Passion Points: Arts/Culture
- This summer, Sam Mendes’ production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory opens at the freshly restored Drury Lane Theatre. Andrew Lloyd Webber invested £4 million fixing up this beloved Regency building and installed a copy of Antonio Canova’s The Three Graces marble sculpture in the lobby.
- Teens will love the stage adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, about a teenager with precocious mathematical abilities and behavioral difficulties. Showing at the Apollo Theatre, it won seven Olivier awards (more than any other play Olivier award history), including ‘Best Play’.
- With its outstanding cast and audience rousing gospel music, The Amen Corner has viewers praising more than the Lord. In this revival of James Baldwin’s play, Oscar-nominated Marianne Jean-Baptiste plays a tyrannical matriarch pastor whose flock is starting to revolt in 1950’s Harlem. Playing at the National, this is a family drama, political power struggle and lively musical all in one.
- Actor Toby Stephens (son of beloved actress Maggie Smith) stars in Noel Coward’s 1930’s drawing room classic Private Lives. Smith played the role on Broadway nearly forty years ago with her then-husband, actor Robert Stephens. Also starring in the current production is Anna Chancellor, who was made famous as “Duckface” in film Four Weddings and a Funeral. And in another case of history repeating itself, Toby Stephens’ actress wife is also in the show about self-obsessed lovers.
- Kim Cattrall is radiant as ever in a revival of Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth at the Old Vic. Cattrall’s young American co-star Seth Numrich is equally as impressive, but with a running time of just under three hours, the play could do with some cutting. This summer is also the time to book tickets for the Old Vic’s autumn production of Much Ado About Nothing, starring Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones and directed by award-winning Mark Rylance.
- Critics and audiences are loving Chimerica, a new play at the Almeida. In 1989, as troops stormed Tiananmen Square, a young American photojournalist took a picture of a young Chinese man standing up to the tanks. Over twenty years later a cryptic message left in a Beijing newspaper leads to our hero searching for that unsung hero. This bold play looks at the changing fortunes of two mega-powerful countries. Tip: study up before going as it helps to have refreshed knowledge of the events, and note that the play is approximately three hours long.
- Harold Pinter fans will enjoy watching talented actor Simon Russell Beale in this dark, macabre tragi-comedy The Hothouse at Trafalgar Studios. The play is a sharp political commentary on the dangers of unchecked power, a theme as fresh today as when it was written in the 1950s. Be sure to book the cheaper seats on stage where the audience can practically touch the cast.
- Zoe Wanamaker is very powerful in Peter Nichol’s Passion Play about the corrosive effects of adultery. This play showing at the Duke of York looks at how the loss of trust in a cheating partner extends to one’s sense of self.
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