Tag Archives: Theatre Royal

REVIEW: Love From a Stranger – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Adapted from a 1934 short story Philomel Cottage, Agatha Christie wrote an unperformed stage version of the same name which itself was re-written as Love From a Stranger by actor and playwright Frank Vosper in 1936. Director Lucy Bailey, for Fiery Angel and Royal & Derngate Northampton, re-sets the action two decades later to the 1950s, all cut-glass accents and limited female opportunity.

This psychological thriller provides a great night’s entertainment, but be aware that this is a slow burn that smoulders along without ever fully bursting into flame.

Cecily Harrington (Helen Bradbury) comes up trumps in a sweepstake, and while Cecily wants to live large on her substantial winnings, her dull as ditch water fiancé Michae (Justin Avoth) arrives back from the Sudan to dash her plans and resign her to a life of domestic drudgery. When an attractive and adventurous American, Bruce Lovell (Sam Frencham) comes on the scene, Cecily’s world is turned on its head. Cecily marries Bruce, moving to an isolated cottage in the country.

The red herrings are positively scarlet. From the beginning it’s clear that Lovell isn’t what he seems. He lurks in the shadows, surreptitiously taking pictures of Cecily, sniffing her lingerie, constantly scribbling in a notebook. Moving her from friends and neighbours, the gaslighting continues until Cecily is an apparent puppet in Lovell’s hands, but all is never as it seems on the surface with Christie. As the tension builds and perspectives change, we are entertainingly led along the crooked path that Christie is so well known for.

This entire production is quite obviously influenced by Michael Powell’s 1960 British cinema classic, Peeping Tom. The sense of unease is cleverly created on Mike Britton’s sliding wall set with opaque panels where we can watch Lovell’s voyeuristic goings-on. Richard Hammarton’s sound design and Oliver Fenwick’s crimson-tinged lighting are characters in themselves, helping to ramp up the creeping tension.

The cast are uniformly solid given how affected the original dialogue sounds to an audience’s modern ear and the ‘heightened’ characterisations skirt (just) on the right side of caricature.

Christie rarely puts a foot wrong, and as a piece of ‘good, old-fashioned’ entertainment it is undoubtedly a winner.

Runs until 30 June 2018 | Image: Contributed, review originally written for The Reviews Hub

 

REVIEW: Birdsong – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Rachel Wagstaff has gamely adapted Sebastian Faulks’ sprawling, nearly 500 page novel Birdsong, into a two hour 20 minute stage play. First seen in the West End in 2010, it’s now, in its revised form, on its timely fourth and final UK tour, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war.

This version, unlike the West End original has had a structural overhaul. The play flashes from past to present, love to war. To Wraysford’s life in 1910 in Amiens, where as a young man, he is in France to study the textile industry at the factory of René Azaire. Where he meets and falls in love with René’s much younger wife Isabelle and to 1914-16, the Somme and Wraysford’s life on the French frontline.

While the ill-fated love story between Isabelle and Stephen constitutes a major plotline, it is rendered somewhat wishy-washy in comparison to the war scenes, the chemistry between Wraysford (Tom Kay) and Isabelle (Madeleine Knight) lacking any spark. That this ice-cold pair could ever warm up to passion just doesn’t convince.

It is at its most gripping when it concentrates on the stories of the young men in the trenches. Enough time is given to develop a backstory for each and as a result the audience are emotionally invested in their fates: Sapper Jack Firebrace (Tim Treloar) catapulted from a life digging tunnels for the London Underground to a life digging trenches for the British Army, under-age Tipper (Alfie Browne-Sykes) traumatised by the day-today reality of warfare and ever-chipper Welsh farm boy Evans (Riley Carter) hiding secrets behind the smile.

The set, sound and lighting design add much to the viewing experience and bring the audience closer to the action and the action is enhanced by folk musician James Findlay’s plaintive punctuation of the action.

A play about the horrors of war is always a hard sell, and while this reviewer remains to be convinced of this newest production, in focussing on the human beings behind the gunfire, makes it a gripping, timely and ultimately moving story that deserves to be seen.

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub

 

REVIEW: Art – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

This review was originally published by The Reviews Hub.

An almost universal hit on its debut in the 90s, French playwright Yasmina Reza’s Tony, Olivier and Moliere Award-winning Art, has embarked on a multi date revival tour of the U.K.

