That Was the Week That Was (July 4-10)

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The week’s theatre new, reviews, birthdays and more in tweets from London, the regions and Broadway

With so-called “Freedom Day” looming a week tomorrow, when all legal social distancing requirements will end and everyday preventative measures against spreading COVID will become a matter of “personal choice”, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that we’ll gain any freedom at all from a virus that has other plans, even if our libertarian-influenced government doesn’t see the need to protect us any longer. (You can follow the week’s dispiriting unfolding commentary on this in the COVID News tweets of the week section below).

Julian Bird, chief executive of SOLT and UK Theatre and therefore the figurehead charged with advancing the interests of the majority of live entertainment venues (that are members of those organisations) up and down the country from the West End to Windsor, Wolverhampton and Woking, called Boris Johnson’s initial announcement of the lifting of those restrictions “a lifeline” to the industry; but it is, as I previously asked out aloud, looking like it could be its death knell.

Sonia Friedman (pictured above) has also this week warned, as I wrote here, that the commercial sector is “basically on its last legs.”

And as production after production, from the killing of kyle jenner at the Royal Court to Hairspray at the Coliseum, has had to suspend extended periods of performances owing to members of the company being exposed to COVID, the industry is being thrown into chaos daily. After a series of press performances that ended on Friday evening, reviews appeared yesterday for the Globe’s new Romeo and Juliet — and then yesterday’s matinee had to be cancelled.

And it’s not just theatres being affected. Last night I received this e-mail from TFL:

What’s going to happen by the time ‘Freedom Day” arrives? We may be “free”…. but will we be able to actually get anywhere?

Yet Andrew Lloyd Webber, who has been more determined that any other producer to get the show back in the road — mainly because it affects his own new musical Cinderella, currently previewing at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, which he is opening at full capacity from July 19 and is now billing that day’s show as a “Freedom Day” performance to benefit charity.

But according to a story in The Guardian yesterday, with the UK reporting 35,707 new COVID cases on Friday, Johnson “may tone down ‘freedom’ rhetoric amid reopening jitters.”

According to the story,

“Public polling carried out by Ipsos Mori for the Economist suggested high support for continuing some restrictions in the short term, with 70% of people saying compulsory mask-wearing in shops and on public transport should continue for at least a month after 19 July, and 66% saying the same for social distancing at venues such as pubs and theatres.”

And if two thirds of the public don’t want it, who thinks that the pubs and theatres that re-open without social distancing will even attract an audience?

MY COLUMNS AND REVIEWS OF THE WEEK

Sunday July 4

Monday July 5

Wednesday July 7

Friday July 9

REVIEWS AND REVIEW TWEETS OF THE WEEK

MY REVIEWS:

  • Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella (New London Theatre):

Firstly, not a review at all — as I was attending an early preview on my own steam…..

  • Be More Chill (Shaftesbury Theatre):

MY REVIEW: (also including Heathers at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket):
http://shentonstage.com/reviews-be-more-chill-heathers/

  • ROMEO & JULIET (Shakespeare’s Globe)
  • Pippin (Charing Cross Theatre):

MY REVIEW: https://twitter.com/ShentonStage/status/1413106621438386181?s=20

  • Out West (Lyric Hammersmith):

OTHER REVIEW COLUMNS:

LONDON HEADLINES OF THE WEEK

UPDATED MONDAY:

REGIONAL/ TOURING AND FESTIVAL HEADLINES OF THE WEEK

BROADWAY HEADLINES OF THE WEEK

CINEMA/STREAMING/ONLINE NEWS OF THE WEEK

COVID NEWS TWEETS OF THE WEEK

THEATRE BIRTHDAYS OF THE WEEK

  • JULY 4:
  • JULY 5:
  • JULY 6:
  • JULY 7:


  • JULY 8:
  • JULY 9:
  • JULY 10:

AND FINALLY, SOME FUN OR CONTROVERSIAL TWEETS (BEYOND COVID) TWEETS OF THE WEEK

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