Isabel Lloyd


    ~ Posted by Isabel Lloyd, April 23rd 2015

    The theatre company 1927 is unlike many others. They barely ever use any set—just a flat backdrop with a window and a door cut into it—and the actors spend much of their time standing still, or walking on the spot. The stage pictures they create with lighting and animation have the flickering, tableau vivant quality of early cinema: their actors wear the dark, hollowed eye make-up of silent-film stars, and even their name is a reference to screens, as 1927 is the year the talkies began. But despite the element of two-dimensionality, the performance poet Suzanne Andrade and the designer Paul Barritt make plays that encapsulate a complete world. Since 2007, when their debut show “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” was a standout hit at the Edinburgh Fringe, it’s a world that has gathered a young, growing and devoted following.

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    Short Read: for his theatre highlight, Irving Wardle spotlights Sher in a role he was born to playa man struggling against the odds

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    ~ Posted by Isabel Lloyd, February 26th 2015

    Reading a George Bernard Shaw play can be a dry and tedious affair: all those endless monologues of ideas, all that gnawing at dead Edwardian moralities. And in the first minutes of “Man and Superman”, which opened at the National Theatre in London last night, there doesn’t seem to be much to lift the 21st-century heart. A white-haired man in a pin-stripe suit sits reading a will in an Edwardian library; a lovesick young man enters to discuss the potential marriage of his guardian. So far, so creaky, even with the deliciously pompous Nicholas Le Provost booming and tutting as the paterfamilias. And then the double doors slam open and in bursts—Leonard Rossiter!

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    Short Read: making theatre out of the digital world can be difficult. Isabel Lloyd recommends one play, "The Nether", that pulls it off

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    ~ Posted by Isabel Lloyd, January 22nd 2015

    Mark Rylance has a lot to carry. There’s a weight of history on his shoulders, and also one of expectation: as Thomas Cromwell in the BBC’s six-part adaptation of “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up the Bodies”, which began last night, every Hilary Mantel fan in the land will have been watching his performance with rabid attention.

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    ~ Posted by Isabel Lloyd, January 19th 2015

    Sometimes it’s easier to admire a play than to like it. That was the case with “Bull”, a one-act four-hander by Mike Bartlett (“Cock”, “King Charles III”) that premiered at the Sheffield Crucible Studio in 2013 and opened, with the same excellent cast, at the Young Vic in London last Thursday. The premise is simple—a team of three “Apprentice”-style office workers, head to toe in grim grey businesswear, wait to meet their boss, who is due to “downsize” one of them. None know who it will be, but two of them have a pretty good idea, and will play any sort of destructive psychological game to make sure things go their way. On Soutra Gilmour’s spare, pull-no-punches set, the metaphor is made clear: the three will do verbal battle in a wrestling ring, floored with office carpeting, lit by a harsh square of fluorescent lighting, with a recalcitrant watercooler in one corner. Half the audience stands around the ring; the other half sits in raked seats above, peering claustrophobically down on the three combatants. The game is on: a 55-minute nightmare.

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    Thirteen leading designers get to grips with an object that they find inspiring. Isabel Lloyd listens in

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    ~ Posted by Isabel Lloyd, December 12th 2014

    In 2012 a young British chef called Oliver Dabbous opened his first, eponymous restaurant on an unremarkable corner in the West End of London. Within months it was the hottest ticket in town, with a waiting list as long as the restaurant was small. The dish at the eye of the Dabbous storm was his version of coddled egg, which he cooked with cream, smoked butter and mushrooms, and served in a nest of hay. I was lucky enough to try it, and it was an entirely memorable experience: “like,” I said in this piece for Intelligent Life, “being punched by fungi while sitting next to a smoky fire.”

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    ~ Posted by Isabel Lloyd, November 6th 2014

    Two musicals currently playing in the West End both finish with an unspeaking female character alone on the stage, standing for something important. One is the middle-aged black woman who hovers mutely on the fringes of much of the action in “The Scottsboro Boys”, a witness to the decades-long persecution of nine black teenagers in Alabama. At the end, in a moment of gut-punching power, we see her refuse to give up her seat to a man on a bus and the civil rights movement find its touchpaper. The other is a young white cleaner in a headscarf and pinny, who quietly pours tea and helps with scene changes during “Made in Dagenham”, a brash, upbeat new musical about the 1968 Ford machinists’ strike that opened at the Adelphi last night (above). Her sign-off is a solo, rather self-consciously silly dance, celebrating—well, what exactly?

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    Short Read: before taking over the National Theatre in 2015, he's bringing the Mumbai slums to life on stage. For Isabel Lloyd, it's a good omen

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