Serge (Nigel Havers), a divorced dermatologist, Marc (Denis Lawson) an engineer and Yvan (Stephen Tompkinson) a stationery salesman’s friendship is well and truly tested when Serge buys a large, expensive, entirely white, piece of modern art. Rational Marc is horrified, Yvan tries to placate the pair, but, when they turn on pacifier Yvan, their 25 year relationship implodes.

Packed with witty, wry, well-observed, razor-sharp dialogue, Art remains as funny as it ever was and the rapid-fire verbal gymnastics, delivered by the sure-footed trio, is an absolute delight. While the piece retains its philosophical, Gallic feel, the rumination on modern art may have lost some of its impact over time. The Brit-Art movement has pervaded popular culture and is less divisive than it once was. What it still does wonderfully, is examine the nature of long-term friendship and the ties that bind. It is brilliantly clever, and beneath the laughs, it poses important questions that we could all ask of our friendships.

Havers, Lawson and Tompkinson are hugely experienced actors and the aplomb and speed with which they tackle Reza’s complex dialogue is laudable. Tompkinson’s seven minute monologue on the politics of wedding invitations receives loud, well-deserved, spontaneous applause. In fact, there are bursts of applause throughout the piece, such is the quality of the work. Comic timing is also key and each actor can raise a laugh with the mere raising of an eyebrow.

At around 80 minutes, Art is short but perfectly formed. This is a class act and an extremely entertaining evening of theatre.

Currently touring the U.K. | Image: Contributed

 

NEWS: Theatre Royal announces The Bodyguard as this year’s Christmas show

Glasgow’s Theatre Royal, have announced that the international smash hit musical, THE BODYGUARD will open its UK tour at Theatre Royal, Glasgow this Christmas.

The show will run from Monday 3 December until Saturday 29 December giving audiences plenty of time to catch the sensational production as it hits all the right notes during the festive season.

The Bodyguard’s month-long run at Theatre Royal follows the success of previous festive seasons including  2015’s Jersey Boys 2016’s The Commitments and last year’s Mamma Mia!

James Haworth, Theatre Director at Theatre Royal, said: “I’m delighted to confirm that the Christmas show at Theatre Royal this year will be The Bodyguard.  It’s an emotionally charged thriller that our audience will just love.

“Shows like The Bodyguard have become a staple in our festive programme and a visit to Theatre Royal at Christmas is becoming a tradition for many.

“If this production goes down as well as Jersey Boys, The Commitments and Mamma Mia!, our audience will be in for a very merry 2018.”

THE BODYGUARD is Based on Lawrence Kasdan’s 1992 Oscar nominated Warner Bros. film starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. The original stage adaptation, directed by Thea Sharrock with book by Oscar winning (Birdman) Alex Dinelaris, had its world premiere at the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End in 2012 and was nominated for four Olivier Awards.

A sell-out 18 month UK and Ireland tour followed, before the show returned to the West End at the Dominion Theatre. THE BODYGUARD has also played in the Netherlands, Germany, South Korea, Canada, Italy, Australia and China and can currently be seen in Stuttgart, Madrid and on tour throughout France and the United States.

Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge; what they don’t expect is to fall in love.

A romantic thriller, THE BODYGUARD features a host of irresistible classics including Queen of the Night, So Emotional, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, I’m Your Baby Tonight, Run to You, I Have Nothing, I Wanna Dance with Somebody and one of the biggest hit songs of all time – I Will Always Love You.

LISTINGS

MONDAY 3 DECEMBER – SATURDAY 29 DECEMBER 2018

THEATRE ROYAL, GLASGOW

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow

ON SALE 6 MARCH 2018

 

WHAT’S ON APRIL: OLIVER MEARS DIRECTS NEW PRODUCTION OF TCHAIKOVSKY’S EUGENE ONEGIN

Oliver Mears, Director of Opera at The Royal Opera, directs a new production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin to close Scottish Opera’s 2017/18 season.

This sweeping tale of unfulfilled love opens in Glasgow on April 27 before touring to Aberdeen, Inverness, Edinburgh and Belfast.

