Theatrevoice archive, list of recordings 2007

4th February 2012

Recordings from January 2007

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 4

383 NEW YORK SPECIAL Philip Fisher talks to Dan Wackerman, the artistic director of New York’s Peccadillo theater company, responsible for the hit revival of 1930s screwball comedy Room Service at the Bank Street Theater, NYC. “It’s about a producer who’s holed up in a hotel with 19 starving actors – taking advantage of the hotel’s room service.”Recording Date: 04-Jan-2007

384 INTERVIEW: PAUL ROBINSON and TIM ROSEMAN The new artistic directors of Theatre 503 in Battersea talk to Culture Wars critic Andrew Haydon about life on the London fringe, and how the search for new political plays might lead to a questioning of the liberal consensus. “We don’t want dogmatic, preachy or worthy agitprop, and we don’t want something we’ve all seen before.”Recording Date: 19-Jan-2007

385 INTERVIEW: DAVID JUBB The artistic director of BAC – the Battersea Arts Centre – talks to Dominic Cavendish about the dire threat of closure hanging over this south London creative powerhouse in the wake of a proposed funding cut by Wandsworth Council. “Because we’re in this funny old, faintly awkward Victorian town hall, it’s created this enormous energy.”Recording Date: 23-Jan-2007

386 THE DAVID BENEDICT EXPERIENCE Ian Rickson’s The Seagull (Royal Court) and Deborah Warner’s Happy Days (National) reviewed, plus discussion of the upcoming Olivier Awards and what to look out for in February. Critics Kate Bassett and Michael Coveney join David Benedict. “Mackenzie Crook looks the part, all wired and manic, but his acting was quite flat and took a while to lift off.”Recording Date: 29-Jan-2007

Recordings from February 2007

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 8

387 SHAKESPEARE: THE TAMING OF THE SHREW/TWELFTH NIGHT Director Edward Hall, whose all-male Propeller company is staging a double bill at the Old Vic, talks to Heather Neill about the plays, the ensemble, single-sex casting and the survival of the Watermill Theatre.  “Having an all-male cast makes the pretence at the heart of theatre more obvious – and can allow you to listen to the story a bit more.”Recording Date: 01-Feb-2007

388 BLACK VOICES: TALAWA Artistic Director Pat Cumper and Executive Director Deborah Sawyerr talk to Steven Luckie about the ups and downs of Talawa, a black theatre company which was set up in 1986 by Yvonne Brewster. They also outline their future plans. “To decide on their name, they looked at themselves and said, ‘We’re short but feisty’, and that’s exactly what the word Talawa means.”Recording Date: 05-Feb-2007

389 AN EVENING WITH MICHAEL FRAYN At an event at the Hampstead Theatre, the playwright and writer introduces his new book, The Human Touch: Our Part in the Creation of the Universe (Faber), and tackles the paradoxes of philosophy.  “I think that philosophy is one of those sad subjects – it is a subject that has shrunk over the years.”Recording Date: 08-Feb-2007

390 INTERVIEW: JACK THORNE The playwright, whose Fanny and Faggot (Finborough) and Stacy (Arcola) deal with the controversial issues of child murderers and paedophiles, talks to Culture Wars critic Andrew Haydon about sexual violence and his experiments with form. “I got annoyed with a spate of plays about sex offenders which didn’t deal with the sex – they were about sex offenders from the waist up.”Recording Date: 16-Feb-2007

391 INTERVIEW: MURRAY MELVIN The veteran actor and member of Joan Littlewood’s legendary Theatre Workshop at the Theatre Royal Stratford East talks to Aleks Sierz about classic stagings such as A Taste of Honey, The Hostage and Oh What a Lovely War, as well as his new book, The Art of the Theatre Workshop (Oberon). “Their credo was to present the best of European and world theatre, and they did it all on tuppence ha’penny – they had so little money.”Recording Date: 16-Feb-2007

392 THE MARK SHENTON SHOW Focuses on Harold Pinter, with critics Michael Billington and Alastair Macaulay reviewing Pinter’s People (Haymarket) and The Dumb Waiter (Trafalgar). Director and actor Harry Burton talks about his experiences with Pinter, and host Mark Shenton discusses other upcoming Pinter productions, the Oliviers, and remembers Sheridan Morley. “It’s quite fundamental – trust Pinter’s language. It staggers me when people are just too stupid to realise this.”Recording Date: 21-Feb-2007

