RSC returning home to the London theatre that was built to its own specifications

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Barbican-Theatre

I’m the first to admit it: I have a theatre addiction. But it is at least an addiction that I work at and make work for me (in every sense, medications including financially) to give my life shape and meaning. At its best, page it fills the existential hole that we all have to face. (Sometimes, of course, it opens up a chasm, too; just see me after a run of bad shows!)

I’m going to take stock here at least once a week — on the week that’s just gone, and the week to come. By the end of tonight, I’ll have seen ten shows this week — it would have been eleven, but I decided to take this afternoon off! Not all of them, I hasten to add, are for reviewing purposes; sometimes I play ‘catch up’, sometimes I see things purely for pleasure (yes, imagine that — a critic who actually enjoys the theatre enough to go for his own entertainment!)
Rob-RockikiMy count this week has included two cabarets (one of a new New York singer-songwriter called Rob Rokicki, pictured left, who I’d never heard of before I was invited to hear him at the Bridewell, but has been developing a number of fresh-sounding musicals off-Broadway; the other of Broadway veteran Charles Strouse tonight at the Pheasantry, joined by Bonnie Langford) and four musicals (the brand-new The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole 13 3/4 at Leicester’s Curve; the current touring production of Calamity Jane at Wimbledon Theatre; the pie-shop Sweeney Todd, transposed from Tooting to Shaftesbury Avenue; and a return trip to the Union’s production of Loserville on its last night).

I also saw four plays: the fringe UK premiere of the late Snoo Wilson’s lovesong-of-the-electric-bearLovesong of the Electric Bear at Islington’s Hope Theatre that I’d never been to before; the UK premiere of two American plays, Buyer and Cellar at the Menier Chocolate Factory that I’d first seen in New York in its original Off-Broadway run, and The Royale at the Bush; and a new production of Strindberg’s The Father at Trafalgar Studios 2).

That’s a fairly eclectic bunch of shows. I also wished I’d been able to squeeze in the premiere of the late Robert Holman’s Breakfast of Eels that opened at the Print Room on Friday, and the 20th anniversary production of Trainspotting that was brought from last year’s Edinburgh Fringe to the King’s Head, where it also opened on Friday. I also wish I’d gone to the last night of Once last night, as my friend Bill Rosenfield did — he paid £32.50 to watch it from a standing position at the back of the upper circle, which strikes me as a steep fee (in every sense), but at least he was there!

I, too, splashed out when I was in New York over Christmas to see the last performance of a favourite show Pippin, but was glad to have been there; it coincidentally was the same day as Once closed on Broadway, too, but I opted to be at Pippin. And last night I opted to be at Loserville’s last night at the Union, just as I’d been at Loserville’s last night at the Garrick a few years ago. It was a pleasure to see this bright, energised production again, especially as the first time I saw it at the Union there was a long delay to the start of the performance owing to a problem with the lighting deck, which then malfunctioned for much of the first act.

You can’t, as I always say, see everything — though clearly I try!

This coming week, I’m going to see a more sedate six shows, including two Donmar repeats: I’m going back to the West End transfer of My Night with Reg on Friday afternoon to see the understudy performance, at the invitation of one of the cast; and back to the Donmar on Saturday afternoon for Closer so that my husband can see this terrific production of a terrific play for the first time, and I can enjoy it without the pressure of having to review it afterwards!

But I’m also looking forward to two trips to the National — one to see the premiere of Sam Holcroft’s Rules for Living on Tuesday; and then on Friday to see Nick Hytner’s public send-off in a a platform performanceNicholasHytner, followed by a private backstage party I’ve also been invited to. I’m also going to the Barbican Centre’s annual press launch of its next year’s season on Wednesday, followed by staying to catch Ivo van Hove’s Antigone with Juliette Binoche that I missed the opening of earlier this month when I was in New York. And I’m also seeing two musicals this week: a rare London revival for Gilbert and Sullivan’s Princess Ida at the Finborough on Thursday, and back to the Union on Saturday for the revival of another more recent British musical Spend Spend Spend.

Hope you, too, have a great week ahead!
I’m the first to admit it: I have a theatre addiction. But it is at least an addiction that I work at and make work for me (in every sense, viagra order including financially) to give my life shape and meaning. At its best, drug it fills the existential hole that we all have to face. (Sometimes, find of course, it opens up a chasm, too; just see me after a run of bad shows!)