Not heard on Scottish Opera’s main stage since 1993, Tchaikovsky’s soaring score is the most radiant of Russian lyric operas. Adapted from Pushkin’s classic verse novel, Eugene Onegin is a deeply moving tale of unrequited love and high society life. When Tatyana, a young country girl, is introduced to the arrogant Eugene Onegin, she is besotted and confesses her love, only to be rejected and humiliated. Onegin flirts with Tatyana’s older sister Olga, who’s engaged to Vladimir Lensky, Onegin’s only friend, setting off a series of tragic events.

Scottish Opera’s Music Director, Stuart Stratford conducts a cast of international talent. Award-winning Welsh soprano Natalya Romaniw (Rusalka 2016) sings Tatyana, and former Jette Parker Young Artist Samuel Dale Johnson (The Marriage of Figaro 2016) is Eugene Onegin. Peter Auty (Flight 2018) is Vladimir Lensky and former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Sioned Gwen Davies (Flight 2018) is Olga. Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Alexey Gusev (Iolanta 2017) sings the role of Captain.

Joining Oliver Mears’ team is award–winning set and costume designer Annemarie Woods, lighting designer Fabiana Piccioli and former Scottish Ballet Artistic Director, choreographer Ashley Page. Eve Mutso, former Principal Dancer with Scottish Ballet, is the Dancer.

Also appearing in the production is George, a 7-year-old cob, who makes his stage debut as Onegin’s horse.

Oliver Mears said: ‘Onegin has everything: breathtaking music, heart-rending poetry, and the drama of passionate characters who live and breathe as we do. With its richly poetic atmospheres and endlessly inspired melodic invention, the opera is one of the greatest Russia has to offer – and, like an apparition from the past, once heard this beautiful opera haunts our dreams. We are lucky to be making this production with an outstanding cast of mainly young singers who will bring all of their energy and commitment to Tchaikovsky’s great score.’

Stuart Stratford added: ‘Onegin is the most iconic of Russian operas and is the one held in highest affection by all Russians. It has a unique blend of the lyric and dramatic and features one of the greatest scenes ever written for soprano. Tatyana is a complex and vulnerable character and we are fortunate to have rising star, Natalya Romaniw, giving her interpretation to a role with which she is already closely associated. Onegin is a piece I know really well, having studied it as a student in St. Petersburg. Every time I return to it, the music still feels fresh and I am always in awe of the emotional depth that it provides.’

Those who wish to discover more about how the production was created can attend Eugene Onegin Unwrapped, one-hour tasters delving further into the show, as well as Pre-show Talks. Audience members with visual impairments can enjoy the full opera experience at audio-described performances, which have a live commentary describing the action on stage without compromising the music.

Theatre Royal Glasgow, 282 Hope Street, Glasgow G2 3QA

Fri 27 Apr, 7.15pm

Sun 29 Apr, 3pm

Thu 3 May, 7.15pm

Sat 5 May, 7.15pm

 

Eugene Onegin Unwrapped

Wed 2 May, 6pm

Eugene Onegin Pre-show Talk

Sat 5 May, 6pm

Eugene Onegin Touch Tour

Sat 5 May, 6pm

Eugene Onegin Audio-described performance

Sat 5 May, 7.15pm

REVIEW: Flight – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Jonathan Dove and April De Angelis’ contemporary opera Flight is almost universally loved and with good reason. A knockout score and a story filled with both drama and humour make it a hit with audiences world wide.

Image: James Glossop

Beginning as a story about a series of couples stranded at an airport due to electrical storms, librettist De Angelis discovered the real-life story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri stranded at Charles de Gaulle Airport from 1988 to 2006 (a story which spawned a book The Terminal Man; French movie Tombés du ciel (Lost in Transit); the Steven Spielberg film The Terminal; short story The Fifteen Year Layover; two documentaries Waiting For Godot at De Gaulle and Sir Alfred of Charles De Gaulle Airport as well as the mockumentary Here To Where) and she and Dove wove the story of a refugee hiding at the terminal around the more comic aspects of the opera. The relationships unravel and entwine and all the while the refugee strives to overcome his plight.

Image: James Glossop

Many of the cast reprise their roles from the previous Opera Holland Park production (Jennifer France as the Controller, Victoria Simmonds as Minskwoman and James Laing as the Refugee) and their comfort and familiarity with the roles shows, especially Countertenor Laing whose voice gives goose bumps) however, while France has an impressive top range she was a little underpowered at times). Peter Auty (Bill) and Stephanie Corley (Tina) provide comic relief as the long-married couple seeking to spice up their marriage as do Jonathan McGovern and Sioned Gwen Davies as the randy Steward and Stewardess.

