MLR TAKES TO THE FRINGE 2018
It’s that time of year already, as almost the entire population of theatre-land descend upon Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival 2018, here is a handy roundup of all the wonderful theatre, featuring work by MLR’s clients, in this year’s festival.
Opening the first leg of their UK Tour, Headlong’s MEEK, featuring Set and Costume Designs by Max Jones and Sound Design by Melanie Wilson, runs from 31st July – 26th August at the Traverse Theatre, this new play is a haunting vision of ruthless state control, tense friendships and one woman’s determination not to be broken.
Also playing at the Traverse, Sound Designer Danny Krass opens CORIOLANUS VANISHES running from 2nd – 26th August; a tense, suspenseful, edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller.
Opening at Summerhall Roundabout after a successful run at the Sherman Theatre, TREMOR designed by Hayley Grindle asks, once our lives are touched by tragedy, can we ever truly move on?
Composer and Sound Designer, MJ McCarthy, opens both ULSTER AMERICAN and WHAT GIRLS ARE MADE OF at the Traverse Theatre running until 26th August. Exploring consent, abuses of power and the confusions of cultural identity, ULSTER AMERICAN is confrontational, brutally funny and not for the faint of heart. Conversely, performed with a live band, WHAT GIRLS ARE MADE OF celebrates life’s euphoric highs and epic shitstorms, asking what wisdom we should pass on to the next generation – and which glorious mistakes we should let them make.
At Summerhall, SQUARE GO, a raucous and hilarious new play about playground violence, myths of masculinity and the decision to step up or run, with Movement Direction by Vicki Manderson plays from 1st – 26th August in the Roundabout space.
With New Perspectives Theatre Company, Lighting Designer Amy Mae opens A FORTUNATE MAN at Summerhall, 1st– 26thAugust, and THE FISHERMEN at The Assembly Gardens, 2nd– 27thAugust, after rave reviews at HOME theatre, Manchester. ‘Amy Mae’s lighting engulfs the stage in darkness, before illuminating the two in their stillness. It is a beautiful and memorable scene.' ★★★★ The Guardian
At the Underbelly, Director Kate Golledge and Musical Director Caroline Humphris open musical showstopper DON’T TELL ME NOT TO FLY with an all-star musical cast from 4th – 27th of August.
Designer Gabriella Slade opens SIX at the Underbelly; from Tudor Queens to pop princesses, the six wives of Henry VIII finally take to the mic to tell their empowering tale, remixing 500 years of her-storical heartbreak into a 75-minute celebration of sisterly sass-itude. Playing from 1st – 27th August.
At Edinburgh International Festival, MJ McCarthy has also composed Music for the rarely performed THRIE ESTAITIS R&D showing on 7th August.
Finally, at the Edinburgh Book Festival, the popular MJ McCarthy has composed the music for Visible Fiction’s FAT BOY, SWIM new stage adaptation of Catherine Forde’s coming of age tale. Closing the Edinburgh Book Festival, Sound Designer Danny Krass’ THE FREEDOM PAPERS grand finale brings together musicians, writers and artists for an international musical collaboration featuring Nigerian artist Muthoni Drummer Queen, inspired by The Freedom Papers.
Break a leg, all!
Astonishing saga THE LEHMAN TRILOGY triumphs at the National Theatre
Read More On: Candida Caldicot
Stefano Massini’s 2013 play, here adapted by Ben Powers is directed by Sam Mendes and features MLR’s Candida Caldicot as Music Director. Providing a history of western capitalism, this story is told with just three actors – Simon Russell Beale, Ben Miles and Adam Godley – and is currently running at the Lyttelton, National Theatre.
“What an astonishing evening… an intimate epic that becomes a masterly study of acting as well as of the intricacies of high finance”
“Mendes triumphs with a simple and elegant staging: he keeps a forceful pace but it all feels light, the details of the brothers’ relationships exquisitely observed.”
“a mythic fable, with parallels, recurring motifs, significant dreams, and spellbindingly lyrical - almost, in places, liturgical - rhythms.”
“The real piano playing is done live by the phenomenal Candida Caldicot, playing a wonderful Nick Powell score… with costumes, video, lighting and movement combining to create this feel of a monochromatic graphic novel come to life as a whirling symphony.”
“It’s a cross section of the roots of capitalism, beautifully adapted, artfully staged and wonderfully acted.”
“Accompanied by constant piano music, played just offstage by music director Candida Caldicot, the style is less that of a drama and more a theatrical narrative; the actors describe and explain what they are doing and slip in and out of many characters.”
“absorbingly performed by a cast of just three, attuned to its poetry and humour. As they clamber around the Lehman family tree, they slip in and out of a multitude of roles with impressive dexterity.”
“Music director Candida Caldicot does a terrific job accompanying the action — at turns mournful, dainty or racy — on a piano to the side of the stage.”
“What sets The Lehman Trilogy apart is its exceptional concentration of narrative simplicity and depth, in which minimal resources seem to expand into unlimited riches.”
“Enhanced by the varying tempo of a lone piano accompaniment, it is a style that might be called epic picturesque.”
