Comics Creators

"The Play's The Thing" - a theatre thread


I don’t think that’ll ever change.

London and New York have theatre scenes that only really exist there and nowhere else in the world on that scale. The UK at least has some decent touring productions that hit the provinces, out here in SE Asia it’s a real desert. I live in a city of over a million people that has one theatre with very sporadic plays I could watch, when I was in Swansea, which is a quarter of the size, we had three or four with regular changes in plays and performances.


I’ve seen some good theatre already this year (with highlights including Dan Radcliffe in an excellent Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and a very physical all-male cast doing A Clockwork Orange) but this is going to take some beating for one of my plays of the year I suspect:


I’m jealous. I have that play in my bookshelf, but I have never seen it. It has a pretty fantastic cast though.

I’m also jealous about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Tom Stoppard is one of my favourite writers. It is one of my favourite plays.

Have you seen The Kid Stays in the Picture at all? Has that opened yet? I saw the movie, and I’m fascinated to see how it gets turned into a play.


Opens on Monday I think; wasn’t one that was on my radar particularly, and the run has sold out already.

(I go to ~75% of everything the Royal Court put on, so not quite sure why this didn’t pique my interest enough to book when I was doing my spring selections)

Totally agree with you about R and G … both it and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? are brilliant pieces of theatre writing, and these were both hugely accomplished productions that did the texts justice.


Saw Der Zorn der Wälder (The Anger of the Woods) last week, a play that takes inspiration from Thoreau’s “Walden”.

It was a film noir pastiche, with the gag that everybody naturally talked in terms Marxist discourse. Basically, it was a big debate about how to counter an inherently unjust capitalist system, and whether just withdrawing from civilisation is a legitimate solution or blowing shit up is the only way to go. It was quite funny in parts. Also, people got stark naked, but that’s par for the course in German theatre, of course.


I always forget to post in this thread.

Every now and then though, I see a play that reminds me why I love theatre so so much.

Saw “The Ferryman” at the Royal Court last night, written by Jez Butterworth, directed by Sam Mendes and with a huge ensemble cast led by Paddy Considine (and also featuring a baby, a goose and a rabbit) and it was absolutely bloody brilliant.

Northern Ireland, 1981. In the Maze, prisoners are hunger striking. On Quinn Carney’s farm, the extended family gather to bring in the harvest - and the annual harvest feast afterwards. Across the border a body is found perfectly preserved in a bog, a visitor calls at the farm… and past and present start to whirl around the Carneys as old dementing Aunt Maggie hears the banshees on the wind.

Over 3 hours long and the time just melted away … every word, every nuance used to stunning effect; every character given depth and substance (even the goose had a mini plot-arc), funny, tense, taut and with an utterly devastating punch. Spellbinding, mesmerising theatre at its absolute best.


…by contrast the night before I saw an example of almost the exact opposite - a play by a writer and a director that I admire hugely, based on a stylish novel (and film), and starring Jude Law which should have been great, but was dull, insipid and flat, and made its 100 minute run time feel like an eternity.

On the bright side, Law (whose acting skills aren’t always up to much) remains very fanciable and - probably in recognition of how flat the play was - spent about half of the play with his shirt off, occasionally slathering himself in engine oil. So, that helped pass the time.


And continuing a run of excellent theatre … saw Angels in America over two nights at the National this week.

I’ve never seen it, in any form, before. It’s a remarkable piece of theatre - an epic (6.5 hours of theatre over 7.5 hours and two nights) reflection on the state of America at one point in time, intersecting personal tales (with some brilliant vignettes) and - in reviving now - a caution that optimistic progress is not always guaranteed. The final speech - a declaration of hope and intent, written in the 90s looking back at the 80s, carries with it now a note of warning as Trump and his ilk threaten to roll back decades of progress.

The NT cast is top-notch - Andrew Garfield, the utterly amazing Denise Gough, Nathan Lane having ALL the fun, Russell Tovey (always a better actor than I think he’s going to be (and cute too)), James McArdle, and Nathan Stuart-Jarrett all excellent in the lead roles.

There are NT Live performances coming up in July, including international screenings:


Yeah, they’re playing that at a cinema here. It’s €40, but I might go for it. I’ve seen the HBO adaptation, but not in years.




By way of contrast…


Jim Steinman’s words-and-music are very much theater-centric, and the original Bat out of Hell album sounds like the cast album of a Broadway show.

Then again, I once saw a Las Vegas production of We Will Rock You, a musical that was built around Queen songs. I still have mental scars from that one.


I am looking forward to seeing The Play that Goes Wrong tomorrow.

I’m pretty sure that someone on Millarworld recommended the play ages ago, but I can’t remember who or when.


I think @Mike has raved about it a couple of times upthread. :slight_smile:


So I see. That must be it.

Thanks @Mike


The Play that Goes Wrong is kind of brilliant. I recommend it wholeheartedly.


Saw the first half of the NT Live screening of this last night. Very enjoyable, with some great performances, especially Gough. I’ve seen the TV version before, but not for a decade or so.

It was occasionally a bit too obvious that it was a mostly British cast playing Americans, but most of them did well with it, especially Nathan Stuart-Jarrett, who I didn’t recognise at all.

Definitely going back for Part 2 next week, though it will probably mean I won’t get to bed until 1AM that night.


Quick question, but the actor who plays the priest, Gerard Horan, is he in the play a lot? He’s one of my favourite actors, but a show he’s in, Detectorists, is meant to be filming just now as well, so not sure if he’s going to be available for that when he’s in a successful play just now.


Tom Hiddleston is doing Hamlet with Kenneth Branagh for three weeks. Shall be following that.


One of my rare trips to see a play was last night, Kim Newman’s ‘The Magic Circle’.

I’m a fan of Newman’s novels and short stories (the Anno Dracula series, Diogenes Club etc.) and this was promoted at the launch of his Anno Dracula comic.

It’s a 90 minute long, two-hander, set in one room (and the 1970’s); a young and trendy college professor is trying to perform a magic ritual to save the world when he’s interrupted by a police detective who wants to know if he’s connected to the terrible crimes that were recently committed in the house?

It’s fun, Newman writes good dialogue and he knows his pop culture archetypes better than most. My only issue really is that the ending is a bit rushed, but it still works.

The two actors were terrific, the professor is a good role but the detective has all the quirks and they both had fun with the piece.

The venue though, was function room at a London club, it was not really a theatre, for performance. I’ve been there before to see talks and lectures on TV and other media, and it’s fine for that, but the people at the back were basically attending a radio play for all that they could see.

The nature of the venue also meant that there were occasionally waiters bringing in drinks and food.

The theatre company could, perhaps, have helped themselves a little by starting the play with a call for quiet? Instead, the lead actor came out and started arranging props, it was a couple of minutes before I realised he was already in character and that the play had started!

A lot of other people, who couldn’t see him clearly, just carried on chatting.

But, as I say, good play. it’ll probably be on BBC radio at some point, and worth a listen.