“The Winter’s Tale” seems to be everywhere at the moment. Change ). This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. ( Log Out /  Far less substantial (intentionally so) than Shakespeare’s late-career romance, Rattigan’s affectionate look at the thespian temperament also makes for a more accomplished production overall, and one that finds a goateed Mr. Branagh in happier form. Review of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale by The Kenneth Branagh Company,(FOLLOW LINK HERE) featuring Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench. I hate posting multiple reviews on one day, because earlier ones get far fewer “hits” … so do see Congreve’s LOVE FOR LOVE by the RSC below too!

Originally intended as a divertissement from the emotional ravages of Rattigan’s “The Browning Version,” with which it was first paired in performance, “Harlequinade” is the main meal here.

It is no surprise in context that the cast of characters includes a veteran performer who wants out — a nifty turn from John Shrapnel — only to decide by the final curtain that he cannot stay away. Reciting “Don Giovanni” and “Cosí Fan Tutte” among other titles like an incantatory prayer, Mr. Allam locates the intersection between art and life in that single and abiding place called love. This time, Branagh’s following in the footsteps of Michael Grandage and Jamie Lloyd, whose West End seasons have proved a new working model for commercial theater. © Copyright 2020 Variety Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC. The Moderate Soprano. It shows. The buttoned-up Victoriana and its family values, from which Leontes laments this “bawdy planet,” neatly flags up the play’s sexual politics. “Harlequinade” is a kind of proto-“Noises Off,” and the fun is twofold: first, seeing Branagh and company fooling around in such featherweight fare, and second, in lampooning the theater of yesteryear for its naivety and pomp. Review of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale by The Kenneth Branagh Company,(FOLLOW LINK HERE) featuring Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench. The environment grows increasingly panicky as the company is beset by issues that include how much to dim the lights to minimize any traitorous wrinkles, a baby waiting offstage to be introduced to its bigamous father, several actors who find themselves sharing the same crucial line, and a busybody acting grandee (Zoe Wanamaker) who happens to be Arthur’s mother and is fond of instructing her daughter-in-law on the proper way to play Juliet. The venerable dame, who will be 81 next month, takes the supporting role of Paulina, the voice of moral authority in a play whose leading character acts unconscionably, and anchors a sometimes wayward staging with an authority and presence all her own. But with Mr. Ashford once again at his directorial side, Mr. Branagh sustains the buoyant self-regard of a piece that at times disparages the solipsism of Rattigan’s chosen profession while ultimately remaining in its thrall. Even less ardent fans of the Bard will enjoy this bold, engaging piece.

LONDON — Kenneth Branagh occupies center stage for much of “The Winter’s Tale,” the Shakespeare play with which he inaugurates the company that bears his name at the Garrick Theater here. Kenneth Branagh and Rob Ashford codirected. Photo: Judi Dench (Paulina) and Kenneth Branagh (Leontes) in The Winter's Tale. Branagh’s powerful production and able ensemble deliver a solid rendition of Shakespeare’s classic.

This review has been held back until after press night (November 7th), even though it’s entirely positive. This review has been held back until after press night (November 7th), even though it's entirely positive. Judi Dench, meanwhile, is a born Paulina; the singular husk of her voice serves a constant sharp reprimand to anyone that dares patronize or boss her about. That said, in ordinary circumstances, “Harlequinade” would probably be little more than a footnote to the list of plays about theater people that extends from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to “Noises Off” and beyond. By the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company, until the 16 January 2016, at the Garrick Theatre, London. Rattigan piles on the subplots, as bit-part players storm off and spear-carriers push for promotion, and Tom Bateman’s stage manager just about keeps the show on the road, at least until Gosport’s previously unmentioned daughter (Buckley) shows up with a husband and child in tow. Those things come together in Branagh’s Gosport, a delicate comic performance of a man without a scrap of self-awareness, who can fuss over a prop pot for ages, even as a jail sentence — for bigamy, no less — seems increasingly possible.

Directed by Rob Ashford and Kenneth Branagh. His latest West End incumbency kicks off with a pretty but superficial staging of Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale” and the ratty old Rattigan comedy “Harlequinade,” both old-school and out of touch. Designer Christopher Oram dumps us in a Victorian Christmas card, complete with festooned tree and paper hats.

Hotly anticipated, Branagh’s Plays at the Garrick season might well turn out to be the most missable thing in London theater.

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Actually, it’s her curtain raiser — a Rattigan monologue, “All On Her Own” — that’s the best of the bunch here. Through Nov. 28. Review: ‘The Winter’s Tale,’ ‘Harlequinade’ and ‘The Moderate Soprano’, Judi Dench, left, and Kenneth Branagh, right, in ‘‘The Winter’s Tale.’’, Ansu Kabia, Tom Bateman, Zoe Wanamaker and John Dagleish in a scene from ‘‘Harlequinade.’’. He drops to his knees with word of his wife’s passing, and hobbles off clutching his midriff and moaning, as if gripped by acute appendicitis. In 1988, his actor-led company Renaissance Theatre took over the Phoenix for a season, challenging the commercial sector with its lowly fringe aesthetic. The broader public will be able to see Ms. Dench in all her unforced glory when “The Winter’s Tale” is screened in cinemas across Britain and Europe on Nov. 26 and the United States on Nov. 30. Possibly I might come out of another production enraptured by the Jeremy Kyle-ish paternity plotline that dominates the first three acts, but in this one it felt like set-up, spade-work to be done before the properly entrancing second half.

