Archive for March 24th, 2013

Well, I am back in chilly, snow-covered New Hampshire from my trip to London. I will be back to regular posts beginning tomorrow, with a few London-related posts sprinkled in here and there.

But first, I first want to provide a quick round-up of some of the plays I saw while in London in addition to the two shows I mentioned the other day that I took in at the National Theatre.

Once, a New Musical

onceI was fortunate enough to sneak into a preview of the new musical Once, the hit Broadway show and winner of a bunch of 2012 Tony Awards now making its way to London’s West End.

Once is based on the 2007 Indie film about a Dublin street busker and the young woman he meets. I love the film, best known for the Oscar-winning song “Falling Slowly” and the stage production is a delightful and truly organic theatre experience – I enjoyed it very much.

About Once the new musical: “Based on the much-loved Oscar-winning film, Once is an extraordinary, original and irresistibly joyous celebration of love, friendship and music. When an Irish busker and a young Czech girl meet through a shared love of music, their songwriting sparks a deep connection and a tender, longing romance that neither of them could have expected. Winner of 8 Tony Awards in 2012, including Best New Musical, this unique stage adaptation takes you right to the heart of the action in a rapturous production that dazzles with invention. An old-fashioned love story that dares to be different, Once is brought to life by a supremely talented cast of actor-musicians who unleash all the giddy exhilaration of an Irish ceilidh live on stage. Featuring all of the magical songs from the original film, including the Oscar-winning “Falling Slowly”, this is an achingly beautiful, thrillingly inspirational show that strikes a truly unforgettable chord. How often does a musical like this come around…”

Once is currently in previews at London’s Phoenix Theatre and likely to enjoy a lengthy run.

Shakespeare’s Macbeth

macIt is always great to see a Shakespeare play while visiting London, and there is never a shortage of productions from which to choose. This trip I was fortunate enough to catch the slick new production of Macbeth featuring film actor James McAvoy in the title role.

Performed in the round at the intimate performance space of Trafalgar Studios, this Macbeth was high energy and as well-presented as I have ever seen it performed – and I’ve seen a lot of Macbeths.

About Macbeth at Trafalgar Studios: “BAFTA winning and Olivier and Golden Globe nominated actor James McAvoy (The Last King of Scotland, Atonement, X-Men) will star in Macbeth, Jamie Lloyd’s (Donmar’s Passion, Broadway’s Cyrano de Bergerac, the Old Vic’s The Duchess of Malfi, Royal Court’s The Pride) inaugural production in a season of work for Trafalgar Transformed. Shakespeare’s darkest tale plays out in a dystopian Scotland brutalised by war. Under a toxic fog, Macbeth begins his tormented struggle for power fuelled by ambition and paranoia.”

Macbeth continues at London’s Trafalgar Studios through April 27 2013.

I also saw a great production of Turn of the Screw at the Almeida Theatre – which has since closed. And the first-ever London production of the 1969 Broadway musical Dear World, starring the incomparable stage star Betty Buckley – which has also closed.

If you are a theatre fan like me, there really is no other place like London for the pure breath of options and I am always sad that I couldn’t see more.

See what else is “on” in London right now in the London Theatre Guide.

The Phoenix Theatre in London’s West End all lit up for the evenings performance of Once, a New Musical: