Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Christmas!

To Manchester on Wednesday to see "Cyrano de Bergerac" at the Royal Exchange, one of my favourite theatrical spaces in the country; in the round, with the two circles pretty much vertically above the stalls, the audience is close to (and in Wednesday's case, part of) the action in a thrilling way, especially when the director really makes use of the space, as Lucy Bailey did a couple of years ago with her fantastic production of "Twelfth Night". "Cyrano de Bergerac", (by Edmond Rostand, adapted by Antony Burgess and directed by Greg Hersov), whilst having a much sparser set, was just as magical thanks in no small part to Ben Keaton as Cyrano, who was just fantastic. Flamboyant, funny, sad, he is a real presence on stage. The rest of the cast get to swash, buckle and charm their way through a lovely romp of a production, which had a near capacity audience laughing most of the night. Yet despite the humour, the underlying pathos and sadness of the character of Cyrano is never far from the surface, but Ben Keaton played it in such a way that we admire him for his resilience rather than thinking him pathetic. Really great theatre - go and see it if you're anywhere near Manchester.

Cast and crew have their own blog about the production which is worth a read - wish they'd update it though! It would be interesting to read their thoughts about how it's going.

Surprising theatrical news this week that Sam West has resigned as Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres only a couple of months into his second season in charge. No doubt the fact that the main building, comprising the Crucible and The Studio, will close for 14months for refurbishment leaving only the Lyceum open was a contributing factor, although in his speech at the Gala dinner in October he seemed to have some pretty exciting ideas for alternatives during that period - perhaps it wasn't possible to pull them off. I hope this doesn't mean that Sheffield falls into the doldrums theatrically - under Michael Grandage, and with the great casts he brought in, the place went from strength to strength, and Sam seemed to be stepping nicely into what were pretty big boots to fill. The Crucible is one of my other favourite spaces, and many of my early theatrical memories began there - Stephen Pimlott's "Twelfth Night" is one of the earliest plays I remember seeing, along with school trips to see "Romeo and Juliet" and "The Plough and The Stars", going as a student to see "Caucasian Chalk Circle" - The Crucible and my theatre-going life go hand in hand so I hope we're not now facing a shaky future.

Anyway, this will probably be my last post before Christmas - I might get out to the pictures, but given that my sinuses, ears and throat are in the grip of a fairly comprehensive URTI, I doubt it. So, Happy Christmas to everyone who reads this blog, in the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Russian Federation, Serbia & Montenegro, Brazil, Singapore and Japan. Don't you just love the internet?


Blogger Good Dog said...


Get yourself better soon.

Have a good Christmas. All the best for the New Year.

8:09 pm  
Blogger oneslackmartian said...

Sal, Happy Christmas, right back at you!

We're looking forward to more excellent adventures next year.

9:32 pm  
Blogger Mollywags said...

Good to catch up! Get well soon
Love from us

10:15 pm  
Blogger wcdixon said...


11:02 pm  
Blogger Ann Wesley Hardin said...

Merry Christmas Sal! I'm so pleased to have met you this year, too. May next year bring success and other wonderful things your way.

2:49 am  
Blogger Optimistic_Reader said...

Merry Christmas and maybe we'll meet up again in the New Year. Hope you feel better soon. x

9:58 am  
Blogger Tim Clague said...

Hope you had a great Christmas Sal!

2:42 pm  
Blogger Stacie said...

Happy New Year!

3:44 pm  
Blogger Good Dog said...


Happy New Year! I hope your excellent adventures continue well into 2007 and beyond.

12:36 am  

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