Reviews - Theatre

Hitchcock Blonde

At the Hull Truck theatre
Why did Alfred Hitchcock prefer blondes? “Because they make the best victims,” he said. They also make for a lot of biopics, as witnessed by recent screen portrayals featuring Sienna Miller and Scarlett Johansson. But playwright Terry Johnson got there 10 years earlier with this dark, distinctly Hitchcockian study of the peroxide muse. It opens in a modern media-studies department where Alex, a jaded, middle-aged lecturer, shares the recent discovery of some fragments of old film stock with his bright (and blonde) young student Nicola. He suggests they go to his Greek villa to investigate. And rather unwisely, she agrees. We then cut to the late 1950s, in which Hitch himself is shown interviewing an
unnamed blonde actor while demolishing a Dover Sole with the same efficiency with which Norman Bates dismembered Marion Crane. The parallels between the two timeframes are obvious: the anonymous blonde is terrorised by a brutish husband; the student reveals a history of self-harm and childhood abuse. But in either case their vulnerability becomes leverage for an unattractive, paternalistic figure to persuade them to take their clothes off.


Piece of Meat

Directed by Lear deBessonett
Direct from a sold out season at New York's prestigious 54 Below, the Tony Award nominated Broadway star Sherie Rene Scott brings her acclaimed show, ‘Piece of Meat’ to the London Hippodrome for three nights only in a strictly limited run. Sherie's celebrated storytelling and musicianship make ‘Piece of Meat’ a hybrid live-performance experience, with songs by Dire Straits, Joni Mitchell, Paul McCartney, Pete Townshend, Annie Lennox and Buddy Holly, and original compositions by acclaimed contemporary composer Todd Almond. Sherie is best known to UK audiences as the original Cathy in Jason Robert Brown's Brown's The Last 5 Years, Ursula in the Broadway production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and Amneris in Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida. She earned
two Tony Award nominations, the first for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and the second as writer and star of her own Broadway show, Everyday Rapture. Piece of Meat is directed by Lear deBessonett, with musical direction and arrangements by Todd Almond and staging by Michele Lynch.


Uncle Vanya

By Anton Chekhov
Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov is at the Print Room theatre, and one wonders whether it will manage to find an audience. Even though the West End is thriving, fringe theatres are struggling to fill seats. Are ticket prices, Twitter or the sheer volume of shows to blame? Not so long ago, a rave review in Time Out plus at least one good review from a broadsheet pretty well guaranteed very good houses for a show on the London fringe, maybe even a sell-out for the last two weeks of your three-week run. Yet many productions over the last year that have had a full hand of great reviews across listings magazines, broadsheets and bloggers, and yet have never had a full house, and have even struggled to find an audience at all. While the West End seems largely immune to the
economic downturn, the fringe and regional theatres do seem to be finding it harder to attract audiences. In London at least, part of the issue is simply the sheer number of shows. Several artistic directors have recently said that they think there is just too much work on, and there are certainly many more venues than there were just five or six years ago. The Print Room, the Yard and the New Diorama are just a few to have sprung up and stuck in recent years, and the purpose-built The Park is yet to open.































 

 

 

 








 
















 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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