Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Matthew Warchus. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Matthew Warchus. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Voices Off: Woyzeck, Old Vic | Platform Review

Voices Off: Woyzeck
Old Vic
Post by Olive Scott Whilde

The Voices Off series at the Old Vic is described as ‘a series of talks, debates, workshops and conversations’ held at the beautiful Old Vic theatre. On Thursday, I attended a talk titled ‘On Nature’ that delved into the makings and meanings behind the Old Vic’s current mesmerising play, Woyzeck starring the enigmatic John Boyega

With around 100 people in attendance at this intimate event, we were joined by Matthew Warchus, the Artistic Director of The Old Vic, Joe Murphy, the director of Woyzeck, and Professor Laura Marcus, professor of English Literature at Oxford University. Absent was Anthony Julius, Deputy Chairman of Mishcon de Reya, who presented this talk in association with the Old Vic. They sat in front of the stage’s curtain as we sat unassigned in the stalls. 

I learnt many things about this exciting play from this talk and the first thing I found particularly fascinating was about how massively the script was adapted. The original script was written by Georg Büchner in 1836, but due to his untimely death in 1837 the script remained unfinished and in fragments. Many different productions in the last 100 years have adapted it with different interpretations but this script by Jack Thorne is likely the boldest yet, setting it in 1980s Berlin and around the British Army’s part in the defence of the Berlin Wall. This more modern take on an 19th century story meant that a lot of the story is completely new and delves into more modern ideas of mental illness and poverty and how that affects the working class who do not have access to basic needs. Complete with a 10 minute duologue that closes off act one, and an entire manic monologue in German (an exert from Büchner’s original script), it takes you on a journey from your average British working class dialogue to, as Woyzeck’s madness heightens, something almost poetic and inhuman. This script, as well as the impressive staging and set, gives the audience a unique look into Woyzeck’s head as his health worsens. 

The staging and set was talked about too. The set is very simple, as it is with most modern theatre, with insulation-covered walls being lifted up and down by wires to represent the ever-changing setting with some even having a gruesome surprise inside. The director, Joe Murphy, spoke about these walls representing the Berlin Wall. The staging, whilst looking chaotic, is actually very meticulously planned and has actually been changed since the first previews. I was lucky enough to see it at its very first preview and then again midway through it’s run (which ends on June 25th) and one difference I noted was the absence of a strange, lucid dance sequence in act one. This was no accident I learned, as Murphy explained that they eventually found it just one step too weird, especially for the first act. 

Matthew Warchus, the Artistic Director at the Old Vic, talked a lot about the issues of class difference portrayed in Woyzeck, which led to the casting of John Boyega. They wanted an actor for Woyzeck who was young, able to take on such an emotionally and physically demanding role, and came from a working class background. Boyega, who grew up in Peckham and who’s debut performance was in 2011’s Attack the Block, set in a South London council estate, was the immediate first choice. As someone who has been a fan of Boyega since his first movie, I thought this was a genius casting decision for this adaptation and made even more sense with this explanation. 

Warchus also talked about how Woyzeck is the start of a new direction in how the Old Vic presents itself, doing more modern plays and appealing to a wider, younger audience. You can definitely see that in the posters and pamphlets around the theatre, presenting a cleaner and bolder design. Although the Old Vic is, well, old, I believe this will bring it into a new era and bring new possibilities and opportunities for a wider range of theatre to be presented on such a stunning stage. 

I really loved this production and learning more about it in such an intimate setting, with which we could ask any questions we may have, was a great experience. I’m excited to see more from Joe Murphy and Jack Thorne and of course, John Boyega, who puts on one of the most extraordinary and captivating performances I’ve ever seen on stage in my lifetime. 

Check out Woyzeck at the Old Vic Theatre in London before it closes June 25th.

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Andrew Scott to appear in new play streamed live from the Old Vic

Andrew Scott will star in a new play streamed live from an empty Old Vic auditorium, for five performances in July and August.

Entitled Three Kings, the scratch performance of Stephen Breresford's piece is directed by Matthew Warchus. The play follows Patrick, a man who reflects on the role of his father in shaping his life following eight years of absence.

Warchus said: "I am hugely grateful to Stephen for writing this play specially for the Old Vic: In Camera series and to Andrew for agreeing to perform it. Their generous support of the Old Vic at this critical time and their spirit of adventure in joining us in this crucial fundraising experiment is enormously appreciated."

Tickets to watch the stream will cost between £10 and £40, with dates from 29 July to 1 August.

Following the performance on 1 August, the venue will stream a conversation between Scott and Dermot O'Leary. General booking opens 22 July.

photo credit: Michael Buckner/SHOWTIME

Thursday, 22 June 2023

Groundhog Day at the Old Vic review: A Theatrical Gem That Transcends Time

the repetition never becomes tiresome, but rather serves as a tool for self-discovery and personal growth.

Groundhog Day
Old Vic

Groundhog Day at the Old Vic Theatre is a delightful production that offers a hilarious and enchanting journey, filled with a talented ensemble, sleek quick changes and witty songs in the classic Tim Minchin style. This extraordinary production, breathes fresh life into the beloved story, delivering an experience that warms both the heart and the funny bone.

From the moment the curtains rise, we are transported to the enchanting world of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The set design by Rob Howell, a skilful blend of simplicity and innovation, effortlessly captures the essence of small-town charm. Each scene change is flawlessly executed, seamlessly guiding the audience through the repetitive yet captivating cycle of Bill Murray's iconic character, Phil Connors, as he relives the same day over and over again.

The cast is a formidable force, with the incredibly talented Andy Karl at the helm, delivering a remarkable portrayal of Phil Connors. With impeccable comedic timing and a nuanced understanding of the character's emotional journey, Karl brings authenticity to every scene. His charisma and stage presence make it impossible to look away, keeping the audience fully engaged and invested in Phil's transformation, plus he delivers some killer vocals.