I’m going to take stock here at least once a week — on the week that’s just gone, and the week to come. By the end of tonight, I’ll have seen ten shows this week — it would have been eleven, but I decided to take this afternoon off! Not all of them, I hasten to add, are for reviewing purposes; sometimes I play ‘catch up’, sometimes I see things purely for pleasure (yes, imagine that — a critic who actually enjoys the theatre enough to go for his own entertainment!)
Rob-Rockiki

My count this week has included two cabarets (one of an engaging – and cute! – new New York singer-songwriter called Rob Rokicki, pictured left, who I’d never heard of before I was invited to hear him at the Bridewell, but has been developing a number of fresh-sounding musicals off-Broadway; the other of Broadway veteran Charles Strouse tonight at the Pheasantry, joined by Bonnie Langford) and four musicals (the brand-new The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole 13 3/4 at Leicester’s Curve; the current touring production of Calamity Jane at Wimbledon Theatre; the pie-shop Sweeney Todd, transposed from Tooting to Shaftesbury Avenue; and a return trip to the Union’s production of Loserville on its last night).

I also saw four plays: Matthew Parker’s terrific fringe UK premiere of the late Snoo Wilson’s lovesong-of-the-electric-bearLovesong of the Electric Bear (pictured left), that re-tells Alan Turing’s story in a surreal way, at Islington’s Hope Theatre that I’d never been to before; the UK premiere of two American plays, Buyer and Cellar at the Menier Chocolate Factory that I’d first seen in New York in its original Off-Broadway run, and The Royale at the Bush; and a new production of Strindberg’s The Father at Trafalgar Studios 2).

That’s a fairly eclectic bunch of shows. I also wished I’d been able to squeeze in the premiere of the late Robert Holman’s Breakfast of Eels that opened at the Print Room on Friday, and the 20th anniversary production of Trainspotting that was brought from last year’s Edinburgh Fringe to the King’s Head, where it also opened on Friday. I also wish I’d gone to the last night of Once last night, as my friend Bill Rosenfield did — he paid £32.50 to watch it from a standing position at the back of the upper circle, which strikes me as a steep fee (in every sense), but at least he was there!

I, too, splashed out when I was in New York over Christmas to see the last performance of a favourite show Pippin, but was glad to have been there; it coincidentally was the same day as Once closed on Broadway, too, but I opted to be at Pippin. And last night I opted to be at Loserville’s last night at the Union, just as I’d been at Loserville’s last night at the Garrick a few years ago. It was a pleasure to see this bright, energised production again, especially as the first time I saw it at the Union there was a long delay to the start of the performance owing to a problem with the lighting deck, which then malfunctioned for much of the first act.

You can’t, as I always say, see everything — though clearly I try!

This coming week, I’m going to see a more sedate six shows, including two Donmar repeats: I’m going back to the West End transfer of My Night with Reg on Friday afternoon to see the understudy performance, at the invitation of one of the cast; and back to the Donmar on Saturday afternoon for Closer so that my husband can see this terrific production of a terrific play for the first time, and I can enjoy it without the pressure of having to review it afterwards!

But I’m also looking forward to two trips to the National — one to see the premiere of Sam Holcroft’s Rules for Living on Tuesday; and then on Friday to see Nick Hytner’s public send-off in a a platform performanceNicholasHytner, followed by a private backstage party I’ve also been invited to. I’m also going to the Barbican Centre’s annual press launch of its next year’s season on Wednesday, followed by staying to catch Ivo van Hove’s Antigone with Juliette Binoche that I missed the opening of earlier this month when I was in New York. And I’m also seeing two musicals this week: a rare London revival for Gilbert and Sullivan’s Princess Ida at the Finborough on Thursday, and back to the Union on Saturday for the revival of another more recent British musical Spend Spend Spend.

Hope you, too, have a great week ahead!
I’m the first to admit it: I have a theatre addiction. But it is at least an addiction that I work at and make work for me (in every sense, information pills including financially) to give my life shape and meaning. At its best, more about it fills the existential hole that we all have to face. (Sometimes, approved of course, it opens up a chasm, too; just see me after a run of bad shows!)