Image: James Glossop

Image: James Glossop

The music has a mid-century cinema musical feel – almost Bernstein or Gershwin-like, it is, at all times, melodic and an absolute joy to the ear. However, personally I can’t help wonder if it would have sounded better for being less ‘operatic’ and more ‘musical theatre’: the operatic voices, in this production all excellent, don’t entirely do the fabulous score justice.

Image: James Glossop

This re-imagined production by director Stepehn Barlow and the design team of Andrew Riley, Richard Howell and Jack Henry James is an absolute joy to watch and listen to, a welcome addition to this season’s operatic programme at Scottish Opera and one not to miss.

Image: James Glossop

The production continues at Glasgow Theatre Royal until 24 February then at the Festival Theatre Edinburgh from 1 to 3 March 2018. 

NEWS: casting announced for Agatha Christie’s Love From a Stranger

Fiery Angel and Royal & Derngate Northampton are pleased to confirm casting for for Agatha Christie’s Love From A Stranger which will run at Theatre Royal, Glasgow this summer as part of a UK wide tour. Directed by Lucy Bailey. The production will open in Northampton in February, running for three weeks.

Taking to the stage at Theatre Royal from Tuesday 26 June for five nights will be Justin Avoth (Nigel Lawrence), Helen Bradbury (Cecily Harrington), Sam Frenchum (Bruce Lovell), Alice Haig (Mavis Wilson), Molly Logan (Ethel), Crispin Redman (Dr Gribble), Nicola Sanderson (Louise Garrard) and Gareth Williams (Hodgson).

Be careful who you wish for

A whirlwind romance with a handsome and charming stranger sweeps Cecily Harrington off her feet and she recklessly abandons her old life to settle in the remote and blissful surroundings of a country cottage. However, her newfound love is not all that he seems…

Electric with suspense and with a shocking twist, this edge-of-your-seat, rarely seen thriller by the UK’s greatest crime writer is rediscovered in a brand new production by Lucy Bailey designed by Mike Britton.

Love From a Stranger

Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Tue 19 Jun – Sat 23 Jun 2018

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow

0844 871 7647* calls cost up to 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge

WHAT’S ON SEPTEMBER: Alexandra Burke live at the Theatre Royal

A decade after winning The X Factor, pop sensation Alexandra Burke today announced that she will be embarking on her The Truth Is UK tour this autumn. Her first UK headline tour since 2010, The Truth Is will see Alexandra take her infamous soulful to Theatre Royal, Glasgow on Wednesday 12 September 2018.

Tickets are on sale to ATG Theatre Card holders now and go on general sale on Friday 26 January.

Alexandra will perform songs from her eagerly-anticipated new album, The Truth Is which is released by Decca on 9 March.  The new album is Alexandra’s third studio record and features a host of original tracks showcasing her phenomenal voice and songwriting talent.  Fans at the touring shows will enjoy these new songs, as well the No.1 smash hits including Hallelujah, Bad Boys and many more.

Alexandra says: “I am delighted to be going back on the road again with brand new music from my album The Truth is. This album is incredibly personal to me, I have poured my heart and soul into this and it reflects the incredible journey I’ve been through – highs and lows, love and loss. I love meeting my fans in their home towns so I can’t wait to see you all in September with my new show!”

2018 year marks 10 years since Alexandra won the fifth series of The X Factor, performing alongside Beyoncé in one of the most unforgettable moments in British TV history. Alexandra’s winner’s single, a cover of the late Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’, holds the current European record for single sales over a period of 24 hours, selling 105,000 copies in just one day. The song also became the top-selling single of 2008 in the UK and the landed the coveted UK Christmas No.1 spot. By January 2009, the single had sold over one million copies in the UK alone – a first for a British female soloist.

Her first album Overcome debuted at No.1 in the UK Album Charts, with four No.1 singles on the UK Singles Chart and the Irish Singles Chart – Hallelujah, Bad Boys, selling over 780,000 in the UK and becoming a Platinum selling single, All Night Long and Start Without You. One of the most successful alums of that year, Overcome earned her three BRIT Award nominations as well as thousands of loyal fans across the world.

