Theatrevoice archive, list of recordings 2004

4th February 2012

Recordings from January 2004Total Number of Recordings from this month: 17
59 REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2003 (2/2) The worst shows, as decided by David Benedict, Rhoda Koenig and Mark Shenton. Dominic Cavendish hosts. “It should be called Ben Elton’s Tonight’s the Night because he wrote and directed this abomination.”Recording Date: 02-Jan-2004
60 YEAR AHEAD 2004 David Benedict thumbs through the calendar and picks out the theatregoing highlights of 2004. Dominic Cavendish hosts. “The year will certainly end on a high because finally, after much planning, we’ve got Mary Poppins.”Recording Date: 02-Jan-2004
61 HIS DARK MATERIALS Oliver Jones, Madeleine North and Charles Spencer disagree about the eagerly awaited staging of the Philip Pullman trilogy at the National. Mark Shenton hosts. “They’re just trying to cram too much in. It’s just one damned thing after another.”Play: His Dark MaterialsTheatre: National Theatre, Olivier Recording Date: 09-Jan-2004
62 INTERVIEW: MAX STAFFORD-CLARK The artistic director of Out of Joint talks to David Benedict about The Permanent Way by David Hare and the genre of documentary theatre. “What we are trying to present in verbatim theatre is a closer encounter with the truth.”Play: The Permanent WayTheatre: National Theatre, Lyttelton Recording Date: 09-Jan-2004
63 COMEDY: ROBIN SEBASTIAN The actor who plays Kenneth Williams in the first theatrical staging of Round the Horne, the cult 1960s radio series, talks to Dominic Cavendish. “I really do feel that I’m becoming Kenneth Williams.”Play: Round the Horne… Revisited!Theatre: The Venue Recording Date: 09-Jan-2004
64 THE PERMANENT WAY David Hare’s state-of-the-railways piece, produced by Out of Joint, is reviewed by David Benedict, Jane Edwardes, Patrick Marmion and Carole Woddis. Rachel Halliburton hosts. “It looks like they haven’t done anything – in fact, they’ve done an awful lot of skilled theatrical work.”Play: The Permanent WayTheatre: National Theatre, Lyttelton Recording Date: 16-Jan-2004
65 HONEYMOON SUITE Divided opinions greet Richard Bean’s latest at the Royal Court. David Benedict, Jane Edwardes, Patrick Marmion and Carole Woddis discuss. Rachel Halliburton hosts. “You could certainly raise the issue: is this the kind of play the Royal Court mainstage should be doing?”Play: Honeymoon SuiteTheatre: Royal Court Downstairs Recording Date: 16-Jan-2004
66 INTERVIEW: JON HARRIS The multi-million pound arts centre at Stratford East closed within two years of opening. Its former artistic director revisits the Lottery fiasco. Dominic Cavendish hosts. “It wasn’t the first Lottery disaster – and presumably it won’t be the last.”Recording Date: 16-Jan-2004
67 REGIONAL THEATRE: LIVERPOOL Gemma Bodinetz (Artistic Director) and Deborah Aydon (Executive Director) of the Liverpool Playhouse and Everyman have big plans for the future. Dominic Cavendish reports. “I was worried us southerners would be resented, but nothing could be further from the truth.”Recording Date: 20-Jan-2004
68 AMERICAN THEATRE SPECIAL The Riot Group’s Adriano Shaplin and Paul Schnabel, over in the UK with their hit play Pugilist Specialist, talk to Rachel Halliburton. “We need a more complicated and nuanced portrait of the way wars are planned and fought.”Play: Pugilist SpecialistTheatre: Riverside Studios Recording Date: 21-Jan-2004
69 THE TAMING OF THE SHREW/ THE TAMER TAMED The RSC’s West End double-bill scolded by Jane Edwardes, Rachel Halliburton, Ian Shuttleworth and Robert Tanitch. Dominic Cavendish hosts. “I couldn’t believe the audience. I thought there must be some woman who’ll stand up and complain.” Play: The Taming of the Shrew Theatre: Queen’s Theatre Recording Date: 23-Jan-2004
70 RIGHT TO REPLY Sudha Bhuchar and Kristine Landon-Smith of Tamasha Theatre Company hit back after mixed reviews greet their latest show Strictly Dandia. “British theatre is racist… What I find in those harsh criticisms is an unpleasant underlying agenda.”Play: Strictly DandiaTheatre: Lyric Hammersmith Recording Date: 23-Jan-2004
71 BLACK VOICES: RAY FEARON The actor, appearing in World Music at the Donmar Warehouse, shares his debut memories with David Benedict. “I grew up in inner-city London, which was very rough… I dropped out of school when I was 14.”Play: World MusicTheatre: Donmar Warehouse Recording Date: 26-Jan-2004
72 ON CRITICISM Aged 77 and still reviewing, John Thaxter explains how he combined a high-flying business career with a vocation as a critic. Dominic Cavendish hosts. “It’s surprising how many people think they can learn to be a theatre critic by going to journalism school.”Recording Date: 30-Jan-2004
73 IN REHEARSAL: CRAVE Nearly five years after her death, Sarah Kane’s penultimate play Crave is getting a radical revival. Director Matt Peover talks to David Benedict. “People are going to have to confront what they think about Sarah Kane when they see this.”Play: CraveTheatre: Battersea Arts Centre Recording Date: 30-Jan-2004
74 INTERVIEW: HAYLEY CARMICHAEL The actress, part of acclaimed theatre company Told by an Idiot talks to David Benedict about shows past, present and future. “We wanted to make very big stories out of things that are very small… our daily lives.”Play: I’m a Fool To Want YouTheatre: Battersea Arts Centre Recording Date: 30-Jan-2004
75 NEW YORK SPECIAL Actress Tovah Feldshuh, starring as Golda Meir in Golda’s Balcony, talks to Philip Fisher at the Helen Hayes Theater. “I try to write my performances in water and not in stone – so each performance is quite different.”Recording Date: 31-Jan-2004
Recordings from February 2004Total Number of Recordings from this month: 13
76 THE GOAT, OR WHO IS SYLVIA? David Benedict assesses Edward Albee’s play about bestial love, at the Almeida, with Kate Bassett, Mark Shenton and Matt Wolf. “For me one of the excitements of the play was that it was the return of metaphor to theatre.”Play: The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia?Theatre: Apollo Shaftesbury Ave Recording Date: 06-Feb-2004
77 IN REHEARSAL: ON BLINDNESS Vicky Featherstone, Steven Hoggett and Glyn Cannon talk to Dominic Cavendish about working together to create On Blindness, on tour and coming to the Soho Theatre. “The tag is that of a worthy piece of theatre, but I think this show’s far too sexy to be worthy.” Play: On BlindnessTheatre: Soho Theatre Recording Date: 06-Feb-2004
78 OLIVIER AWARDS 2004 Peter Wilkins, Chair of the Olivier Awards Committee, talks David Benedict through the procedures and anomalies of theatreland’s biggest awards, which will be announced on 22 February. “It’s hard to predict. Perhaps people voted for Helen Mirren because she’s a well-known name and so on…”Recording Date: 06-Feb-2004
79 FIRST NIGHT: NORAThomas Ostermeier, the award-winning bad-boy German director, talks to Verena Winter about his radical updating of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, at the Barbican Centre. “What happened to women’s liberation? I can’t really say, but I think it is tempting to ask the question.”Play: A Doll’s House – NoraTheatre: Barbican Centre Recording Date: 11-Feb-2004