Alongside, each cast member delivers outstanding performances that enhance the overall narrative. From the endearing yet determined Rita, played by Tanisha Spring, to the versatile ensemble effortlessly transitioning between various characters, their energy and dedication create an immersive experience, making us feel like part of the Punxsutawney community. Amongst the solid cast, stand out's include 
Eve Norris who shines in her role as Nancy, bringing depth and charm to the stage and Billy Nevers who uses every solo line to his complete advantage to deliver some scene stealing moments.

The direction by Matthew Warchus, skilfully navigates the delicate balance between comedy and introspection. Demonstrating a deep understanding of the source material, whilst infusing it with fresh perspectives and surprising moments that keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Warchus expertly guides the pacing, ensuring that the repetition never becomes tiresome, but rather serves as a tool for self-discovery and personal growth.

The musical numbers, composed by Tim Minchin, are a delightful addition to the production. The songs are catchy, with lyrics that cleverly reflect the themes of self-reflection and seizing the day. The choreography (Lizzi Gee), executed with precision and flair, adds an extra layer of excitement and dynamism to the overall performance.

Groundhog Day at the Old Vic is a testament to the transformative power of live theatre. It serves as a reminder of the beauty found in life's simplest moments and the significance of embracing change. This production effortlessly balances humour and heart, leaving the audience with a renewed sense of joy and hope.

If you're seeking a theatrical experience that transcends time and leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling, Groundhog Day is an absolute must-see. This exceptional production will undoubtedly captivate audiences of all ages, reminding us that every day is an opportunity for growth, love, and second chances.

Reviewed on Wednesday 21st June 2023
photo credit: Manuel Harlan

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

Friday, 20 September 2019

Matilda the Musical, Cambridge Theatre | Review

Cambridge Theatre 
Reviewed on Wednesday 11th September 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 

On the week of Roald Dahl's birthday, it seems only right that I made a return visit to Matilda to experience the magical story on stage, helmed by a new cast who are bringing it to life with as much energy and wonder as when it opened eight years ago in the West End.

The RSC's production takes aspects of the much-loved original book and film and combines them with theatrical magic to create a show which delights adults and maggots alike. Laughter and beaming smiles fill the Cambridge Theatre as this delightful musical inspires and wows.

Matilda is written by Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by the wonderfully wacky Australian, Tim Minchin and direction from Matthew Warchus. The score features intensely catchy melodies and lyrics which are fast, witty and beautiful as well as a book which is filled with humour for adults and children. This combination makes it the perfect treat for the whole family, who will be reminded of the magic and darkness ingrained in Dahl's writing.

The lyrical ingenuity is brought to life through Peter Darling's incredibly precise choreography, which makes use of the entire set and highlights what a well oiled machine this production is. In particular, School Song is a showcase of faultless timing, a stellar cast and innovative lyrics combining in a way which is overwhelmingly wonderful. The entirety of this production is choreographed to the second but each moment still manages to feel fresh and it's clear that the incredibly high standards maintained are what make this show a continual success in London.

Adorned with various alphabet pieces, Rob Howell's set is a star of it's own. Like the characters on stage, each individual piece comes together to create a marvellous wall of colour and interest. Hugh Vanstone's lighting complements the whole production, creating drama and joy and highlighting the contrast between the sweet Matilda, the loud, raucous Wormwood's and terrifying Miss Trunchbull. Extravagance and nuance are used in equal measure to create a pitch perfect piece of theatre.

The cast of this show bring to light just how much talent there is in the West End. Throughout there is not a weak link, and each performance is a stand out in itself. Our young (and tiny) leading lady, Tilly-Raye Bayer is luminous as she rattles through the bold show. Her energy and charisma shine from the outset but she also manages to create intimate moments of peace and sadness. As a character, Matilda is the perfect example of how to get through life. Tenacious, kind and clever, she uses all she has within her to inspire change and bring positivity to those around her. From the young cast, mention must also go to Louie Gray who is astounding as Bruce Bogtrotter.

Sebastian Torkia and Marianne Benedict as Mr and Mrs Wormwood are suitably garish and LOUD. With the pair's fantastic comedic timing they have the audience in hysterics as they show off just how few brain cells they have. Both make their characters bold and slapstick but are tame enough to stop them becoming panto-esque. This is again thanks to the brilliant writing which knows just when to give and take.

As ferocious Miss Trunchbull, Elliot Harper gives his all and his all is certainly enough. There isn't a moment which feels out of character, from repulsive scenes to grossly hilarious comments, Harper brings the headmistress to life exceptionally. With amazing attention to detail and stirring delivery of his dreams of a childless world, Harper is divinely awful.

In contrast Gina Beck is wonderfully understated and, as her name suggests, sweet. The relationship between Matilda and her teacher is touching and the audience really root for the pair. As the Doctor and various other characters Kane Oliver Parry shines vocally. Every single adult performer gives a super sleek performance as they bring multiple characters to life and perform the choreography with pin-stripe precision. Extremely well characterised, they create a real body of sound and action and imbue the show with magic. It should also be noted that Matt Krzan is fantastically flamboyant as Rudolpho; Gemma Scholes is the definition of grace as the Acrobat; and Georgia Carling, Connor Lewis and Ben Kerr really shine in their ensemble tracks. 

In fact, the whole Matilda cast really are Miracles and this is a production you must see at once. Teaching us to be ourselves, stand together, use our imaginations and fight for what we believe in, this is the perfect anecdote to the troubles and worries we face during the current social climate. Take a trip to Crunchem Hall and experience the chocolate box of joy that Matilda provides.

Matilda is currently booking at the Cambridge Theatre, tickets are available at