393 INTERVIEW: TIM CROUCH The writer and actor talks to Aleks Sierz about his innovative play, An Oak Tree (Soho), in which he is joined on stage by a different actor every night, and about his first play, My Arm, which also explored the theatricality of theatre. “There is a responsibility that I put in the audience’s lap, and sometimes they are not remotely interested in accepting it.”Recording Date: 23-Feb-2007

394 INTERVIEW: DAVID BABANI Artistic director and co-founder of the Menier Chocolate Factory, a unique fringe venue, talks to Philip Fisher about his triumph in winning five Olivier awards for Sunday in the Park with George, and about his current revivals, Little Shop of Horrors and Christopher Hampton’s Total Eclipse. “Sunday in the Park with George was the first time that live actors could have fun with the animation on stage.”Recording Date: 23-Feb-2007
Recordings from March 2007Total Number of Recordings from this month: 6

395 INTERVIEW: POL HEYVAERT The director and writer talks about Aalst, the National Theatre of Scotland/Victoria touring co-production which examines the murder of two children by their parents in the Belgian town of Aalst in 1999. Excerpt. “I didn’t want to do a straight investigation – it would have made the show too confusing.”Recording Date: 05-Mar-2007

396 SHAKESPEARE: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Director Jo Howarth talks to Heather Neill about her 90-minute adaptation for Shakespeare’s Globe, where the play was performed for free to some 6,000 14-year-old school kids as part of an innovative educational project.  “I’ve cut it right down so there’s no spare meat on the play – it’s now just one treat after another.”Recording Date: 06-Mar-2007

397 REVIEWERS on REVIEWING (1/2) Journalist Uchenna Izundu quizzes Dominic Cavendish (Telegraph), Jane Edwardes (Time Out) and Lyn Gardner (Guardian) about the business, and art, of theatre criticism. Where did they start and how can other people get in on the act? “You have people who are earning some kind of living from writing about theatre because there are nooks and crannies where you can do that.” Recording Date: 09-Mar-2007

398 REVIEWERS on REVIEWING (2/2) Journalist Uchenna Izundu continues to quiz Dominic Cavendish (Telegraph), Jane Edwardes (Time Out) and Lyn Gardner (Guardian) about the business, and art, of theatre criticism. “In the same way that a play has to find the right form and structure, a review has to do exactly the same.”Recording Date: 09-Mar-2007

399 INTERVIEW: ALISTAIR BEATON The award-winning satirist and playwright talks to Aleks Sierz about King of Hearts (Out of Joint at the Hampstead Theatre) and about his previous hits, such as Feelgood, and political comedy. “I had the script looked at by a couple of Muslims because I wanted to be sure that I was offending responsibly and not just out of ignorance.”Recording Date: 28-Mar-2007

400 INTERVIEW: LISA GOLDMAN The new artistic director of London’s Soho Theatre outlines her first season, which kicks off with a new play by Philip Ridley, and tells Aleks Sierz about young writers, new writing and politics. “Our policy is to create exhilarating and dissenting new work, and to create theatre as an event, and which connects with our changing times.”Recording Date: 30-Mar-2007

Recordings from April 2007

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 9

401 THE DAVID BENEDICT EXPERIENCE David Benedict asks Kate Bassett, Dominic Cavendish and Michael Coveney to reflect on The Rose Tattoo (National Theatre), The Wonderful World of Dissocia (Royal Court), and the changing of artistic regime at the Court. Plus: lighting designer Paule Constable drops in for a chat. “In common with the political establishment, the Royal Court seemed to be looking in the opposite direction to the rest of the country.”Recording Date: 06-Apr-2007

402 THEATRE BOOK PRIZE 2006 Geoffrey Marsh, head of the Theatre Museum, introduces Howard Loxton of the Society for Theatre Research, judges Richard Mangan, Heather Neill and John Woodvine, plus presenters Daniel Radcliffe, Bill Bryden and Donald Sinden. Plus: news of the fight to save the museum. “John Heilpern’s John Osborne: A Patriot for Us is a terrific, beautifully written book about a complex, tortured man.”Recording Date: 12-Apr-2007