80 INTERVIEW: DAVID EDGAR The political playwright talks to Aleks Sierz about his two-play cycle, Continental Divide, which boldly takes the measure of US politics. “In America you have a libertarian suspicion of the federal government which goes way to the right.”Play: Continental DivideTheatre: Barbican Centre Recording Date: 13-Feb-2004
81 INTERVIEW: ARNOLD WESKER Now 72, the internationally renowned playwright discusses his life, work and current neglect in the UK with Rachel Halliburton. “If I have any talent at all it’s for recognising the metaphors that life throws up to explain itself.”Recording Date: 18-Feb-2004
82 INTERVIEW: PHILIP HEDLEY (1/2) The departing artistic director of the Theatre Royal Stratford East looks back on 25 years of constant experiment and multicultural change. Carole Woddis quizzes. “I appointed myself artistic director and then championed equal opportunities for everyone else.”Recording Date: 18-Feb-2004
83 INTERVIEW: PHILIP HEDLEY (2/2) Carole Woddis hears some final thoughts on the ever-evolving East End theatre’s past, present and future. “You have to hand over to young talent, you must not be secure.”Recording Date: 18-Feb-2004
84 ON TRAGEDY Michael Boyd, artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, outlines the thinking behind the company’s new ‘Tragedy’ season to Dominic Cavendish. “There’s a juxtaposition of our private lives with public grief that we don’t know how to handle…” Recording Date: 20-Feb-2004
85 WORLD MUSIC David Benedict, Sam Marlowe and Mark Shenton deliver verdicts on Steve Waters’ play, now at the Donmar, and which was inspired by the genocide in Rwanda. Dominic Cavendish hosts.  “This isn’t actually a play about Africa, it’s really a play about collapsed idealism and its results.”Play: World MusicTheatre: Donmar Warehouse Recording Date: 20-Feb-2004
86 COMEDY: COUNT ARTHUR STRONG The eccentric stage legend, in town with a new lecture-show, The Greatest Story Ever Told, tells Dominic Cavendish about his distinguished career. “I could tell you a thing or two about Laurence Olivier but we don’t want to go into that.”Play: Count Arthur StrongTheatre: Soho Theatre Recording Date: 20-Feb-2004 Listen to this discussion NOW!
87 ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL Shakespeare’s bitterest comedy, revived by the RSC and reflected on collectively by David Benedict, Rhoda Koenig and Heather Neill. Patrick Marmion hosts. “It started quite well, although by the end I wasn’t feeling that well – I was really rather disappointed.” Play: All’s Well That Ends WellTheatre: Gielgud Theatre Recording Date: 27-Feb-2004
88 WHEN HARRY MET SALLY The Nora Ephron movie hits the London stage. Ouch!, go Jane Edwardes, Rhoda Koenig and Mark Shenton. David Benedict hosts. “They were like insects scuttling around a lightbox… you couldn’t believe they were in New York.”Play: When Harry Met SallyTheatre: Haymarket Theatre Royal Recording Date: 28-Feb-2004
Recordings from March 2004Total Number of Recordings from this month: 11
89 OLIVER TWIST John Nathan, Heather Neill and Charles Spencer doff their caps to Neil Bartlett’s adaptation of the Dickens classic. David Benedict hosts. “This returns the much-maligned melodrama to a vivid and valid form.”Play: Oliver TwistTheatre: Lyric Hammersmith Recording Date: 05-Mar-2004
90 CALICO David Benedict, James Joyce expert Dr Finn Fordham, Heather Neill and Charles Spencer tear apart Michael Hastings’ new play about Lucia Joyce and Samuel Beckett, at the Duke of Yorks. “The problem is that he links all these interesting features of Lucia Joyce’s life by using a set of theatrical cliches.”Recording Date: 06-Mar-2004
91 LIFT 2004 The co-founders of the London International Festival of Theatre, Rose Fenton and Lucy Neal, talk to Rachel Halliburton about the current five-year ‘LIFT Enquiry’. “Back to basics: we just wanted to question what theatre is, and what theatre can be.”Recording Date: 11-Mar-2004
92 THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH David Benedict, Rhoda Koenig and Heather Neill chew over Thornton Wilder’s neglected apocalyptic comedy, revived now at the Young Vic. Dominic Cavendish hosts. “It’s one of those plays that is both optimistic and serious and… that’s not a contradiction.”Play: The Skin of Our TeethTheatre: Young Vic Recording Date: 12-Mar-2004
93 ENDGAME Applause, up to a point, for Beckettian co-stars Michael Gambon and Lee Evans from Jane Edwardes, Rachel Halliburton, Heather Neill and Ian Shuttleworth. Dominic Cavendish hosts. “I really think I’ll remember this production, whereas other past productions tend to blur into each other.”Play: EndgameTheatre: Noel Coward Theatre Recording Date: 12-Mar-2004
94 LIFT 2004 Romeo Castellucci, the controversial Italian director, talks to Rachel Halliburton about his European-wide exploration of modern tragedy, one of the highpoints of the festival. Bilingual discussion. “There is the possibility of a different world which only lasts for the time of the performance.”Play: Tragedia EndogonidiaRecording Date: 16-Mar-2004
95 INTERVIEW: DAVID ELDRIDGE (1/2) The playwright talks to Dominic Cavendish about how he has adapted the 1998 Dogme classic Festen (Celebration) for the stage. “I suspect that very few people who come to see the show at the Almeida have actually seen the film.”Play: FestenTheatre: Almeida Theatre Recording Date: 19-Mar-2004
96 INTERVIEW: DAVID ELDRIDGE (2/2) The playwright talks to Dominic Cavendish about how he came to be a playwright after starting out as a Romford street-trader, and looks back on his work as a whole. “I was very angry about what was happening to Britain at the end of the Thatcher years.”Play: FestenTheatre: Almeida Theatre Recording Date: 19-Mar-2004
97 INTERVIEW: LEMN SISSAY The acclaimed performance poet talks to Dominic Cavendish about his disturbing autobiographical one-man-show, Something Dark.  “One of the reasons why a lot of people fear theatre – and poetry as well – is because it deals with truths.”Play: Something DarkTheatre: Battersea Arts Centre Recording Date: 21-Mar-2004
98 CONTINENTAL DIVIDE Lecturer Richard Noble joins Rachel Halliburton, Carole Woddis and Matt Wolf to discuss David Edgar’s two-play examination of US politics. Recorded live. “There are bits of irony I agree, but the whole thing has a crushing earnestness about it.”Play: Continental DivideTheatre: Barbican Centre Recording Date: 26-Mar-2004
99 THE DARK David Benedict, Sam Marlowe, Heather Neill and Matt Wolf find flickering interest in Charlotte Jones’ latest at the Donmar Warehouse. Recorded live. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a play so shot through with anxiety on the part of its writer.”Play: The DarkTheatre: Donmar Warehouse Recording Date: 26-Mar-2004
Recordings from April 2004Total Number of Recordings from this month: 9
100 THE SWEETEST SWING IN BASEBALL Rebecca Gilman’s Royal Court latest gets a widely differing reception from Kate Bassett, Jane Edwardes and John Nathan. David Benedict hosts. “There was something about this play that had a bitter tone to it… it’s as if she’s settling a score here.”Play: The Sweetest Swing in BaseballTheatre: Royal Court Downstairs Recording Date: 01-Apr-2004
101 FESTEN David Eldridge’s adaptation of the Dogme classic approvingly assessed by David Benedict, Jane Edwardes and John Nathan. Hosted by Dominic Cavendish. “Go and see it because it’s very good but that doesn’t entirely answer the question: why make it?”Play: FestenTheatre: Almeida Theatre Recording Date: 02-Apr-2004
102 LIFT 2004 The co-founders of the London International Festival of Theatre, Rose Fenton and Lucy Neal, share their memories of the past 25 years with Dominic Cavendish. “We funded ourselves by being waitresses in the evening. There was a great deal of bluff involved.”Recording Date: 05-Apr-2004
103 INTERVIEW: MARK RYLANCE (1/2) Prior to the 2004 season at Shakespeare’s Globe, ‘Star-Crossed Lovers’, Heather Neill talks to its tireless artistic director. “There’s a lot of reverence and fearful stuff around Shakespeare.”Recording Date: 16-Apr-2004
104 INTERVIEW: MARK RYLANCE (2/2) Heather Neill continues her conversation with the artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe, looking at original pronunciation productions. “We’ll see what it sounds like… it’s part of the experiment.” Recording Date: 16-Apr-2004
105 CYRANO DE BERGERAC David Benedict, Mark Shenton, Carole Woddis and Matt Wolf turn their noses up at the National Theatre’s revival. Dominic Cavendish hosts. Recorded live. “Is it or isn’t it meant to be a big production? It doesn’t really seem to be able to make up its own mind.”Play: Cyrano de BergeracTheatre: National Theatre, Olivier Recording Date: 23-Apr-2004
106 OLEANNA David Benedict, Sam Marlowe, Carole Woddis and Matt Wolf dissect Mamet’s divisive sex-war drama. Mark Shenton hosts. Recorded live. “It’s less a play about political correctness now and absolutely a play about power relations.”Play: OleannaTheatre: Garrick Theatre Recording Date: 23-Apr-2004
107 DEBATE: TICKET PRICES IN THE WEST END (1/2) The problem analysed by industry insiders Diane Borger, Nica Burns and Caro Newling. David Benedict chairs. Recorded live. “You’ve got to make commercial theatre work, but it’s nothing like as profit-driven as people think it is.”Recording Date: 23-Apr-2004
108 DEBATE: TICKET PRICES IN THE WEST END (2/2) Q&A: Producer Nica Burns defends the West End against Broadway comparisons. David Benedict chairs. Recorded live. “You’re going to be able to get into The Producers for £10; there aren’t price breaks like that on Broadway.”Recording Date: 23-Apr-2004
Recordings from May 2004Total Number of Recordings from this month: 30
109 SING YER HEART OUR FOR THE LADS Cheers all round for Roy Williams’ look at racism today, from Andrea Enisuoh, John Nathan and Mark Shenton. Kate Bassett hosts. “Why should he give the answers? He’s putting the debate out there – it’s up to us to reach conclusions.’”Play: Sing Yer Heart Out For the LadsTheatre: National Theatre, Cottesloe Recording Date: 07-May-2004
110 HAMLET Trevor Nunn’s production, starring 23-year-old Ben Whishaw, has had raves, but what do Kate Bassett, David Benedict, Jane Edwardes and Heather Neill think? Rachel Halliburton hosts. “Actors do Hamlet in their thirties not because they’re arrogant but because you need experience.”Play: HamletTheatre: Old Vic Recording Date: 07-May-2004
111 LIFEGAME Jane Edwardes, Heather Neill and Mark Shenton show differing degrees of enthusiasm for the improvisation show that turns life into art on-the-spot. Dominic Cavendish hosts. “Even ordinary lives have extraordinary moments and that’s exactly what this show is all about.”Play: LifegameTheatre: National Theatre, Cottesloe Recording Date: 07-May-2004
112 HENRY IV Kate Bassett, Jane Edwardes and Rhoda Koenig hold a critical mirror up to Tom Stoppard’s new version of Pirandello at the Donmar. Dominic Cavendish hosts. “The production came alive with Ian McDiarmid’s performance, there were thrilling flashes of rage.”Play: Henry IVTheatre: Donmar Warehouse Recording Date: 07-May-2004
113 INTERVIEW: DAEL ORLANDERSMITH The actor, poet and author of Yellowman joins director Indhu Rubasingham to talk about her acclaimed play, internal racism and George W Bush. “There’s a lot of shame, and people think it’s airing dirty laundry, but maybe it’s time for it to be aired.”Play: YellowmanTheatre: Hampstead Theatre Recording Date: 07-May-2004
114 INTERVIEW: SHUNT (1/3) The acclaimed theatre collective have moved into 70,000 sq ft of space under London Bridge Station. Shunt member David Rosenberg gives a sneak preview. Dominic Cavendish marvels.  “We never really believed it was going to happen because it’s so insane… but we’re here now!”Play: TropicanaTheatre: Shunt Vaults Recording Date: 10-May-2004
115 INTERVIEW: SHUNT (2/3) Who are Shunt? Where do they belong? What are they about? Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask, as revealed by Shunt member David Rosenberg. “I don’t like the term ‘fringe’. For us, it tends to mean cheap or bad, or performed in a pokey space.”Play: TropicanaTheatre: Shunt Vaults Recording Date: 10-May-2004
116 INTERVIEW: SHUNT (3/3) Five members of the innovative Shunt collective talk to Dominic Cavendish about their working process, and whether or not their work has any meaning. “In Dance bear Dance we were dealing with completely current ideas within the war against terrorism.”Play: TropicanaTheatre: Shunt Vaults Recording Date: 11-Jun-2004
117 INTERVIEW: MARTIN CRIMP (1/2) The playwright talks to Dominic Cavendish about Cruel and Tender, his radical reworking of Sophocles’ Trachiniae. “It was a desperate concern of mine not to reduce the play to some sort of anti-war diatribe… ”Play: Cruel and TenderTheatre: Young Vic Recording Date: 11-May-2004
118 INTERVIEW: MARTIN CRIMP (2/2) The conversation shifts to translating Marivaux’s The False Servant and Crimp’s work in general. Dominic Cavendish quizzes. “I’m looking for constraints all the time, some rules which will let the material be created by me.”Play: Cruel and TenderTheatre: Young Vic Recording Date: 11-May-2004
119 INTERVIEW: DOMINIC COOPER The actor, starring in The History Boys at the National, talks to Rachel Halliburton about his blossoming career and the perils of youth appeal. “It’s great – we’ve all turned into a bunch of kids, behaving terribly in rehearsals and learning lots too.”Play: The History BoysTheatre: National Theatre, Lyttelton Recording Date: 12-May-2004
120 INTERVIEW: DAVID LAN With the Young Vic coming to the end of an era this summer, Heather Neill hears about the theatre’s past, present and future from its artistic director. “It’s tremendously important that the soul – the spirit – of this place is retained.”Recording Date: 14-May-2004
[NB: The following items, numbers 121 to 128 , have been withdraw at the request of Bill Nighy.]
