Academy Award Winner F. Murray Abraham to appear in West End run of The Mentor

Academy Award Winner F. Murray Abraham to appear in West End run of The Mentor

Theatre Royal Bath Productions and Nica Burns are delighted to announce that Laurence Boswell’s critically acclaimed production of Daniel Kehlmann’s The Mentor will have a West End run at London’s Vaudeville Theatre from 24 June to 2 September with opening night for press on Tuesday 4 July.

The Mentor stars Academy Award-winner F. Murray Abraham as Benjamin Rubin, Daniel Weyman as Martin Wegner, Naomi Frederick as Gina Wegner and Jonathan Cullen as Erwin Rudicek.

The Mentor is directed by Olivier Award-winning Laurence Boswell who resides as Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Bath’s Ustinov Studio where the play celebrated a record-breaking run earlier this year, the most successful in the studio’s history. This production, translated by Academy Award-winning Christopher Hampton, marks the first time that bestselling author Daniel Kehlmann’s play has been performed outside of Germany.

F. Murray Abraham in The Mentor at the Vaudeville Theatre, 24 June to 2 September. CREDIT Simon Annand (5)

In a dilapidated art nouveau villa, somewhere in the German countryside, two massive egos are set on a collision course in this perceptive and compelling comedy about art and artists and the legacy of fame.

F. Murray Abraham won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Salieri in Miloš Forman’s masterpiece Amadeus. His numerous other screen credits include Homeland, Mighty Aphrodite, Scarface, Finding Forrester, Star Trek: Insurrection, The Name of the Rose, The Good Wife, Inside Llewyn Davis and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Theatre credits include It’s Only A Play, Othello, Richard III and Uncle Vanya, for which he was awarded an Obie Award for Best Actor.

Daniel Weyman’s previous credits for Theatre Royal Bath include Kafka’s Dick and King Lear. Additional theatre credits include Sideways (St James Theatre), 4000 Days (Park Theatre) and The Crucible(Bristol Old Vic). Television and film credits include Great Expectations, Foyle’s War and Silent Witness.

Naomi Frederick’s theatre credits include Hobson’s Choice (Theatre Royal Bath and West End), The Heresy of Love, Much Ado About Nothing and As You Like It (Shakespeare’s Globe) and The Winslow Boy(Old Vic).

Jonathan Cullen starred in the Ustinov Studio’s production of Trouble in Mind. Additional theatre credits include Enemy of the People (Chichester Festival Theatre), Doctor Faustus (Shakespeare’s Globe) and Love the Sinner (National Theatre).

Daniel Kehlmann is a German-language author whose novel Measuring the World, sold three million copies in Germany alone and has been translated into more than 40 languages.

Christopher Hampton previously translated Florian Zeller’s play The Father for the Ustinov Studio, launching its international success. He won an Academy Award for the adaptation of his own play,Dangerous Liaisons.

Laurence Boswell is an Olivier Award-winner, Artistic Director of the Ustinov Studio and an Associate Artist of the RSC. His recent productions include A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Theatre Royal’s Main House, and Trouble in the Mind, The Mother, Intimate Apparel and The Spanish Golden Age Season in the Ustinov Studio.

This is Not Culturally Significant, The Bunker

This is Not Culturally Significant, The Bunker

Ed Whitfield’s review of The Vaults run is here

Following Ed’s and others reviews of how great this show was during its run at The Vaults Festival, I couldn’t resist an opportunity to see its transfer to The Bunker. DO believe the hype, Adam Scott-Rowley’s performance is incredible; moving, funny and skilled all in the space of 50 minutes.

The audience can’t ignore the fact this show is performed naked but the nudity becomes a blank canvass as Scott-Rowley can move between characters without props or other limitations. This is a high paced show and putting on a wig or hat would only slow Rowley down.

