Midsummer on the dancefloor


I can’t count how many companies around the world bring A Midsummer Night’s Dream on stage this year, in many creative ways, to celebrate the Bard’s 400th anniversary. I focused my interest on the RSC’s version RSC Dream 2016, which I liked much and I saw three times at the Barbican (read my report here), but for sure this other one caught my attention today: The Donkey Show, A Midsummer Nights Disco at Proud Camden in London.

logo

It was introduced to me via Twitter by , who is involved in the project (michaelwoods-sound.co.uk). We follow each other there and I’m grateful he suggested me the show.

I take the synopsis straight from their gorgeous, glittering site donkeyshowlondon.com:

Taking over Proud Camden, this Midsummer Night’s Dream has a disco flair and you’re in the party! Inspired by Shakespeare’s story of love, magic and mishaps, and boasting a catalogue of retro hits including; I Will Survive, We Are Family, You Sexy Thing, Carwash and Don’t Leave Me This WayThe Donkey Show is bringing the divas, dancers and disco balls to London this summer for a strictly limited season from 10 June.

You can follow them on several social media:

Twitter

Facebook donkeyshowldn

Instagram donkeyshowldn

YouTube channel

Snapchat donkeyshowldn

Here the Cast&Creative list: donkeyshowlondon.com/cast-creative with their Twitter accounts – some characters’ names are different from the original, so I’d like to know if there still are the four lovers and how the story develops.

In the News session, you can find interviews to the cast&creatives and a rehearsals diary. I like when a production shares a lot of material with the audience.

Venue: Proud Camden, Camden Town, London @ProudCamdenproudcamden.com – a strictly limited season from 10 June to 21 August 2016.

I love Disco music! I love Midsummer: to me it’s the most musical and colorful play that Shakespeare ever wrote, so putting it on the dancefloor is a great idea!

This show looks sooo cool! If I was in London this Summer, I would certainly go to Camden to see it!

I leave you with this promo shoot, which is really nice:


 

New musical and play about Tolkien


On Sunday 26 afternoon I was taking a look to my timeline on Twitter and I came across two tweets about a new musical and a new play dedicated to the writer J.R.R. Tolkien.

They told me they are completely unassociated, so it was a nice coincidence!

I loved reading The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings, he invented such a fascinating world with proper languages and writing, taking inspiration from real things, that’s maybe why his work is so appealing.

Not only Tolkien wrote some great books and inspired other artists, his whole life was an adventure! And tragic, too, starting from losing parents very soon and taking part to the WWI as a soldier.

These young talents are paying him what look like fantastic tributes! So they absolutely deserve a blog!

Both the productions talk about Tolkien’s friendship with C.S. Lewis, another writer who invented magic worlds and characters with his books. No surprises both are still sources of inspiration for many kind of artworks.


Let’s start from the first one I’ve found, the musical:

Tolkien – The Musical
Music and Lyrics written by Joseph Purdue

tolkienposter-a4-option3

New Musical explores the life of JRR Tolkien
Composer sets his sights firmly on reproducing debut show for the West End

book by Claire Gibson and Joseph Purdue

They are at showcase / development stage. Concert Trailer with musical clips are available on their YouTube channel.

Here the site of the composer, with news: http://www.joepurdue.com/news and his Twitter account @Joe_Purdue

23-yead-old Joseph’s creation “Tolkien” explores the life of perhaps the 20th century’s most significant fantasy writer J.R.R. Tolkien – fabled auther of novels The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. … Throughout Joseph’s two hour musical, Tolkien’s maturity and traumas are shown: his upbringing with Father Francis, his involvement within the semi secret Tea Club and Barrowvian Society, the First World War, his friendship with fellow fantasy writer C.S. Lewis and finally the origins of the Lord of the Rings.

The first concert dates and venue were Wed 20th and Thur 21st April at Central Studio, QMC, Cilddesden Road, Basingstoke. Let’s hope there will be more soon.

Follow their Twitter account for news: @Tolkien_Musical and FB page TOLKIEN-The-Musical

Cast to be announced. More details will follow.