403 INTERVIEW: ANTHONY NEILSON The controversial playwright tells Aleks Sierz about the National Theatre of Scotland’s revival of his 2004 play, The Wonderful World of Dissocia (Royal Court), plus his ideas on how the mind works and why theatre should be more popular. “Because mental disturbance is not a matter of choice, you can’t glamorise it – it’s not as if people will choose to become mentally disturbed.”Recording Date: 13-Apr-2007

404 SHAKESPEARE: OLIVER FORD DAVIES The veteran actor talks to Heather Neill about his latest book, Performing Shakespeare (Nick Hern), which covers character, verse speaking and playing Shakespeare in broad daylight, as well as in translation. “There are archetypes in Shakespeare’s play, but the joy is watching him subvert these archetypes, turning for example the Jew of Malta into Shylock.”Recording Date: 18-Apr-2007

405 BLACK VOICES: JIMMY AKINGBOLA The actor talks to Steven Luckie about his background, his career and roles in Baby Doll (Birmingham Rep), The People Next Door (Traverse), Blue/Orange (Sheffield Crucible) and The Cut (Donmar). “At the audition, I was playing it truthfully, but the accent was all over the place – I still got the part.”Recording Date: 18-Apr-2007

406 THE MARK SHENTON SHOW Fringe focus: what exactly is the fringe today, and what is its future? Critics Lyn Gardner and Kieron Quirke join David Jubb, head of BAC, and Sofie Mason of to discuss theatre beyond the mainstream. Mark Shenton hosts. “Fringe can be a negative term, but the punter just wants to know whether they will get am-dram or a full production.”Recording Date: 20-Apr-2007

407 INTERVIEW: MICHAEL SIMKINS The actor, writer and cricketer talks to Philip Fisher about returning to the part of Billy Flynn in Chicago (Cambridge Theatre), highlights of his career, and his latest book, Fatty Batter (Ebury). “I did nine shows at the York Theatre Royal, in a three-week rep turnaround: today, a young actor would need ten years to get that experience.”Recording Date: 25-Apr-2007

408 SHAKESPEARE: THE HISTORY PLAYS (1/2) Michael Boyd, artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, talks to Heather Neill about the great cycle of eight history plays, and especially Richard II and Henry IV parts one and two (Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon). Also: listen to the second part of this discussion:“At its best, the RSC is about setting challenges for actors and celebrating the art of acting, not just typecasting people.”Recording Date: 25-Apr-2007

409 BLACK VOICES: OLADIPO AGBOLUAJE The playwright talks to Steven Luckie about his work, including Early Morning (Oval House), an adaptation of Mother Courage and Her Children (Nottingham Playhouse), The Estate (Soho) and the upcoming The Christ of Coldharbour Lane (Soho). “I grew up in the Nigerian tradition of satire, which is the main way in which writers attack the Establishment.”Recording Date: 25-Apr-2007

Recordings from May 2007

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 8

410 INTERNATIONAL THEATRE Heather Neill reports from the Ninth Augenblick Mal! Festival of Theatre for Children, held in Berlin, and asks organiser and director Henning Fangauf about theatre for kids and young people in Germany, and how it compares to Britain. “We have more than 150 theatre companies for children, each of which has an ensemble of actors and a repertoire.”Recording Date: 04-May-2007

411 FOCUS ON STANISLAVSKI (1/2) Theatre expert Jean Benedetti, honorary professor at Rose Bruford College, talks to Aleks Sierz about his brand new translation of Konstantin Stanislavski’s writings, and why the Russian director (1863-1938) is still relevant to actor training today. “What is absolutely clear is that he produced the only complete study of actor training – there is nobody else.”Recording Date: 14-May-2007

412 FOCUS ON STANISLAVSKI (2/2) Theatre expert Jean Benedetti, honorary professor at Rose Bruford College, talks more to Aleks Sierz about his new translation of Konstantin Stanislavski’s writings, and why the Russian director (1863-1938) is still relevant to actor training today. “The original Russian is much funnier than some translations – a lot of ding-dong exchanges in class.”Recording Date: 14-May-2007

