‘Stunning and Subversive’ ★★★★★ for THE RIDICULOUS DARKNESS
Read More On: Joshua Drualus Pharo
Anthony Simpson-Pike's staging of Wolfram Lotz's The Ridiculous Darkness explores what happens when one narrative is told at the expense of others. The production, with Lighting and Video design from Joshua Pharo, has earned rave reviews from both audiences and critics.
‘What a stunning, subversive and ultimately hopeful piece of work. More like this, please.'
'An absurd and absorbing show clocking in at 100 minutes straight through, you'd be sorely pressed to find anything more riveting or stupendous.'
'The Ridiculous Darkness’ settles down as a silly, restless, endlessly visually inventive – great, playful work.'
A “tremendously accomplished” premiere for THE MONSTROUS CHILD
Read More On: Howard Hudson
With a libretto by award-winning author Francesca Simon and a lighting design by Howard Hudson, THE MONSTROUS CHILD not only premiered in Covent Garden to great acclaim, but was also the inaugural opera for the newly renovated Linbury Theatre at the Royal Opera House.
“A first-time librettist, Simon has successfully created a libretto which allowed plenty of space for Higgins' music… the richly imagined sound-world complemented and extended the drama brilliantly.”
“It’s a plot dense with detail but Simon’s tight, wittily macabre text conveys it clearly.”
“As an operatic debut… it is tremendously accomplished”
“all the high production values of the main Royal Opera House upstairs, but also a rare intimacy.”
“it is simply great theatre with great music”
“Also making distinguished Royal Opera debuts are designer Paul Wills and lighting designer Howard Hudson, who create worlds of great contrasts: Odin's icy court with sumptuous creamy quilting and knits, Hel's horrid fiefdom, stripped of colour and light.”
“The result is a glorious concoction, somewhere between mythology and pantomime”
“There’s a comic-grotesque brilliance to the show’s visuals that should appeal to children (and others) with a dark sense of humour.”
“inventive and superbly crafted”
“What Simon does so well is to engage the audience from the first moment and then set the pace at an ebb and flow that keeps you gripped throughout.”
“Simon’s crisp, unfussy libretto gives her characters plenty of reasons to sing, and Higgins’ score obliges [with] orchestral music that conjures a distinctive world for Hel to wrap herself up in.”
“well-crafted and lovingly staged”
NOUGHTS & CROSSES – “a dynamic, powerful, compelling show”
Malorie Blackman’s award-winning novel has been adapted for the stage by Pilot Theatre. Featuring a Design by Simon Kenny and Lighting Design by Joshua Drualus Pharo.
“Simon Kenny presents an inventive, versatile and ingenious space. A series of panels morph from walls to apertures to cupboards, folding and unfolding like a paper fortune teller.”
“The genius of the set is enhanced by Joshua Drualus Pharo’s exquisite lighting design. Using neon, direct, mood and sectional lighting, he emphasises the structural qualities of the set and reinforces the modern setting.”
The Stage ★★★★
“sound, and Joshua Drualus Pharo’s lighting come together to create some striking moments: a bomb explosion (Corey Campbell’s movement direction here is remarkable, too), a hanging. Designer Simon Kenny’s wall of TV screens gives the piece a dystopian feel.”
“Richardson’s production tears along in a fiery red box: in a further twist on the play’s refocusing of the way we see things, Simon Kenny has based his design on those infra-red photographs of cities in which all greenery registers as scarlet.”
“a stunning production that has the power to shock.”
“a dynamic, powerful, compelling show”
“a gripping adaptation for Pilot Theatre… skips briskly through the book, streamlining and eliding where necessary but staying close to the blueprint.”
‘A perfect show.’ ★★★★★ FOLLIES returns to the National Theatre
Stephen Sondheim’s FOLLIES returns to the National Theatre to rave reviews across the board, highlighting the outstanding work of MLR Creatives, Nigel Lilley (Music Director and Conductor), Nick Skilbeck (Music Supervisor) and Paule Constable (Lighting Designer.)
