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  • When Two Icons Collide: RoosevElvis at the Royal Court Theatre
    Beyond his music it seems that the image of Elvis himself has wild endurance The aptly named Libby King does a fantastic job of bringing him to life via Ann s imagined reality Her performance as Elvis is more complex than drag it encapsulates the very performance of gender itself by having her sway back and forth seamlessly between Ann and Elvis As Teddy Kristen Sieh is a complete delight on stage She bounds around with the energy of a springbok yet thunders the immortal words of Roosevelt with inspired magnitude She is a deft performer who seems utterly at home in this makeshift Blue Peter esque stage show Less of a set and more of a playground the actors and stage management team hurl and drag props and furniture around in full view inviting us to watch the mechanics of the theatre set at work There is a childlike sense to the way that the set works in keep with the overall identity of the show Screens are used in abundance throughout the performance and perhaps this is in keeping with the frequently uses tagline about The TEAM Gertrude Stein meets MTV You ll certainly be reminded of early 2000s MTV with television sets being rolled around and grainy footage projected before your eyes Had MTV been around in Elvis s time he surely would have found a home there being a figure of mass popular appeal One of the great achievements of the play is that it explores two archetypal figures of masculinity to unpick femininity and to give strength to a person struggling with her identity To aid her understanding of herself Ann must take to the road as is the case in many iconic American narratives think Easy Rider On The Road and Thelma and Louise which of course detailed a fresh new take on the road trip story by placing two females in the lead of the buddy drama Aware of this RoosevElvis uses clips from Thelma and Louis e to draw parallels with their own tale to sidesplitting effect It s a goofy move than wins over the audience Ann travels over a huge chunk of America s surface to find perspective on her personal landscape properly discovering her home and self for the first time through imagined egos RoosevElvis is a journey of acceptance through ridiculous means RoosevElvis continues at the Royal Court Theatre s Jerwood Theatre Downstairs until Nov 14 Tickets range from 12 25 with 10 day seats on Monday from 9am online About Rebecca Latham Graduating from Sydney University in 2012 Rebecca moved back to England to pursue a career in Theatre She has most recently been Project Administrator on The Old Vic 12 and in the past has worked with Raindance Film Festival and Arcola Theatre She has been writing reviews for A Younger Theatre since 2013 and is interested in Theatre Film and Literature Mail Twitter More Posts 3 Comments comments Prev Food For Thought The Great British

    Original URL path: http://www.litro.co.uk/2015/10/when-two-icons-collide-roosevelvis-at-the-royal-court-theatre/ (2016-02-15)
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  • A Problem Play No Longer: Measure For Measure at the Young Vic
    Garai plays a passionate Isabella Tom Edden is hugely entertaining as the punning Pompey but the production is made as enjoyable as it is by Zubin Varla s turn as Duke Vincentio In Varla s portrayal the Duke is an anxious but benign supervisor of the play s strange proceedings He orchestrates the bed trick and the head trick from the depths of his assumed habit and his hypocrisy brings with it moments of comedy I love the people he says with an uneasy smile as he emerges from the pile of sex dolls at the start of the play He is not a manipulator of Prospero s ilk nor the duke of dark corners that Lucio deems him rather he is a worried hand wringing man determined for the play to end well significantly he is not the deity of past productions Tyrone Guthrie at the Bristol Old Vic would have him a figure of Almighty God a stern and crafty father to Angelo a stern but kind father to Claudio and to Isabella first a loving father and eventually the Heavenly Bridegroom to whom at the beginning of the play she was betrothed He is not so righteous in Hill Gibbins reading thankfully The happy ending is managed by forcibly pairing up everybody on stage even to our amusement the prim Escalus with the huge tattooed Barnardine before the Duke propositions Isabella Their reaction is one of incredulity and Isabella s silence is a surprised speechlessness She is stunned but not as we have seen before broken or submissive It is a neat reading of a wilfully open ended finale Measure for Measure needn t be condemned then for its mix of registers its troubled messages In doing so we find ourselves like Polonius quibbling with definitions rather than actually engaging with the writing Perhaps the real difficulty is not in the play itself but in our hair tearing over it E M W Tillyard from whom we inherit the idea of the Shakespearean problem play by way of F S Boas said that it is anything but a satisfactory term and I wish I knew a better He is right to have sought a way of understanding Shakespeare s middle tragicomedies They are problematic But this umbrella term the ugly double plosive of problem play serves to simplify Measure for Measure s fertile untidiness So let s uncross our arms and rethink this exhausted label as Joe Hill Gibbins dramaturg Zoe Svendsen and the rest of the team at the Young Vic have done Problematic yes But a problem play no longer Measure For Measure continues at the Young Vic until Nov 14 Tickets are from 10 35 About Xenobe Purvis Xenobe is a writer and a literary research assistant Her work has appeared in the Telegraph City AM Asian Art Newspaper and So it Goes Magazine and her first novel is represented by Peters Fraser Dunlop She and her sister curate an art and culture website

