Bound by the efforts of director Tim Supple, the Lebanese novelist Hanan al-Shaykh, nineteen actors and five musicians, One Thousand and One Nights is an enterprise within itself that makes for a glorious three hours of storytelling one cannot help but delight in hearing.
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Features and Reviews
Purists, be warned: This ain’t your mama’s Shakespeare. Presented in three acts, of which only the second loosely follows the traditional text, Wu Hsing-kuo’s presents a radical rendition of the beloved King Lear.
There is a surfeit of Shakespeare in translation at this year’s International Festival, with Chinese productions of King Lear and The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan, an adapted version of Hamlet. However, one of the most visually arresting, and surely the most fun, is Korean company Mokwha Repertory’s The Tempest.
Mixing theatre and cinema, Sin Sangre is an impressive combination of the two art forms, but not one that helps tell the story. Adapted from a novella by Alessandro Baricco, it begins during the Chilean civil war and looks at the violence and vengeance that occurred under Pinochet. Three men kill a doctor for war crimes at his forest hide-out, but they leave his young daughter alive. Years later, one of the men meets the girl and, as they tell their life stories, a break in the cycle of violence becomes a possibility.
In a colourful production featuring a cast of dozens, the age of multimedia together with the Opera de Lyon adapt themselves to Gershwin’s classic folk opera portraying the lives of the inhabitants of Catfish Row.
Hemingway – boring, dry and overly obsessed with masculine pursuits? If this sums up your opinion on the works of the man they called ‘Papa’, this new production of The Sun Also Rises by the Elevator Repair Service will do little to dispel that conclusion.
If you think that the Royal Bank of Scotland caused the country’s greatest economic disaster, you’d be forgetting your history, says Alistair Beaton.Read more...
For politicians, Alistair Beaton is a man to be wary of. The Glasgow-born writer has a dangerous reputation for producing satirical send-ups of the great and the good. He was the man behind The Trial of Tony Blair, the Channel 4 film in which Robert Lindsay played a prime minister struggling to face up to the legacy of war in Iraq. One commentator called the BAFTA-nominated drama a “vindictive fantasy”.
The Royal Lyceum Theatre
The tale of Peter Pan has inherent charm, but this artful, thoughtful production adds yet more magic.
A tree, bare of leaves and surrounded by snow; eerie silence, and an old man sitting motionless in a wheelchair, staring into nothing...
An ‘endless tundra of loneliness’ has stretched in front of Andrey and Sonya, only to be briefly arrested by a chance meeting in a Moscow café.
‘People watching’ is a wonderful way of wasting time. Find a seat, buy a coffee and sit. Now watch.
Royal Lyceum Theatre
You expect a polished production from the EIF and my goodness do you get one in The Last Witch. The latest offering from the prolific talent of Rona Munro transports us to Dornoch, 1727, to witness the build up to the last execution for witchcraft in Scotland. Though not quite marching to the tune of this year’s theme of Enlightenment, The Last Witch is certainly a captivating, challenging and thought provoking piece of theatre.
Munro presents a flamboyant widow, asserting herself in a parochial society, using her fondness for curses and escapism to effectively manipulate her neighbours and support her daughter. This role is played with astounding zeal by Kathryn Howden, who brings to the character a feisty flirtatiousness, domineering strength and almost pathetic humanity. Interestingly, while one could argue that she is hoist by her own petard, central to her downfall is the fact that there is nothing more dangerous than a man scorned in a patriarchal society.
Fluctuation of tone and an air of uncertainty are key features of a play that boldly manipulates with seeming simplicity. One particularly interesting, and at times unsettling aspect of Munro’s writing is her penchant for undercutting the most painful, harrowing moments with genuinely comic one-liners. While humour pervades this production, thanks particularly to Janet Horne’s mischievous, raucous character, the instances in which it trespasses on tragedy’s domain create a sense of hollowness rather than mild relief.
Typical of the production, the simplicity of the set initially masks its great potential. A sunken sphere created the perfect focus for action, particularly in some of the more torturous scenes, and especially in the second act. The use of projected images creates an ominous atmosphere and a terrifying finale: there was a unanimous exhalation as the lights went up; three hundred people had been holding their breath!
Rona Munro has created a paradoxically entertaining, yet profoundly unsettling and strangely open-ended play. The language is often bawdy and humourous despite the constant presence of poverty and certain death. Central themes of power, law, magic and gender are teased out yet left hanging or engulfed in the flames. An exquisitely crafted piece of theatre.
Amid the elegant surroundings of the King's theatre, Dublin's Gate Theatre presents Faith Healer, one of three plays intended to celebrate the 80th birthday of Brian Friel, arguably Ireland's greatest living playwright.
Look on the bright side
Physical comedian Frank Woodley brings a fresh perspective to Voltaire’s eternally hopeful Candide in new adaptation Optimism.
Witch trials aren’t just the property of Arthur Miller any more.