I’m going to take stock here at least once a week — on the week that’s just gone, and the week to come. By the end of tonight, I’ll have seen ten shows this week — it would have been eleven, but I decided to take this afternoon off! Not all of them, I hasten to add, are for reviewing purposes; sometimes I play ‘catch up’, sometimes I see things purely for pleasure (yes, imagine that — a critic who actually enjoys the theatre enough to go for his own entertainment!)
Rob-Rockiki

My count this week has included two cabarets (one of an engaging – and cute! – new New York singer-songwriter called Rob Rokicki, pictured left, who I’d never heard of before I was invited to hear him at the Bridewell, but has been developing a number of fresh-sounding musicals off-Broadway; the other of Broadway veteran Charles Strouse tonight at the Pheasantry, joined by Bonnie Langford) and four musicals (the brand-new The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole 13 3/4 at Leicester’s Curve, reviewed by me for The Stage here; the current touring production of Calamity Jane at Wimbledon Theatre; the pie-shop Sweeney Todd, transposed from Tooting to Shaftesbury Avenue; and a return trip to the Union’s production of Loserville on its last night).

I also saw four plays: Matthew Parker’s terrific fringe UK premiere of the late Snoo Wilson’s lovesong-of-the-electric-bearLovesong of the Electric Bear (pictured left), that re-tells Alan Turing’s story in a surreal way, at Islington’s Hope Theatre that I’d never been to before; the UK premiere of two American plays, Buyer and Cellar at the Menier Chocolate Factory that I’d first seen in New York in its original Off-Broadway run and is reviewed by me for The Stage here, and The Royale at the Bush; and a new production of Strindberg’s The Father at Trafalgar Studios 2).

That’s a fairly eclectic bunch of shows. I also wished I’d been able to squeeze in the premiere of the late Robert Holman’s Breakfast of Eels that opened at the Print Room on Friday, and the 20th anniversary production of Trainspotting that was brought from last year’s Edinburgh Fringe to the King’s Head, where it also opened on Friday. I also wish I’d gone to the last night of Once last night, as my friend Bill Rosenfield did — he paid £32.50 to watch it from a standing position at the back of the upper circle, which strikes me as a steep fee (in every sense), but at least he was there!

I, too, splashed out when I was in New York over Christmas to see the last performance of a favourite show Pippin, but was glad to have been there; it coincidentally was the same day as Once closed on Broadway, too, but I opted to be at Pippin. And last night I opted to be at Loserville’s last night at the Union, just as I’d been at Loserville’s last night at the Garrick a few years ago. It was a pleasure to see this bright, energised production again, especially as the first time I saw it at the Union there was a long delay to the start of the performance owing to a problem with the lighting deck, which then malfunctioned for much of the first act.

You can’t, as I always say, see everything — though clearly I try!

This coming week, I’m going to see a more sedate six shows, including two Donmar repeats: I’m going back to the West End transfer of My Night with Reg on Friday afternoon to see the understudy performance, at the invitation of one of the cast; and back to the Donmar on Saturday afternoon for Closer so that my husband can see this terrific production of a terrific play for the first time, and I can enjoy it without the pressure of having to review it afterwards!

But I’m also looking forward to two trips to the National — one to see the premiere of Sam Holcroft’s Rules for Living on Tuesday; and then on Friday to see Nick Hytner’s public send-off in a a platform performanceNicholasHytner, followed by a private backstage party I’ve also been invited to. I’m also going to the Barbican Centre’s annual press launch of its next year’s season on Wednesday, followed by staying to catch Ivo van Hove’s Antigone with Juliette Binoche that I missed the opening of earlier this month when I was in New York. And I’m also seeing two musicals this week: a rare London revival for Gilbert and Sullivan’s Princess Ida at the Finborough on Thursday, and back to the Union on Saturday for the revival of another more recent British musical Spend Spend Spend.

Hope you, too, have a great week ahead!
I’m the first to admit it: I have a theatre addiction. But it is at least an addiction that I work at and make work for me (in every sense, nurse including financially) to give my life shape and meaning. At its best, more about it fills the existential hole that we all have to face. (Sometimes, of course, it opens up a chasm, too; just see me after a run of bad shows!)

I’m going to take stock here at least once a week — on the week that’s just gone, and the week to come. By the end of tonight, I’ll have seen ten shows this week — it would have been eleven, but I decided to take this afternoon off! Not all of them, I hasten to add, are for reviewing purposes; sometimes I play ‘catch up’, sometimes I see things purely for pleasure (yes, imagine that — a critic who actually enjoys the theatre enough to go for his own entertainment!)
Rob-Rockiki

My count this week has included two cabarets (one of an engaging – and cute! – new New York singer-songwriter called Rob Rokicki, pictured left, who I’d never heard of before I was invited to hear him at the Bridewell, but has been developing a number of fresh-sounding musicals off-Broadway; the other of Broadway veteran Charles Strouse tonight at the Pheasantry, joined by Bonnie Langford) and four musicals (the brand-new The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole 13¾ at Leicester’s Curve, reviewed by me for The Stage here; the current touring production of Calamity Jane at Wimbledon Theatre; the pie-shop Sweeney Todd, transposed from Tooting to Shaftesbury Avenue; and a return trip to the Union’s production of Loserville on its last night).

