It’s been a Jamie Lloyd start to the year at the theatre…

Hey everyone! I’m here today with a theatre post for ya!

So, last year I saw two productions that were fantastically directed by Jamie Lloyd. One was The Commitments, based on the Roddy Doyle book and the other was Richard III starring Martin Freeman. Both were so different from each other and a really great time at the theatre!

With the 2015 Olivier Award nominations being announced on Monday 9th March I figured I would talk about the shows I’ve seen this year so far! So far this year I have seen:

Urinetown
Assassins (x2!)
City of Angels (second time overall!)
The Ruling Class.

Excluding City of Angels (which was fantastic and I did a post about it here!), all the productions I’ve seen have been directed by Jamie!

Urinetown

Unfortunately, Urinetown closed January 3rd and I managed to catch the show the day before it closed. It’s such a wacky and weird musical, I felt thoroughly entertained throughout! Urinetown is a comedy about a town where you have to pay to use public restrooms and essentially the show takes the absolute piss out of the legal system. I thought it was a show that even though it first opened in New York in 2001, it’s still absolutely relevant to today. (I mean 50p to pee in London????? Whyyy????) I also enjoyed the fact it took the piss out of the fact it was a musical. Often there were times where the show would have moments where everything was so over exaggerated it was absolutely hilarious. I really liked Matthew Seadon-Young’s performance as Bobby Strong, the hero of the story. I hadn’t seen him in a leading role before, only as part of the ensemble in Les Miserables a few years ago but he was brilliant! I wish to see him in more things!

Assassins

So Assassins is officially the best show I’ve seen this year. So good in fact I had to see it twice. And both times I left the Menier Chocolate Factory I was shaking because it was so good. Assassins is a Sondheim piece I wasn’t familiar with before booking a ticket so I decided to go into it blind. And I’m so glad I did because I was all the more blown away. Assassins follows 13 assassinations of various US presidents throughout history, some achieved and some failed. The music is absolutely astonishing. There’s a bit of everything in there with a Capella, The Gun Song, to a ballad, Unworthy Of Your Love, to Jamie Parker playing the banjo in several songs, my favourite being The Ballad of Booth. I didn’t think Sondheim could get any better than Sweeney Todd and then I saw Assassins. The cast was absolutely fantastic too. Jamie Parker, Simon Lipkin, Catherine Tate, Stewart Clarke, Carly Bowden, Mike McShane I could go on, everybody did a fantastic job. However, the stand out for me was Aaron Tveit as John Wilkes Booth. I was incredibly lucky to see Aaron was Booth both times before he left to film his TV show Graceland. I have been waiting years to see him on stage and he did not disappoint. One thing I really loved about the production was that the whole cast were on stage the whole 1 hour and 45 minute show. Because there isn’t an actual stage as such in the Menier Chocolate Factory, basically if you were in the front row you were on the floor with the actors, the actors would wander into the audience. I had Aaron Tveit lingering over me the first time I went and I had Catherine Tate stare right at me the second time I went!

Assassins is running until March 7th. I’m really hoping for a transfer and this is the show I’m rooting for at the Oliviers! Although the production is sold out, there is always the chance for return tickets!

Link to the website is here!

The Ruling Class

The Ruling Class is the most recent show I’ve seen. Starring James McAvoy, The Ruling Class tells of Jack Guerney, a paranoid schizophrenic with a messiah complex who inherits the title as the 14th Earl of Guerney. This show is by far the weirdest play I’ve ever seen. It was hilarious and very random at times but I was gripped, throughout the first half at least, and I was entertained! James McAvoy was absolutely incredible. I hadn’t seen him on stage before and I was so impressed with his stage presence, his physicality and, most importantly, his acting! His familiar Scottish accent swapped for a posh English accent, at one point he rides around on a unicycle in just his underwear with “God Is Love” on his chest and a various stages in the play he jumps back and forth off a massive wooden cross (where he stands like Jesus because he believes he is Jesus).  While the first act is absolutely hilarious, the second act struggled to keep my attention. The play became very dark very quickly and a certain thing happens that wasn’t concluded very well? I guess this was due to the writing but I wish there was a proper conclusion!

Overall I would recommend mostly for James McAvoy and the rest of the cast’s fantastic performances. The Ruling Class is running as part of Season 2 of Trafalgar Transformed at the Trafalgar Studios until April 11th and their website is here!

Thanks for reading folks! 🙂

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