    Original URL path: http://www.litro.co.uk/2015/10/a-problem-play-no-longer-measure-for-measure-at-the-young-vic/ (2016-02-15)
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  • “How Much I Lack of a Man”: Twelfth Night: A Gender Experiment at the Rose Theatre, Bankside
    of the same role in the Globe s 2013 original practices production Like Rylance she draws out the comic potential of Olivia s cry of most wonderful when she sees her love Cesario next to his double Sebastian expressing not just surprise but delight at the sight of the two identical youths She echoes Rylance s comic business with the ring when Olivia pretends to return a ring from Cesario but finds that because it is her own ring it sticks to her finger and his vocal embarrassment at having asked the attractive young stranger What is your parentage These echoes reinforce the sense that all actors and characters are playing at gender whether the cast are playing their own gender or not An interesting if perhaps unintentional aspect of this is that the convincing chemistry between Olivia and Viola Cesario played with an appealing innocence by Maia Alexander diminishes the appeal of the Orsino Viola pairing This is in part a result of the necessity of doubling roles which gives Julia Goulding who also plays Feste and Sir Andrew little time to establish Orsino s semi unconscious attraction to Cesario alongside his conscious passion for Olivia In a production where gender is play even if as for Viola it is increasingly desperate play and sexuality is fluid a Viola Olivia pairing begins to seem as plausible as any other The Rose is an excellent if chilly location for this experiment not only because as the site of an Elizabethan theatre it reminds the audience of how the original all male performances of Shakespeare s plays necessarily played with gender but also because the production makes excellent use of the idiosyncratic structures of the playing space The area behind the expanse of water that covers the archaeological remains of the original Rose Theatre becomes the shores of Illyria where first Viola and then her brother Sebastian are ashed ashore in a strange land This then becomes the spot where Malvolio played with verve and pathos by Shuna Snow practises behaviour to his own shadow a shadow that with excellent comic timing is thrown up on the wall behind him Later it becomes the cell where the mad Malvolio is sequestered suggesting his downfall as the inevitable result of his pretensions Sight lines can be a problem with this use of the space but this is a small quibble the alienating effect of the split playing space which makes it easy to believe that Viola and Sebastian are strangers in a strange land and helps maintain a comic distance from Malvolio s sufferings more than makes up for any temporary obstruction The estrangement of the scenes across the water also highlights the intimacy of the scenes in the main space an intimacy that works particularly well in the scenes of Malvolio s gulling where Toby and Maria a coquettish Clare Humphrey are hiding behind the audience and so we too become complicit in the trick This reinforces the sense of uneasiness

    Original URL path: http://www.litro.co.uk/2015/10/how-much-i-lack-of-a-man-twelfth-night-a-gender-experiment-at-the-rose-theatre-bankside/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Emma Whipday, Author at Litro Magazine
    the Search for Epic Song Nick Hennessey s Where The Bear Sleeps at The Forge Camden Town by Emma Whipday Nick Hennessey is an award winning storyteller who stands on carpet and performs his unique takes on folk tales Emma Whipday goes to The Forge in Camden Town to see his idiosyncratic spin on Finland s national epic the Kalevala Read more Litro Arts Culture Excavating Shakespeare at the Rose The Archaeology of London s Elizabethan and Jacobean Theatres by Emma Whipday Later this month Litro will be publishing its Shakespeare issue Emma Whipday goes to the Rose Theatre the Elizabethan theatre where many of the Bard s early plays were performed to learn about the excavation of Elizabethan and Jacobean playhouses Read more Emma Whipday The author has 6 posts published in Litro Magazine Emma is a PhD Candidate in English at UCL researching violent homes in Shakespeare s tragedies She studied at Oxford as an undergraduate where she was deputy editor of The Isis Emma has written for the Royal Opera House Digital Guide to the Winter s Tale the Newcastle Evening Chronicle and the Sunday Times Culture Magazine She is the Associate Writer for theatre company Reverend Productions Website Twitter Facebook Contact Us General 44 0 20 3371 9971 info litro co uk Sales Advertising enquiries 44 0 20 3371 9971 Email Sales Magazine Editorial editor litro co uk All Online Editorial online litro co uk Book Reviews Author Interviews reviews litro co uk Film Arts Editorial arts litro co uk Litro Lab Podcast litrolab litro co uk LitroTV litrotv litro co uk Litro Listings listings litro co uk Subscribe Stockists Submissions Advertising Our Team About Litro Litro Magazine is a free short stories and creative arts magazine in print and online Providing a place for readers

