Big This Week

Recent Posts

Sunday, 11 December 2022

REVIEW: Orlando at the Garrick Theatre

Michael Grandage has a remarkable track record of West End success and of attracting the very best talent to his productions as well as tackling fascinating topics in highly theatrical staging. His latest production Orlando brings Emma Corrin back to the West End (after her success on video in the Crown and My Policeman) in a sparkling adaption by Neil Bartlett of Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel. It is a highly engaging and fast-paced exploration of human sexuality and what it is to be a man, or a woman combined with an extraordinary rapid journey through British history from the time of Queen Elizabeth (1596) to the twentieth century and revelling in its meta theatricality as it explores the evolution of theatre and spoken word. It reminds us that “all the world’s a stage and all the men and women are merely players”, in this case, Orlando seems to get stuck as a lover for four hundred years without ageing.

Brilliantly reminding us that this is theatre is Mrs Grimsditch, magnificently played by Deborah Findlay, Orlando’s servant who accompanies the character on their journey, assisting with costume characters (“I just do wardrobe”) and regularly punching through the fourth wall with her asides and observations. She adds a welcome dose of reality and comedy to this otherwise serious critique of the role of gender in society and keeps us on track while providing the best moments of the production.

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

REVIEW: Orlando at the Jermyn Street Theatre

Hushed tones of reverence surround Virginia Woolf as a leading purveyor of modernist writing and membership of the Bloomsbury Group logically marked her for greatness. However, applying such complexity overlooks her skill as a communicator of ideas. Woolf was years ahead of her time, not only inspiring feminism but the ability to tell stories with great originality. Orlando was published in 1928 and is thought to be one of her lighter novels. It was written in honour of lover Vita Sackville-West, whose aristocratic family history provided the template for this time travelling frolic. This new stage adaptation by Sarah Ruhl gives the novel a makeover with satisfying results.

Our story begins in the 16th Century during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. A three-strong chorus (Tigger Blaize, Rosalind Lailey and Stanton Wright) relate the machinations of Orlando (Taylor McClaine). The nobleman and aspiring poet soon catches the attention of good Queen Bess. Orlando becomes a favourite at court but later falls in love with seductive Russian princess Sasha (Skye Hallam). They romance each other at the frost fair on a frozen River Thames. However, Sasha later returns to Russia and a crestfallen Orlando seeks comfort in his poetry. The years tick by as a new monarch takes the throne; Orlando is later dispatched to Constantinople as an ambassador. Whilst there they fall asleep for many days and cannot be roused. When he awakes Orlando has turned into a woman. As she lives through the centuries what will Orlando discover about the world as a woman?
Blog Design by pipdig