Richard Armitage and Amy Ryan in rehearsal
Richard Armitage and Amy Ryan in rehearsal

Coming to New York ComicCon and looking for something to do in the evenings? Well, after you have been to TORn’s party on Thursday night, why not go and see Thorin himself on stage?

Richard Armitage is starring in Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Love, Love, Love. Written by Mike Bartlett and directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer, this new play is part of Roundabout’s 50th anniversary season. Their press release tells us:

‘It’s the late 1960s in a north London flat, and Henry is excitedly anticipating the arrival of his date, Sandra. The night changes course when Sandra and Henry’s brother Kenneth quickly realize how much they have in common—their love of Rock and Roll and their love of marijuana, for starters. A fiery relationship is sparked in the haze of the 60s, and charred by today’s brutal realities. Fast forward twenty-three years, and the economy and politics of an ever-changing world are wearing on the marriage of this baby boomer couple. Can they remain faithful to each other while trying to provide a loving and supportive home for their children—children who are growing up in a time when the next generation is not always provided for? Spanning more than four decades, this dark comedy is the story of what happens when the free-loving teens of the 60s face the harsh realities of today’s world. From passion to paranoia, Love, Love, Love takes on the baby boomer generation as it retires, and finds it full of trouble.’

Love, Love, Love is currently in previews, and the limited run goes until December 18th. It’s on at the Laura Pels Theatre, at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre in Manhattan. You can purchase tickets here.

The Dukes The HobbitBetween now and August 13, The Dukes theater in Lancashire, U.K.,  will be performing J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit as their summer season’s ‘walkabout’ outdoor show. The audience will literally follow along as Bilbo Baggins joins Gandalf, Thorin, and his company of dwarves on their mission, quest, thing, to regain their long-lost treasure from the dragon Smaug.  From the Westmorland Gazette:

Since 1987, The Dukes walkabout shows have transformed Williamson Park into Neverland, Oz, Ancient Greece and now Middle Earth.

“I feel like the park chose The Hobbit,” explained The Dukes artistic director, Joe Sumsion. “There are some shows – and this is one of them – where people’s instant reaction is to say that will be great in the park. It’s the natural environment for it. The strongest elements in the book are its humour and charm. We plan to capture this, offering an intimate experience where the audience can get really close to all these fascinating characters and creatures.”

According to the Gazette article, there’s also a Lord the The Rings and The Hobbit movie connection in that Andy Serkis began his professional acting career at The Dukes, performing in its first outdoor performance in 1987. Performances of The Hobbit are at 7:15 p.m. nightly except for Sundays. Visit The Dukes website for more information and to purchase tickets.

 

RA CrucibleRichard Armitage was a very busy man this week in London! Not only was he on the red carpet and at press junkets for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies; he also attended a party celebrating the release of the big screen version of the Old Vic’s production of The Crucible.

Armitage starred last summer as John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s play. The production was filmed, and has been shown at cinemas in the UK and Ireland on Dec 4th – and will screen again on Monday 7th Dec. Future presentations are planned; you can check back for dates at the Crucible on Screen website, here – where you can also access an exclusive interview with Armitage.

 

 

saxon courtWe mentioned last week that actor Adam Brown (aka Ori) is currently appearing in the new play Saxon Court, a production by Made by Brick at the Southwark Playhouse in London. Staffer greendragon went along to see the show in preview, and brings us this review:

Southwark Playhouse, just a few minutes’ walk from the Elephant and Castle tube station, is a fascinating place with a characterful, cosy lobby/bar, and two studio theatre performance spaces, known as ‘The Large’ and ‘The Little’. Emerging playwright Daniel Andersen’s Saxon Court is being presented in The Little. The production, directed by Melanie Spencer, makes skilful use of the intimate space, turning the black box into a workplace, with simply an area on the walls stage right and stage left painted grey to frame the stage. The show tells the tale of a typical London office, on the day of the Christmas party in 2011, at the height of the financial crisis. Things are not going well and someone is likely to get fired – but who will it be?

This is listed as a ’16+’ production, and deservedly so – the folks in this office are as raucous, vulgar and boozy as one might expect on party day! Joey and Nat are the older hands in the office, constantly teasing newcomer Noel; receptionist Tash has recently been off for some ‘surgery’ (and it’s fairly obvious from the moment she enters what her procedure might have been!); they all answer to boss Donna, who is harsh, driven and ruthless.

Adam Brown plays Mervyn (unfairly referred to throughout as ‘Ugly Mervyn’!), an employee from another office who is summoned to meet with Donna. Though Brown has the smallest role to play, his performance is one of the strongest. His Mervyn is funny, gauche, annoying (and, it turns out, as mean as everyone else!); and yet at the moment when he realizes he might be fired, we are given a glimpse of touching poignancy, before the comedy returns.

Actors John Pickard (Joey) and Debra Baker (Donna) also give strong performances. The play is very funny; the almost full house on the night I attended rang with loud and frequent laughter. Andersen clearly knows office worker ‘types’ – I’m pretty sure I’ve temped in this office, with the wine-swigging receptionist dressed up to the nines for the Christmas party. His characters are well-drawn, all hiding – and gradually revealing – insecurities, vulnerabilities and flaws.

My only criticism of the evening was that I was left somehow dissatisfied. We’d spent the past couple of hours watching these people be caustic and despicable; I would have liked to have seen some sense of a journey, of an imminent change or a lesson learned. Furthermore, the play looks at an office in crisis, but fails to give much insight into the wider city (and world) in financial crisis at that time. Instead, the script seems rather superficial; I felt that this office would continue much the same the next day, albeit minus an employee. But perhaps that is part of the point: life goes on, staff and crises come and go, but there will always be offices with snarky workers and drunken, regrettable Christmas parties.

Definitely not a family show – heed the 16+ guideline! But if you fancy a biting, funny antidote to Christmas schmaltz, then Saxon Court is well worth seeing. It runs at Southwark Playhouse until December 13th; click here for showtimes and tickets.

 

Adam_BrownOur favourite scribe dwarf Ori, aka actor Adam Brown, is appearing on stage in London! Brown will be in Made by Brick’s production of Saxon Court, which runs at the Southwark Playhouse from November 19th to December 13th.

The theatre’s website describes the play as ‘a razor sharp satire to darken your Christmas’ – and warns that ‘this production contains graphic language and scenes of violence (as any good Christmas party should)!’ It sounds like the perfect comedic antidote to festive glitter – watch a trailer here:

 

 

Tickets are available from the box office – click here to purchase.