Monday 06th December

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Gyuri Sarossy and Kirsty Besterman
Gyuri Sarossy and Kirsty Besterman

Tonight at 8.30 @ Richmond Theatre

Rating:

Ways and Means

Initially warring factions in a not-so-typical marriage make for some scintillating scenes. Hilarious for its own sake, you laugh along and forget why you’re laughing. The stridency of the entire cast is undoubtedly indebted to the genius of Noël Coward – easily on par with Wilde – like watching a Victoria Wood sketch cranked-up to the nth degree. Thank you English Touring Theatre for the rediscovery. Gyuri Sarossy as the husband is fierce and manic; Kirsty Besterman as the wife, sharp and sassy. Shereen Martin as Elena is just great. Coward’s catty and sometimes nasty dialogue is ever ripe for the picking. Or the pickling – juicy and sour as a cocktail cucumber. Brilliantly modern, an effective commentary on capitalism, then as now. For money drives quite literally.

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Category: Comedy
Daniel Betts and Kelly Hotten
Daniel Betts and Kelly Hotten

Dial M for Murder @ Richmond Theatre

Rating:

You may think that taking on a legendary film maker and a major if not quite a landmark moment in cinema would make any theatre director wary. Not Lisa Bailey. Though what we’re left with is a shadow of the movie. Remarkable, when the play is billed with the Hitchcock suffix and this is not the film version as adapted by its playwright Frederick Knott. Nothing to do with Hitchcock, though we can see why he was so drawn.

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Category: Culture
Moscow City Ballet

Moscow City Ballet: Romeo & Juliet / The Nutcracker @ Richmond Theatre

Rating:

Romeo and Juliet

Rich in symbolism, the traditional setting of Romeo and Juliet proves intensely theatrical if minus the (indeed traditional) balcony scene, its jewel-like palette a feast for the eyes. The fantastic fight scenes build to dazzling sword-fights in glittering array, armour flashing in the spotlights, with a particularly striking performance by Kanat Nadyrbeck as Tybalt. Prokofiev’s score is performed exquisitely; the ‘Montagues and Capulets’ guaranteed to raise hairs. Maestro Igor Shavruk conducts with both passion and control.

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Category: Dance
BalletBoyz
Photo credit: Panayiotis Sinnos

BalletBoyz: theTALENT @ Richmond Theatre

Rating:

Balletboyz’ Michael Nunn and William Trevitt present their third round of ‘The Talent’ and how. As much as I love dance in all its forms I certainly know nothing about it. Apart from what I like. I witnessed ‘The Talent’ in its first year on the expanse of Sadler’s Wells. Such skill translates to the touring stage just as effectively, whilst according a whole new effectiveness. Hell, they could stage it in a shopping mall, ‘the talent’ is that great.

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Category: Dance
Black Coffee 001

Black Coffee @ Richmond Theatre

Rating:

Showing until February 15, 2014 // Bill Kenwright by special arrangement with Agatha Christie Theatre Company

Joe Harmston’s production of Agatha Christie’s ‘Black Coffee’ at Richmond Theatre is better than a caffeine shot. The exquisite Art Deco set by Simon Scullion seems to the manor born and likewise the magnificent Liza Goddard as Aunt Caroline establishes herself early on as a star of the show. Robert Powell slips into the lead of the renowned Belgian detective effortlessly and gracefully. For the duration one quite forgets about Ustinov or Suchet. The dim Englishness of Poirot’s compatriot Hastings, ennobled by Robin McCallum’s delicately mannered performance, provides an ideal foil. And as usual with Christie there’s more going on than first appears. Even a dusty shelf proves not just a matter of housekeeping; Hercule referencing himself to a housemaid exploring “all the dark corners with her broom…”

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Category: Comedy
The Pride
Naomi Sheldon and Harry Hadden-Paton

The Pride @ Richmond Theatre

Rating:

Showing until February 1, 2014 // Jamie Lloyd Productions

A middle-class 1950s wife invites a children’s author to dinner. It sparks a chain of events that, as the play plays-out, seem inevitable. We wait for what may emerge from the distressed and gilt-edged (or guilt-edged) mirror; the larger-than-life looking-glass so effective you wonder if it’s written into the script. The plummily poetic language of said author Oliver is splendidly delivered by Al Weaver, interspersed with genuinely witty dialogue that proves a hallmark of playwright Alexi Kaye Campbell. Swinging from deep pathos to high humour no small achievement when, quips aside, Oliver’s speech is stilling.

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Category: Theatre
Nabucco
Ellen Kent production photo for Verdi’s ‘Nabucco’.

Nabucco / La bohème / Aida at Richmond Theatre

Rating:

Ellen Kent Opera and Ballet International

Nabucco

Ellen Kent’s company boasted some storming performances that ensured no average production. Olga Busuioc as Abigaille maintained full-bodied voice throughout the heights of her opening aria, whilst the trio in Part 1 was so sublime that you forgot the surtitles. Petru Racovita in the titular lead gave a splendid turn both vocally and theatrically, alongside outstanding orchestral playing, revealing the depth and variation of Verdi’s exquisite palette. And Racovita’s duet with Busuioc in Part 3 was absolutely delightful.

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Category: Culture
Pitmen
Louis Hilyer as Robert Lyon leads his new art group.

Hall’s ‘The Pitmen Painters’ at Richmond Theatre

Rating:

Showing until August 10, 2013
Live Theatre + National Theatre

Appropriately enough, the plinth above the Richmond stage reads ‘To wake the soul by tender strokes of art.’ Nothing better describes Max Robert’s direction of Lee Hall’s ‘The Pitmen Painters’. Those familiar with ‘Billy Eliot’ know of Hall’s passion for culture for all; in the programme notes he explains this as an alternative to the ‘dumbing-down’ of the Arts.

From the original ‘Pitmen Painters’ (The Ashington Group of Northumberland) are drawn five main characters who allow for expansive dramatisation. The audience is immediately warmed by Hall’s comic writing, ranging from ironic observation to farcical gags such as “A Titian!” – “Bless you!” whilst the combinations of one or three projection-screens produce a more serious engagement with the art.

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Category: Hidden London