413 INTERVIEW: PHILIP RIDLEY The playwright talks to Aleks Sierz about his latest play, Leaves of Glass (Soho), a work which explores family relationships, memories of the past and hidden secrets. He also outlines his career and discusses the political resonances of his plays. “The two brothers play this political game in which they talk in this metaphorical language in order to provoke each other.”Recording Date: 16-May-2007

414 BLACK VOICES: KARENA JOHNSON The first back female programmer and first black female artistic director of a regional theatre chats to Steven Luckie about her career, black theatre in London and beyond, and the Olympics.  “As a programmer, and not just as a black programmer or practitioner, I wanted to challenge what was out there.”Recording Date: 22-May-2007

415 BLACK VOICES: JOHN KANI The legendary South African actor and writer takes a break from his current nationwide tour of Nothing but the Truth to tell Steven Luckie about his amazing career, which includes such classics as Siswe Banzi Is Dead, The Island and the film Serafina. “When we did Siswe Banzi in New York, Harlem came in their thousands – it became a cult on Broadway.”Recording Date: 23-May-2007

416 INTERVIEW: MIKE BARTLETT The playwright talks to Andrew Haydon, theatre editor of Culture Wars, about his 40-minute debut, My Child (Royal Court), and about life at the Royal Court under Dominic Cooke’s new regime. “The family is the place where you find unconditional love, but it’s also a place of maximum danger and violence.”Recording Date: 25-May-2007

417 SHAKESPEARE: THE MERCHANT OF VENICE Director Rebecca Gatward talks to Heather Neill about her production of this controversial play at Shakespeare’s Globe, and about how our anxieties about its anti-Semitism tend to blind us to its comedy.  “We’ve created two locations, Venice and Belmont, with a bridge and landing platform, which makes the audience the waters of Venice.”Recording Date: 30-May-2007

Recordings from June 2007

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 4

418 INTERVIEW: MATTHEW BOURNE The adventurous choreographer chats to Philip Fisher about the current revival of his 2000 ‘dancicle’ show, The Car Man, and about his career, which also includes Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Edward Scissorhands. “The Car Man was the first time I used the music as a film score – I wrote the story first and then fitted the music in.”Recording Date: 07-Jun-2007

419 INTERVIEW: HOIPOLLOI Shon Dale-Jones and ‘Hugh Hughes’ of Hoipolloi talk to Philip Fisher about their fringe hit Floating, as it arrives in London at the Barbican Pit. It’s about the year ‘the Isle of Anglesey broke free from the Welsh mainland and drifted into the North Atlantic…’ “We use a lot of philosophy: people who’ve made theatre say ‘It’s like theatre’ but they don’t say ‘It is theatre’.”Recording Date: 08-Jun-2007

420 INTERVIEW: CHRIS GOODE The innovative theatre-maker chats to Culture Wars critic Andrew Haydon about his latest non-verbal piece, Longwave, past Signal to Noise productions and his upcoming Edinburgh shows, Hippo World Guest Book, and Henry & Elizabeth. “What was interesting to me was two people who were just not able to speak to each other at all.”Recording Date: 21-Jun-2007

421 INTERVIEW: ANTHONY CLARK The artistic director of Hampstead Theatre talks to Aleks Sierz about his most recent production, Taking Care of Baby by Dennis Kelly, and reveals the highs and lows of running a new writing theatre in London. “What I think is ridiculous is that where we have gone out on a limb, we have not necessarily had support critically.”Recording Date: 22-Jun-2007

Recordings from July 2007

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 5

422 EDINBURGH FRINGE 2007 What’s in store for audiences this year, and what’s it like for the creatives who make it happen? Aleks Sierz assesses the state of the fringe with performer and Perrier winner Will Adamsdale; Anthony Alderson, director of the Pleasance; Culture Wars critic Andrew Haydon; and Kate McGrath, producer of Fuel. “It’s all about fun in the end, isn’t it? Or about changing the world. Or maybe about both.”Recording Date: 04-Jul-2007