And then the play:

The Fellowship

a new play by Bryan Hodgson, Hodgson Creed Productions

The Fellowship

13th August at 4.30pm / 14th – 19th August at 6.00pm, Hen and Chickens Theatre

part of The Camden Fringe 2016, Camden Town, London

Their website: – FB page: – FB event:

Synopsis: “In a dimly lit back room of Oxford’s Eagle and Child pub, two young Oxford graduates share stories of dragons, elves and Norse mythology amidst occasional beer-fuelled banter. C.S. Lewis, a fresh faced, impressionable yet imaginative young atheist, finds himself conversing with the energetic and highly opinionated new head of English, Professor Tolkien. Before the birth of their imaginative worlds, these two great minds developed a strong and inseparable friendship that was one of the founding and fuelling elements of the birth of Narnia and Middle-Earth. This UK premiere explores the very beginning of such an unlikely bond between a devout Catholic and an ardent non-believer, and their continued support and love of each other’s work.

Tickets available here: http://www.camdenfringe.com/show.php?acts_id=636

Hodgson Creed are Bryan Hodgson @bryanhodgson & Anita Creed @anitacreed

Bryan is currently playing Charlie Chaplin in a UK tour of “Chaplin: The Charlie Chaplin Story” and Anita has just finished filming a trailer for a feature film with Alan Ford (“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrells”). She has also recently worked with Andrew Wright, double Olivier award nominee for choreography, and Amy Anzel who currently produced a national tour of “Happy Days” and is currently producing “Sideways” at the St. James theatre in the West End.

Here is a link to a review of the show where Bryan and Anita met: theargus.co.uk

Cast to be announced. More details will follow.


Poster and synopsis courtesy of @Tolkien_Musical and .


I’m so curious on these two productions! If I was in London, I would certainly take a chance to see both the shows. Who knows if I’m able…? Never say never!

Looking forward to news from them!

Orlando


This blog by “J”, the one I was talking about in the previous post, is too moving, true and beautiful, I have to share it!
R.I.P. victims of Orlando! Love Is Love!

blillies

I am openly trembling with rage. I am openly scared. This is refreshing. Normally, I swallow these feelings. But for the first time in an age, something overtly homophobic has happened.
A homophobe opened fire on a group of LGBT* people and allies in a gay club in Orlando, Florida, USA. A safe space where people from all walks of life can talk, dance, hold and love whomsoever they choose.

‘This was an attack on our Western Freedoms’ is something that keeps being said. Yes, it was. Everyone who enjoys Western Freedoms, like going to see live music and drinking beer at the Bataclan, or enjoying competitive sport with women and children sharing the stadium at the Stade de France, should feel violated when these freedoms are attacked.

But this was a particularly acute attack on the LGBT* community. It was a gay club. Not a club where gays sometimes…

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In praise of Jack Holden actor


NATIONAL THEATRE

I started to follow Jack Holden on Twitter in 2012, on a list first, when I noticed he was playing Albert Narracott in War Horse at the New London Theatre after Luke Treadaway and because he showed interest in WWI.

I didn’t see the 2012 production of War Horse, I had to wait the year after, but the cast was different.

Anyway, the staff of the National Theatre Archive wrote me that a version with Jack as Albert is available to view at their location, so I will go there in my next London holiday to watch it.

I think Jack is playing very interesting roles, of course I started to follow his Twitter account after a short time! And WWI seems to be a regular feature in his career.

In 2014 through his tweets, I saw that Jack was starring in the one-man show Johnny Got His Gun from Dalton Trumbo anti-war novel, on WWI again. He got praises for his performance in reviews and from the audience. I’m curious about that book I heard of several times, I’m going to search for it soon and I will try to imagine how he did play Joe. Must have been challenging being alone on stage every night for weeks!

Johnny-Got-His-Gun-Southwark-Playhouse

The same year, since Jack is also a writer, he wrote Dawn, which was played as rehearsed reading at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden on Tuesday January 28, 2014. The synopsis is very interesting, I hope we get to see it in a theatre one day:

<<In the trenches of World War One, two English boys are bound together by the terrors which surround them. One dawn, whilst their regiment surges forward to their deaths, they run the other way, together. On their hopeless flight for the Channel, shaken and scared, they find the seed of a mutual love. But how can that love bloom when all they have is the bombed-out wilderness and each other?