121 MASTERCLASS: BILL NIGHY (1/8) The star actor gives a brilliant talk about acting as part of the Theatre Royal Haymarket’s Masterclass series. “I found out a couple of things: one is that you can be terrified and still go to work.”Recording Date: 21-May-2004
122 MASTERCLASS: BILL NIGHY (2/8) Q&A: on trying to act cool, and why Shakespeare just doesn’t do it for him. Recording quality: variable. “I’m part of an undercover group of actors who do things cheerfully, cos it’s radical.”Recording Date: 21-May-2004
123 MASTERCLASS: BILL NIGHY (3/8)Q&A: on the value of going to drama school, the common sense courtesy of David Mamet, and the end of his writing ambitions. “I used to always have my tongue out; that’s what my anxiety did to me.”Recording Date: 21-May-2004
124 MASTERCLASS: BILL NIGHY (4/8) Q&A: on why an actor’s job is not just to feel, and all about the nightmare of auditions. “I have absolutely no time to be feeling stuff; cos I’m at work.”Recording Date: 21-May-2004
125 MASTERCLASS: BILL NIGHY (5/8) Q&A: on the difficulty of making a living, parental support, favourite directors and latest projects. “Acting is a delicate, mysterious thing; it’s not psychiatry, it’s not rocket science. ”Recording Date: 21-May-2004
126 MASTERCLASS: BILL NIGHY (6/8) Q&A: Nighy talks candidly about the art of comedy, and what to do about learning your lines. “Learn every single word you have to say before you go near a rehearsal room.”Recording Date: 21-May-2004
127 MASTERCLASS: BILL NIGHY (7/8) Q&A: Nighy reveals how to get around a stage, divulges his experiences of Blue/Orange, and ponders whether being an extra is worth it. “What do you do with your hands on stage is a world-class, groovy question.”Recording Date: 21-May-2004
128 MASTERCLASS: BILL NIGHY (8/8) Q&A: Nighy wraps up with some excellent observations about dealing with nerves and bullying directors at drama school. “No one should be licenced to insult in any way anyone who’s trying to study.”Recording Date: 21-May-2004
129 AMERICA ABSURDUM The zany, hip US satire has hit London. Philip Fisher asks director John Clancy and actors Nancy Walsh and Paul Urcioli to tell all about it. With two extracts from the show. “Back in 1994, it was seen as a little extreme – now everyone’s getting it.”Play: Americana AbsurdumTheatre: Menier Chocolate Factory Recording Date: 26-May-2004
130 INTERVIEW: DECLAN DONNELLAN (1/2) The artistic director of the legendary Cheek by Jowl theatre company – back with a vengeance with Othello – has a cup of tea with Dominic Cavendish. “There’s an extraordinary period of perestroika in British theatre – a new generation is taking over.”Recording Date: 27-May-2004
131 INTERVIEW: DECLAN DONNELLAN (2/2) The artistic director of Cheek by Jowl continues to muse on the company’s fortunes, and outlines current projects and future plans. Dominic Cavendish listens. “I need change. So I’d love to direct a horror film, or a thriller, and I’d certainly love to put on a circus.”Recording Date: 27-May-2004
132 THE HISTORY BOYS Alan Bennett’s latest at the National gets marks out of ten from Alastair Macaulay, Charles Spencer and Jane Edwardes. Mark Shenton hosts. Recorded live. “Perhaps it was trying to do too much, but there are so many plays that try to do too little.”Play: The History BoysTheatre: National Theatre, Lyttelton Recording Date: 28-May-2004
133 DEBATE: NEW WRITING (1/2) Playwrights Richard Bean, Mark Ravenhill and Simon Stephens take the measure of the new writing scene. Aleks Sierz hosts. Recorded live. “It might be a good time to ask the taboo question: are British playwrights actually any good?”Recording Date: 28-May-2004
134 DEBATE: NEW WRITING (2/3) Richard Bean, Mark Ravenhill and Simon Stephens consider the impact, or otherwise, of Blair and 9/11. Aleks Sierz hosts. Recorded live. “There’s a permeating sense of cynicism… you can overthrow a government and it only gets worse.”Recording Date: 28-May-2004
135 DEBATE: NEW WRITING (3/3) Q&A: Richard Bean, Simon Stephens and Mark Ravenhill answer questions, including: whatever happened to in-yer-face theatre…? Aleks Sierz hosts. Recorded live.“There is room for improvement. I think we could be allowing voices to be more diverse than they are…” Recording Date: 28-May-2004
136 LIFT ENQUIRY 2004 In the first of a series of testimonies about what theatre means, Olu Alake, Senior Officer for Cultural Diversity, Arts Council England, takes the stand. “Theatre is life in West Africa, especially in the Nigerian towns where I spent my formative years.”Recording Date: 28-May-2004
137 LIFT ENQUIRY 2004 Michael Boyd, artistic director of the RSC, gives a 50-second resume of what theatre means to him; part of the London International Festival of Theatre. “We call ourselves ice sculptors in the theatre because our work only lives on in people’s memories.”Recording Date: 28-May-2004
138 MEASURE FOR MEASURE David Benedict, Alastair Macaulay, Sam Marlowe and Charles Spencer assess Simon McBurney’s first stab at directing Shakespeare. Dominic Cavendish hosts it live. “What was really exciting was that it was about how desire has become fetishised in the modern world.”Play: Measure for MeasureTheatre: National Theatre, Olivier Recording Date: 28-May-2004
Recordings from June 2004Total Number of Recordings from this month: 10
139 LIFT ENQUIRY 2004 The writer and broadcaster Shyama Perera responds to the question posed by the London International Festival of Theatre: ‘What is theatre to you?’ “I grew up with no expectation that drama had relevance beyond spectacle.”Recording Date: 01-Jun-2004
140 TONY AWARDS 2004 Matt Wolf, London critic for Variety and Mark Shenton of the Sunday Express deliver their verdicts on this year’s Tonys to David Benedict. “What’s astonishing is that the Tonys are a big deal… it really is getting more and more like the Oscars.”Recording Date: 11-Jun-2004
141 SHINING CITY Kate Bassett, David Benedict and Heather Neill enthuse about the latest from Conor The Weir McPherson at the Royal Court. Patrick Marmion hosts. “You were realising how funny the banal is and how close the banal is to being absolutely miserable.”Play: Shining CityTheatre: Royal Court Downstairs Recording Date: 11-Jun-2004