423 INTERVIEW: JOHN GODBER Cited as the third most performed British playwright after Shakespeare and Ayckbourn, he talks to Dominic Cavendish about the 30th anniversary revival of his mega-hit Bouncers, the past and future of Hull Truck Theatre, and the recent floods. “If there is that sense of visceral adrenalin, the theatre can say to the club next door, we have as much right to be here as you.”Recording Date: 17-Jul-2007
424 TAKE FLIGHT SPECIAL (1/2) A brief roundtable chat involving the composer David Shire, Menier Chocolate Factory producer David Babani, director Sam Buntrock and designer David Farley about the forthcoming world premiere of Take Flight. “When we fall in love we say we’re floating on air, it seems there’s a universal human urge to overcome gravity.”Recording Date: 18-Jul-2007

425 TAKE FLIGHT SPECIAL (2/2) The new musical about pioneer aviators by Richard Maltby and David Shire, with book by John Weidman, receives its world premiere at the Menier Chocolate Factory this month. Here is a sample of three numbers, recorded in concert: Equilibrium; Papua; Before the Dawn. “Nice to know that while we argue here, some college grad genius in Europe is getting there first.”Recording Date: 18-Jul-2007

426 INTERVIEW: DAVID GREIG The Scottish playwright talks to Dominic Cavendish about Damascus (Traverse), one of his three Edinburgh Festival plays this year, and about his other explorations of the imaginary borderlands between fact and fiction. “We have a problem with authenticity in British theatre. We value writing about what we know so we distrust writing about foreign characters.”Recording Date: 30-Jul-2007

Recordings from August 2007

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 2

427 EDINBURGH FRINGE 2007 Carol Tambor (host of the Best of Edinburgh Award), Guy Masterson (veteran Fringe impresario) and John Clancy (theatre director and writer) share their thoughts with Philip Fisher on the Fringe today, and on its future. Excerpt. “There really has to be a breaking point – there are only so many people who can get into this town…”Recording Date: 15-Aug-2007

428 EDINBURGH 2007 REVIEW The Bacchae (King’s), Subway (Drill Hall), The Walworth Farce (Traverse), Mile End (Pleasance) and many more. Philip Fisher chats with Lyn Gardner (Guardian) and Mark Fisher (Fringe Firsts) about their favourite shows. “It was twenty minutes of complete sensory experience – the kind of thing that you only get on the Edinburgh Fringe.”Recording Date: 17-Aug-2007

Recordings from September 2007

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 5

429 INTERNATIONAL THEATRE: ELYSE DODGSON The head of the Royal Court’s international department talks to Aleks Sierz about that theatre’s upcoming season, which features foreign classics on the main stage as well as overseas new writers in the studio. “We don’t do ‘versions’ – it’s important to have a translator who can get as close as possible to the play’s original language.”Recording Date: 03-Sep-2007

430 REGIONAL THEATRE: COVENTRY Hamish Glen, the artistic director of the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, talks to Dominic Cavendish about the multi-million pound renovation project and opening season programme. First in an occasional series of theatrevoice phone interviews. “I think it was a building that had lost its confidence and lost its way… I thought there was a thirst for the most interesting drama we could find.”Recording Date: 11-Sep-2007

431 INTERVIEW: PATERSON JOSEPH The actor talks to Heather Neill about starring in Eugene O’Neill’s The Emperor Jones and George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan at the National, and the use of the n-word on stage, as well as about his acting career.  “People who read the play find it racist – they see the phonetics and then say that it is minstrel-speak.”Recording Date: 11-Sep-2007

432 INTERVIEW: ROBIN SOANS The actor and writer talks to Philip Fisher about his verbatim theatre piece, Life after Scandal, at the Hampstead Theatre. Celebrities discussed include Neil and Christine Hamilton, Charles and Diana Ingram, Jonathan Aitken and Edwina Currie. Plus: Soans’ acting career and the birth of ‘in-yer-face’ theatre… “People tend to think verbatim theatre should be strictly regulated, but it’s not a restricted form, it’s malleable.”Recording Date: 19-Sep-2007

433 INTERVIEW: LEE HALL Best known as the creator of Billy Elliot, the playwright joins Max Roberts, artistic director of Live Theatre, Newcastle, to talk about his new play. The Pitmen Painters revisits the story of the Ashington Group – a 1930s society of miners who discovered they had a talent to paint. “Theatre is a metaphor for community – the theme of the collective and the individual emerged during its making.”Recording Date: 27-Sep-2007