This Is Not Culturally Significant. - Adam Scott- Rowely - photos by Bessell McNamee 6.jpg

What is about it? I am still not entirely sure. Scott-Rowley plays so many characters; porn star, her father, the man watching her on a webcam, his wife, a man in a gay club above them and so on with most only having limited connections. What struck me was that as a nude man there was something rather androgynous about him; I was convinced by the female characters simply by his mannerisms and voice as well as his shapely figure. Adam Scott-Rowley’s confidence, not only in his performance but in his refusal to cover up is refreshing. I could relate far too much to his university lecturer character (so many boring talks) and I found his older lesbian, coping with the loss of her wife through song, oddly moving. The horrible relationship of the Doncaster couple felt very Philip Ridley.

It is also aided by Graeme Pugh’s sound and Will Scarnell’s and Matt Cater’s stunning lighting, making a simple show look and sound more extravagant.

Adam Scott-Rowley has done something that many shows fail to do; make nudity seem natural and integral to this performance. Could he do it clothed? Absolutely, it would be just as good but maybe not as fun.

This is Not Culturally Significant is on until 3 June. Tickets from £15

https://www.bunkertheatre.com/whats-on/this-is-not-culturally-significant/about

Ballroom, Waterloo East

Ballroom, Waterloo East

When a musical makes its European debut nearly 40 years after its American debut you question the quality but in Ballroom, this tale of love after love, audiences are treated to a fun show with questionable morals and but ultimately lacking in musical or dramatic substance.

the-cast-of-ballroom-114708.jpg

Our protagonist is Bea (Jessica Martin), a widow living a mundane existence running a junkyard shop with her sister-in-law. When friend Angie (Natalie Moore-Williams) suggests she goes to Stardust Ballroom to get back out there after her bereavement Bea is understandably reluctant but ultimately charmed by the idea and leads Bea into a journey of living a life she never thought she could find again; finding love and judgement from her loved ones in the process.

As a musical it is quite bland in places, despite its large cast there are only 4 characters that sing; Bea, her lover Al Rossi (Cory Peterson-who despite his advanced years had my companion and I swooning) and the two club singers Marlene and Nathan (Danielle Morris and Adam Anderson). Most of the numbers are songs that Bea and her friends dance to in the ballroom. Most of the songs are forgettable and the only number that stands out in these scenes is the disco ‘More of the Same’. Jessica Martin has a cracking Judy Garland-like voice but it is a real shame that characters like Angie and Al weren’t given more songs to explain their back stories or widowhood and marriage.

The lack of drama is also a problem; it is a nice story but the lack of conflict is an issue. Bea’s nosey family and the fact that her lover is married are brushed aside, Bea even sings Fifty Percent a song about how she gets to bang this gorgeous man without having to do all the boring wife stuff like ironing. As a feminist and person who dislikes ironing, I was conflicted by her laissez-faire attitude to his unseen wife.

ballroom-at-waterloo-east-114707.jpg

Ultimately it is a fun show, Bea’s development feels fresh and relatable and her friends (all actors in their 50s/60s) provide some great laughs and some great dancing, even as a relatively young person it is time to grey-pound were acknowledged with a show they can relate to.

It is very frothy but the message is clear; it is never too late and you are never too old to have a bit of fun.

Ballroom is on until 4 June. Tickets from £20 http://www.waterlooeast.co.uk/ballroom.html

 

West End Bares Returns

West End Bares Returns

After last year’s two sold-out shows, WEST END BARES, theatre’s hottest annual fundraiser, is returning on Sunday 29 October 2017 to The Novello Theatre at 7pm and 9.30pm in aid of the Make A Difference Trust.

Tickets are now on sale with an Early Bird offer of 20% off the top three ticket prices available for one week only, until Sunday 21 May.

This year’s theme and celebrity guests will be announced in the summer. Previous celebrity supporters have included Eddie Izzard, Dame Judi Dench, Michelle Visage, Samantha Bond, Graham Norton, John Barrowman, Ramin Karimloo, Bianca Del Rio, Joe Lycett and Beverley Knight.

