Theatre round-up: 22 Nov 2015

Sometimes you just have to see a show more than once (or should that be four times). This week had a couple of repeats, but since both were brilliant, I’m not complaining… So here’s what I’ve been enjoying this week:

Harlequinade / All On Her Own

I was lucky enough to be at the first preview of Harlequinade, one of the plays in the Branagh season at the Garrick Theatre. And when I was invited to see it again this week, I jumped at the chance. The double bill by Terence Rattigan begins with Zoë Wanamaker in All On Her Own, a short but incredibly intense piece about a woman who finds herself talking to her dead husband late at night after one too many whiskies.

It’s followed, in a swift change of pace, by Harlequinade, a comedy about a theatre company rehearsing Romeo and Juliet and The Winter’s Tale. The brilliant cast is led by Kenneth Branagh and Miranda Raison as the company’s lead actors, the Gosports – but for me, the star of the show is undoubtedly Tom Bateman as their overworked manager, Jack Wakefield. It’s a very funny play, and I only wish it had been a bit longer; there are so many actors that some of them get very limited stage time. Overall, though, it’s a lot of fun and I’d recommend it, especially if you’re not sure about Shakespeare – this play might just change your mind.

Review for London Theatre Direct to follow.

This week's theatre

Miss Saigon

My fourth trip to see Miss Saigon and I love it a little bit more every time. This particular outing was booked in response to the announcement that the show will be closing in February (news that still outrages me). There’s not a lot to say that I haven’t said before – I love the tragic love story between Kim, a Vietnamese girl, and Chris, an American GI; I love the music by Boublil and Schönberg; I love the helicopter, which still gives me a little thrill every time; I love the brilliant cast, especially Jon Jon Briones as the Engineer and the incredible Eva Noblezada as Kim (and a quick shout out to Richard Carson, who was a fantastic Chris on Friday evening); and I love how it makes me cry like a baby every time.

Basically, I love it.

Review for London Theatre Direct (written in February – after visit no.3 – so some cast members have changed)

This week’s theatre

Bit of a quiet one – lots of other things going on – so just the one show coming up this week:

The Illusionists, Shaftesbury Theatre