142 MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING There’s little to cheer and much to irk Kate Bassett, David Benedict and Carole Woddis in the all-female revival at Shakespeare’s Globe. Heather Neill hosts. “Josie Lawrence was amazingly awful – I wouldn’t have given her the part in a school production.”Play: Much Ado About NothingTheatre: Shakespeare’s Globe Recording Date: 11-Jun-2004
143 THE FALSE SERVANT Kate Bassett, Heather Neill and Carole Woddis savour Marivaux’s cruel, cross-dressing comedy at the National. David Benedict hosts. “What I liked about Charlotte Rampling was that she had this rather assertive, masculine manner.”Play: The False ServantTheatre: National Theatre, Cottesloe Recording Date: 18-Jun-2004
144 DEBATE: DOES THE FRINGE MATTER? (1/2) Mehmet Ergen (Arcola), Lyn Gardner (Guardian), Lisa Goldman (Red Room) and Paul Higgins (Latchmere) discuss. Dominic Cavendish hosts. “There is a new generation of people out there who are absolutely choosing to work on the fringe.”Recording Date: 25-Jun-2004
145 DEBATE: DOES THE FRINGE MATTER? (2/2) Q&A: Plus contributions from Southwark Playhouse, King’s Head and Pentameters theatres. Dominic Cavendish hosts. “I think the Arts Council – about 20 years ago – decided they weren’t going to fund small venues.”Recording Date: 25-Jun-2004
146 IPHIGENIA AT AULIS Euripides – as directed by Katie Mitchell. David Benedict, Heather Neill and Charles Spencer pass judgment. Kate Bassett hosts. Recorded live. “It could be anything between the 30s, 40s and 50s… either do it timelessly or set it now.”Play: Iphigenia at AulisTheatre: National Theatre, Lyttelton Recording Date: 25-Jun-2004
147 INTERVIEW: PAULETTE RANDALL The artistic director of Talawa Theatre Company talks to David Benedict about her current revival of James Baldwin’s play, Blues for Mr Charlie. Recorded live. “Young black men are still being murdered, whether it’s here or in America – racism is still a big issue.”Play: Blues for Mr CharlieTheatre: Tricycle Theatre Recording Date: 25-Jun-2004
Recordings from July 2004Total Number of Recordings from this month: 10
148 INTERVIEW: ALISON CHITTY The head of school at the Motley Theatre Design Course talks to Dominic Cavendish about this unique training establishment and its 2004 exhibition. “There are lots of complicated skills that you need in order to develop as a theatre designer.”Recording Date: 02-Jul-2004
149 THE OLD MASTERS Simon Gray returns to the West End; Rhoda Koenig, Mark Shenton and Robert Tanitch don’t exactly roll out the red carpet. David Benedict hosts. “I think it’s dreadfully old-fashioned but I can’t see anything wrong with that.”Play: The Old MastersTheatre: Comedy Theatre Recording Date: 09-Jul-2004
150 OLD TIMES David Benedict, Michael Billington and Mark Shenton contemplate the 1971 Harold Pinter classic, revived at the Donmar Warehouse. Heather Neill hosts. “Although you couldn’t say this was a political play, there is a political point somewhere in this.”Play: Old TimesTheatre: Donmar Warehouse Recording Date: 09-Jul-2004
151 EDINBURGH 2004 DEBATE: HOW TO SURVIVE THE FESTIVAL (1/2) Sheridan Humphreys, Dominic Maxwell, Christopher Richardson and Ian Shuttleworth discuss. Dominic Cavendish hosts. Recorded live. “There’s a really good sense of being in the game – you’re motored by the thought that magic could happen.”Recording Date: 23-Jul-2004
152 EDINBURGH 2004 DEBATE: HOW TO SURVIVE THE FESTIVAL (2/2) Sheridan Humphreys, Dominic Maxwell, Christopher Richardson and Ian Shuttleworth discuss. Plus Q&A. Dominic Cavendish hosts. Recorded live. “Edinburgh in August is one of the wonders of the world – even better than the Pyramids.”Recording Date: 23-Jul-2004
153 MASTERCLASS: CAN ACTING BE TAUGHT? (1/3) In conjunction with the Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass series, Geoffrey Colman, Patricia Hodge and Steve Larcher tackle the big question. David Benedict hosts. Recorded live. “If you learn how to be a person, you can learn how to be an actor. Fundamental to that is self-knowledge.”Recording Date: 23-Jul-2004
154 MASTERCLASS: CAN ACTING BE TAUGHT? (2/3) Masterclass alumni Geoffrey Colman, Patricia Hodge and Steve Larcher continue to ponder drama teaching past and present. David Benedict hosts. Recorded live. “If you do an audit of acting providers today, what’s emerging is far more target-specific than it used to be.”Recording Date: 23-Jul-2004
155 MASTERCLASS: CAN ACTING BE TAUGHT? (3/3) Q&A: Masterclass alumni Geoffrey Colman, Patricia Hodge and Steve Larcher offer some final words of advice. David Benedict hosts. Recorded live. “We weren’t told until we’d got in there how many of us – out of the 40 – were going to survive in jobs.”Recording Date: 23-Jul-2004
156 INTERVIEW: SIMON MCBURNEY (1/2) Complicite’s artistic director recalls early days on the Edinburgh Fringe and offers a fewsurvival tips. Dominic Cavendish quizzes. “I’ve always felt that going to Edinburgh is like going into battle – you have to prepare it incredibly well.”Recording Date: 30-Jul-2004
157 INTERVIEW: SIMON McBURNEY (2/2) The artistic director of Complicite talks to Dominic Cavendish about the genesis of The Elephant Vanishes, which returns to the Barbican as part of a world tour. “We decided that we would make it absolutely plastic – everything in Tokyo appears to be artificial.”Play: The Elephant VanishesTheatre: Barbican Centre Recording Date: 30-Jul-2004
Recordings from August 2004Total Number of Recordings from this month: 9
158 SONDHEIM DOUBLE (1/2) A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum: Rhoda Koenig, John Nathan and Mark Shenton beg to disagree. David Benedict umpires. “Ever since he lost a lot of weight, Desmond Barrit has really not been at all funny.”Play: A Funny Thing Happened…Theatre: National Theatre, Olivier Recording Date: 06-Aug-2004
159 SONDHEIM DOUBLE (2/2) Sweeney Todd: as chopped about by John Doyle, gets dissected by Rhoda Koenig, John Nathan and Mark Shenton. David Benedict stops the blood flow. “I think that if you came new to this show, you’d have great trouble following this production.”Play: Sweeney Todd Theatre: Trafalgar Studios Recording Date: 06-Aug-2004
160 EDINBURGH 2004: THE FATBOY DIARIES (1/4) John Clancy, author of punchy US comedy Fatboy, fills Philip Fisher in on the show’s genesis and starts a production diary. “Miscommunication! The technical crew didn’t know we had a set to be built!… I went out of my mind…”Play: Fatboy Theatre: Assembly Rooms Recording Date: 11-Aug-2004