‘Cooke’s staging remains one of the most impressive things to have graced the Olivier for some time, making full use of the depth and height of the space; the production as a whole is a majestic undertaking, haunting, emotionally textured and impeccably designed by Vicky Mortimer, and lit, by Paule Constable; bleak, but brilliant.’
‘When Dominic Cooke's production of Stephen Sondheim's Follies first landed on the Olivier stage it scooped up virtually every award going. Now it's back, substantially recast, slightly reworked, and – amazingly – it glistens more brightly than ever.’
‘On Vicki Mortimer's glimmering set, which covers the ruins of a battered old theatre with a glint of remembered magic, filling the dusty chairs and bare walls with the silver and gold of the elaborate Follies costumes, and the tugging loveliness of Paule Constable's shadowy lighting, past and present come together in soul-baring encounters that fracture and then, tentatively, heal broken lives.’
‘This Sondheim revival is a perfect show.’
‘Sondheim's score is nostalgic, familiar; it is as if your own memories are singing for you, and how beautiful they sound. Nigel Lilley's orchestra is in fine form, dishing out hot tunes just as fast as the dancers can catch them.’
'Do not miss this show. It is perfection.'
‘That constant pull between the past and present defines both James Goldman's wonderful impressionistic book and Dominic Cooke's haunting production, with its sets by Vicki Mortimer, lighting by Paule Constable and above all pitch-perfect period choreography by Bill Deamer.’
‘This is a play for our time!’ ★★★★★ Peter Shaffer’s EQUUS Soars
English Touring Theatre’s thrilling new production of Peter Shaffer’s EQUUS, directed by Ned Bennett, has received rave reviews from critics and audiences, performed at Theatre Royal Stratford East before heading out on national tour. Composition and Sound Design by MLR’s Giles Thomas.
‘Tantalisingly situated at a point somewhere between Dysart's feverish nightmare and Alan's guilty orgasm, this is haunting, engrossing theatre. Troubling, rich and riveting, it's a must-see.’
‘Giles Thomas' melancholic, supple music and sound design contribute immeasurably to the uncompromising overall vision.’
The Observer ★★★★★
'You will not see a better production of this grim masterpiece.'
'Everything about the creative vision works. Bennett's direction is as precise and playful as you'd expect, Giles Thomas' sound unnerves you in your seat, and Jessica Hung Han Yun's lighting is exceptional - you could even go as far to say that it's some of the best use of stage lighting I've ever seen.
'It is testament to the unique power of Shaffer’s script, and Bennett’s deft revival, that almost half a century on from its first performance, Equus continues to provoke shivers.'
'What a magnificent evening this is. Director Ned Bennett, in a co-production with English Touring Theatre, revolutionises Peter Shaffer’s can-be-ponderous 1973 modern classic about a disturbed teenager and turns it into an intoxicating event that drips with physicality and theatricality.'
‘Just as the play looks at the futility of putting the square peg of Strang’s mind into the round hole of ‘normal’ society, so Bennett takes this carefully structured, well-written play and tries to make it fit with a visual aesthetic to which it’s not naturally suited – the effect is stark and striking, and really quite brilliant.’
'Directors can also renew a familiar work – which is precisely what Ned Bennett does in his exhilarating staging of Peter Shaffer’s modern classic. I was present at the first performance in 1973 but, without violating the text, Bennett’s production has enabled me to see the play through fresh eyes.'
'Predominantly, though, we are put in the thick of a story that asks whether it is God, shame or repressed sexuality that prompts an extraordinary act. This is Equus with the reins off.'
‘But that's not the only innovation and provocation in Bennett's boldly stripped-back, theatrically intense and focused production. With billowing white curtains surrounding the playing area, it only employs minimal props and set pieces to establish locations and mood, with the help of Jessica Hung Han Yin's piercing (and occasionally blinding) lighting and Giles Thomas's soundscape.’
‘But it's the sheer theatrical excitement of Bennett's vision — sometimes ferociously passionate, sometimes movingly gentle, and, at the first act climax, absolutely billowing with grandeur — that stays with you. Yes, this is a play for our time!’