Recordings from October 2007

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 8

434 SHAKESPEARE: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Nicholas Hytner, artistic director of the National Theatre talks to Heather Neill in detail about Much Ado About Nothing, his new revival starring Simon Russell Beale and Zoe Wanamaker. “In the Elizabethan imagination you could come back from a quick skirmish and do a comedy… the play is a haven, a party.”Recording Date: 05-Oct-2007

435 INTERVIEW: JANIE DEE The actress, currently playing Joy Gresham to Charles Dance’s CS Lewis in William Nicholson’s Shadowlands at Wyndham’s Theatre, talks frankly to Philip Fisher about the challenge of the role – and her Olivier-winning career. “I sought a singing teacher in Rome, learnt to sing – and came back to England with a ‘voice’. ”Recording Date: 11-Oct-2007

436 THE MARK SHENTON WEST END SPECIAL This month, Mark Shenton and his guests – critics Charles Spencer and Matt Wolf plus producers Sonia Friedman and Nick Frankfort – examine the future of straight plays in London’s Theatreland, and compare the state of the West End with that of Broadway. “New York is more fertile at the moment – the audience is more eager, there’s a bigger buzz and there’s more money.”Recording Date: 12-Oct-2007

437 REGIONAL THEATRE: COLCHESTER Dee Evans, the artistic director of the Mercury Theatre, Colchester, talks briefly about an all-male Coriolanus and an all-female Julius Caesar, running in rep there this autumn. Dominic Cavendish quizzes. “There has to be this type of theatre alongside the lighter, more jolly stuff – otherwise I don’t want to do it.”Recording Date: 19-Oct-2007

438 INTERVIEW: DAVID HAIG The actor chats to Philip Fisher about his role as Pinchwife in William Wycherley’s Restoration comedy, The Country Wife, as well as upcoming productions in Jonathan Kent’s new company at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. “The Country Wife is the only piece of drama in the English language which is exclusively about sex.”Recording Date: 19-Oct-2007

439 INTERVIEW: ROBERT TANITCH The critic and writer talks to Philip Fisher about his latest, lavishly illustrated book, The London Stage in the Twentieth Century (Haus Publishing), his other publications about the stars of screen and stage, and his own plays. “I sometimes chose to quote two critics who disagreed – especially when they represented two extremes.”Recording Date: 23-Oct-2007

440 SHAKESPEARE: MACBETH Rupert Goold, artistic director of Headlong theatre company, talks to Heather Neill about his highly praised Macbeth, which stars Patrick Stewart and has transferred from Chichester to the Gielgud Theatre. “The play is about masculinity: the trope of an older man corrupted by a young harridan is something we all plug into.”Recording Date: 25-Oct-2007

441 INTERVIEW: ADRIAN KOHLER The designer who created the horses in the National Theatre’s spectacular adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse speaks to Heather Neill about the show and his work for Handspring, the South African puppetry company. “The look of the horses is determined by the movement room of two puppeteers, plus flexibility and expressiveness.”Recording Date: 25-Oct-2007

Recordings from November 2007

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 11

442 INTERVIEW: JOHN RETALLACK The artistic director of Company of Angels talks to Heather Neill about staging work for young people, as well as the European dimension to his dramaturgical and educational activities. “It’s young people who are on the street, in the evening. They’re like the infantry – they take the first hit.”Recording Date: 05-Nov-2007

443 IN REHEARSAL: JULIUS CAESAR In the run-up to Dee Evans’ all-female version of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester, members of the creative team talk about the production. Here, Ansuman Biswas speaks to Luke O’Loughin about composing the score. “It is based around certain rhythm structures that are using odd time signatures – signatures that are slightly unbalancing… ”Recording Date: 06-Nov-2007

444 IN REHEARSAL: JULIUS CAESAR In another behind-the-scenes installment from the Mercury Theatre, Colchester, actors Gina Isaac and Nadia Morgan talk about playing in Dee Evans’s all-female revival of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. “We really didn’t approach it from the angle of ‘Right we’re women playing men’ – it was, what was the character, the story?”Recording Date: 14-Nov-2007

445 WEST END REVIEW (1/2) The National’s sell-out production of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse is discussed by David Benedict (Variety) and Jane Edwardes (Time Out). Dominic Cavendish (Daily Telegraph) hosts. Recorded at Dewynters, London. “This feels like a breakthrough moment for the National – there is no flaw in the artifice of the puppetry.”Recording Date: 16-Nov-2007

