At 55, BAFTA-Award winning British comedian, actor, writer and director Harry Enfield made his stage debut in the London revival of Moss Hart and George S Kaufman’s classic 1930’s Broadway comedy ONCE IN A LIFETIME, which finishes its festive season at the Young Vic Theatre next weekend. Harry plays film studio mogul Herman Glogauer at the dawn of the talkies when Hollywood was transformed with the introduction of synchronised sound and the end of the silent era.
By all accounts his performance drew positive reviews in the mainstream press. The Guardian’s Michael Billington headlined his review with “Harry Enfield is a legit hit in Hollywood satire,” going on to say he “makes an assured theatre debut.”
The affable Harry is always friendly with his fans and took time to stop for photos and sign some graphs, including my sketch before Saturday’s matinee.
The Young Vic’s radical production of Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge, directed by the visionary Belgian Ivo van Hove, transferred to the Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End last month. Mark Strong plays the central character Eddie Carbone, the honourable Brooklyn longshoreman with dishonourable love for his niece Catherine, played by Phoebe Fox. Both performances have been deservedly recognised with 2015 Olivier nominations, along with the director.
The cast perform in bare feet on an intensely lit space, that is stripped back with no set at all except a black box container that sits over it and defines the stage. It sold out even before it opened at the Young Vic and was the most anticipated transfer in the West End.
The Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard, The Independent, Mail on Sunday, Time Out and The Times all gave the production five stars, describing it as “unmissable”, “unforgettable”, “magnetic”, “electrifying” and “astonishingly bold”. Time Out said, “To say that A View from The Bridge is the best show in the West End at the moment is like saying Stone Henge is the current best rock arrangement in Wiltshire.”
Mark, Phoebe and Nancy Walker, who plays Eddie’s wife, all signed a previous sketch I did at the Young Vic. This montage of Mark and Phoebe was signed by both of them last week at the Wyndham’s stage door, where I congratulated them for their Olivier noms.
The play’s limited 8 week engagement runs until 11 April.
Hattie Morahan’s performance as Nora Helmer in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House has been receiving rave reviews. The 1879 play’s critical attitude toward 19th century marriage norms courted controversy at the time. Hattie’s character is a mother of three, living as the ideal 19th century wife, but leaves her family in the end.
In 2006 it held the distinction of being the world’s most performed play. UNESCO’s ‘Memory of the World Programme’ was instigated in 1992 to safeguard the documentary heritage of humanity, calling for the preservation of valuable archival material. It has inscribed Ibsen’s autographed manuscripts of A Doll’s House in recognition of their historical value.
A new version, adapted by Simon Stephens and directed by Carrie Cracknell, opened at London’s Young Vic Theatre in June 2012 with Hattie playing opposite Dominic Rowan. She won both the Evening Standard and Critic’s Circle Awards for her performance and was nominated for an Olivier Award.
The production transferred to the Duke of York’s Theatre this month for a limited season, where Hattie signed my sketch after Tuesday’s evening performance and Q&A session.