Greenwich Theatre Autumn Season Preview

As you know, I am a big fan of Greenwich Theatre, and I try to go as often as I can. I tend to work on the “use it or lose it” basis, so I often go even if I’m not that interested in the actual show.

Greenwich Theatre isn’t a producing house (with one glorious exception – more about that later)so it gets in good-quality touring shows. It can be a bit hit and miss, but there are generally more hits than misses and whoever programmes it has a good knowledge of middle-scale touring companies and seems to try for a diverse range of productions rather than falling into the provincial theatre trap of safe parlour dramas and ancient farces (though they do occasionally have one or two of those too…)

I’m intending to get to see as many shows as possible this season, and for your delight and delectation, I’m going to AIM to go as early in the run as possible so if I discover a hidden gem (or a total dud) I can let you know in enough time to act on it, but I thought I’d take a look at a few things I’m looking forward to.

I’ve missed The Gruffalo (just forgot it was on, frankly,) and if I make it to the first “grown up show” of the season, The Ballad of James II (an odd choice if you ask me, but what do I know?) it’ll have to be tomorrow night which completely scuppers my intentions to see things early already.

I’m very much looking forward to Bouncers, the Hull Truck legend from the late 1980s. I remember it at the Arts Theatre and howled with laughter at the time but there are a few caveats to this 30th Anniversary tour. First, I was young – I laughed at anything that had rude words in it. Second, it was the 80s – when bouncers still wore dinner suits and not body armour. Third – well, third – it was the 80s, full stop. Can it live up to my memories? I don’t know – but I intend to find out.

Dear Brutus. Hmm. What to make of this? It is, apparently, a ‘lost’ play by JM Barrie with music by Julian Slade, lyrics by Kit Hesketh-Harvey, presumably based on the Julius Caesar quote. I don’t know the history of this, but I associate Julian Slade with the 1950s. Either he wrote this in his late old-age, or it was written in the 1950s and not finished or given terrible lyrics at the time and was a flop. This is either a lost masterpiece pepped up for today’s audiences by Hesketh-Harvey and utterly fab, or it’s lost for a good reason. Will I see it? Of course I’ll see it.

Lisa’s Sex Strike is one of the offerings this season which doesn’t particularly appeal to me. It’s a modernisation of Lysistrata, which makes me almost cringe at the whole “hepness” of it all, but on the plus side it’s Northern Broadside who I’ve enjoyed in the past. I just hope it’s not too ‘worthily’ comic… Bizarrely, as I’m writing this, Blake Morrison who’s written the play(and is local – he lives in Blackheath – and yes his latest book IS on my reading list…) is being interviewed on Womans Hour. I’m ever so slightly more tempted. We’ll see…

I guess a season wouldn’t be complete these days without a Jane Austen. Northanger Abbey might actually turn out to be a better play than it is a novel – I hope so. I’ll enjoy the costumes anyway. I might give Abigail’s Party a miss. I just can’t imagine it without Alison Steadman, narrow-minded phantom that I am, and I wasn’t fond enough of the play to try it without. If you go, send me a review.

Intro to Nitro. Now this I’m really looking forward to. I was gutted that I missed their performance in the summer (I saw them rehearsing on the steps of the Old Royal Naval College and was transfixed.) Several performances. Fab.

Does wanting to see a whole production of a Shakespeare play make me a pseud? It bothers me that Much Ado About Nothing runs just 90 minutes. They say it “isn’t cut-down Shakespeare but a highly theatrical ensemble entertainment with intellectual weight” – sorry? What exactly does that mean? I guess I’ll find out, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a real production rather than some MTV-generation bite-size snippet-fest (if it isn’t that, then it’s been sold badly.)

I’m guessing Jane Bond is a kiddie show. I might leave that one to the parents among you – but there’s no way I’m missing the panto, easily the best show of the year. It’s the only production done “in-house” and if last year’s is anything to go by it’s going to be fantastic. It always used to be done by London Bubble, which was quite good – but the director hates panto (which you could always slightly tell, much as I adore the Bubble) and Natural Theatre took over, which wasn’t quite as good as I hoped. But last year’s, written by Andrew Pollard, was incredible (and it has nothing to do with the fact that I got out of my head beforehand just in case – several people I was with were driving and not drinking and they loved it too) and Pollard who also plays the dame is writing this year’s too. He truly understands what makes panto work and I really can’t wait.

So that’s my autumn entertainment sorted out. As I said, I’ll try to get to most of them early in the run so I can tell you the good ones. But get those panto tickets now…


One Comment to “Greenwich Theatre Autumn Season Preview”

  1. Martino says:

    Until I was Tweet-Spammed this morning, I hadn't visited The Phantom for quite a while. Like my neighbor Miss Oregon(she's only a few hundred miles away), I used to stay at the Greenwich Parkhouse Hotel, and when it closed, I changed to 16 St. Alfeges, and I was happy to see someone else recommended it. I miss London, but I REALLY miss Greenwich!