161 EDINBURGH 2004 Philip Howard, artistic director of the Traverse, talks to Philip Fisher about Scotland’s new writing powerhouse. “I think that some of the London critics view Scottish writers as being a load of hairy-arsed barbarians.” Recording Date: 12-Aug-2004
162 INTERVIEW: FRANK McGUINNESS The Irish playwright talks about his adaptation of Euripides’ Hecuba – the successor to his acclaimed rendition of Electra. Dominic Cavendish quizzes. “Euripides takes the ground from under our feet by showing what this grieving mother is capable of.”Play: HecubaTheatre: Donmar Warehouse Recording Date: 13-Aug-2004
163 EDINBURGH 2004: THE FATBOY DIARIES (2/4) Playwright and director John Clancy ends the first full week on an upbeat note. “We heard that we were going to be honoured with a Scotsman Fringe First… I was stunned.”Play: Fatboy Theatre: Assembly Rooms Recording Date: 14-Aug-2004
164 EDINBURGH 2004 Philip Fisher talks to playwright David Greig about his relationship with the Festival and new play about life in Ramallah, When the Bulbul Stopped Singing. “It’s about the way the Palestinians are represented – whether it’s by Arab TV, Israel or the West.”Play: When the Bulbul Stopped SingingTheatre: Traverse Theatre Recording Date: 17-Aug-2004
165 EDINBURGH 2004: THE FATBOY DIARIES (3/4) John Clancy’s stay in Edinburgh with the cast of Fatboy is briefly interrupted. “I flew back to where I grew up – I haven’t lived there for 20 years. We buried my grandfather…”Play: Fatboy Theatre: Assembly Rooms Recording Date: 21-Aug-2004
166 EDINBURGH 2004: THE FATBOY DIARIES (4/4) The end of the Fringe and three members of the Fatboy team – John Clancy, Matt Oberg and Nancy Walsh – bid a fond farewell. Dominic Cavendish reports“As we sit here, at 8.48pm on Monday 30th August, there’s no signed deal…”Play: FatboyTheatre: Assembly Rooms Recording Date: 30-Aug-2004
Recordings from September 2004 Total Number of Recordings from this month: 10
167 INTERVIEW: RALPH KOLTAI (1/2) With a retrospective exhibition running at the National Theatre, the 80-year-old designer looks back on his career with David Benedict. “Whatever talent I may have, it lies in recognising the accident when it happens.” Recording Date: 03-Sep-2004
168 INTERVIEW: RALPH KOLTAI (2/2) The renowned designer continues his conversation with David Benedict, with a special focus on his work in opera. “What is sad is that this quality of British theatre is appreciated everywhere except for in Britain itself.” Recording Date: 03-Sep-2004
169 STUFF HAPPENS David Hare’s factional account of the build-up to the Iraq War, at the National, gets the thumbs-up from David Benedict, Charles Spencer and Matt Wolf. Heather Neill hosts. “On the basis of this play for the first time I understood how George W Bush became President.”Play: Stuff HappensTheatre: National Theatre, Olivier Recording Date: 17-Sep-2004
170 DUMB SHOW Joe Penhall’s merciless hatchet-job on tabloid journalism is reviewed by Jane Edwardes, Charles Spencer and Matt Wolf. David Benedict hosts. “’I was absolutely gripped throughout – a great newspaper play’ versus ‘It seemed shallow to me’.”Play: Dumb ShowTheatre: Royal Court Downstairs Recording Date: 17-Sep-2004
171 HECUBA Nice translation, shame about the set… David Benedict, Jane Edwardes and Heather Neill mull over a new spin on a Euripides classic. Mark Shenton hosts. “If this were to transfer to a bigger space they wouldn’t have to do a thing and it would register.”Play: HecubaTheatre: Donmar Warehouse Recording Date: 17-Sep-2004
172 DEBATE: THE FUTURE OF THE MUSICAL (1/3) A star line-up of industry insiders, Jason Robert Brown, Julius Green, Philip Hedley, Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas, join Mark Shenton. Recorded live. “When I receive proposals for musicals they seem to be more of a business plan than a creative idea.”Recording Date: 24-Sep-2004
173 DEBATE: THE FUTURE OF THE MUSICAL (2/3) Jason Robert Brown, Julius Green, Philip Hedley, Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas continue their musings. Mark Shenton hosts. Recorded live. “If people have spent a lot of money what they probably want is something they already know…”Recording Date: 24-Sep-2004
174 DEBATE: THE FUTURE OF THE MUSICAL (3/3) Q&A: Jason Robert Brown, Julius Green, Philip Hedley, Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas join Mark Shenton. Recorded live. Sound quality: variable. “What the musical theatre needs most specifically is individual voices that have something to say.”Recording Date: 24-Sep-2004
175 INTERNATIONAL THEATRE Thea Sharrock, new artistic director of the Gate, Notting Hill, and Lara Foot Newton, author of Tshepang, talk about theatre in the new South Africa. Dominic Cavendish quizzes. “It’s so authentic that if you don’t come and see it now, you ain’t going to see it ever again.”Play: Tshepang Theatre: The Gate, Notting Hill Recording Date: 24-Sep-2004
176 THE WOMAN IN WHITE A mixed verdict greets Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest, with opinions from Mark Shenton, Wilkie Collins expert Matthew Sweet and Matt Wolf. David Benedict hosts. Recorded live. “’Lloyd Webber’s best musical since Phantom’ versus ‘A small-scale show buried under a giant production’.”Play: Woman in WhiteTheatre: Palace Theatre Recording Date: 24-Sep-2004
Recordings from October 2004Total Number of Recordings from this month: 13
177 BURIED CHILD Sam Shepard’s 1978 Pulitzer Prize-winner, as revived by Matthew Warchus at the National, gets a warm welcome from Mark Shenton, Aleks Sierz and Matt Wolf. Heather Neill hosts. “It’s one of the best examples I can ever remember of an Anglo-American cast working as one.”Play: Buried ChildTheatre: National Theatre, Lyttelton Recording Date: 08-Oct-2004
178 CLOACA Kevin Spacey’s eagerly awaited directorial debut at the Old Vic with Maria Goos’s Dutch hit gets a reluctant panning from Aleks Sierz, Sam Marlowe and Matt Wolf. Mark Shenton hosts. “It is laudably bold – it’s just a real shame that it’s simply not the piece of writing we all hoped for.”Play: CloacaTheatre: Old Vic Recording Date: 08-Oct-2004
