What play at the theatre have you seen recently?

I don’t think there’s been a thread on this on the current forum, which seems odd as there are or have been threads for books, movies and TV as well as the obvious subject of music.

There must be people here into live theatre, so what have you seen, and what was it like?

My most recent was last night, Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice at the Sam Wanamaker theatre in London, chosen primarily for fitting to my short time availability, though once I discovered live theatre at the age of 15 I did find I loved Shakespeare. Despite the theatre being modelled on Elizabethan theatres (I not II), and almost entirely lit by (real) candlelight, the play itself was set in modern times. And the combination worked exceedingly well. It is a very very long time since I saw this play, my memories going back to schooldays and then young adulthood - too long, or it was the way the play was portrayed, but my memory was of Shylock being the villain who gets his come-uppance, but watching this time I was very much left feeling that the Jew was the one on balance was hard-done by and victimised by everyone, though indeed he did push things too far.

The theatrical production I had seen before that, just three weeks ago, was musical not a play - absolutely not my medium of choice as whilst I love both live theatre and live tragic opera, I am distinctly less that keen on musicals. However it was the first thing my wife fancied when things opened up post-COVID, so I agreed to go along. And to my surprise I was mightily glad I did. It was The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and though the songs were apparently from Disney, I suspect the portrayal was closer to Victor Hugo’s original: a dark story, raunchy/bawdy at times as well as tragic. I suspect the sprinkling of kids in the audience may have found it harder going than the cartoon, as well as missing the nuances. Although only a local drama group, the presentation and performance left nothing wanting - and I was left with a tear in my eye. I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening - all the more so for being unexpected.


Yesterday I went to see a setting of Frankenstein by Blackeyed Theatre at the Viaduct Theatre in Halifax. A cast of 5 plus a full-size puppet for the creature, the actors playing all roles, providing the music and also acting as puppeteers when the creature was on stage. The success of the production all rested on the quality of the performances, and for me it was a triumph. The primary performances were stunning, the actor caught the obsession of Victor Frankenstein to a terrifying level of power, the actor/puppeteer playing the creature captured the pathos and contradictions of the character superbly. It was a harrowing and wonderful performance.

1 Like

We are looking forward to getting back to the theater. While we see some performances locally in Boston, it’s not close to what New York has to offer.

It seems a bit pedestrian, but I want to go see the re-work of the Tommy musical that’s opening in Oct 2022 in New York. I saw it twice on its first travelling run in the States but my wife hasn’t seen it. And we share a huge love of Tommy.

1 Like

A few weeks back I went with my daughter to see Life of Pi at the Wyndham Theatre in London. We both really enjoyed it and thought the way the animals were brought to life by the puppets and puppeteers was fabulous. I read the other day that the puppeteers themselves are eligible for supporting actor awards, which would be justly deserved.


“Cabaret” at The Kit Kat club(Playhouse Theatre) London last week. It’s a terrific evening out, Eddie Redmayne is the MC and we should have see Jessie Buckley as Sally Bowles but unfortunately she was sick, the understudy was very impressive. They’ve transformed the theatre into the Kit Kat club and you enter through a side door descending into a basement area where you’re “given” a shot of Schnapps as you gradually make your way into the auditorium all the while witnessing scantily clad girls and boys dancing and musicians wandering amongst you, great show!

1 Like

Nothing recent, but we have tickets to see Lemn Sissay ‘My name is why’ ; an evening of poetry and discussion.
Can’t wait to return to the theatre and support the performing arts.

We saw Doubt at Chichester Festival Theatre a couple of weeks ago. It’s had fantastic reviews and was well done, but I couldn’t quite make it out, which is probably the whole point.

I have season subscriptions for five off-Broadway theatre companies in NYC, and I purchase individual tickets for others, so I go a lot. The two best plays I have seen this season were Sanctuary City and Selling Kabul. Caroline, or Change (originally a London production) might have made the list, but the sound system was so bad, I missed about 1/3 of the song lyrics.

I am not ranking Black No More as it was done by a theatre company with which I am involved, and I cannot be fully objective.

I’d like to see that. I saw the original production in 1967, whose cast included Lotte Lenya, widow of Kurt Weill. I’ve also seen the movie and an NYC revival with Alan Cumming as the Emcee, which played at Studio 54. Each production found a way to dramatize the terrifying encroachment of Nazis in Germany.

1 Like

Last month in NYC we had a production of Merchant with a black actor cast as Shylock. I did not get to see it, alas.

We went to see the RSC production of Much Ado About Nothing at Stratford upon Avon last month. It was absolutely superb and notable for having a virtually all black cast and being set in a futuristic African kingdom. It worked really well and the performances from actors and musicians were brilliant - highly recommended!

1 Like

In my opening post I had forgotten another fairly recent theatre visit, from last November but as it was still post-COVID - indeed our first - I should have included despite being 5 months ago:

Shirley Valentine by Willy Russel I presume the original scripting, for a solo actress. An excellent and very moving performance, losing nothing on the film, perhaps gaining more from the emotion in a single woman’s voice than the acting and real-life screen-sets of the film.

We’re going to see James Mcavoy in Cyrano de Bergerac this coming Saturday in Glasgow. It’s had very good reviews.

Not sure how much I can stretch recently by.

Saw Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward last Summer. Really impressive staging.

My youngest is pushing for us to see My Fair Lady in a few months. It’s the same production my wife and I saw in New York.

1 Like

Wow Lotte Lenya, that must have been something!

The Redmayne/Buckley production slightly plays down the Nazi’s but when they do feature it’s all the more powerful I thought. We did see the Rufus Norris production with Anna Maxwell Martin in London in 2006, and enjoyed that. I think there is a video in low resolution of the Alan Cummings production on You Tube, it’s probably from TV as it was broadcast in the UK.

1 Like

I liked that production. I saw one of my favorite performers, Laura Benanti, as Eliza. She was a replacement. Who did you see?

But I first saw My Fair Lady when I was 5. I was my first Broadway show. Julie Andrews was in it, but not Rex Harrison. He did return for the original London production.

It’s a super theatre the Sam Wanamaker - just wish the wooden seats were more comfy .

Next time they do a Webster there, I have promised myself a trip - but still am Covid wary or maybe Covid weary take your pick

I’m not sure. Just looking at the cast it should have been Laura Benanti when we went. But that name doesn’t seem familiar.

You have to buy a cushion.

She’s terrific. She won a Tony playing Gypsy Rose Lee against Patti LuPone’s Mama Rose. And she starred in the most recent Broadway production of She Loves Me. The latter was broadcast on PBS, but I’m not certain what jumps you have to go through to watch it. Having said that, if you’ve never seen She Loves Me, you need to at once. In addition to the Laura Benanti production, there is an edited BBC production from th ‘70s, which was posted on the net. It’s one of my five favorite musicals.

Laura also appeared a number of time on Steven Colbert as Melanie Trump.

Edit - the Benanti version seems to be freely available (with commercials). Am I allowed to link to a video?

1 Like