Archive for reviews

Damian O’Hare: Various Updates

Posted in double feature, movies, potc, potc 4, reviews, the royal, theatre, tv, website with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12 September, 2011 by ambarussa

While the holiday-laundry is gently doing its spins in the washing machine, I have time for a quick update:

I’ve updated the list of reviews for Double Feature. The shows saw their last performances on Saturday, so there won’t be any further updates to that entry.

I’ve added a small gallery for Double Feature.

Now that Double Feature is over – would you like the benches as a souvenir? Or maybe the bar from The Swan?

Not quite finished with Double Feature yet – there will be a contest later this week in connection with the plays.

The Scottish Movie Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has been released on DVD and Blu-ray. Coming to your local  DVD-by-Mail-Service very soon.

In completely different news, Kitaky has sent in fanart: “The Royal meets My Little Pony”. Looks like Dr. Burnett was really deciding his departure on a hoof…!

Reviews “Double Feature”, National Theatre Paintframe

Posted in double feature, reviews, theatre with tags , , , , , on 19 July, 2011 by ambarussa

You’ll find all reviews (or at least the ones I could find) for “Double Feature” in this entry. The list will be updated as reviews come.


Double Feature 1: “Edgar and Annabel” / “The Swan”

Double Feature 2: “Nightwatchman” / “There Is A War”


Interview: The NT’s exciting new Double Feature writers @ Run Riot!

The Paintframe: National Service @ The Independent

Interview with the “Double Feature” playwrights @

The National Theatre goes pop-up @ The Guardian


12 September 2011

zuberino @ twitter: Edgar and Annabel

Mark Tierney @ twitter: Double Feature 1 and 2

Fiona Mountford @ twitter: Edgar and Annabel

Sycophant @ blogspot: Double Feature 2

Annie Rowe @ twitter: Edgar and Annabel

Alex Packer @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Laura Schofield @ twitter: Double Feature 1

John Nathan @ Theater News Online: Double Feature 1

On “Edgar and Annabel”: (…) an example of get-in-quick and get-out-fast-drama, the kind that is over before you have time to ask awkward questions about the nuts and bolts of a story.

Ferdinand Kingsley @ twitter: Double Feature 2

Theo Bosanquet @ Whatsonstage: Double Feature 2

The air in the cavernous Paintframe is free from the stench of history that hangs heavy in the air of the Olivier, Lyttelton and Cottesloe.

Theo Bosanquet @ twitter: Double Feature 2

Simone @ twitter: There Is A War

Kate W. @ twitter: Double Feature 2

Anya Reiss @ twitter: There Is A War

Ben Smith @ twitter: Double Feature 2

Rajiv Nathwani @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Vicki Thomson @ twitter: Edgar and Annabel

Helen Mumby @ twitter: Double Feature 1

David Borwick @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Jen Smith @ twitter: Edgar and Annabel

Rosie Wyatt @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Gecko Sri Lanka: Nightwatchman

Margaret Ann Bain @ twitter: Double Feature 1 and 2

theatredeli @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Thomas Dillon @ twitter: Double Feature 1

Clare Nichols @ twitter: Double Feature 2  /  cont.

Julie Mayhew @ twitter: Double Feature 1

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Reviews of “The Grapes of Wrath” tour

Posted in festivals, grapes of wrath, reviews, theatre with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 22 November, 2009 by ambarussa

Here are the direct links to the reviews of the various performances of “The Grapes of Wrath”. Directed by Jonathan Church, the co-production of the English Touring Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre in summer/autumn/winter 2009 featured Christopher Timothy as Pa Joad, Sorcha Cusack as Ma Joad, Oliver Cotton as Jim Casey and Damian O’Hare as Tom Joad. You can find a cast list here.

10 July – 28 August

1 – 3 October

6 – 10 October

13 – 17 October

20 – 31 October

3 – 14 November

17 – 21 November

“The Grapes of Wrath”: review(s) of performance at Hall for Cornwall / Truro

Posted in grapes of wrath, reviews, theatre with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 18 November, 2009 by ambarussa

Reviews will be updated in this entry as they come.

Damian O'Hare as Tom Joad in "The Grapes of Wrath".