( Log Out /  Read Next: Shirley MacLaine’s Secret to Her Longevity: ‘I’m Not a Diva’, London Theater Review: ‘A Very Expensive Poison’, West End Review: ‘The Night of the Iguana’ With Clive Owen, Eddie Hassell, Actor in ‘The Kids Are All Right’ and ‘Surface,’ Dies at 30 After Being Shot, ‘Jeopardy’ GOATs Return in New ABC Primetime Game Show ‘The Chase’, Johnny Depp Loses Libel Case Over Amber Heard Allegations, Sophia Loren on Her Triumphant Return to Movies With Netflix’s ‘The Life Ahead’, Eminem Licenses 'Lose Yourself' for Biden-Harris Campaign Ad, ‘American Idol’ Alum Nikki McKibbin Dies at 42, David Rodriguez, Producer and Director for ‘The Chi,’ Dies at 50, ‘Let Him Go’ Review: Diane Lane and Kevin Costner Head Up a Floridly Gripping Thriller, Sean Connery, Oscar Winner and James Bond Star, Dies at 90, Harrison Ford Remembers His ‘Indiana Jones’ Dad Sean Connery, Shirley MacLaine's Secret to Her Longevity: 'I'm Not a Diva', Ellen Pompeo on Whether This Is the Show’s Final Season, Recently Retired Rapper Logic Lists Calabasas Entertainer’s Estate, These Sites Are Delivering Booze for Your Election Night Parties (or Post-Election Blues), A Rare 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder Once Owned by Picasso’s Son Is up for Sale, WWE Replaces Arena Merchandise Loss With E-Commerce Gains Amid Rebound. By rights, Mr. Branagh should be a top-rank Leontes, a great role that encompasses all points on an emotional spectrum of rage through remorse, as the king accuses his wife, Hermione (a first-rate Miranda Raison), of adultery only to pay later for his groundless aspersions. Despite middle-age having set in, Gosport’s still playing Romeo to his wife’s Juliet (Raison), keeping the lights low enough to hide any wrinkles. Branagh pulls focus like a barman pulls pints — that is to say, for a living. Garrick Theater. Playing triumphs over purpose. The Winter's Tale is one of the Shakespeare plays I'm not familiar with, so I should qualify any flaws I find with this new live theatre broadcast. Each bit of bad news — Polixenes’ escape, his son’s death — literally knocks him sideways. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Wanamaker plays a widow, working her way through a bottle of whisky and talking to the space her dead husband would have occupied. As more proof that playwrights continue to be drawn to the world of creative endeavor, along comes David Hare’s “The Moderate Soprano,” which takes as its topic the origins in the 1930s of the ever-elegant Glyndebourne Festival Opera, south of London. In fact, Mr. Branagh often seems to be striking multiple poses rather than inhabiting the role from within: Anger toward an errant spouse one minute, grief at the death of a child the next. Throw in Mr. Branagh clearly having a field day (his wig-related gags are themselves worth the price of admission), and this slightest of plays is served up as a proper soufflé. The Winter’s Tale.

As Leontes, Branagh unravels like a snagged woolly jumper. West End Review: ‘The Winter’s Tale’ and ‘Harlequinade,’ with Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench Garrick Theatre, London; 732 seats; £65, $98 top. The moment Ms. Dench’s distinctive vocal husk fills the theater — and Mr. Branagh and his American co-director, Rob Ashford, are savvy enough to bring her into the action from the start — one feels in confident, emotionally resonant hands. At 54, he is not. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The lyric soprano of the title refers to Audrey Mildmay, the wife of Glyndebourne’s founder, John Christie (Roger Allam), and is here played by the immoderately gifted Nancy Carroll. The posturing that results allows an elegantly coiffed Ms. Dench to walk away with a show in which she has also been handed the brief but significant part of Time. Bohemia, by contrast, is a place of dancing and delight, where Jessie Buckley’s breezy Perdita can grow her hair down to her waist. And why not, given an actress whose luster transcends the years? But where those projects hung off an individual director’s style and vision, Branagh’s sits in the actor-manager tradition. He was a modernizer at 27. It’s a sharp, layered look at loneliness, grief and the tensions of marital compromise — ever so poignant and ever so well played. Hampstead Theater.

The two are at their rending best in a scene late in the intermissionless work in which an ailing, now-blind Audrey finds comfort in her husband’s roll call of the Mozart-heavy seasons that marked out Glyndebourne’s early years. “The Moderate Soprano” would benefit from somewhat less exposition about the German influences on the early days of Glyndebourne and more stage time for the partnership between the couple at its capacious heart — not least because of the easy and evident rapport between Ms. Carroll and Mr. Allam. It all takes its toll: 20 years on, whitened by age, he seems as stiff and frozen as his statuesque wife. But for all the attention surrounding Mr. Branagh at the start of an enterprise that also represents his first Shakespearean role on the London stage in well over a decade, the more galvanic reason for the show’s sold-out status is the presence of Judi Dench. Its companion is a brief monologue, “All On Her Own,” that finds Ms. Wanamaker in baleful form as the whiskey-guzzling widow of a husband whose death she is trying, not very successfully, to process; her acting trumps the somewhat standard-issue writing. That tension is beautifully embodied by Tom Bateman, a commendably vigorous Florizel (the intended of Leontes’s daughter, Perdita) in “The Winter’s Tale,” who reappears, hair slicked back, to play a stage manager caught between his fiancée (Kathryn Wilder) and the real love of his life — namely, the stage. The Winter’s Tale by The Kenneth Branagh Company, How Just William Got Me Into Grammar School, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Manfreds, P.P. Credit: Johan Persson ( Log Out /  Harlequinade/All On Her Own. The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare.

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