446 WEST END REVIEW (2/2) Thea Sharrock’s revival of Caryl Churchill’s Cloud Nine (Almeida) is discussed by David Benedict (Variety), Jane Edwardes (Time Out) and Aleks Sierz (Tribune). Dominic Cavendish (Daily Telegraph) hosts. Recorded at Dewynters, London. “The play is much more interesting than a simple division between a first half, when everyone is wrong, and a second when everyone is right.”Recording Date: 16-Nov-2007

447 INTERVIEW: BIJAN SHEIBANI The new head of the ATC (Actors Touring Company) talks to Aleks Sierz about his imaginative staging of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brothers Size, a hit for the Young Vic, and explains some of the Yoruba cosmology that underpins the play. “Because of Tarell’s background in street theatre, the play has a simplicity that we knew we had to achieve.”Recording Date: 19-Nov-2007

448 INTERVIEW: ANGUS JACKSON The director chats to Philip Fisher about the creation of the Blondie musical, Desperately Seeking Susan (Novello), and about directing Kwame Kwei-Armah in that writer and actor’s own play, Elmina’s Kitchen (National). “A lot can be achieved through confrontation, but people don’t go to the theatre in order to be offended.”Recording Date: 21-Nov-2007

449 INTERVIEW: MICHAEL BILLINGTON The venerated Guardian theatre critic talks to Aleks Sierz about the lifetime of reviewing packed into his newly published survey of British post-war theatre, State of the Nation (Faber and Faber). Substantial excerpt. “The more plays I read, the more I was struck by this notion of theatre as a mirror of the nation.”Recording Date: 23-Nov-2007

450 INTERVIEW: PAUL HIGGINS The director talks to Philip Fisher about his early career in TV and film, his experience of new writing on the London Fringe, and his time as supremo at Theatre 503. Plus: assisting on Neil Bartlett’s Twelfth Night at the RSC. “Theatre 503 became an important stepping stone between getting first plays on and more established venues.”Recording Date: 26-Nov-2007

451 CRITICAL DIVERSITY: STATEMENT OF REGRET An in-depth discussion of Kwame Kwei-Armah’s new play, running at the National’s Cottesloe theatre; hosted by Uchenna Izundu, with Anneesh Newby Wright and Darren Thomas. Recorded at the National Theatre. First in a new ‘critical diversity’ initiative. “I am very confident that there is a new breed being raised right now – a lot of the current discussions will be put on the back-burner.”Play: Statement of Regret Theatre: National Theatre, Cottesloe Recording Date: 28-Nov-2007

452 FOCUS ON DRAMATURGY Beccy Smith of the Dramaturgs Network and Richard Shannon of Polka Theatre and the Literary Managers Forum initiate Aleks Sierz into the mysteries of dramaturgy in British theatre today. “It’s my job to make the play most like itself – and that depends on really understanding the writer or theatre-maker.”Recording Date: 30-Nov-2007

Recordings from December 2007

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 3

453 FOCUS ON DESIGN Anya Sainsbury, who set up the prestigious Linbury Biennial Prize for theatre design, talks to the Theatre Museum’s Geoffrey Marsh about 20 years of helping young designers, and comments on this year’s winners. “The judges have a very good eye – and they can sort out a short list with concentrated hard work and efficiency.” Recording Date: 11-Dec-2007

454 REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2007 Kate Bassett (Independent on Sunday), David Benedict (Variety) and Jane Edwardes (Time Out) join Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) to talk in-depth about the highs and lows of their reviewing year, from War Horse to Desperately Seeking Susan. Recorded at Dewynters, London. “Best playwright was a young Asian, Anupama Chandrasekhar, who wrote Free Outgoing at the Royal Court.”Recording Date: 20-Dec-2007

455 NEW YORK SPECIAL Eric Weinberger, Beth Falcone and Lynne Taylor-Corbett meet Philip Fisher at Ripley Grier Studios to talk about the ‘tween musical’ Wanda’s World, running at the 45th Street Theatre. “The story is about a girl who has moved to Cheese Valley – in her fantasy life she’s a popular talk-show host.”Recording Date: 30-Dec-2007