MISS LITTLEWOOD lands on her feet at (the other) Stratford
With book, music & lyrics by Sam Kenyon and Design by Tom Piper, MISS LITTLEWOOD has been storming the stage in Stratford in its premiere with the RSC.
“I felt the hairs stand on end at the back of my neck – as when I watched Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly's Matilda for the first time… this is an anarchic delight in the style of Miss Littlewood herself.”
The Reviews Hub ★★★★1/2
“Clare Burt is a delight as Joan Littlewood, engaging with the audience and bringing them into the production. On the way through she enlists the help of six other ‘Joans’, each representing a different stage in her life – or maybe different aspects of her multi-faceted personality“
Evening Standard ★★★★
“The Royal Shakespeare Company’s own remarkable woman, deputy artistic director Erica Whyman, is here the most confident of ringmasters, marshalling a jaunty and fluid production, in which the songs, often music hall-inflected, arrive in tantalising snippets."
The Times ★★★★
“The masterstroke of the writer and composer Sam Kenyon is to tell this great theatrical figure’s story in the muscularly informal and informative manner of such Littlewood shows as Oh! What a Lovely War.”
“Different sets keep emerging from under the replica of the proscenium arch of the other Stratford theatre (great work from the designer Tom Piper).”
“Kenyon’s songs are ingenious”
The Stage ★★★★
“The sight of all the Joans together is a delight – a stage dominated by women of all ages still feels like a radical act.”
The Guardian ★★★★
“His songs also remind us that she regarded music as a vital component of theatre. In Stratford East, at the start of the second half, is a delightful hymn to the rat-ridden palace of varieties that she and Raffles turned into a theatrical mecca. A later song, A Little Bit of Business, is full of the pluck and cheek that shows why Barbara Windsor immediately became one of the discerning Littlewood’s great discoveries.”
Broadway World UK ★★★★
“Kenyon is at his best in capturing the joie de vivre of a troupe of actors, creatives and technicians coming together to re-invent theatre as an art form either side of the War. Joan is very much the alpha female, calling the shots and providing the radical political underpinning for the collective.”
Rave Reviews for FUN HOME
Read More On: Nigel Lilley
Opening for the first time in the UK, Fun Home has received rave reviews from audiences and critics alike, with Music Direction by Nigel Lilley.
★★★★★ The Independent
'Robust when it needs to be, it's a sensitive - often transportingly beautiful – tissue of linked leitmotivs and achingly suspended harmonies, exquisitely performed here by Nigel Lilley and his six-piece band.'
★★★★★ The Stage
‘There’s an incredible generosity to Tesori’s straining music, full of uncompleted lines and suspended notes. It’s all about how it can best express story and character rather than show off a show tune. That’s not to say it doesn’t have those too – all three Alisons get a stunning song, and the final half-hour doesn’t let chills leave the body for an instant.’
★★★★★ Whats On Stage
‘But the truly remarkable thing about this show, adapted from the graphic autobiography by Alison Bechdel is just how funny, true and touching it is. It reaches a level of emotional honesty that other musicals just don't begin to touch.’
★★★★★ The Guardian
‘Anguished, gleeful, candid and peculiar, Fun Home pushes musical theatre in new directions, and startles at pretty much every turn. It sings more about sex than about falling in love. The sex is mostly between women – though there are also the encounters that Dad turns out to have had with young men throughout his marriage. Oh and the “fun” in the title is short for “funeral”.’
★★★★★ Time Out
‘It is a remarkable story, with remarkable performers, that’s even more remarkable for its structure – spinning and swirling and ducking and diving in kaleidoscopic fragments, with the ‘songs’ often just beautifully elevated snatches of dialogue. It bustles with all the energy and joy of nostalgia and discovery of life, almost ebulliently whirling to its final point of tragedy.’
★★★★ Sunday Times
‘Fun Home feels like more of a milestone in musical theatre (and mainstream, main-stage theatre generally), in that it provides a gloriously specific lesbian heroine with actual, as opposed to cursory, nuance — a relief.’
JERUSALEM in thrilling revival at Watermill Theatre
Read More On: Tom Attwood
In it’s first major revival, JERUSALEM has been thrilling audiences in Berkshire. Directed by Lisa Blair, this production features Jasper Britton in the role of Rooster Byron, and has Musical Direction & Sound Design by Tom Attwood.
"as devastating, pertinent and incandescently funny as you could hope."
“Blair's direction impresses for the subtleties she has found in those relationships… she brings an element of tenderness into Byron's relationships with those around him.”
“It's just all so rich, so full of energy and passion. Three hours simply fly by. This vision of England, at once fantastical and real, funny and tragic, wild and profound is a modern classic.”
The Times ★★★★★
“…throb with energy, ideas, comedy, carnality and complexity for three magical hours. It is a rambunctious rural tragicomedy, a state-of-the-nation play”
“this modern great play remains immense”
The Telegraph ★★★★★
“Just as Lisa Blair’s revival argues the case for the play having renewed topicality… so Britton forces you to see the character afresh as a figure of inspiriting symbolic force and real-life poignancy”
“There are bursts of real spectacle and flared intensity – the powerful opening scene with Phaedra, a New-Age raver, singing the lines of the hymn Jerusalem, which segues into the sounds of a rave when she gets to the “dark Satanic mills” ”