In the centenary year of the start of World War One, Fine Frenzy Theatre are proud to present a reading of Royal Court Young Writer Jack Holden’s haunting new play.>>


I had my first chance to see him on stage in the play Oppenheimer by Tom Morton-Smith, which was announced by the Royal Shakespeare Company to be staged in Stratford-Upon-Avon and later in London.

The cast looked very promising and, as I said in my report, I got tickets to see the show in London and I totally fell in love with the story and its cast.

Jack was Robert Wilson, one of the young scientists who worked with R.J.Oppenheimer at the atomic bomb. I agree with the britishtheatre.com 5 stars review in thinking that <<Holden is absolutely outstanding; a star on the rise.>> I loved how he talked and moved on stage!

He played one of the most moving scenes, when Wilson tried one last time to prevent the use of the bomb, but, then, I suspected he could be good for comedy, too, for some funny moments he was in, like when he took milk and egg as a remedy for booze. His Wilson will always stay in my heart!


Pity I wasn’t able to see him playing the funny role of Hastings in a quite modern version of She Stoops To Conquer at the Royal Bath Theatre in Bath, he must have been hilarious,

She_Stoops_58

but I booked immediately for A Midsummer Night’s Dream – A Play For The Nation at the Barbican in London, (a play I wanted to see on stage from long time) as soon as the cast was announced. I think that Jack is perfect as Lysander! The role requests a good-looking nice actor with a very physical presence, which he is. He goes very well together with the other members of the cast. Dream 2016 will be back to Stratford-Upon-Avon, from where the UK tour started, from June to July, I wish I could see this play there again! I wrote my report there.

Jack Holden as Lysander


Currently, Jack plays Roland Pemble in the BBC Four radio play Home Front, which takes place during the WWI years. Roland is a young photographer who falls in love with the woman who owns the photography shop where he works. It’s a tender and bit of a troubled love story. And then he joins the Army. I really hope he’s back ‘in safe’ in the next season.

Home Front is available to listen to on the BBC Four site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b047qhc2 where there is information on the play and on WWI.

Roland and Lillian

Jack can play so well the romantic hero!


I suggest you watch online a nice short movie called In A Bookshop by Aideen Johnston, where Jack plays Jake Ryan, an ex uni student who works in a publishing house: https://vimeo.com/78006498. The ending is funny, I have the impression maybe something similar happened for real! I find Jake very nice! I can’t say the same about the teacher, haha!

In A Bookshop


Jack has just finished shooting the movie The Levelling with Ellie Kendrick, currently in post-production. He plays James, but we know very little about the movie, yet. IMDb says: <<Hope Dickson Leach has written and is directing the film, which is set in the aftermath of the dramatic flooding in Somerset last year. Kendrick will be a young woman who returns to her family’s dairy farm after the tragic death of her younger brother.>>

So I’m looking forward to it, hoping it will come to Italian cinemas, as Ellie is quite famous here for her role in Game Of Thrones.

From Hope Dickson Leach Twitter account

From Hope Dickson Leach Twitter account

 


I admire Jack Holden as a bright, talented actor! And he’s a very nice young man in person! I met him twice, once after Oppenheimer and once after Midsummer, he was lovely to me!

And, for the record, I got to live a magical “stage moment” with him in both the plays!

During Oppenheimer, ‘Serber’ and ‘Wilson’ pointed at me and applauded me saying: “…and hey, you’ll kill everyone in the room…well done.” when I was sitting in the front row. I’m still blushing thinking about it, but I had fun! Well, they were just playing their lines, I was there by chance! Haha!

At the end of Midsummer, while dancing, ‘Lysander’ smiled and winked at me from the stage. I saluted him back from the front row, again. And that was not part of the play, just him being cheerful and pleased I was seeing the play again that day. What a lovely thing he did!

