Visit London Blog » clybourne park Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Thursday Theatre News: Clybourne Park wins Pulitzer, London Casting News and Lend Me A Tenor Thu, 21 Apr 2011 15:30:07 +0000

First up this week, congratulations to Clybourne Park, which has won another award! As well as winning Best New Play at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, the Critics Circle Theatre Awards, the South Bank Sky Arts Theatre Award and the Olivier Awards, playwright Bruce Norris has now won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, which includes a cool $10,000 reward. It’s a great show, and is booking until 7 May if you fancy seeing a winner!

There’s lots of casting news around this week:

  • Samantha Womack (best known for playing Ronnie Mitchell in EastEnders) will play lead role Nellie Forbush when the Tony Award-winning Lincoln Center Theater production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific comes to the Barbican this summer
  • Andrew Buchan (who you’ll recognise from TV’s Garrow’s Law) is going to play Bolingbroke opposite Eddie Redmayne’s Richard II at the Donmar in December
  • Star Wars actor Denis Lawson is heading back to the Royal Court for the first time in 20 years ain Anya Reiss’s drama The Acid Test, which starts next month
  • And Haydn Gwynne, Chuk Iwuji and Gemma Jones (from Spooks!) are to appear alongside Kevin Spacey in Richard III, the final instalment of Sam Mendes’s Bridge Project, which plays at the Old Vic from 29 June

Finally, news of a new musical coming to London: Lend Me A Tenor opens at the Gielgud theatre in June. It’s the story of the failing Grand Opera Company of Ohio in 1934, which is about to be saved by the arrival of the world’s greatest tenor, Tito Merelli. When he’s unexpectedly incapacitated, the meek director’s assistant has to find a replacement. Add a scheming soprano, a tenor-struck ingénue, a jealous wife and the Cleveland Police department, and you’ve got the makings of a fab new musical comedy on the West End.

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Legally Blonde and After The Dance Triumph at the Laurence Olivier Awards Mon, 14 Mar 2011 11:30:25 +0000 Hit West End Musical Legally Blonde won three gongs last night at the Laurence Olivier Awards, UK theatreland’s “Oscars”.

Star of the show Sheridan Smith won Best Actress in a Musical, and co-star Jill Halfpenny took the prize for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical. The show also won the Best New Musical award.

The National Theatre’s revival of Terence Rattigan’s After the Dance took four awards, including Best Revival, Best Actress for Nancy Carroll and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for the ever-excellent Adrian Scarborough.

These two shows were the biggest winners at the prestigious Laurence Olivier Awards, held last night at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

Other prizes went to Roger Allam for playing Falstaff in Henry IV at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (Best Actor), David Thaxton for Passion at the Donmar Warehouse (Best Actor in a Musical) and Howard Davies: best director for The White Guard at the National.

Clybourne Park, which is currently playing at Wyndham’s Theatre won Best New Play, and the Entertainment Award went to The Railway Children at Waterloo Station (which is, happily, coming back to London in a few months’ time).

The BBC Radio 2 Audience Award went to We Will Rock You.

Sadler’s Wells’ production Babel won two dance awards, including Best New Dance Production. One of the biggest shocks of the night was the Best New Opera Award, given to La Boheme by OperaUpClose, which started life in the 35-seat Cock Tavern pub theatre in North-West London, and beat much grander-scale shows at the Royal Opera House, London Coliseum and Young Vic.

Finally, Best Musical Revival went to Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods, staged by the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

At the ceremony’s climax, Sondheim received a special prize in recognition of his contribution to theatre.
Sir Cameron Mackintosh described the composer and lyricist as a “true legend”, paying tribute to his “unique theatrical muscle”.

“His sense of theatrical adventure knows no bounds, his subjects… have shown us all no subjects are taboo,” Sir Cameron said.

Read more about the Oliviers here. Do you agree with the judges’ decisions? Let us know in the comments below.

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Clybourne Park at Wyndham’s Theatre Thu, 10 Feb 2011 14:00:49 +0000

Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park has moved neighbourhood with far more ease than any of its characters: from an award-winning run at the Royal Court, it now both shines and stuns in the West End.

A sharp satire on racial prejudice in America, Clybourne Park has its audiences squirming and laughing in equal measures, as its acutely drawn residents tiptoe and blunder through a minefield of race, prejudice, language and property.

The first act is set in 1959. A white couple have sold their Chicago home to escape the tragedy of their war-veteran son’s suicide. The buyers happen to be a black family, and the local residents association are virulent in their opposition. Alongside the harrowing spectacle of a couple destroyed by tragedy come the ghastly revelations of the neighbours’ racism, in full hearing of the black servants. In one toe-curling moment, Rotarian Carl (Stephen Campbell Moore) asks why you don’t see any black skiers; evidence, he believes, of differences that should continue through to their choice of housing.

In the second, we see the same Chicago house fought over by a young white couple in 2009. This time, the black Americans control the residents’ committee, and they want the cultural significance of the neighbourhood preserved. Or, do they just want keep white families out?

What might sound a little contrived actually packs more of a punch by showing us the same actors in different roles 50 years later. Norris’ dialogue is razor sharp, from the dated “yes’ms” of the 1950s to the politically correct rhetoric which ultimately collapses in on itself in the later act. “Half of my friends are black!” cries Lindsey (Sarah Goldberg), as the proud Lena (Lorna Brown, utterly convincing) provokes more and more outrage. The play peels away at liberal hypocrisy; eventually the ugly feelings and resentments explode in a show-down of shamefully racist jokes.

Add to this great script a phenomenal cast (Sophie Thompson shines as both put-upon 50s housewife Bev and myopic lawyer Kathy) who really draw you in with their slick, naturalistic performances, and you have a fantastically provocative show.

Clybourne Park plays at Wyndham’s Theatre until 7 May. Book tickets here.

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Thursday Theatre News: Sheridan Smith, Simon Russell Beale, Donna Air and Congratulations Clybourne Park Thu, 27 Jan 2011 18:30:43 +0000

Firstly, congratulations to Clybourne Park, which transfers to Wyndham’s Theatre tomorrow.

The play has won another award for its earlier run at the Royal Court. As well as being named Best New Play at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards and the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards, it’s also bagged the South Bank Sky Arts Theatre Award. Get booking now if you want to see this fantastic show!

This week’s casting news includes

Finally, the Society of London Theatre has just released the theatregoing figures for last year. And very impressive they are too!

More than 14 million people saw a show at one of London’s major venues last year. 2010 was a record year at the box office, with theatres taking more than £500,000,000; there was also a rise in the number of performances to over £18.5 thousand. Proving what I’ve always known: London theatre is on the up!

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