Hello there!

As you can maybe tell, it’s been a while since I’ve been to the theatre. Something about having two kids and a new company can make that difficult, but right now I’m in London for a spell conducting business and I’m seeing as much theatre as I can squeeze into my schedule. Here’s what I’ve seen from June 6, 2018 – June 10, 2018 with some brief  thoughts on each:


6/6/2018 – Killer Joe, Trafalgar Studios
  • Very comfortable theater with tons of legroom and great sightlines throughout, but also kind of feels like an auditorium lecture hall.
  • Loved the set design– allows for both an interior and exterior but also seems to be a comment in itself on how in a poor neighborhood you’re likely to see a lot of interior furniture outside.
  • Solid acting despite one-dimensional characters.
  • Premise seemed to promise a study into the mind of the kind of Mike Ehrmentraut-esque individual who would choose to be a detective by day and an assassin-for-hire by night… but no… he just does it. And with a smile for some reason, despite the poster seeming to indicate the kind of person who can’t remember the last time they smiled.
  • I generally like Tracy Letts’ writing, but I would have preferred to see Harold Pinter or Martin McDonagh’s take on this kind of setup.
6/7/2018 – Quiz, Noel Coward
  • Set design allows for both a courtroom and a game show and is used to great effect
  • I was not familiar with the story of the ‘coughing millionaire’ (guy who was accused of cheating when winning 1 million pounds on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire) and found the story engrossing.
  • Fun, if somewhat insubstantial, audience participation lets you answer some trivia and vote on certain ‘ask the audience’ questions
  • Love how the first act convinces you he’s guilty, then the second act changes a lot of people’s minds. At the end they ask you to vote on if you think he’s guilty or not, then they show you the results from the last week of shows. Seems like a majority always find themselves turned.
6/8/2018 – The Great Gatsby, Secret Place
  • Immersive theater quite unlike Sleep No More. You dress to the nines in 1920s garb and interact with all the characters in The Great Gatsby while all the major events of the novel take place over a single evening of Gatsby’s party.
  • Different characters will try to befriend you and try to take you into more private rooms as they attempt to be the main protagonist of their own story. I went with a friend and was with her about half the time, so we had plenty to compare and contrast after the fact. Toward the end it was particularly fun when Daisy took us both into her bedroom and treated us as confidants in telling us her deepest regrets and worries. When my friend and I were together, we kept being asked if we were married, and our general response of “not to each other” elicited some amusing responses from the characters.
  • Great American accents and great improv– some very organic moments became highlights of the night.
  • We learned to Charleston, kind of!
  • I can see how some people would find the high-level of interactivity of the show very off-putting, but we had an absolute blast.
6/9/2018 – Julie, National Theatre
  • I love love love the original script of Miss Julie and have seen some excellent productions of it and absolutely cannot come to a show like this without bias. With this production I think the script/direction was missing some key elements: tension, seduction, playfulness– and I never really felt like Julie and Jean liked each other, which makes it harder to believe that they might actually run away together, even for a fleeting moment.
  • That being said, as much as I could get past my biases I enjoyed the overall effect of the production very much, but more in how it washed over me than the particulars.
  • The story as a whole modernizes very well. Constantly checking a mobile phone instead of looking at Count’s boots is a nice touch, for example. The new way Julie loses her bird was a surprise… without spoiling too much, she kills it in a way I hope no one would ever kill anything (in the original Jean cuts off its head), and I think there was an opportunity here for Jean to be like “fine, I’ll do it” and then for this to be Julie taking on a level of extreme reactionary assertiveness, to the point of Jean seriously questioning her mental stability. But it happens so quick there’s no time for that.
  • I missed the conflict and complexity of Julie being raised by an ultra-feminist mother to the point of her relationship with men being one of both admiration and subjugation / hatred. Overall I felt like some of a dimension of the characters was sanded off. Maybe for some this will make it a clearer show.
  • The set design is perfect — love the separation between the kitchen area and the party/bedroom, and there’s a final effect of the whole world being sucked backwards which is extremely powerful, despite this being in a service of a different, more cliched ending than the original.
6/10/2018 2:30 PM – Peter Pan (Act 1), Regent’s Park
  • I’ve realized that, similar to Pan’s Labyrinth, I’m a sucker for people in horrible war-torn situations escaping to fantasy realms for solace, and this had that in spades, even going to the level of The Wizard of Oz in casting all of the comrades as characters in Peter Pan and  the field nurse as Wendy.
  • Magical moment: hospital beds flipping upside down to become giant, magical plants in Neverland.
  • The flying was spectacular (especially in an open-air theatre), practically seamless thanks to some deft puppeteering.
  • Not very much music or singing, but what was there was thematic and emotionally resonant.
  • Had to leave at intermission because I was getting too sunburned!
6/10/2018 6:30 PM – Hamlet, The Globe
  • Was a groundling right up against the stage– such a wonderful way to watch a show like this.
  • Hamlet and Ophelia were gender-swapped and I thought it totally worked.
  • This was a very high-energy, somewhat manic Hamlet and I thought she (Michelle Terry) was great. I was totally and utterly engaged.
  • Guildenstern was mute which then meant there was a ton of sign language in the show, which I hope was accurate! Seems like a great opportunity for making the show more accessible to a wider audience.
  • Claudius had a wonderful hairstyle… super spiky and ‘hey look how hip and cool I am compared to the king’ and I just really dug it.
  • A lot of excellent moments but I’ll mention one: the first aside to the audience is Polonius expressing how certain he is that Hamlet is mad, and the whole time he’s speaking to the audience, Hamlet is looking at him like “who the heck are you talking to?”
Tonight I’m seeing Red, then other shows coming up are: Bat Out of Hell, My Name is Lucy Barton, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Pt 1, The VOID VR Star Wars Experience