, appropriate to each senior
character) and impressive orchestra under Nigel Lilley give the finishing
touches; as do the rare operatic vocals - performed, as with many numbers in the
show - in an almost spooky spotlight glare.
This version doesn't solve many issues the show may have in construction, pace
and resolution, but this deeply moving 5 star production uses the emotion that
is the personal passage of time in each one of us to weave a tale of age that
will live as vividly as youth in the memory.
If you can get a ticket, go see.
*Also impossible, as the programme has ditched decent photographs of each person
for "ensemble" shots too blurry to match with.
Gynt: Not available.
Small Island: Not available.
River: Not available.
Translations: Not available. Professional
reviewers are mostly impressed. The staging is National Theatre scale, but in
such a way as it allows the audience to draw its own conclusions as one writer
observes. It's about language and not about colonialism, notes another. All
agree that direction and acting are impressive. Humour and sadness are served
equally and the pace is suited to both. The love story sub-plot is noted as
working pretty well to assist defining the background of the main action, and
there are several remarks that though this feels topical, it isn't being used to
make current political points. Filling a large stage, but not being drowned by
it, and bringing an acknowledged modern classic to life once more - a relief
that the Olivier Theatre's summer season is back on form is the verdict.