179 INTERVIEW: DOMINIC DROMGOOLE (1/2) The director drops in to talk about his revival of The Shadow of a Gunman, at the Tricycle. Dominic Cavendish quizzes. “It’s really a play about a new society that is caught between an imperalist power and terrorists…”Play: The Shadow of a GunmanTheatre: Tricycle Theatre Recording Date: 08-Oct-2004
180 INTERVIEW: DOMINIC DROMGOOLE (2/2) The new writing explosion of the early 1990s recalled, the reception to ‘The Full Room’, his contentious book on playwrights, revisited. Dominic Cavendish hosts. “That very reserved, very dry, laconic, cool, critical voice simply drives me completely insane…”Play: The Shadow of a GunmanTheatre: Tricycle Theatre Recording Date: 08-Oct-2004
181 INTERVIEW: HOWARD BARKER (1/2) With a new play, Dead Hands, in the offing, one of Britain’s most prolific and underrated writers talks to Aleks Sierz about his work. “For me the statement ‘I recognise that’ is a futile one and of no value to me as a writer.”Recording Date: 11-Oct-2004
182 INTERVIEW: HOWARD BARKER (2/2) His status abroad and neglect at home discussed and forthcoming projects with The Wrestling School outlined. Aleks Sierz quizzes. “In some way my work continually infringes the liberal humanist tradition.”Recording Date: 11-Oct-2004
183 INTERVIEW: DAVID STOREY The playwright is joined by director Sean Holmes to talk about the Oxford Stage Company’s tour of Home (1970). “Richardson and Gielgud had grave misgivings about doing it… but it revivified their careers.” Recording Date: 18-Oct-2004
184 DEBATE: THE STATE OF BLACK THEATRE (1/2) Is there a renaissance? Andrea Enisuoh consults Kwame Kwei-Armah, Steven Luckie and Paulette Randall. Recorded live. “I’m fed up with hearing the words ‘culturally diverse’. People should embrace any kind of theatre.”Recording Date: 23-Oct-2004
185 DEBATE: THE STATE OF BLACK THEATRE (2/2) Kwame Kwei-Armah, Steven Luckie and Paulette Randall continue to ponder the boom in black work. Andrea Enisuoh hosts. Recorded live. “It’s not until our population as a whole says ‘I’m willing to take a risk’ that things will actually change.”Recording Date: 23-Oct-2004
186 INTERVIEW: NONSO ANOZIE The actor who plays Othello in Declan Donnellan’s latest Cheek by Jowl staging, talks to Dominic Cavendish about the part, and his career. Recorded live. “You have to think about what you do as a black actor more than you have to do as a white actor.”Play: OthelloTheatre: Riverside Studios Recording Date: 23-Oct-2004
187 BECKET Jean Anouilh’s 1959 account of the troubled relationship between Henry II and Thomas a Becket gets hastily dispatched by John Nathan, Heather Neill and Adam Scott. Patrick Marmion hosts. “I was bored more than anything I’m afraid… my God, you really have to look for the significant ideas.”Play: BecketTheatre: Haymarket Theatre Royal Recording Date: 29-Oct-2004
188 THE MANDATE Nikolai Erdman’s post-Russian Revolution farce is revived by Declan Donnellan and reviewed by Patrick Marmion, John Nathan and Adam Scott. Heather Neill hosts. “It’s a fascinating play because of the interesting, rootless crossover period that it’s set in.”Play: The MandateTheatre: National Theatre, Cottesloe Recording Date: 29-Oct-2004
189 SIMPLY HEAVENLY A West End transfer for Josette Bushell-Mingo’s revival of Langston Hughes’ Harlem-set musical. John Nathan, Adam Scott and Mark Shenton discuss it. “Why can’t Clive Rowe be the next Max Bialystock [The Producers]? He’s funny… and graceful.”Play: Simply HeavenlyTheatre: Trafalgar Studios Recording Date: 29-Oct-2004
Recordings from November 2004Total Number of Recordings from this month: 15
190 INTERVIEW: TIM ETCHELLS (1/2) A major interview with the artistic director of leading experimentalists Forced Entertainment to mark the company’s 20th anniversary. “We want to make work where it’s acknowledged that the audience are there…”Play: Bloody MessTheatre: Forced Entertainment touring Recording Date: 05-Nov-2004
191 INTERVIEW: TIM ETCHELLS (2/2) The director considers Forced Entertainment’s troubled relation with UK critics, and assesses its differing reputation at home and abroad. Dominic Cavendish quizzes. “I think reports of how boring we are are a bit exaggerated!”Play: Bloody MessTheatre: Forced Entertainment touring Recording Date: 05-Nov-2004
192 FORCED ENTERTAINMENT SPECIAL (1/2) Critics Dominic Cavendish and Lyn Gardner, plus academics Andy Lavender and Andrew Quick, reflect on 20 years of experimentation. “Forced Entertainment are as convention-bound as any other type of performance – and they know that.”Play: Bloody MessTheatre: Forced Entertainment touring Recording Date: 05-Nov-2004
193 FORCED ENTERTAINMENT SPECIAL (2/2) Dominic Cavendish, Lyn Gardner, Andy Lavender and Andrew Quick continue to evaluate Sheffield’s prime theatrical export. “It’s like watching kids raiding the dressing-up box – there’s something immensely engaging about that.”Play: Bloody MessTheatre: Forced Entertainment touring Recording Date: 05-Nov-2004
194 INTERVIEW: GORDON ANDERSON The director talks to Aleks Sierz about Rainald Goetz’s Jeff Koons, as well as his early days with comedy phenomenon The League of Gentlemen. Sound quality: moderate. “This is written in a theatre culture where ensemble companies have months to work on a play and get it right… ”Play: Jeff KoonsTheatre: ICA Recording Date: 05-Nov-2004
195 FORTY WINKS Kevin Elyot’s latest at the Royal Court Theatre, directed by Katie Mitchell, gets a rally of critical support from Heather Neill, Mark Shenton and Matt Wolf. Kate Bassett hosts. “I’d read the poor reviews and dragged my heels but it has stuck with me in a way that many plays haven’t.”Play: Forty WinksTheatre: Royal Court Downstairs Recording Date: 12-Nov-2004
196 THE PRODUCERS Nathan Lane and Lee Evans are on coruscating form in Mel Brooks’ musical, according to Kate Bassett, Heather Neill and Matt Wolf. Mark Shenton hosts. “Oddly, the London production has heart, which the Broadway production simply didn’t have.”Play: The ProducersTheatre: Drury Lane Theatre Royal Recording Date: 12-Nov-2004
197 INTERVIEW: STEPHEN SEWELL The Australian playwright talks to Philip Fisher about his acclaimed war-on-terror thriller, Myth, Progaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany… and Contemporary America. “The circumstances are now so dire that we really have to squawk as loudly as we possibly can.”Play: Myth, Propaganda and Disaster…Theatre: Orange Tree Recording Date: 12-Nov-2004