    Original URL path: http://www.litro.co.uk/author/emmawhipday/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Shear Insanity: King Lear With Sheep at the Courtyard Theatre
    Williams adaptation Well Saksena is fairly miserable and when the ending veers into Shakespearean rather than Tateish territory the multiple levels of meta theatricality all collapse in on each other is Saksena simply determined to stick the ending of the one man Lear he has begun Has he like the titular King slipped into delusion and decided that his unruly sheep really are the characters they re named for Is this King Lear with that is performed by sheep or King Lear with that is surrounded by sheep I assume the implications are a little different every night depending on the whims of the cast Because like Lear s daughters and also like actual farmyard animals in tiny paper crowns the sheep are only ever going to do what they want to do A couple of them wanted to chew on the bars of the paddock that encloses the stage and others would sometimes lean their cheeks against these bars in a thoughtful looking pose that was ridiculously endearing Most at some point fancied taking a poo and one wanted to eat Saksena s hair The night is punctuated with fits of giggles as different pockets of audience members notice the antics of different sheep It makes for a unique feeling of individuality within the group experience That sense of personalized experience is something that I hear a lot when theatre artists discuss how to adapt the theatre to changing tastes and a digital world Punchdrunk s Sleep No More and its semi secret randomly selected one on ones are the gold standard example for those who insist that young theatregoers will respond to art that can offer at least the illusion of a personalized experience I don t think that is what won King Lear With Sheep a sell out run There are subtle similarities between the arguments of both the pro and anti Nahum Tate camps While they re arguing for opposite things the goodness or badness of Tate s adaptation their barometer for this quality is the same Both sides used language that framed the ideal ending of the play as one in which its heavy sadness is alleviated whether by applauding Tate for actively changing it or by insisting that in fact it s a kindness to Lear to finally die or a triumph to Cordelia to escape the conventional feminine narrative of marriage Seriously both camps seem to insist we promise it s not as bleak as it seems Obviously the reason King Lear With Sheep keeps selling out is the sheep They are there There are actual live sheep wandering around the stage and sometimes they bleat and sometimes they poop There is something almost shocking about the realness of their presence their complete lack of training their smell It s unquestionably real and questionably live And I think that is the reassurance we are after Not the need for theatrical experiences to be personalized with hidden levels like a video game but the

    Original URL path: http://www.litro.co.uk/2015/09/shear-insanity-king-lear-with-sheep-at-the-courtyard-theatre/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Hailey Bachrach, Author at Litro Magazine
    the Unicorn Theatre and the Wheatsheaf in W1 Read more Litro Arts Culture Titus Androgynous All Female Titus Andronicus at the Greenwich Theatre by Hailey Bachrach Just as the Globe and Propeller present all male Shakespeare without explaining why Smooth Faced Gentlemen s all female Titus Andronicus offers no commentary for its casting it simply is Read more Litro Arts Culture The Future of Theatre Golem at Trafalgar Studios by Hailey Bachrach Golem by theatre company 1927 is both a social commentary and a celebration of the liveness of theatre Read more Hailey Bachrach The author has 5 posts published in Litro Magazine Website Twitter Facebook Contact Us General 44 0 20 3371 9971 info litro co uk Sales Advertising enquiries 44 0 20 3371 9971 Email Sales Magazine Editorial editor litro co uk All Online Editorial online litro co uk Book Reviews Author Interviews reviews litro co uk Film Arts Editorial arts litro co uk Litro Lab Podcast litrolab litro co uk LitroTV litrotv litro co uk Litro Listings listings litro co uk Subscribe Stockists Submissions Advertising Our Team About Litro Litro Magazine is a free short stories and creative arts magazine in print and online Providing a place for readers writers and the broader creative community to discuss various aspects of literature arts and culture through features reviews non themed fiction interviews columns and more Perfect reading for those with busy lives When the first issue of Litro was published in April 2005 the main free paper for commuters and city dwellers was the morning Metro Since then many tabloid style free sheets have joined the field like the Metro these can be skim read and quickly discarded Litro is different our central aim has always been to provide commuters and city dwellers with an inspiring thought provoking

