Danielle OShea

Review National Theatre Live: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Danielle O’Shea

5 Stars5 / 5

It is difficult to say exactly what “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” is about and that was exactly what its writer, Edward Albee, intended. Some may say it is about marriage but it tackles so much more than that including topics like politics, morality and the human condition. However, what is at the heart of the play is truth and illusion.

The play moves from illusion to truth and as the audience progresses deeper and deeper into the stories we begin to realise what is going on behind the idyllic illusion presented by each of the couples. Even today this portrayal resonates with modern audiences due to the importance placed on appearance and what we should and shouldn’t know about one another. Of course, all these boundaries fall away and soon we are left with an overwhelming tension between the characters whether this be due to anger, betrayal or desire. The claustrophobic use of the living room – the sole setting – only emphasises the isolation and confinement of each character.

Although all four cast members gave stunning performances, the audience can’t help but be drawn to Imelda Staunton as Martha, a bullying wife hiding her fragile mental state, and Conleth Hill as George, the bitter husband burdened by his failures. You cannot take your eyes of this pair whether it be during the hide-behind-your-hands low blows of their arguments or the unusual calmer moments that still wreak of hostility.

As a whole, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” is a classic play which resonates with all audience members because, as said in one of the pre-show interviews, what is special about this play is that it has no strict description but instead is about whatever the audience take from it. An intense performance and beautifully crafted set propels this high tension drama into nerves-inducing brilliance.

National Theatre Live: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Gwyn Hall, Neath

May 19th 2017

Running time: 3 hrs

Author: Edward Albee

Director: James MacDonald

Design: Tom Pye (Designer), Charles Balfour (Lighting), Adam Cork (Sound and Music), Carole Hancock (Hair, Wigs and Make-up), Amy Ball (Casting), John Haidar (Assistant Director), Bret Yount (Fights), Penny Dyer (Dialect/ Voice), Imogen Knight (Choreography).

Cast: Imelda Staunton, Conleth Hill, Imogen Poots, Luke Treadaway

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    Review National Theatre Live: Twelfth Night by Danielle O’Shea

    4 Stars4 / 5

     

    Twelfth Night is Shakespeare’s classical comedy about love, gender and things not always being as they seem. This story became all the more poignant considering recent discussions of gender and sexuality.

    In his pre-show interview, Director Simon Godwin described his interpretation as being a comedy wrought with pain and this was evident throughout. Despite the humour which trails through almost every scene, it is undeniable that each character has their own pain – whether this be due to grief or unrequited love – and Godwin made sure not to shy away from this pain but instead to embrace it. The emphasis on character was drawn even stronger by the minimalist settings which centred around a staircase that was manipulated from scene to scene from boat to church to club and so on.

    Each member of the cast was incredible and their passion for their role was palpable however two stood out for me. Tamsin Greig as Malvolia presented a stunning portrayal of the stern turned vulnerable steward who every member of the audience empathised with whether it be from her assumed romantic triumph to downfall. In addition, Daniel Rigby forced the character of Sir Andrew Aguecheek into the spotlight with an absolutely hilarious performance that left everyone in tears.

    Overall, it was a marvellous experience which was incredibly inclusive in its staging leaving little room for those unfamiliar to Shakespeare to go astray. In Godwin’s interpretation, the political and social connotations of the show were celebrated which encouraged conversation both onstage and off that had previously gone unmentioned. Altogether, it was a show that united both audience and cast in spellbinding switch-up of the classic.

    National Theatre Live: Twelfth Night

    Gwyn Hall, Neath

    April 6th 2017

    Running time: 3 hrs 10 mins

    Author: William Shakespeare

    Director: Simon Godwin

    Design: Soutra Gilmour (Designer), James Farncombe (Lighting Designer), Shelley Maxwell (Movement Director), Michael Bruce (Music), Christopher Shutt (Sound Designer), Jeannette Nelson (Company Voice Work), Kev McCurdy (Fight Director), Alice Knight (Staff Director)

    Cast: Tamara Lawrence, Daniel Ezra, Oliver Chris, Emmanuel Kojo, Brad Morrison, James Wallace, Tim Mc Mullan, Niky Wardley, Daniel Rigby, Adam Best, Doon Mackichan, Phoebe Fox, Tamsin Greig, Imogen Doel, Whitney Kehinde, Ammar Duffus, Claire Cordier, Mary Doherty, Andrew MacBean, Imogen Slaughter.

     

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      Review The Rocky Horror Show by Danielle O’Shea

       

       

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      5 Stars5 / 5

      The Rocky Horror Show tells the story of an alien transvestite, the games he plays with his goody-two-shoes visitors and him creating his ideal man in a camp satirical comedy that will blow your mind.