THIS IS CORNWALL: Epic rings true in 2009

“(…) The ensemble cast, including a number of local actors, is superb. Sorcha Cusack as Ma Joad, the steadfast, moral glue battling to keep the Joads together is powerfully understated while Damian O’Hare shines as her righteous son, Tom. Oliver Cotton – immensely watchable in everything he does – is a force to be reckoned with as the former preacher, forever thinking about the right thing to do. (…)”


“(…) Fantastic,huge dramatic sweep. (…)” – @ TJBrinkman

“The Grapes of Wrath”: review(s) of performance at West Yorkshire Playhouse / Quarry Theatre in Leeds

Posted in grapes of wrath, reviews, theatre with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 5 November, 2009 by ambarussa

Reviews will be updated in this entry as they come.
If I never see the word “accent” again, it will be too soon.


Damian O'Hare as Tom Joad in "The Grapes of Wrath", currently at the West Yorkshire Playhouse / Quarry Theatre in Leeds.


“(…) Damian O’Hare, as Tom Joad, radiates magnetic charisma and old-fashioned masculinity (…)”


“(…) Steinbeck would have been proud of that, and I think he would have approved this production. I can think of no higher praise. (…)”


“(…) Damian O’Hare gives a stellar performance as Tom Joad, the headstrong idealist of the family, recently returned from prison. His deep Southern drawl is impeccable, as are the accents of others, creating a realism that pervades the play. (…)”


“(…) Stand-out performances come from Damian O’Hare playing Tom Joad, a parolee who becomes increasingly militant as their journey progresses. (…)”


“(…) Damian O’Hare as Tom Joad manages to get increasingly militant without alienating or irritating the audience. (…)”


“(…) A difficult play for difficult times, perhaps, but like the scorched earth of the Californian desert it too often fails to show signs of life. (…)”


“(…) Superb production with full rainstorm on stage. Glad not sitting at front. (…)” – @ Woman_In_White

“(…) It was very good, but by the end I did want to jump off a cliff. Not a happy ending. (…)” – @ILoveTK37

“(…) grapes of misery..I mean wrath , last night. Christopher timothy played pa, with a James Herriot on true blood accent. (…)” – @ sophieroberts17

“(…) Just saw an excellent production of the Grapes of Wrath – moving. Up the People! (…)” – @photographworks

“(…) It is not often I am moved to tears by a theatre production, but the English Touring Theatre’s performance of The Grapes Of Wrath had me thanking my lucky stars that my husband remembered to bring his handkerchief, which I borrowed and used liberally throughout. (…)” – @ KateSlaterPR

“The Grapes of Wrath”: review(s) of performance at The Repertory Theatre in Birmingham

Posted in grapes of wrath, theatre with tags , , , , , , , , , on 21 October, 2009 by ambarussa

Reviews will be updated in this entry as they come.


“The English Touring Theatre’s production may not be to everyone’s taste. But it’s power and resonance cannot be denied.”


“There are also strong performances from Damian O’Hare as Tom Joad, on parole from prison for killing a man in a brawl and whose fight for justice for those around him puts his own safety in jeopardy; and Oliver Cotton as Jim Casy, the lapsed preacher who struggles to find a role for himself in society. In fact there are no weak links at all in the cast.”


“There are a number of strong and outstanding performances starting off with young Tom Joad the now paroled killer who clearly has an explosive character. Damian O’Hare plays the role with a building tension that you know is going to blow right about now.”


“Overall, the play was a powerful, well-directed performance that is arguably topical in the current financial climate.”


“But tellingly the first scene, the chance encounter on the road between Tom Joad, returning from jail, and Casey, the former preacher turned sceptic, has a focused intimacy (and a clarity of delivery from Damian O’Hare and Oliver Cotton that we don’t always experience in this theatre) which immediately gives a momentum to the narrative which is sustained throughout the first act.”


“This is an acting company to match the epic nature of the story and it’s uniformly strong.”


“This is not a play to be watched if you’re keen for a good laugh.It is a provocative, honest account of a family’s struggle to remain a family, and well worth seeing.”


“OK, so no-one expects John Steinbeck to be a bundle of laughs but the relentless nature of this adaptation of his epic Dust Bowl novel The Grapes of Wrath is enough to batter us all into the ground.”


