Tag Archives: Alec Newman

The Weatherman

★★★

Park Theatre

The Weatherman

The Weatherman

Park Theatre

Reviewed – 21st August 2019

★★★

 

“Niamh James, fresh out of drama school, does a terrific job in making Mara a real, living presence on stage”

 

The Park nails its colours to the mast immediately concerning the content of this play. On each seat is an A5 sheet of paper; on one side, MODERN SLAVERY AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN THE UK/SPOTTING THE SIGNS, and on the other, WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP, detailing how to report it, and the logos of eleven organisations that work to support victims and to end this horrific practice. Similarly, in the director’s note, just after the title page of the script, which all reviewers were kindly given at this performance, Alice Hamilton devotes one paragraph out of five to the statistics of global human trafficking – ‘a recent reckoning produced an estimated 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally, of whom 10.1 million are children trapped in forced labour or sexual exploitation’.

This is what Eugene O’Hare has chosen to write a play about, and yet, in this play (running time two hours twenty minutes including interval), we see and hear four middle-aged men talk – frequently at length; O’Hare is fond of a long monologue – and talk and talk, whilst a teenage girl, introduced on page 35 of a 75 page script, remains mute throughout. We know she is Romanian, and that her name is Mara, but her thoughts, feelings and experiences do not exist. Niamh James, fresh out of drama school, does a terrific job in making Mara a real, living presence on stage, but it is unbelievable that in 2019, a male playwright can feel that the best way of exploring this subject is to present the only woman on stage as a passive, representative victim, whilst the men around her invite us to laugh with them and feel their fears and their personal pain. If the Bechdel test was conducted with a thermometer, the mercury would boil and the glass explode.

There is some stellar acting on display in this production. There isn’t a weak link in the five-strong cast, and Alec Newman, as the tortured (yes, have a think about that for a second) O’Rourke and David Schaal, as the terrifying Dollar, in particular, give bravura performances. There is a lot for the actors to get their teeth into; O’Hare relishes male language, whether it be quickfire banter, gangland menace or sentimental pissed-up musings. There’s no doubt that these have their charms. There are some good gags in this piece (alongside some more questionable ones) and Dollar’s nastiness is palpable, but added up, and in the light of the subject matter, it just all seems rather indulgent. The register of language is also uneven, both tonally, and in terms of time period. Dollar appears to have walked straight in from the 1950s East End of the Krays, whilst the other four characters are firmly rooted in the present (though does anyone now use the anachronistic ‘water closet’?)

James Perkins’ design works very well – it was a terrific creative touch for the outside of the stairs to visually echo the outside of a shipping container – and Alice Hamilton’s direction is steady and assured, but there simply is no getting past the blatant erasure of the female voice here. Bob Dylan once wrote, ‘You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows’; it’s clear that Eugene O’Hare’s Weatherman hasn’t got the faintest idea.

 

Reviewed by Rebecca Crankshaw

Photography by Piers Foley

 


The Weatherman

Park Theatre until  14th September

 

Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Gently Down The Stream | ★★★★★ | February 2019
My Dad’s Gap Year | ★★½ | February 2019
Cry Havoc | ★★ | March 2019
The Life I Lead | ★★★ | March 2019
We’re Staying Right Here | ★★★★ | March 2019
Hell Yes I’m Tough Enough | ★★½ | April 2019
Intra Muros | | April 2019
Napoli, Brooklyn | ★★★★ | June 2019
Summer Rolls | ★★★½ | June 2019
The Time Of Our Lies | ★★★★ | August 2019

 

Click here to see our most recent reviews

 

‘Are there things that you’ve done that you’re ashamed of? Things that – if they came out – would break your life in half?’

 

ALLIGATORS

Hampstead Theatre has announced the casting for Andrew Keatley’s Alligators, a Hampstead Downstairs Original. Directed by Simon Evans, this burning new thriller asks how well we actually know those closest to us and explores how shameful secrets, that we thought long buried, can come back to bite us.

Alligators is one of three Hampstead Downstairs Originals which open this spring. Following an initial development run at Hampstead Downstairs, the newly revised Deposit opened at Hampstead Theatre in May and Kiss Me is now playing at Trafalgar Studios.

Daniel Turner has it all: a devoted wife, two beautiful children and a teaching job he loves. But when a series of allegations surface from six years earlier his world begins to crumble around him. Can all the good he’s done be erased by one pointed finger? How can his loved ones doubt his innocence and can life ever be the same again?

