The Third Crusade is an epic subject for a play. As broad as anything Shakespeare touched on and with as diverse a cast of characters. To take such a subject and then spin off from it through to the present day makes one suspect that Holy Warriors might be epic in length as well as scope. The truth is very different however, with David Eldridge’s script packing nearly a millennium of history into around two hours of theatre.
It is with a little trepidation that I take my seat at the Noël Coward theatre ready for Shakespeare In Love to begin. I was last here for the Michael Grandage Season’s consistently excellent offerings, so will this new play match up? More to the point will it stand up to the film, a long time personal favourite?
On Thursday we attended the re-opening event for Chichester Festival Theatre after its extensive renovation. As a theatre whose content we always thought far outstripped the venue itself we were excited to see what might have changed.
Chichester Festival Theatre has long been a destination for consistently high quality theatre, but in my lifetime at least, it’s never been a particularly nice place to be. You’d turn up at the last minute, see the show and leave. Now, fresh faced after a £22 million redevelopment it’s unmistakeably the same building, but lighter, airier and, despite having an extra 100 seats in the auditorium, somehow more spacious.
After such sterling work on the venue itself you have to reopen with something special, a flagship show to define the season. In Peter Shaffer’s sublime Amadeus they have the perfect play, but could Rupert Everett’s Salieri really be the perfect casting?
Avenue Q was a revolutionary show when it first appeared. The mix of puppets, vulgarity, a little bit of stereotyping and a brutally honest opinion on things shocked a lot of audiences. When I first saw it at the Noël Cowarda number of people had bizarrely arrived with young children in tow. Needless to say most of them left in the interval. I didn’t though, with its shocks, laughs and surprisingly tender moments this show hooked me from the off and now it’s back with a fresh young cast and touring the UK.
Hakuna Mutata, what a wonderful phrase…
It describes perfectly how you’ll feel after feasting on the visual delights on offer as Disney’s The Lion King takes up residence at The Mayflower.
Shaun Evans and Rosalie Craig with Director Jamie Glover
Nearly 50 years ago Laurence Olivier, along with his Literary Manager, the theatre critic Kenneth Tynan, announced a double-bill for their forthcoming season at Chichester Festival Theatre. Mixing a powerful dramatic piece with a lighter option, a “short comedy, still to be chosen”, in point of fact a short comedy that hadn’t even been written at the time. Now they return to the same two short plays.
Some gorgeous new production shots have been released, giving us a flavour of what to expect when this production opens. Check out more photos below.