Tag: Steven Berkoff

High drama in Nottingham for the New Year

After a week (or possibly a month) of festive fuddles, impromptu mid-week drinks and trashy TV, I am looking forward to dragging myself off the sofa and immersing myself in some world-class drama in Nottingham – so here are a just a few of my top picks.

At the Playhouse, the season kicks off with some improvised live theatre when Court in the Act! opens on 1st February for a three-night run. Six actors will create a comic courtroom drama in which you – the audience – take the role of jury.

There is also plenty in store for Shakespeare fans including an exploration of some of his darker characters in Shakespeare’s Villains on 7th February. Here Steven Berkoff draws on Shakespeare’s own words to look at why characters such as Macbeth and Richard III do what they do. In addition, there will be the chance to see a new and passionate interpretation of the tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet from 13th until 24th March.

The life of another great literary talent is examined in Mary Shelley (17th April – 5th May). The daughter of early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and the lover of Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein when she was just 19-years-old – a piece which explored revolutionary ideas about playing ‘God’ and nature versus nurture.

Meanwhile, at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal, there is another chance to see J.B. Priestley’s classic An Inspector Calls (24th – 28th January). Fresh from its fourth season in the West End, this atmospheric thriller – with its impressive stage set – looks at the responsibility of the middle classes to  members of society who are not as privileged as them. This Modernist masterpiece also throws into doubt the values of the old world order.

The world premiere of David Seidler’s The King Speech – the play which inspired last year’s Oscar-winning film – will take place on 13th February and runs until 18th. It is the story of King George VI’s struggle to overcome a stammer as Britain stood on the brink of the Second World War.

Addiction and family strife are at the centre of Eugene O’Neill’s Pulitzer Prize-winning A Long Day’s Journey into the Night (5th – 10th March), which stars David Suchet. This is followed by an RSC production of the Taming of the Shrew (13th – 17th March) which sees the flamboyant Petruchio attempt to woo – and tame – the wild Katharina.

And last but not least, Blind Summit will be presenting its unique puppet show The Table at Nottingham University’s Lakeside (31st January – 1st February). The show, which was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last summer, includes a puppet who is stuck to the table, a ballet of disembodied heads and the story being told using pieces of paper emerging from a briefcase.

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The Trial: Another winner at The Lace Market Theatre

Last night, I went to see Steven Berkoff’s adaptation of Kafka ‘s modern fable The Trial, performed by six talented actors at The Lace Market Theatre.

The cast, who apart from the lead actor, played multiple roles and used a variety of dramatic techniques, including mime, to bring this classic text to life and show that it is just as relevant today as when it was written in the early 20th Century.

For anyone who has not read the book, The Trial tells the tale of Josef K, a bank clerk who, for some inexplicable reason, is arrested one morning. Josef has to work through the labyrinthine legal world in his attempt to find justice – but his quest is futile as he realises that he does not know why he has been arrested and that seedy corruption exists at all levels.

In keeping with the dark of theme alienation in a modern, bureaucratic world, the characters – who were all grotesque caricatures – toy with Josef’s mind until he crumbles – and one of the most memorable scenes is when all the cast members are  on board a tram chanting ‘Josef K, Josef K’, echoing both the sound of the vehicle and his own paranoid existence.

All the actors put on a tremendous performance – particularly Neville Cann who played the lead role very convincingly – and despite its sinister subject matter, the play was also comic and at times quite racy.

For details on future performances visit www.lacemarkettheatre.co.uk or call (0115) 950 7201.

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