Simon Evans (Director) in Alligators at Hampstead Theatre

 REHEARSAL IMAGES COURTESY OF HAMPSTEAD THEATRE

Alec Newman plays Daniel. His theatre credits include Bug (Found 111), Hapgood, The Fastest Clock In The Universe (Hampstead Theatre), The Motherf**ker with the Hat, Danton’s Death, (National Theatre), King Lear (Donmar Warehouse), The Soldiers Fortune, Andorra (Young Vic), Desperately Seeking Susan (Novello Theatre), Certain Young Men (Almeida Theatre), Plenty (The Albery Theatre), The Glass Menagerie and Translations (Royal Lyceum). Recent television credits include Fearless, Him, Bastard Executioner, Fox, The Last Kingdom, Lewis, 24-Live Another Day, Rogue, Dracula, and Waterloo Road. Film credits include Where Hands Touch, The Snowman, Greyhawk, Lonely Place To Die, Moonlight Serenade and The Fifth Patient.

Tillie Murray plays Genevieve. Her theatre credits include The Sound of Music (UK Tour) and Joseph & the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (UK Tour).

Lucia Peragine plays Genevieve. Her theatre credits include The American Wife (Park Theatre), WW1 Memorial Tribute Play (Jacksons Lane Theatre).

Susan Stanley plays Sally. Her recent theatre credits include TOMCAT (Southwark Playhouse), F*ck the Polar Bears (Bush Theatre), Portia Coughlan (Old Red Lion), The Separation (Theatre503), Almost Maine (Park Theatre) and Confessions of a Scallywag (The Mill at Sonning). Her film credits include Hotel Amenities, 4.01, The Chair is Not Me, A Pathless Destiny and Shadows in the Wind.

Ony Uhiara plays Cathy. Her theatre credits include Anna Karenina (Royal Exchange), The Rolling Stone (West Yorkshire Playhouse), God Bless The Child (The Royal Court), Eye of A Needle (Southwark Playhouse), Idomeneus, Bears + Fatal Light, How To Be An Other Woman (Gate Theatre), The El Train (Hoxton Hall), Cannibals (Royal Exchange), Illusions (Actors Touring Company), Sixty Six Books (The Bush Theatre), Hadassa – A Response to Hester, Much Ado About Nothing (The Globe), Charged: Charged Dancing (Soho Theatre), Eurydice (The Young Vic and Tour), In the Red and Brown Water (The Young Vic) and Noughts and Crosses (RSC). Television credits include the lead in The State that’ll be aired this summer, Law & Order, Stolen, White Van Man, Criminal Justice, Barclay, Doctors, Rosemary and Thyme and The Bill. Film credits include Jawbone, Venus and Sixty 6.

Leah Whitaker plays Rachel. Her stage credits include Love’s Labours Lost (RSC/West End), An Audience with Jimmy Savile (Park Theatre), Love’s Labour’s Lost/The Christmas Truce (RSC), Taming Of The Shrew (Globe Theatre / Tour), Forever House (Drum Theatre, Plymouth), Charley’s Aunt (Menier Chocolate Factory), Don Juan Comes Back From The War (National Theatre Studio/Finborough), Earthquakes In London (Headlong / Tour), The Heretic (Royal Court Theatre), Counted (Look Left Look Right), Pride and Prejudice (Theatre Royal Bath/Tour), Found in the Ground (The Wrestling School) and Harvest (Oxford Playhouse/Tour). Television credits include Father Brown, Whitechapel, Eggbox, Holby City, Eastenders and Midsomer Murders.

Andrew Keatley’s writing credits include The Gathered Leaves (Park Theatre), Go To Your God Like A Soldier (Old Vic Tunnels and Underbelly), Care (Bush Theatre), Why Don’t We Multiply, Weapon of Choice (Theatre 503) and Colourings (Old Red Lion). His first feature film, FOR Grace, premiered at Raindance Film Festival in 2016 and has also played Cinequest, Montclair and DeafFest.
Director Simon Evans’ recent credits include The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Silence of the Seas (Donmar Warehouse), The Dazzle, Bug, Fool for Love (Found111), Almost Maine (Park Theatre), Hannah (Unicorn), Speed Twins (Riverside Studio), Laura Marling, Shawshank Redemption and Ghostbusters (Secret Cinema), Rubber Room (The Old Vic) and Madness in Valencia (Trafalgar Studios). Simon was Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar Warehouse, Staff Director at the National and Creative Associate at the Bush.

ALLIGATORS

22 June – 22 July

by Andrew Keatley

Directed by Simon Evans

Click here for tickets and full performance details