And is not just that. Jack is also a good human being. In 2010, with a friend, he raised money for Action Aid, with the project Skye is the limit. They reached the highest point of the Isle of Skye, by hitch-hiking from Bristol, with the help of a crowdfunding. They decided to embark on the trip to support ActionAid’s relief efforts in Pakistan and its child sponsorship programme. If you take a look to the nice videos they filmed, they faced a big challenge, but I bet they had fun!

I wish Jack all the best for his career!



LINKS

http://www.jackholden.net/ Jack’s official site

https://twitter.com/1JackHolden/ Jack’s Twitter profile

https://twitter.com/AideenJ Aideen Johnston’s Twitter profile

http://www.theatreworkshop.net/ Workshop on WWI

http://www.somersetlive.co.uk/Skye-s-limit-fundraising-Harry/story-12340646-detail/story.html on Skye is the limit https://twitter.com/skyesthelimit10

http://www.lovetheatre.com/tickets/3794/Johnny-Got-His-Gun

londontheatre1.com/news/17181/interview-with-jack-holden-albert-in-war-horse-at-the-new-london-theatre

https://www.facebook.com/events/287632238050852/ Dawn Rehearsed Reading Facebook event

http://www.tommortonsmith.com/theatre/2014/10/21/oppenheimer

https://bottomdream16.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/it-is-not-enough-to-speak-but-to-speak-true/ interview to Jack

http://www.ifeatures.co.uk/the-levelling1.html The Levelling official site



News of 10 June: photographer Jack McGuire shared a gorgeous new headshot of Jack on Twitter:

Actor: @1JackHolden Represented by @UnitedAgents #Headshots #Actor

Jack McGuire headshot 10June16

Very nice headshot, top notch actor!

McGuire official site: jackmcguireheadshotphotography.com



 

My first of 2016 London adventures and Shakespeare list


So from 19 to 22 May I had my first 2016 London adventure, planning to be there again in September, ready to travel to Stratford-Upon-Avon to see two other RSC plays (will be great to visit the Bard’s birthplace on his 400th anniversary!). I will also see Hobson’s Choice at the Vaudeville.

This May holiday has been such a treat! Short, but amusing and full of good theatre!

I’ve also made two pleasant… “close encounters” that made my days! Especially the second one, with a lovely, nice blonde actor…

I saw Orange/Blue at the Young Vic…


…and RSC’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Barbican Centre.

Both the plays are such fun, I will write a proper page for them in the Theatre session.

I collected everything I could find from newspapers and magazines about the two shows and some “theatricalia” of course, for my collection which is getting big.

Joe Penhall’s Blue/Orange deserves all the 4 stars the ES review gives it! The three actors were great, it’s a play worth to see! I wanted to see David Haig on stage for some time and finally happened, in a role that is perfect for him!

While I’m 80% agree on the 3 stars by Time Out and review of CamdenNewJournal about Dream 2016: it deserves 4-5 stars and it really charms! Lucy Ellinson, Jack Holden and Chris Hayak deserve all the phraises, of course, I’m 100% agree, I got tears in my eyes and pain in my stomac for laughters thanks to them and the mechanicals! I don’t see Titania and Oberon so understated, but, ok, it’s an opinion. Other members of the cast would deserve to be mentioned, as well. While I liked Tom Piper’s staging and costumes, as I find interesting to see it posponed in more modern times, not necessarily a play staged in a medieval forest.

My reports and opinions on the two plays to come soon!

I will add a Puck tribute page to my “Favourite Stuff”, too, because it’s a very likeable character!


I also came back to the Southbank for a walk on Sunday morning, which is always a pleasure to me!

A brief look at the National Theatre….

National Theatre

…and then inside the BFI, where I have always to visit their exhibitions in the mezzanine each time I go to London. The one on currently is “Shakespeare On Film“.


Thinking about A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I feel ashamed to say I didn’t see all the 37 plays, yet.