In 2014, Alexandra made her West End debut starring as Rachel Marron in the highly acclaimed musical, The Bodyguard.  In 2016, she took the lead role of Deloris van Cartier in the musical Sister Act, which toured the UK and received 5 star reviews across the country.   Alexandra is currently performing with her Strictly dance partner Gorka Marquez on the Strictly Come Dancing Live UK Arena tour, which runs until 11 February.

REVIEW: Greek – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Based on Steven Berkoff’s riff on Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, Greek has fast forwarded the story from Thebes, 429 BC to the Tufnell Park in the 1980s.

Mark-Anthony Turnage’s work, while labelled as modern opera is celebrating its 30th anniversary, and while the shock of the new may have worn off in the intervening years, it still packs a hugely entertaining punch visually and aurally. Though, those with a delicate stomach might want to give it a wide berth thanks to Dick Straker’s live video projections which include a stomach-turning greasy spoon breakfast complete with live maggots and those offended by fowl language be warned there’s plenty of effing and blinding.

While cleverly adapted to suit modern sensibilities, the fundamentals remain the same: our hero Eddy, clad in a tomato red Adidas 3-stripe tracksuit leaves behind the ‘cess pit’ of the East End to avoid fulfilling the prophecy of a fortune teller who predicts his father will die a violent death and he’ll ‘bunk up with his mum’.

Johannes Schutz’s set design comprising an enormous, white rectangular revolve with two door openings, focusses all the attention firmly up front and centre stage. Alex Lowde’s comical costume designs add to the almost vaudevillian feeling of the piece.

The cast of four (three of whom, Allison Cook, Susan Bullock and Henry Waddington, double, triple and quadruple up on roles) keep the interest and entertainment up throughout. There are however a few issues with projection, even from just a few rows back it sounds underpowered. That said, it doesn’t detract from the fact that this it remains hugely entertaining throughout.

Young conductor Finnegan Downie Dear, keeps the orchestra on point and sustains the creeping menace in the music for the duration.

Subtle it isn’t, but it is a thoroughly engaging, bawdy and bold, small but perfectly formed 80 minute breath of fresh air on the opera landscape.

Images: Jane Hobson

 

NEWS: STING VISITS FAIRFIELD HERITAGE CENTRE IN GOVAN

Sting this morning visited Fairfield Heritage Centre in Govan, Glasgow to launch The Last Ship.

The Last Ship is inspired by Sting’s 1991 album The Soul Cages and his own childhood experiences. It tells the story of a community amid the demise of the shipbuilding industry in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, with the closure of the town’s Swan Hunter shipyard – making Fairfield the perfect spot for the exclusive event.

Sting arrived in Govan to treat a small audience of around 80 to a live acoustic performance of songs from the show and a Q&A. Members of the audience included press, guests of Theatre Royal, guests of Fairfield and secondary school music pupils.

The Last Ship will sail into Glasgow’s Theatre Royal from Monday 18 until Saturday 18 June 2018 following a week at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre.

James Haworth, Theatre Director at Theatre Royal, said: “It was an honour to welcome Sting to Glasgow today and invite him to visit Fairfield Heritage Centre. With The Last Ship exploring the culture and history of shipbuilding I have no doubt that this musical will appeal to the Glasgow audience. I’d like to thank Sting for taking the time to visit and to everyone at Fairfield Heritage Centre who helped make this a morning to remember.”

 

Abigail Morris, Fairfield Co-ordinator, said: “We have many visitors pass through our doors but it’s not every day you can say that Sting was one of them. We hope he enjoyed his visit to Fairfield and Glasgow and we look forward to seeing The Last Ship when it arrives in June.”

This personal, political and passionate new musical from multiple Grammy Award winner Sting, is an epic account of a family, a community and a great act of defiance. With original music and lyrics by Sting, The Last Ship also features some of his best-loved songs Island of Souls, All This Time and When We Dance.

When Gideon Fletcher returns home after seventeen years at sea, tensions between past and future flare in both his family and his town. The local shipyard, around which Wallsend has always revolved, is closing and no-one knows what will come next, only that a half-built ship towers over the terraces.

This is the proud story of when the last ship sails.

Tickets are on sale now.

 

 

The Last Ship

Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Monday 18-Saturday 23 June 2018

Mon-Sat eves, 7.30pm

Wed & Sat mat, 2.30pm

www.atgtickets.com/glasgow

0844 871 7647 *calls cost up to 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge

Images: © Ian Watson

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