The event is based on the original concept ‘Broadway Bares’ by legendary Broadway and West End director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids.

See highlights from last year here

The Make A Difference Trust is a UK based charity with a vision of a world free from HIV and AIDS. Building on the legacy of 25 years of fundraising by the Theatre industry, they continue to make the vision a reality having distributed over £1.6million in grants to support individuals experiencing hardship across the UK as well as over £1million to support projects with their UK and international partners. For further information about the Make A Difference Trust please visit www.madtrust.org.uk

Tickets for WEST END BARES are on sale from Monday 15 May at 2.00pm and are priced at £15 – £100. Early Bird tickets are available from Monday 15 May to Sunday 21 May with 20% off the top three ticket prices.

Tickets are available from www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk or the DMT WEST END BARES booking line 0844 482 5172 and in person at the Novello Theatre Box Office. Booking fees apply and calls to Delfont Mackintosh Theatres 0844 numbers cost 7 pence per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.

West End Bares are proud to be partnering with 100 Wardour St for this year’s exclusive After Party where you can continue to celebrate with the cast of the show. Tickets cost £10 and are only available when you buy a ticket for the 7pm or 9.30pm show.  Once again, there is limited availability for the After Party and when the tickets are gone, they’re gone – so don’t miss out!100 Wardour St is split between a laid-back Bar & Lounge and chic Restaurant & Club, offering great food from midday right through until 2am with classic and contemporary cocktails. As befits the venues history as the site of London’s iconic Marquee Club where artists like David Bowie and The Rolling Stones performed, there are DJ’s and live music five nights a week.

Disconnect, The Loft (Ugly Duck)

Disconnect, The Loft (Ugly Duck)

KT Jemment and Michelle Shortland, writer and director of Disconnect, must have been the few people delighted when yet another election was announced. When I interviewed the two of them the focus was very much on the concept of democracy and audiences’ beliefs. Upon seeing this brief run even the most liberal audience will be swayed to make a difficult decision if they aren’t swayed by a character.

It is an unknown year, country etc. but the audience, as citizens of ProxC, is in a dystopia which deems you a criminal for murder, corruption, hacking, gambling and getting pregnant. The ship destined to jettison 10 criminals has stalled and as citizens, we get to vote on their fate. So far, so Big Brother but what makes Disconnect interesting is not so much the interactive element but the stories that unfold.

It is hard to make large casts work in fringe theatre as space is usually too cramped but in The Loft on Tanner Street, this pop theatre feels spacious and pleasant with some lovely lighting from William Adams. Ironically too spacious and too pleasant for a production set on a cramped spaceship, which means there are few sound issues for very crucial announcements.

We first meet Max (Nansi Nsue), an exotic accented woman who goes straight for the ship’s insides. She is behind the stalling along with Hacker-Kid (Samuel Topper) and other characters follow; Imogen (Sofia Greenacre) who is a gambling sex worker with connections, Peter (Sam Elwin), a cult member, Piers (Ben Koalack) a drug dealer who wants to stay because of his young daughter, Jacob (Joey Akubere), a man reluctant to tell us his crime, Rachel (Samantha Earle) a woman who has got pregnant despite a program to keep women infertile until they have permission, Darren (Joel Smith) a law enforcer gone rogue, Daisy (Jessica Kathryn) a manic thief and Agnes (Rosie Rigby) a believer in religion.

KT Jemmett strongly characterises well but the issue is the performances. Joey Akubere is stunning as Jacob and was unrecognisable from his recent role in Hope Theatre’s Wild Party as is Sofia Greenacre, a medical professional who oozes charm and intelligence and Nansi Nsue as Max, who is tough and determined in her efforts to stall the ship with the occasional glimpses of warmth and kindness. Sadly there are too many forgettable and undeveloped performances particularly Koalack’s Piers a one note look at drug withdrawal and wanting his daughter. It is no wonder the audience voted against his character’s wishes on the night because we were given nothing to warm to. I felt for Sam Elwin, who once again is lost in a big ensemble following his performance in One Last Thing (For Now) and Joel Smith’s whose characters weren’t really given much to and had the most uninteresting backstories.

