Plus Vienna 1934-Munich 1938, A Family Album at Theatre Royal, Bathby Michael Coveney / June 10, 2019 / Leave a comment
Peter Gynt, National Theatre, 27th June to 8th October
David Hare follows Ibsen’s five-act structure but transposes the Norwegian fjords and valleys to a riotous Scottish peninsula, with a middle section in Florida. There’s no sign of Greig’s much-loved incidental music, which Ibsen commissioned, but there are new songs set by Paul Englishby. It is fascinating to see how Hare and director Jonathan Kent re-imagine this landmark of European theatre, having combined so memorably on their Young Chekhov trilogy. Their combustible Platonov, James McArdle, is the wild dreamer Peter (Peer) Gynt morphing into a middle-aged golf-playing media mogul and Emperor of Self.
Noises Off, Lyric, Hammersmith, 27th June to 27th July
If you’ve not seen Michael Frayn’s brilliant backstage/onstage farce, the funniest play in English since the war, you haven’t lived. And if you have, you’ll want to see it again in the theatre it originated in back in 1982. A good cast led by Meera Syal as diva Dotty Otley who plays a slovenly housekeeper, Mrs Clackett, in the play-within-a-play (“Nothing On”), and Lloyd Owen as the harassed producer, is directed by the ever adept and imaginative Jeremy Herrin.
Vienna 1934-Munich 1938, A Family Album, Theatre Royal, Bath, 11th July to 3rd August
Vanessa Redgrave is joined on stage by Robert Boulter and Paul Hilton—who both appeared with her in last year’s award-winning The Inheritance—as she recounts her father Michael Redgrave’s friendship with poet Stephen Spender and their attempt to help socialist Jews escape fascist Austria in the late 1930s. Notebooks, memoirs and Thomas Mann illuminate a refugee crisis with a case study in love and activism.