The Abbey Theatre's Christmas production, A Christmas Carol, opened on Saturday to capacity audiences. Many performances are already sold out, with availability largely limited to the end of the run. Charles Dickens’ tale was first told in 1843 has been adapted many times for the stage and screen. This colourful version is designed for all the family, featuring music, comedy and a young cast that shows great versatility, with many of them playing several roles.
Family relations don’t come much more painful than those depicted in Sophocles’ standout story of revenge Electra. And the two-and-a-half thousand year-old play about honour, justice and vengence will be the Company of Ten’s next production. This highly accessible version by Kenneth McLeish uses clear modern language and themes to ensure a rich theatrical experience for today’s audiences, who will recognise the idea of expedient, vengeful killing from current news stories.
The next production by the Company of Ten will take audiences back to the 1970’s, with one of the best loved comedies of the time, Abigail’s Party by Mike Leigh. Like most of Leigh’s projects, Abigail’s Party was devised by the cast developing their characters and the story through improvisation.
Kenneth Grahame’s enduring tale of Mole, Ratty, Badger, Mr Toad, and their many friends, comes to the Abbey Theatre this Christmas. This stage version of The Wind in the Willows, by Alan Bennett, with additional lyrics and music by Jeremy Sams, caused a popular sensation when it first appeared at The National Theatre in 1990. It has since become a classic in its own right.
Bugsy Malone Live is based on the 1976 hit musical gangster comedy film Bugsy Malone. The film centres around the grit and glamour of 1920’s New York, Chicago and the exploits of real-life gangsters and molls – but the cast were all child actors. QYT are holding Open Auditions for budding young performers aged between 7 and 25 years on Sunday 8th July at the Hertford Theatre, The Wash, Hertford, SG14 1PS. Doors will open for registration at 10.30am for what will be a fun-packed, exciting day running from 11am to 3.30pm.
Jerusalem, the anthem of the Women’s Institute, and popular hymn, is a symbol of England and its “Green and Pleasant Land”. Jerusalem the play, written by St. Albans local Jez Butterworth, is a completely different kettle of fish. First performed at The Royal Court in 2009, to great acclaim, it is set in the archetypal English village of Flintock, in the heart of Wiltshire, and covers twenty four hours in the life of Johnny “Rooster” Byron.
This was the first time I had seen a performance in the studio part of the Abbey Theatre. I must say I liked the intimacy this created. Allowing the audience to feel a part of the production, almost. The play is quite short, in two acts of 45-50 minutes or so and this felt right. All the dialogue and action had meaning and impact.
I must admit that this is not a play that I was familiar with, but some research showed that the lead role was performed by Mark Rylance originally, for which he won many awards and the play many plaudits. The play has a reputation for being, shall we say 'edgy', due to the adult content, including frequent strong language. An interesting and laudable choice for a local theatre group. The play revolves around the character of Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron, played by Marlon Gill. A loner, living in a caravan close to a new Housing estate, the residents of which would like to see the back of him. A larger-than-life character, living on the edge of the law.
St Albans performing arts school, Theatrix, is staging their annual showcase at the Abbey Theatre from 21 – 23 March 2019 and it promises to be a cocktail of excitement. This year’s showcase is called ‘The Plays the Thing’ and it explores “play” and “the play” through the eyes of children and young people. Come and be delighted and entertained by over 100 students, from ages 5 – 19, performing a medley of scripted scenes, adaptations, original writing, dance, movement, singing, sketches and improvisations.
Office politics take a dramatic turn at the Abbey Theatre Studio next week, with their production of Bull, a powerful play about workplace bullying, written by Mike Bartlett. Three colleagues, Thomas, Isobel and Tony, gather together before an important meeting with their manager, Carter. The company is downsizing, and one of the three is about to lose their job. It soon becomes apparent that Isobel and Tony have decided Thomas will be the sacrificial lamb, as they begin a barrage of insults, innuendo and uninvited physical contact, aimed at undermining and overwhelming him.
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