The issue is that so much isn’t explained; why are these ten people on the ship when there hasn’t been a jettison for 28 years? Why in this quite harsh dystopian country are we made to compulsory vote when the point of the production (clumsily explained in an unscripted conclusion after the vote) is that a lot of people don’t’ bother? Why is the conclusion unscripted? We go from confident performances to terrified mutterings and giggles from actors, who clearly struggle with improvisation.

It has a lot of potential as a script and as an idea, I would love to see individual plays about some characters’ back stories and more immersive work with the vote, but it needs a stronger cast with improvisation skills or to be a fully scripted/devised piece that allows tighter performances, script and conclusion.

Natalie Dormer to star in Venus in Fur

Natalie Dormer to star in Venus in Fur

TRH Productions will present Natalie Dormer and David Oakes in the West End premiere of David Ives’ hit Broadway play Venus in Fur this autumn for a strictly limited nine-week engagement at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. This critically-acclaimed two-hander will run from 6 October to 9 December with opening night for press on 17 October.

Tickets are on sale now from £15
www.trh.co.uk / 020 7930 8800

Enigmatic actress Vanda Jordan appears unannounced for an audition with director Thomas Novachek. She’s determined to land the leading role in his new production – despite seeming wrong for the part. Over one evening in downtown Manhattan, their charged meeting becomes a seductive dance to the end.

Directed by Patrick Marber, designed by Rob Howell with lighting by Hugh Vanstone and casting by Executive Producer Ilene Starger, Venus In Fur is an intoxicating dark comedy of desire, fantasy and the innate love of fur.

Natalie Dormer is to play Vanda Jordan. Dormer is known globally for film and television roles including Margaery Tyrell in HBO series Game of Thrones, Anne Boleyn in The Tudors for ShowtimeCressida in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2, Focus Features’ The Forest, Ron Howard’s Rush, and Ridley Scott’s The Counselor.  Upcoming, Dormer stars opposite Sean Penn and Mel Gibson in The Professor and the Mad Man, and the independent thriller In Darkness, which she also co-wrote. She is currently in production on FremantleMedia’s Picnic at Hanging Rock in Australia. Venus in Fur sees Dormer reunite with Patrick Marber, who wrote After Miss Julie (Young Vic) for which she received widespread critical acclaim in the title role. Her other stage credits include Sweet Nothings (also at the Young Vic) and .45 (Hampstead Theatre).

David Oakes is to play Thomas Novachek. Oakes is best known for portraying Juan Borgia in the Emmy Award-winning Showtime Original series The Borgias, for playing William Hamleigh in Emmy Award-winning mini-series The Pillars of the Earth, for BBC’s The White Queen in the role of George, Duke of Clarence and, most recently, on screen as Prince Ernest in ITV’s Victoria, for which he is currently filming the second series. Stage credits include Kit Marlowe in Shakespeare In Love (Nöel Coward Theatre) and Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre). Oakes will also appear in the film adaptation of Albert Sánchez Piñol’s thriller Cold Skin set for release later this year.

Patrick Marber is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, actor and director. His productions of his own work includes Dealer’s Choice (NT & Vaudeville), After Miss Julie (BBC TV), Closer (NT, Lyric & Music Box NY) Howard Katz (NT), Three Days in the Country (NT) Don Juan in Soho (Wyndhams). His other directing credits include Travesties (Menier Chocolate Factory/ Apollo Theatre) The Caretaker (Comedy Theatre), Blue Remembered Hills  (National Theatre), ‘1953’ (Almeida) and The Old Neighborhood (Royal Court Theatre). Other plays include The Red Lion, The Musicians, The School Film (all for NT) and Hoop Lane (BBC Radio 3). His film credits include Closer (directed by Mike Nichols), Notes on a Scandal (directed by Richard Eyre), Old Street and Love You More. For television his co-writing credits include The Day Today and Knowing Me, Knowing You With Alan Partridge.  More recently Ivo van Hove directed Marber’s version of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler for the National Theatre starring Ruth Wilson. His plays have won Evening Standard, Olivier, Time Out, New York and London Critics’ Circle and Writers’ Guild Awards. His TV work has received BAFTA, British Comedy and Royal Television Society Awards. His screenplays have been nominated for Golden Globe, BAFTA and Academy Awards. He received the British Independent Film Award for Notes on a Scandal.

David Ives was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play for Venus In Fur, which has been produced all over the country and the world, and was turned into a film by Roman Polanski. He is also well known for his evenings of one-act comedies All In The Timing and Time Flies. Other plays include New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza; The Liar (adapted from Corneille); The School For Lies (adapted from Molière); The Metromaniacs (adapted from Alexis Piron); Is He Dead? (adapted from Mark Twain); Ancient History, and Polish Joke. A Chicago native, he lives in New York City.

Rob Howell has worked extensively in costume and set design in theatre and opera within the UK and abroad including at the Royal Court, Almeida, Donmar Warehouse, National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Welsh National Opera, Royal Opera House and Metropolitan Opera, New York as well as at numerous other West End and Broadway Theatres. Recent credits include The Ferryman (Royal Court) and Groundhog Day (UK and Broadway). He has received three Olivier Awards and multiple nominations for Tony and Olivier Awards for both Set and Costume Design, including the Olivier Award for Best Set Designer for Troilus and Cressida, Vassa and Richard III in 2000 and for Hedda Gabler in 2006. He received an Olivier Award in 2012 and a Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Tony Award in 2013 and for his designs for Matilda the Musical in New York and London.

Hugh Vanstone has designed the lighting for over 200 productions and worked extensively with UK national companies and on Broadway. He has received many awards including three Oliviers, a Tony and a Molière. As associate artist at The Old Vic, he has recently lit Art, No’s Knife, Groundhog Day (UK and Broadway), The Caretaker, The Master Builder and  Future Conditional. Other work includes: Dreamgirls (Savoy), Welcome Home, Captain Fox and  Closer (Donmar); The Red Lion (National Theatre, Dorfman); Closer (Donmar and in New York); An Act Of God (New York & tour); Matilda (RSC and internationally); Strictly Ballroom (Australian tour);  Don Quixote (Royal Ballet); Tanz Der Vampire (throughout Europe & Russia); Shrek The Musical (New York, West End & UK tour); Ghost (London and internationally).

Ilene Starger is a Casting Director and Producer. West End theatre credits include The Libertine (as Casting Director/Executive Producer for TRB and TRH); Breakfast at Tiffany’s (as U.S. Casting Director for 2009 TRH production; also for 2016 UK tour.) Broadway credits include Waiting for Godot, No Man’s Land, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Casting Director & Associate Producer), Marlene, The Elephant Man, Dance of Death, The Diary of Anne Frank, Dirty Blonde, Closer (Artios Award.) Film credits include Custody (also Associate Producer), The Rewrite, Pink Panther 1 & 2, Music and Lyrics, Two Weeks’ Notice, Night at the Museum (Artios Award), School of Rock (Artios Award), Sleepy Hollow, A Simple Plan, The Parent Trap, First Wives’ Club, Marvin’s Room, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, No Way Out. TV credits include: Witness to the Mob, The Great Gatsby, Earthly Possessions. Starger is a former VP of Casting for Walt Disney and Touchstone Pictures.