      The New Theatre with its old-fashioned charm makes for a marvellous venue that helps Luscombe’s interpretation of the hit musical shine even brighter. As usual, the fans form a community that seems just as much as part of the show as the characters, even having their own witty replies to lines in the show. Spicing up the script, the insertion of topical jokes gives the script, which most of the audience had sworn to memory, an unexpected twist.

      Philip Franks, as the narrator, takes the audience on a thrilling ride adding his own twists and turns through banter with the audience and makes what seems like a small part, one of the most significant parts of the show. As well as this, Liam Tamne made the character of Frank-N-Furter come to life and lives up to and sometimes beyond those who’ve portrayed the character before them. Altogether, the cast are incredibly talented and their love for the show was as visible as that of the fans.

      Rocky Horror is a cult classic that’s as fabulous as ever! If you need anything to secure your faith in musical theatre, then this is it. A magical show that can be enjoyed with so many people and brings the audience together in the most incredible way. Reserve your tickets now because they’ll be flying away fast and you need to see this.

       

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        Review Shirley Valentine, Light House Theatre Company by Danielle O’Shea

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        3 Stars3 / 5

         

        Shirley Valentine by Willy Russell is the story of a middle-aged woman escaping the mundane cycle of her suburban life and finding out what it means to truly be alive.

        Evan’s interpretation of Russell’s modern classic was charming in its simplicity. The one-woman show has its desired intimacy due to the short distance between audience and actress as well as there only being two settings. However, sometimes this simplicity turned to limitation where certain elements of the settings gave the suspended reality of the theatre a run for its money.

        The majority of the audience had been drawn to the performance by the 1989 film however in the confines of the theatre some attempts at humour struck as outdated rather than nostalgic. As well as this, the charisma of Shirley Valentine was missing leading to a different view of the main character which came off more as pitiful than the relatable pop-culture symbol that many have grown to love.

        It was a pleasant performance but due to theatrical limitations as well as the burden of being the sole cast member. Despite this Sonia Beck gave a good performance especially considering the pressure on her. But it seemed to fall short.

        Shirley Valentine

        Gwyn Hall, Neath

        21st November 2016

        Theatre Company: Lighthouse Theatre

        Author: Willy Russell

        Director: Dee Evans

        Design: Anna Kelsey (Designer) Tony Davies (Sound Designer) Jonny Rees (Lighting Designer)

        Stage management: Lisa Briddon (Company Stage Manager) Naomi Turner (Deputy Stage Manager)

        Lead Technician: Andrew Merrell

        Cast: Sonia Beck

        Running Time: 2 hours

         

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          Review ‘King Lear’ RSC Live by Danielle O’Shea

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          4 Stars4 / 5

          King Lear follows the story of a king who loses power to two of his daughters after banishing his other, his realisation of the wrongs he has committed and his eventual fall into madness and wisdom. It is a timeless story of family, loyalty, how power corrupts and the definition of insanity.

          Doran’s interpretation of a Shakespearean classic is ambitious from its minimalist setting to its total reframing of some of Shakespeare’s most iconic villains. As stated in his pre-show interview, Doran saw the play as more political and as a discussion of the human condition. This is evident when he sacrifices some of the family dynamic to give these themes more support; this can be seen when he portrays the characters as ideas rather than as complex individuals.

          A talented cast all shone through in this production but particularly Nia Gwynne, as Goneril, who portrayed the character as far more sympathetic than any other performance has. Along with this, the live streaming of the event allowed for quick and easy access as well as the inclusion of events such as the interval feature on the costume design for the feature which reflected the lavish lifestyle and transitions that the characters go through stunningly.

          All together a dazzling interpretation of a classic reimagined for such political climates as ours. However, in the first half there is a particular imbalance of light and dark as the attempts at humour often seem out of place but order is restored in the second half leading to a dramatic and satisfying finale. This seemed to be the perfect introduction to such an old and intricate tale.

          RSC Live: King Lear

          Vue Cinema, Swansea

          12th October 2016

          Author: William Shakespeare

          Director: Gregory Doran

          Design: Niki Turner (Theatre Design), Tim Mitchell (Sound Design), Jonathon Ruddick (Sound Design)

          Technical: Hannah Miller (Casting), Carl Root (Production Manager), Ed Parry (Costume Supervisor)

          Cast: Anthony Sher, Nia Gwynne, Kelly Williams, Natalie Simpson, David Troughton, Oliver Johnstone, Paapa Essiedu, Antony Troughton

          Producer: John Wyver (For Live from Stratford-Upon-Avon), Zoe Donegan (Creative Team)

          Running Time: 3hrs and 30 mins

          Danielle O’Shea

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