P/REVIEW: Peckham haircuts, Jellicle Cats and a terrific monologue

Brian Butler May 13, 2020

This week features opportunities to see  three very different  theatrical presentations but all top-class . First there’s a direct-to-video version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s song and dance musical Cats, which in theatre terms is some people’s Marmite – love it or hate it.

It hit the stage in London in  1981 , and this film dates from 1997/8, staged at the Adelphi Theatre, and featuring a hybrid cast from its then current and past international casts. So here we get its original star, Elaine Page, but also veteran actor Sir John Mills, Eastenders star John Partridge, Broadway’s Jacob Brent and Dancing On Ice judge Jason Gardiner.

It’s significantly re-staged and shortened to just 115 minutes, but none  the worse for that. For some reason best known to his Lordship, it’s available for 48 hours from Friday night outside the UK but we only get it for 24 hours.

Barbershop Chronicles is a joint NT/Fuel/Leeds Playhouse production. It had two sell-out runs at the National, a world tour and a summer residency at London’s Roundhouse.

The barbers is where African men for generations have met .The shop is  part newsroom, political platform , local hotspot, confessional, pulpit and football stadium, the play, by Inua Ellams, and directed by Bijan Sheibani, leaps from Peckham to Johannesburg,Harare, Kampala, Lagos and Accra, in the course of a single day.

It’s heart-warming  and funny and not to be missed folks. It’s available for a week on YouTube from Thursday 14 May for a week.

And finally there’s a rare treat in a streaming of Sea Wall, Simon Stephens’ 30 minute monologue starring Fleabag and Sherlock star Andrew Scott.

It’s a deeply moving story, which like its title has hidden and dark depths.  Watch it here until 17th May

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