Special Relationship are back at the Park Theatre with There or Here, Jennifer Maisel’s new play about connections, both real and virtual, when a couple outsource their surrogate pregnancy to an agency in India.
I saw the show on the first preview and it was in fantastic shape, getting a lot of laughs from the get go. And they’ve gone on to get some good notices, especially applauding the entirely female, BAME, and/or LGBTQ+ cast and crew – something you just don’t see enough of on stage.
I sat down and talked to the entire cast, the producers and the playwright backstage at The Park, pre-matinee. That’s a lot of us in a small dressing room, but it was perfectly cozy and a lot of fun.
It has been all change at the Donmar Warehouse over the last few days. To begin with Josie Rourke and Kate Pakenham (the artistic director and executive producer, respectively) stepped down. Josie and Kate were the first female partnership to run a London theatre. It will be over six years of a collaboration that saw great successes such as The Vote and the Shakespeare Trilogy starring Dame Harriet Walter.
And in the last 24 hours as this episode drops, Alastair Coomer, the Donmar Warehouse’s Casting Director is heading for pastures new across the river on the Southbank to become the new Head of Casting at the National Theatre. He will be replacing Wendy Spon, who has held the position for more than 11 years, recently casting Network and Follies, both huge hits.
We don’t’ really do this, but I thought I would take you back to a chat we posted in an earlier podcast where Alastair was joined by casting director Ginny Schiller as we talked about the Casting Directors' Guild.
It’s not often that shows that have played the National Theatre Olivier stage come back for another bite of the apple. Those occasions are few and far between. But that is exactly what is happening this Thursday, the 11th of January at the NT when the theatrical smash hit Amadeus returns for a four month run.
Peter Shaffer’s timeless tale set in Vienna, directed by Michael Longhurst, was such a quick sell out that the National did the sensible thing and brought it back this season with most of the cast reprising their roles - including this week’s guest Lucian Msamati as Salieri. Lucian was universally praised for his controlling, conniving portrayal of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s nemesis (with Adam Gillen playing Mozart again) with the Sunday Times calling it “an immersive performance” in their five-star review, which I don’t think anyone can argue with.
This week sees the closing of a show that was praised for its brilliant choreography and direction of Christopher Wheeldon - making his directorial debut if you can believe it! Critics called it “theatrical gold” and a “riot of colour and movement”, and I have to wholeheartedly agree. I was captivated by the company of “An American in Paris” as their skills as dancers, singers and actors were on full display. They also move every bit of scenery, ensuring that the flow of movement never stops. And to top it all off, there’s a 20-minute ballet to finish this Broadway Transfer.
When we went to visit the company earlier this week, I had a quick look at the cast list and saw how many swings were on "An American in Paris." 13! That is a lot for any show, and I knew that I just had to sit down with some of them and let them tell their story about how intense this show is, not only the main cast and ensemble, but for the small army of swings.
James Butcher, Rebecca Fennelly , Aaron Smyth and Amy Hollins and I had a little chat just as the show started.