16 October 2019

Kirsty Housley Directs ★★★★★ MEPHISTO [A RHAPSODY] at The Gate

Read More On: Kirsty Housley

Kirsty Housley Directs ★★★★★ MEPHISTO [A RHAPSODY] at The Gate

Kirsty Housley's production of Mephisto: A Rhapsody at the Gate Theatre has been a huge success with audiences and critics. 

★★★★★ The Observer 

‘This bracing show has been translated by Chris Campbell and tailored for an English-speaking audience by the remarkable Kirsty Housley (she describes herself as a theatre maker rather than a director). Her work fizzes with ideas (look out for her ingeniously stylised take on how to use stage blood). Serious without being worthy, the play is excruciatingly pertinent – especially in its exploration of nationalistic feeling.’  

★★★★★ The Spy in the Stalls 

 ‘Mephisto [A Rhapsody]’ is something special. Radical, bold, political, funny, scary, shocking, moving – a truly transformational night at the theatre. 

★★★★ The Times

'Kirsty Housley’s ravishingly good production turns into a kind of avant-garde fantasia deluxe [...] an exquisitely staged nightmare.' 

★★★★ Broadway World

'The cautionary tale on the repetition of history turns into a complex and multilayered piece of theatre with Kirsty Housley's direction.' 

★★★★ The Evening Standard

'It's a high-octane production from Kirsty Housley, who is already a must-see director.' 

The Stage 

‘Housley’s slightly heightened, headily intense direction has a palpable vein of fury and terror which runs just under the surface.' 

Whats On Stage

Director Kirsty Housley delivers a juicy mix of satire and sincere worry – keeping the piece fast, heady and consistently watchable. 

03 October 2019

Roy Alexander Weise Directs the 'Elegant and Nimble' MASTER HAROLD AND THE BOYS at the NT

Roy Alexander Weise Directs the 'Elegant and Nimble' MASTER HAROLD AND THE BOYS at the NT

Roy Alexander Weise’s production of Athol Fugard’s MASTER HAROLD AND THE BOYS is earning standing ovations from National Theatre audiences night after night and has been widely praised by the critics. Designed by MLR's Rajha Shakiry, Lighting Design by Paule Constable and Sound Design by Giles Thomas. 

Lyn Gardner via Stagedoor 

‘It’s like watching a rocket go whoosh. It makes you lean back in your seat from the heat and the rush and the glow lingers to the very end.’ 

‘Exquisitely designed by Rajha Shakiry.’

‘We see the lingering consequences in the scorched image of two men dancing in the dark.’ 

The Stage ★★★★

‘Director Roy Alexander Weise – and Fugard – are saving their skill for the climax. Fugard’s mastery of structure becomes very clear, as does the reason behind Weise’s decision to sit back and let the words do the work.’ 

‘It’s dancing that brings choreography to chaos, and Weise treads the line between the two with care and skill in order to best serve Fugard’s point: that all souls moulder under the inhumanity of a system like Apartheid.’ 

The Telegraph ★★★★ 

‘Roy Alexander Weise’s exemplary production opens to Ella Fitzgerald’s Tenderly, as afternoon rain patters down on the large skylight looming over a stylishly realised tea-room, complete with faded Coca Cola ad and jukebox.’

‘What happens next isn’t just theatrically compelling, it’s absolutely spellbinding in its simple affirmation of the need for humanity to declare itself at the bleakest moments.’

Whats On Stage ★★★★

‘It's a classic example of a play where a single room – in this case, a tea shop in Port Elizabeth, beautifully evoked with a rain-soaked skylight and a pattern of wooden tables designed by Rajha Shakiry – stands for an entire world.’   

‘Director Roy Alexander Weise modulates the mood on a pinhead; each beat of the changing moods is wonderfully caught, through early joshing, to deep pain, to its final, emotional conclusion.’

The Times ★★★★ 

‘Roy Alexander Weise’s production is as elegant and nimble as the foxtrot that Sam is teaching Willie (hats off to the choreographer Shelley Maxwell). Like Willie it can be a bit slow and it doesn’t always get the steps right, but when it does it is a thing of beauty.’

Broadway World ★★★★

‘Roy Alexander Weise makes some excellent choices in his powerful revival, not least emphasising the idea of ballroom dancing as a vision for a world free from conflict, and where men like Sam and Willie can have grace, beauty and aspiration - dancing centre stage in all their finery instead of clearing up their master's messes in dark corners.’  

‘Rajha Shakiry's exquisite design - featuring a period tearoom with glass-fronted counter, faded Coke sign and rain pattering rhythmically on the skylight - opens up beautifully at the climax for a romantic, hopeful vision.’ 

16 September 2019

HENRY V strikes the right notes

Read More On: Gemma Fairlie

HENRY V strikes the right notes

Directed by MLR’s Gemma Fairlie, HENRY V opened at the award-winning, pop-up Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre in York.

British Theatre Guide

“Henry V [is] a play that manages to be both pro- and anti-war, celebrating its victories whilst also lamenting its costs… Gemma Fairlie’s well-directed production manages to strike the right note of ambivalence.”

“This is a traditional yet compelling production of a well-known play that makes good use of the theatrical space.”

York Press

“Hair boyishly cropped, voice full of sinew, shoulders back, stride purposeful, Bain’s Henry has the rallying demeanour, the sense of authority, while bearing the weight of responsibility when leading an outnumbered nation against the cock-crowing French”

10 September 2019

FOR SERVICES RENDERED in “deliciously haunting production”

Read More On: Tom Littler

FOR SERVICES RENDERED in “deliciously haunting production”

Jermyn Street Theatre’s Artistic Director Tom Littler directs Somerset Maugham’s famous 1932 anti-war play, marking the 25th birthday of the venue.

The Spy in the Stalls ★★★★★

“Direction by Tom Littler is subtle… in doing so, he allows the mounting frustration to moulder into angst and finally to a very English version of hysteria. We feel we are watching England decline before us in real time. A deliciously haunting production from a plucky and dedicated theatre celebrating its 25th anniversary.”

The Reviews Hub ★★★★

“The numerous drama plots that resolve within an hour and a half are brilliantly handled.”

“The cast’s flow and chemistry complemented by the Al Johnson background soundtrack during the interval helps present this difficult period in a beautiful way.”

ReviewsGate ★★★★

The Stage

“Director Tom Littler’s staging of the work is a slight but sweet affair… a well-performed and immaculately costumed performance of an interesting play, whose anti-war message was ahead of its time.”

10 September 2019

TORCH SONG shines brightly at new Turbine Theatre

Read More On: James Whiteside

TORCH SONG shines brightly at new Turbine Theatre

Harvey Fierstein’s seminal gay-play features a lighting design by James Whiteside, and opened the brand new Turbine Theatre at Battersea Power Station.

London Box Office ★★★★★

“Directed with fluidity and flair… Bravo to The Turbine Theatre and Company for giving us such a warm and enjoyable production”

WhatsOnStage ★★★★

“engaging, engrossing… in the presence of something special.”

Time Out ★★★★

“The cast beautifully sell Fierstein’s deep dive into the fragile but enduring spark of love… resonates powerfully into the twenty-first century.”

Pocket Size Theatre ★★★★

“The small acting space is very effectively used… Lighting Designer James Whiteside's lighting also enhances the setting especially in the nightclub scenes.”

The Arts Desk ★★★★

The Express ★★★★

The Stage

“The play contains an array of richly defined characters and well-judged performances… The emotional fireworks explode in all the right places and there’s an elegance to much of the staging.”