Ends 23rd June 2018.
Runs 2 hours 35 minutes approximately.
Captioned performances: 20th June 2018 at 7.30pm.
Audio described performance: 16th June
2018 at 2pm (touch tour available).
Ends 11th August 2018.
Captioned performances: 7th July 2018 at 7.30pm, 9th August 2018 at 2pm, 10th
August 2018 at 7.30pm.
Audio described performances: 28th July 2018 at 2pm (touch tour available), 30th
July 2018 at 7.30pm.
EXIT THE KING (play)
Previews from 17th July, opens 25th July 2018.
Audio described performances: 7th September 2018 at 7.30pm, 8th September
2018 at 2pm (touch tour available).
Previews from 2nd November, opens 12th November 2018. Ends 26th January 2019
Captioned performances: 13th December 2018 at 7.30pm, 27th December 2018 at 2pm,
23rd January 2019 at 7.30pm.
Audio described performances: 5th January 2019 at 2pm (touch tour available),
7th January 2019 at 7.30pm.
Previews from 14th February, opens 19th February 2019.
Captioned performances: 18th March 2019 at 7.30pm, 26th March 2019 at 2pm.
Audio described performances: 22nd March 2019 at 7.30pm, 23rd March 2019 at
2pm (touch tour available).
26th, 27th and 28th August 2018 at 7pm.
All seats: £15 (£7.50 for under 18s).
A prince learns what it is to come home, by fleeing to the ends of the world.
Chris Bush adapts Shakespeare for a community theatre event.
With all seats the same price, monkey advice is D to H centre stalls first.
Macbeth: Bill the Quill's chiller about a couple who murder their way to
the top - and have trouble training their dog. Rory Kinnear and Anne-Marie Duff
have a crack at it, with Rufus Norris directing.
Soldiers arrive to change the local Gaelic names to English ones. Brian Friel's
classic play is given a direction by Ian Rickson.
Exit The King: A 400
year old king refuses to die. Eugene Ionesco's tragi-comedy is re-worked by
Hadestown: As winter comes, Orpheus and Eurydice can't
live on music alone. Eurydice is drawn to Hadestown, can Orpheus save her? Anais
Mitchell and Rachel Chavkin's musical is directed by Chavkin in this
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.
Macbeth: (seen at the afternoon performance on 14th April 2018). Much has
been said about Rufus Norris failing to fill the enormous Olivier stage and,
equally its auditorium with paying customers. This time, unlike professional
reviewers, the monkey applauds thoroughly his efforts. The massive moving slope
centrepiece (Rae Smith, on fine form) and interior rooms are sufficiently epic
with some gruesome Moritz Junge costumed folk inhabiting them. Norris keeps
things moving - literally, in the case of one sprinting witch - and tries
clearly to ensure the show reaches every corner of the room, going so far as to
put his actors up tall poles with increasing frequency as the play continues.
There are several excellent performances. Kevin Harvey (Banquo) has a rare grasp
of both character and clarity in his speaking, revealing a man whose purity of
heart sets the baseline of morality for the rest of the tale. Stephen Boxer
(Duncan) likewise is a ruler whose actions are made all the more painful to
watch knowing what is to come. Rory Kinnear gives us a Macbeth whose
degeneration is rational even as it becomes ever more degenerate. Anne-Marie
Duff's Lady Macbeth takes more of a cliff-edge approach, pushing her husband and
snapping rather than eroding as is more usual. Why anyone would want dinner with
this pair is beyond comprehension - unless it is in a decent restaurant to
discuss their never less than admirable performances.
Strong work too from Patrick O'Kane as a Macduff whose clarity of vision despite
the horrible demise of his family (a chillingly good scene from Amaka Okafor and
Penny Layden as Lady MacDuff and Rosse respectively) and final defeat of wrong
tallied neatly with the opening mood set.
Also worthy of note are the pair of Irn-Bru swilling chavs Alana Ramsey and
Joshua Lacey, along with other murderer Andrew Frame - worrying, should the
acting dry up. Oh, and the Macbeths should hang on to their domestic assistant
Gentlewoman Nadia Albina, who seems to deal rather well with kooks, as does
their Porter (Trevor Fox) who has a decent knock-knock speech and even better
outfit and accent.
Those who seek discovery and fresh perspective on a regularly revived play are
going to be (and indeed have been) vociferously disappointed. For the monkey,
who simply wanted to see a rendition of the text that was accessible and done
with a good budget and well-directed troupe, it found mostly what it came for.
Make your own mind up, but it is hovering at 3.5 stars for this one, and its
dagger is well sheathed.
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.
Exit The King: Not available.
Hadestown: Not available.
Follies: (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.