I also saw four plays: Matthew Parker’s terrific fringe UK premiere of the late Snoo Wilson’s lovesong-of-the-electric-bearLovesong of the Electric Bear (pictured left), that re-tells Alan Turing’s story in a surreal way, at Islington’s Hope Theatre that I’d never been to before; the UK premiere of two American plays, Buyer and Cellar at the Menier Chocolate Factory that I’d first seen in New York in its original Off-Broadway run and is reviewed by me for The Stage here, and The Royale at the Bush; and a new production of Strindberg’s The Father at Trafalgar Studios 2).

That’s a fairly eclectic bunch of shows. I also wished I’d been able to squeeze in the premiere of the late Robert Holman’s Breakfast of Eels that opened at the Print Room on Friday, and the 20th anniversary production of Trainspotting that was brought from last year’s Edinburgh Fringe to the King’s Head, where it also opened on Friday. I also wish I’d gone to the last night of Once last night, as my friend Bill Rosenfield did — he paid £32.50 to watch it from a standing position at the back of the upper circle, which strikes me as a steep fee (in every sense), but at least he was there!

I, too, splashed out when I was in New York over Christmas to see the last performance of a favourite show Pippin, but was glad to have been there; it coincidentally was the same day as Once closed on Broadway, too, but I opted to be at Pippin. And last night I opted to be at Loserville’s last night at the Union, just as I’d been at Loserville’s last night at the Garrick a few years ago. It was a pleasure to see this bright, energised production again, especially as the first time I saw it at the Union there was a long delay to the start of the performance owing to a problem with the lighting deck, which then malfunctioned for much of the first act.

You can’t, as I always say, see everything — though clearly I try!

This coming week, I’m going to see a more sedate six shows, including two Donmar repeats: I’m going back to the West End transfer of My Night with Reg on Friday afternoon to see the understudy performance, at the invitation of one of the cast; and back to the Donmar on Saturday afternoon for Closer so that my husband can see this terrific production of a terrific play for the first time, and I can enjoy it without the pressure of having to review it afterwards!

But I’m also looking forward to two trips to the National — one to see the premiere of Sam Holcroft’s Rules for Living on Tuesday; and then on Friday to see Nick Hytner’s public send-off in a a platform performanceNicholasHytner, followed by a private backstage party I’ve also been invited to. I’m also going to the Barbican Centre’s annual press launch of its next year’s season on Wednesday, followed by staying to catch Ivo van Hove’s Antigone with Juliette Binoche that I missed the opening of earlier this month when I was in New York. And I’m also seeing two musicals this week: a rare London revival for Gilbert and Sullivan’s Princess Ida at the Finborough on Thursday, and back to the Union on Saturday for the revival of another more recent British musical Spend Spend Spend.

Hope you, too, have a great week ahead!
I’m the first to admit it: I have a theatre addiction. But it is at least an addiction that I work at and make work for me (in every sense, this including financially) to give my life shape and meaning. At its best, tadalafil it fills the existential hole that we all have to face. (Sometimes, pills of course, it opens up a chasm, too; just see me after a run of bad shows!)

I’m going to take stock here at least once a week — on the week that’s just gone, and the week to come. By the end of tonight, I’ll have seen ten shows this week — it would have been eleven, but I decided to take this afternoon off! Not all of them, I hasten to add, are for reviewing purposes; sometimes I play ‘catch up’, sometimes I see things purely for pleasure (yes, imagine that — a critic who actually enjoys the theatre enough to go for his own entertainment!)
Rob-Rockiki

My count this week has included two cabarets (one of an engaging – and cute! – new New York singer-songwriter called Rob Rokicki, pictured left, who I’d never heard of before I was invited to hear him at the Bridewell, but has been developing a number of fresh-sounding musicals off-Broadway; the other of Broadway veteran Charles Strouse tonight at the Pheasantry, joined by Bonnie Langford) and four musicals (the brand-new The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole 13¾ at Leicester’s Curve, reviewed by me for The Stage here; the current touring production of Calamity Jane at Wimbledon Theatre; the pie-shop Sweeney Todd, transposed from Tooting to Shaftesbury Avenue; and a return trip to the Union’s production of Loserville on its last night).

