Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Seeing the King, Southwark Playhouse : LOCAL LOVES

I went to see gorgeous Max Irons in Farragut North at the Southwark Playhouse recently and it was a really brill evening.

Max, son of Jeremy Irons and Sinéad Cusack, shot into the public eye this summer in the BBC's dramatisation of Phillipa Gregory's The White Queen. I loved it and watched it religiously in that holy Sunday evening television slot.

I thought his portrayal of King Edward was very powerful (and very sexy of course!) so when I saw that he was in a play in London I snapped up some tickets with the girls straight away. Now, as you'll see from my Twitter I am a major theatre fiend and see several shows a week, for work and for pleasure, but ashamedly I had never been to Southwark Playhouse! This was the perfect opportunity and I was really excited to see the space.

The bar is really lively. I was with 9 noisy girls so we commandeered a corner to have a quick catch up before the show. The theatre is in Elephant and Castle and I would actually recommend going there even just for a drink. They're also happy to provide a home for production meetings and will reserve an area free of charge.

Now the play itself was about American politics...not really my cup of tea to be honest, but it was the casting that attracted me. Yummy Max of course, Rachel Tucker (West End star of Wicked) and Shaun Williamson (yes, Barry from Eastenders!). I was seriously impressed with Shaun, he performed with great strength and status. 

I think Max really suffered from nerves but hopefully as the run goes on he'll gain confidence and match the swagger of his character. However, the stand out performance for me was from Josh O'Connor who, after a quick glance at the programme, I realised has recently been part of the film version of Laura Wade's Posh. Posh, the play, started life at the Royal Court Theatre then transferred to the West End and had a brilliant run at the Duke of York's Theatre. I saw it twice and was gutted when it ended. But never fear - the movie will be out in 2014! But yes, Josh was brilliant. He had great comic timing and just seemed so utterly capable.

I really enjoyed my evening at the theatre - there's no frills or faff to the Southwark Playhouse, just quality theatre and a fun place to be. I'm going to go back soon as I'd love to see the space used in another way. The auditorium itself is very bare, almost industrial, and it feel like many worlds can be created in there. 

So my advice?

-  Don't be scared to go to a show that only has one element that interests you - go and see something because you fancy the lead actor, go and see something because you're intrigued by the theatre, go and see something because it's cheap!

-  Make use of theatre discounts. Lots of theatres do great deals for Under-26s - The National, The Young Vic, The Old Vic, The Royal Court. I've paid as little as £5 in the past to see some of what became my favourite shows of all time. And for those of you who are over 26 I'd recommend going during previews - previews are the public performances of a show before it's been officially reviewed by the critics. Tickets are often cheaper and you're one of the first to see the show - you're ahead of the game, kid!