Category Archives: Theatre

Quick, duck!

I have to say, it’s been a bt of a ho hum year for theatre, until the last few weeks. The revival of Cock at Chichester, the new Florian Zeller play The Height of The Storm and the new play at the Almeida, always a favourite and back to its very best (for reasons I hesitate to speculate on).

The is Robert Icke reworking of Ibsen’s The Wild Duck.

First of all, let’s say that there have been some stupendous reviews, and one lukewarm one from the Guardian, and there still are odd tickets to be had. And it will probably transfer, just as Summer and Smoke and Twilight Zone are.

I’m not going to go over the story. If you are Ibsen purist, you will hate the way it is presented. The actors share a hand mic and tell their secret thoughts and also talk about the background to the play. It’s cut, apparently, but still runs approaching three hours with a short break. And it’s captivating and engrossing stuff.

The stage is fairly minimal, just the usual back wall and a few props. The acting is uniformly excellent. There are some truly chilling moments and great pieces of theatre craft.

No spoilers here, but there was a standing ovation.



I am a big fan of plays by Mike Bartlett. His tv efforts don’t interest me at all and seem old fashioned and lacking in originality. What I like about his plays are the craft, gimmicks, hooks whatever you want to call them, that keep your attention.

King Charles III had Shakespearian English, Bull had the boxing ring, Not Talking had characters not interacting, Wild had the rotating set and Game had a complete house.

On of his older plays, Cock, has been revived in Chichester after nearly 10 years. It tells the tale of John, in a gay relationship for many years, who, by various events, has sex with a lady and enjoys it. So, he has to make a decision…

Can’t say much more without giving away important points.

So it’s a 95 minute four hander, no scenery (really), no props, no actual mimed actions (so, when someone offers to pour wine, nothing actually happens but it is considered ‘done’).

The short ‘bits’ are separated by red light and noise. It whisks along and is totally absorbing.

What makes it great is the acting by all four, but especially the two young males (Matthew Needham and Luke Thallon) who are stunning.

It’s a funny play, lots of swearing to begin with of course, but it really brings you in. The use of language makes it very naturalistic, or it seems that way.

Do not miss this.

Coming out, two ladies were talking and had the same ideas as me about it, that John should not choose either (you will know what that means when you see the play. Sadly, there is plenty of availability – it would be packed out in London).