I also saw four plays: Matthew Parker’s terrific fringe UK premiere of the late Snoo Wilson’s lovesong-of-the-electric-bearLovesong of the Electric Bear (pictured left), that re-tells Alan Turing’s story in a surreal way, at Islington’s Hope Theatre that I’d never been to before; the UK premiere of two American plays, Buyer and Cellar at the Menier Chocolate Factory that I’d first seen in New York in its original Off-Broadway run and is reviewed by me for The Stage here, and The Royale at the Bush; and a new production of Strindberg’s The Father at Trafalgar Studios 2).

That’s a fairly eclectic bunch of shows. I also wished I’d been able to squeeze in the premiere of Robert Holman’s Breakfast of Eels that opened at the Print Room on Friday, and the 20th anniversary production of Trainspotting that was brought from last year’s Edinburgh Fringe to the King’s Head, where it also opened on Friday. I also wish I’d gone to the last night of Once last night, as my friend Bill Rosenfield did — he paid £32.50 to watch it from a standing position at the back of the upper circle, which strikes me as a steep fee (in every sense), but at least he was there!

I, too, splashed out when I was in New York over Christmas to see the last performance of a favourite show Pippin, but was glad to have been there; it coincidentally was the same day as Once closed on Broadway, too, but I opted to be at Pippin. And last night I opted to be at Loserville’s last night at the Union, just as I’d been at Loserville’s last night at the Garrick a few years ago. It was a pleasure to see this bright, energised production again, especially as the first time I saw it at the Union there was a long delay to the start of the performance owing to a problem with the lighting deck, which then malfunctioned for much of the first act.

You can’t, as I always say, see everything — though clearly I try!

This coming week, I’m going to see a more sedate six shows, including two Donmar repeats: I’m going back to the West End transfer of My Night with Reg on Friday afternoon to see the understudy performance, at the invitation of one of the cast; and back to the Donmar on Saturday afternoon for Closer so that my husband can see this terrific production of a terrific play for the first time, and I can enjoy it without the pressure of having to review it afterwards!

But I’m also looking forward to two trips to the National — one to see the premiere of Sam Holcroft’s Rules for Living on Tuesday; and then on Friday to see Nick Hytner’s public send-off in a a platform performanceNicholasHytner, followed by a private backstage party I’ve also been invited to. I’m also going to the Barbican Centre’s annual press launch of its next year’s season on Wednesday, followed by staying to catch Ivo van Hove’s Antigone with Juliette Binoche that I missed the opening of earlier this month when I was in New York. And I’m also seeing two musicals this week: a rare London revival for Gilbert and Sullivan’s Princess Ida at the Finborough on Thursday, and back to the Union on Saturday for the revival of another more recent British musical Spend Spend Spend.

Hope you, too, have a great week ahead!
When the Barbican Centre first opened in 1982, viagra sale one of its first resident companies was the Royal Shakespeare Company, who gave up their beloved West End addresses at the Aldwych and Donmar Warehouse to move there. The Barbican’s two theatre spaces that replaced them — the mainhouse Barbican Theatre and Pit respectively — were built specifically to and for the RSC’s specifications.

So it was hugely surprising, not to say foolhardy, when then artistic director Adrian Noble suddenly decided to withdraw the company from the building entirely in 2002, and become a company that peripatetically roamed all over the capital, hiring theatres as it needed them from the Noel Coward and Novello to the Roundhouse. It did particularly impressive work in reconfiguring the Roundhouse as a bespoke space for itself, but the company’s lack of a permanent presence in London damaged it greatly.

In 2013, incoming artistic director Gregory Doran brought the company back to the Barbican for the first time, to host the London sell-out transfer David Tennant’s Richard II; last year, he followed it by moving his own productions of Henry IV Parts 1 and II there, too. Now it has been announced that the RSC is to make the Barbican its London base for the next five years.

Which brings it full circle. But the Barbican, far from going into artistic retreat after the RSC’s exit, embraced the challenge and has instead set itself up as London’s foremost home of international collaborations and co-productions, and is one of the most essential theatrical addresses in London these days, along with the Young Vic. And now, we’re going to get the best of both worlds, I hope, with the RSC appearing there alongside such international visitors as Robert Lepage, Complicite and Ivo van Hove making work for it.

antigone
Last night I belatedly caught van Hove’s mesmerisingly intense production of Antigone there. It’s a stately but quietly enthralling modern take on the Greek tragedy that at times plays with the brooding, maxed-out intensity of a Sam Shepard play. The only pity is that Juliette Binoche is so shrill. The billowing smock she wore was admittedly stylish, but I kept thinking: bring back Fiona Shaw, all is forgiven!