An adaptation of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 novel Venus in Furs that inspired the term masochism, Venus in Fur was first performed off-Broadway, New York in 2010 with Nina Arianda and Wes Bentley, before transferring to the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on Broadway with Nina Arianda reprising the role of Vanda Jordan alongside Hugh Dancy as Thomas Novachek. Both productions were directed by Walter Bobbie and won Arianda multiple awards including the 2011/12 Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play. In 2012, Roman Polanski directed a film version of the play, in French, starring Emmanuelle Seigner and Mathieu Amalric.

And Here I Am to tour UK

And Here I Am to tour UK

Following the earliest footsteps of life through a warzone, And Here I Am is a coming-of-age story that witnesses the comedic absurdities of growing up in one of the world’s most troubled conflict zones. A world away from headlines and news bulletins, And Here I Am charts the intimate truths of Ahmed Tobasi’s personal odyssey. From his birth in a Palestinian refugee camp; to unwittingly escaping invading soldiers by playing hide and seek; And Here I Am is a tale of everyday human experiences against a backdrop of inhumane circumstances.

Combining fact and fantasy, tragedy and comedy, spanning both the first and second Palestinian Intifadas, And Here I Am follows Tobasi through his transformation from armed resistance fighter to artist; his journey as a refugee in the West Bank to Norway, and then back again.

In a series of tragicomic episodes vividly brought to life by award winning writer Hassan Abdlrazzak, And Here I Am is directed by Zoe Lafferty, whose directing credits include Queens of Syria (Young Vic/New London Theatre/West Yorkshire Playhouse/Everyman, Liverpool).

 

“A raw yet artful reminder of our common humanity… graceful, painful, unsentimental”

★★★★★ The Times (Queens of Syria)

 

Born in Jenin refugee camp during the first Intifada, Tobasi’s childhood was overshadowed by the Israeli occupation. After joining the armed resistance at the age of 17, Tobasi was shot during the ruthless invasion of his camp that saw friends and family murdered, and his home razed to the ground. After being arrested and incarcerated for four years in an Israeli desert prison, Tobasi eschewed pressure to return to armed resistance.

Instead he opted to continue fighting with art, leading him to political asylum in Norway whilst studying at the prestigious Nordic Black Theatre. In 2013 he returned to Jenin Refugee Camp, and to The Freedom Theatre, contributing to the local artistic movement which focused on using culture as a form of resistance. 

Developing Artists is a registered charity working to support the arts in conflict nations and marginalised communities. The development of the project has been supported by The Shubbak Festival, Nordic Black Theatre, The British Council, Fritt Ord, The Freedom Theatre, Jenin Refugee Camp, Al Qattan Foundation and The Arab Fund For Arts and Culture.

UK TOUR DATES

Tue 27 – Wed 28 June

01242 572573

Cheltenham, The Everyman Theatre                                                                       everymantheatre.org.uk

 

Fri 30 Jun – Sat 1 July

023 8067 1771

Southampton, The Nuffield Theatre       

nstheatres.co.uk

 

Thu 3 – Sat 8 July

020 7503 1646

London, Arcola Theatre (Shubbak Festival)   

arcolatheatre.com

 

Mon 10 – Tue 11 July

0843 208 6000

Salford, The Lowry (Shubbak Festival)          

thelowry.com

 

Wed 12 July

0151 709 4988

Liverpool, The Unity Theatre (Shubbak Festival)     

unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk

 

Fri 14 – Sat 15 July

01392 434169

Exeter, The Bike Shed Theatre (Part of the Boat Shed Festival)   

bikeshedtheatre.co.uk

 

Mon 17 – Tue 18 July

0131 220 4348

Edinburgh, Assembly Rooms     

assemblyroomsedinburgh.co.uk

 

Wed 19 July

01865 319450

Oxford, The North Wall    

thenorthwall.com

 

Thu 20 & Fri 21 July

01223 300085

Cambridge, ADC Theatre    

adctheatre.com

 

Sat 22 July

0300 3033 211

Halesworth, The Cut Arts Centre  

newcut.org