198 FOCUS ON NEW YORK (1/2) Geoffrey Marsh, head of the Theatre Museum, interviews Matt Wolf, London critic for Variety, about the Big Apple. “There’s been much talk recently about the plethora of one-person shows on Broadway.”Recording Date: 18-Nov-2004
199 FOCUS ON NEW YORK (2/2) Matt Wolf continues to muse on the theatre scene, and its hit musicals, Stateside. Geoffrey Marsh quizzes. “The musical is deemed to be the commercial lifeblood of the theatre system there.”Recording Date: 18-Nov-2004
200 BLITHE SPIRIT Differing takes on Thea Sharrock’s revival of Coward’s paranormal comedy from Heather Neill, Adam Scott and Charles Spencer. Matt Wolf hosts. Recorded live. “For the first time, I was made very aware by this production of the amount of unhappiness in the play.”Play: Blithe SpiritTheatre: Savoy Theatre Recording Date: 26-Nov-2004
201 THE EARTHLY PARADISE Is Peter Whelan’s latest play theatrical purgatory? Adam Scott, Charles Spencer and Matt Wolf seem to think so. Patrick Marmion hosts. Recorded live. “It didn’t strike me as faintly believable – the writing is alternately flat and over-ripe.”Play: The Earthly ParadiseTheatre: Almeida Theatre Recording Date: 26-Nov-2004
202 DEBATE: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO PERFORMANCE ART? (1/2) Anne Bean, Manick Govinda and Laura Godfrey-Isaacs discuss the question. Critic Judith Palmer hosts. Recorded live. “The theatre actor’s ‘technique’ seems so false compared to a performance artist.”Recording Date: 26-Nov-2004
203 DEBATE: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO PERFORMANCE ART? (2/2) Anne Bean, Manick Govinda and Laura Godfrey-Isaacs continue to reflect on the state of UK live art. Judith Palmer hosts. Recorded live. “It was very utopian and idealistic back then, now it’s much more hard-nosed.”Recording Date: 26-Nov-2004
204 INTERVIEW: MUSTAPHA MATURA At the 20th anniversary revival of his Trinidadian rewrite of The Playboy of the Western World, the playwright reminisces with director Nicolas Kent. Dominic Cavendish quizzes. “I think a lot of attitudes to black theatre have changed – it’s not black theatre anymore, it’s theatre.”Play: Playboy of the West IndiesTheatre: Tricycle Theatre Recording Date: 29-Nov-2004
Recordings from December 2004Total Number of Recordings from this month: 12
205 MUSICALS: MAURY YESTON The composer who contributed additional music and lyrics to Grand Hotel talks about his involvement in-depth to David Benedict. “In many ways, the Donmar version is far more electric than the same show in a larger venue.”Play: Grand HotelTheatre: Donmar Warehouse Recording Date: 01-Dec-2004
206 BY THE BOG OF CATS David Benedict, Jane Edwardes and Heather Neill get stuck into Marina Carr’s Medea-rewrite, in the West End with Hollywood star Holly Hunter. Matt Wolf hosts. “The intention is noble and good, although in the final analysis I don’t think that this production fully works.”Play: By the Bog of CatsTheatre: Wyndhams Theatre Recording Date: 03-Dec-2004
207 GRAND HOTEL David Benedict, Rhoda Koenig and Adam Scott sing the praises of Michael Grandage’s latest foray into musical revivals at the Donmar. Mark Shenton hosts. “As a piece of material it’s not the greatest musical but it’s a bloody good production.”Play: Grand HotelTheatre: Donmar Warehouse Recording Date: 03-Dec-2004
208 INTERVIEW: KEN CAMPBELL (1/2) The unrivalled master of the ingenious monologue reminisces about shows past, including the infamous Ken Campbell Road Show… Dominic Cavendish quizzes. “The killer that we had was putting ferrets down your trousers for world-record lengths of time.”Recording Date: 10-Dec-2004
209 INTERVIEW: KEN CAMPBELL (2/2) The raconteur extraordinaire ponders the genesis of the Science Fiction Theatre of Liverpool… Dominic Cavendish holds the mic. “To me, the Warp is the best play of the 20th century but because I put it on, no one else ever has.”Recording Date: 10-Dec-2004
210 INTERVIEW: NICHOLAS HYTNER The National Theatre’s artistic director talks to David Benedict about the job, his success so far and plans for the future. “There’s a whole raft of stuff that we haven’t achieved yet. It’s never any good relying on what’s around.”Recording Date: 15-Dec-2004
211 INTERVIEW: BLANCHE MARVIN The founder of the Peter Brook Empty Space Award explains what it’s for, and reminisces about her life in the theatre with Dominic Cavendish. “I said to Peter Brook: We’re not doing it for a gimmick… And then he said: How can I refuse?”Recording Date: 16-Dec-2004
212 REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2004 (1/2) David Benedict, Jane Edwardes, Alastair Macaulay, Mark Shenton, Charles Spencer and Matt Wolf give their personal verdicts on the theatre year. “I never really cared for Edward Albee until The Goat… it’s that rare thing: a modern tragedy.”Recording Date: 17-Dec-2004
213 REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2004 (2/2) David Benedict, Jane Edwardes, Alastair Macaulay, Mark Shenton, Charles Spencer and Matt Wolf continue to mull over theatreland’s highs and lows. “We Happy Few was a bumper compendium of every luvvie cliche you’ve ever heard.”Recording Date: 17-Dec-2004
214 MARY POPPINS David Benedict, Jane Edwardes and Mark Shenton love every minute of the long-awaited Poppins premiere, the final big musical opening of the season. Matt Wolf hosts. “It could have been an absolute disaster, but instead it’s just so fantastically fluid and fluent.”Play: Mary PoppinsTheatre: Prince Edward Theatre Recording Date: 17-Dec-2004
215 FIX UP Kwame Kwei-Armah’s latest, set in a black political bookstore, gets differing reactions from David Benedict, Andrea Enisuoh and Matt Wolf. Heather Neill hosts.  “As a black person, whatever play’s on at the National that addresses our ideas will obviously please me.”Play: Fix UpTheatre: National Theatre, Cottesloe Recording Date: 17-Dec-2004
216 NEW YORK SPECIAL The actor Anthony Chisolm talks about his role in Gem of the Ocean (Walter Kerr, NYC), the ninth play in August Wilson’s cycle about African-American history. Philip Fisher quizzes. “My working experiences in London have been incredible… it’s a city of intrigue, adventure and depth.”Recording Date: 30-Dec-2004