Isabel Lloyd

  • THE CHERRY ON ARTHUR MILLER'S CAKE

    ~ Posted by Isabel Lloyd, May 14th 2015

    Whatever realm it is that dead playwrights inhabit, right now there must be at least one up there smiling. Arthur Miller, the most profound of all stage analysts of the American dream, would be delighted enough with Ivo van Hove’s recent stripped-back production of “A View From the Bridge” in London, which threw out all the trappings of realism to lay bare the expressionistic power of Miller’s prose. Rarely was a returns queue more worth standing in. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s “Death of a Salesman”, which opened at the Noël Coward Theatre last night after a high-speed transfer from Stratford, will be the cherry on his heavenly cake.

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  • DIB-DIB-DIBBING LIKE GRAYSON PERRY

    ~ Posted by Isabel Lloyd, May 7th 2015

    “It’s just dib-dib-dib all day long.” So said the Turner prize-winning artist Grayson Perry (right) last night—but he wasn’t talking about scouting or Lord Baden-Powell. Instead he was describing the happy life of the man (or woman, or man dressed as woman) who works with their hands for a living. On stage at the Victoria and Albert Museum for the launch of the inaugural London Craft Week, a joint venture led by the Swiss watch manufacturer Vacheron Constantin and the Crafts Council, he gave a typically earthy and invigorating speech about what craft is, and why it matters.

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  • EJIOFOR MAKES A POETIC EVERYMAN

    ~ Posted by Isabel Lloyd, April 30th 2015

    What’s the point? Why are we alive? Does God exist, and does He care about us? The biggest questions of them all are posed repeatedly in the original “Everyman”, a medieval parable of a man trying to dodge death and account for his deeds. In the poet Carol Ann Duffy’s new adaptation, which opened last night at the National Theatre in London, at least one of those questions is turned upside down: as the show begins, God, a weary but patient Mrs Mop (Kate Duchêne), takes a break from the eternal job of cleaning up after humanity to ask why it is that man seems to care so little for Her.

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  • THE CHILL OF IT ALL

    Photo Essay: surfers don’t just gather in California and Cornwall. A few tough men surf at Torö, an island off the coast of Sweden. Among them is the photographer Daniel Månsson, who captures some frozen moments and talks to Isabel Lloyd

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  • A PLAY WITH TOO MUCH STYLE

    ~ 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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  • ANTONY SHER GETS PERSONAL

    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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  • RALPH FIENNES' DEBT TO RISING DAMP

    ~ 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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  • PUTTING THE INTERNET ON STAGE

    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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  • WOLF HALL'S GRAND MASTER

    ~ 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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  • MIKE BARTLETT'S KILLER INSTINCT

    ~ 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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