LIST OF THE 37 PLAYS BY SHAKESPEARE

(source)

37 Shakespeare plays list

 

SO FAR I SAW

Nr.2 One screen version (which I didn’t like at all)

Nr.5 One screen version (terrifying)

Nr10. Two screen versions, one TV version, one radio play, one stage version (three times the same, wonderful production)

Nr.11 One screen version, one stage version (at V&A archive), two ballet versions

Nr.14 One screen version

Nr.18 One screen version, one stage version

Nr.20 One screen version

Nr.22 One screen version, two stage versions (and one with NT Live, one on DVD)

Nr.26 Two stage versions (one with NT Live)

Nr.29 Two stage versions (one with NT Live)

Nr.30 One screen version, two stage versions (one with NT Live)

Nr.33 One stage version with NT Live

Nr.36 Two screen versions, one stage version

Nr.37 One stage version

 

And Chimes At Midnight, The Hollow Crown and West Side Story versions.


I HAVEN’T SEEN, YET

Nrs. 1 – 3 – 4 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 12 – 13 – 15 – 16 – 17 – 19 – 21 – 23 – 24 – 25 – 27 – 28 – 31 – 32 – 34 – 35

(for some, I have the BBC DVDs, which I have to watch, yet)


I HAVE TO SEE SOON

Nr.29 and Nr.35 in Stratford on September 2016


Ok, I saw only 14 of 37 plays (soon to become 16), but I will do better in the future!

Living The Dream: Act 5


I miss this play already! You were all great and hilarious! Thank you!

Read what John Chapman/Bottom has to say:

Notes From The Bottom

I always knew this would be the hard one to write – the last day of performance week – and so it has turned out. A combination of extremely long days, euphoria, massive physical exertion, poor eating habits, lack of sleep and high levels of concentration have taken their toll, hence this last piece is a bit later than originally promised. Anyway, let’s to it and see if it doesn’t provide some sort of catharsis.

Touch tour 2Lucy and Maria helping out at the touch tour

The day began with yet another new experience as the RSC was offering a “touch tour” for those attending the matinee performance and who would be using the audio description facility. The tour gave audience members the opportunity to meet some of the cast, explore the set and handle some of the key costumes and props. This was a really interesting half hour and it was evident…

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Living The Dream: The Prologue


Seeing this play very soon at the Barbican! Yay!

Notes From The Bottom

D16 Call Monday 16th May

Walking through the stage door of The Barbican theatre at 10.30 am and signing in for the day is the first action of a desperate man – desperate to get things right that is. The RSC have devoted so much time and support to this project and it has been going so well so far that none of us want to go down in infamy as the one who “mucked up”. So it’s a deep breath and then down into the bowels of the Barbican to the rehearsal room. We’re in the rehearsal room because up above us the stage is being fitted up ready for the performances to start the following day.

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It’s just the Tower Dreamteam in the morning with Erica and Kim. Voice guru Michael is feeling unwell and we hope he can return to the fold really soon; I have a…

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Cymbeline production images


Cymbeline is a play I can’t wait to see live in Stratford!

I haven’t seen this play by WIlliam Shakespeare, yet, in fact I never heard of it before the RSC announced it in their new season.

No surprises, as is being told that this is a play seldom performed and not much loved by the British audience.

From articles and reviews, this new version intrigues me, it got refers to relationship between Britain an othe countries (with modern refer to Brexit), some of the characters turned in female, like the title’s character, and they added to the script some dialogues in Italian, French and Latin with English subtitles on screen. Of course I’m intrigued!

The reviews are very different so far, from 2 to 4 stars, but in general they praise the cast, especially Bethan Cullinane and Oliver Johnstone. I’ve booked immediately when I read he was in the cast.

And the style they chose for the staging is very interesting, as you can see in the images below.

The use of these images by Ellie Kurttz on my blog is courtesy of the RSC Press Office.

Help Romeo&Juliet Post Scriptum going to Edinburgh!


Romeo&Juliet Post Scriptum goes to Edinburgh!
Sweden and Italy together adding a new wrinkle to the story of Shakespeare’s star crossed lovers.
Please support this crowdfunding campaign runned by Georgia Lepore, Italian Actress, Director, Writer!
They wrote an interesting development of the story of Romeo And Juliet.