    Original URL path: http://www.litro.co.uk/author/hbachrach/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Your Life and Mine: The Cocktail Party at the Print Room
    themes are brought to life in a slick new production at the Print Room in Notting Hill Director Abbey Wright marries Eliot s spare language with a simple set and economic use of light Marcia Warren as Julia and Christopher Ravenscroft as Alex are particularly memorable for their shifts from comedy to the graver roles of the all knowing so called Guardians I know you think I m a silly old woman Julia says But I m really very serious This confession seems to me to signify something greater than what is said to hold within it an answer to the questions The Cocktail Party raises For it is a play in which the idea of meaning is confused in which things are rarely as they seem and conclusions hardly ever reached Nervous breakdown is a term I never use It can mean almost anything Reilly says and later You have answered your own question Though you do not know the meaning of what you have said Elsewhere Celia wrestles with the meaning of sin she explains to Reilly that it s much easier to tell you what I don t mean and thinks of a time when the word happiness had a different meaning Meaning or lack of meaning is explored throughout the play and beyond its fourth wall Alec Guinness said of his part as Harcourt Reilly I wasn t sure what it meant I still don t know what it means In fact I don t know what meaning means anymore What do you mean by meaning This question which occupies characters actors and critics alike is at the heart of The Cocktail Party s significance It is this troubling of meaning this rupture between speech and intention which gives the play its lasting resonance a durability it enjoys despite the rather archaic verse form it inhabits While it had its admirers jazzy Stephen Spender called it this style of verse drama dwindled in popularity after the war despite Auden s best efforts to maintain it Our formless age to borrow Eliot s words prefers glib back and forths to the carefully contrived albeit naturalized rhythms of verse dramas it appears So to turn again to Williams question is it your life and mine that we find in The Cocktail Party On the whole I think it is Notwithstanding the post war trappings the upper class Englishness the carefully stressed versification there is something here which remains relevant It isn t simply the common experience of unrequited love It is the search for meaning whether religious or linguistic which we find threaded throughout Eliot s work That is not what I meant at all Prufrock says 2 It is impossible to say just what I mean and continues to preoccupy us several decades later The Cocktail Party continues at The Print Room until October 10 Tickets are 10 25 About Xenobe Purvis Xenobe is a writer and a literary research assistant Her work has appeared in the

    Original URL path: http://www.litro.co.uk/2015/09/the-cocktail-party-at-the-print-room/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Urban Delirium: Pomona at the National Theatre
    surrounded by the M60 ring road Time in Pomona as per Rust Cohle is a flat circle Until the rather subdued last scenes at least Pomona s pace is relentless To watch it 100 minutes without interval is to receive admission to a twisted but irresistible amusement park ride The hotly tipped Ned Bennett s production is a ball of fire The movement by Polly Bennett who oversaw the mass cast choreography at the Winter Olympics in Sochi is dizzying especially in the bravado scenes in which Charlie and Keaton play the RPG they dance around each other rarely in one place for long straddling the stage as the play straddles genre Giles Thomas s score meanwhile is surely the most potent of the year perhaps the decade an Eraserhead like gurgle that churns like a furnace ensnaring us and never letting go One particular moment a no holds barred brawl between Charlie and Moe sees all the production s virtuosity working at full tilt Thomas s music pulses virtually encouraging palpitations Pamela Donald s peerless fight direction turns the stage into something approaching a lion s den when Moe kicks Charlie in the head Elliot Griggs s lights turn off at the moment of each kick while the music dissolves into single percussive blasts This leaves the imagination to divine something surely much more brutal than anything we would actually have seen The cast too are uniformly excellent and praise must also be due for Isa Shaw Abulafia s latex moulded Cthulhu mask the centrepiece of Pomona s visual lexicon Pomona comes anointed as a theatrical watershed Dan Rebellato hailed it as the play of the decade ranking it alongside Blasted and Jerusalem Exeunt had a roundtable Oh Pomona to unpick why it has got under everyone s skin This breathlessness seems a tad excessive Make no mistake McDowall s dialogue crackles its porous diffusion between heightened fiction and banal reality is masterful few plays can match its savage universe However it is also a young man s statement of intent with the caveats that this implies there is perhaps a little too much delight it in its own edginess while some digressions particularly Charlie s avowed obsession with covering the city in his semen ought to be added to the Theatre subcategory of the TV Tropes entry Your Mileage May Vary That said its energy and ambition alone mean it stands head and shoulders above most theatrical programming This context is crucial for while Pomona is an achievement it is relative not absolute it is so exceptional precisely because it is a play This is where we return to the central irony of the beginning McDowall grew up in Middlesbrough with little access to theatre he was weaned on cinema and is a professed aficionado of auteurs from Andrei Tarkovsky to Takashi Miike If Pomona were a film its reviews would be mixed it would invite oppressive comparisons with Blade Runner Brazil or RoboCop But it this is

    Original URL path: http://www.litro.co.uk/2015/09/urban-delirium-pomona-at-the-national-theatre/ (2016-02-15)
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