“Excellent performances from Cusack and Cotton in particular. Great cast – great show. (…) Excellent production of Grapes Of Wrath despite casts American accents ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous.” @simongreenwich

“The Grapes of Wrath at Birmingham Rep last night. Very good.” @DavidCalcutt

“Thought Grapes of Wrath at the Rep was marvelloos: Bleak, bleak, bleak, bleak, bleak.” @ZalieAn

“… good acting & prod, just felt it didn’t quite work – felt like a novel on stage. Loved the jalopody” @deccers

“It was a good play, but Metro review this morning  didn’t like it… there’s no pleasing some people!” @cahmn

“… great productions (…) They raise the spirit.” @RodDungate

“great story, excellent production, ingenious set. Stunned silence from audience – brilliant!” – @spideytim

“V. depressing but good.”

“There was this really fit guy and he stripped all the way down to his boxers! Ahha.”


Damian O'Hare as Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath.

“The Grapes of Wrath”: review(s) of performance at The King’s Theatre in Edinburgh

Posted in grapes of wrath, previews, theatre with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 13 October, 2009 by ambarussa

Updated as they come.

WHATSONSTAGE.COM (review by Rebecca Hale) *****

“(…) The performances of Tom (Damian O’Hare) and Ma Joad (Sorcha Cusack) are worthy of particular note. (…)”

“(…) This is a must see: there are few laughs and strangely for the subject matter, it is not a tear-jerker. However, watching this play is a humbling experience because it leaves the audience wondering how they would fare if they had a real-life role to play in this fictional, but too-true story. This is what Steinbeck intended. (…)”

LOTHIAN LIFE (review by Ros MacKenzie)

“(…) this powerful piece of theatre resonates in this time of new depression. (…)”

ONSTAGE SCOTLAND (review by Michael Cox)  ***

“(…) This is not to say that it is a bad production, because it isn’t.  The three hours do pass fairly quickly, and there are some rather good performances, notably from Oliver Cotton as the fallen Reverend Jim Casy, Sorcha Cusack as kind-hearted matriarch Ma Joad, Christopher Timothy as hard-working and honest Pa Joad and Damian O’Hare as the recently paroled and politically conscious son Tom. (…)”

THE SCOTSMAN (review by Susan Mansfield)

“(…) Last night a man in the audience gave us a standing ovation. He was an American whose grandfather was driven off his 300-acre farm in 1935 in return for $1. How relevant is that? What about the immigrants in this country who are being ripped off picking fruit now? Nothing changes, does it? (…)”

THE SCOTSMAN (review by Joyce McMillan) ****

“(…) And if the production never does quite enough to escape from its period, and overcome the resistance of those in the audience who seem more interested in the family’s vintage truck than in their human tragedy, it still tells this great story with directness and passion, for anyone who wants to hear it. (…)”

THE SCOTSMAN (review by Thom Dibdin)

“(…) A truly tragic and epic tale, told with just the right balance of realism and suggestion to entertain and leave you reeling at mankind’s worst instincts. (…)”

And because it’s the audience buying the tickets, not the critics:


“(…) The script was a clever mix of comedy and sadness. (…)”

“(…) This was my first play and it was very good. (…)”

“(…) It was absolutely brilliant. All the actors were extremely good. (…)”


“Grapes of Wrath at King’s Theatre – well-played and affecting. If full of wonky accents. Unless Steinbeck was writing about Manchester.” – emusiclove


Damian O'Hare as Tom Joad and Christopher Timothy as Pa Joad in "The Grapes of Wrath".

“The Grapes of Wrath”: review(s) of performance at Theatre Royal in Plymouth

Posted in grapes of wrath, reviews, theatre with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 7 October, 2009 by ambarussa

Updated as reviews turn up.


“(…) Damian O’Hare as virtuous yet tough ex jailbird anti-hero Tom takes up Casey’s standard and becomes labour organiser… (…)”

“(…) Drama can be grim and gruelling, but it can be uplifting too. Here it even finds shafts of humour. Utterly compelling.  (…)”

“The Grapes of Wrath”: review(s) of performance at New Wimbledon Theatre

Posted in grapes of wrath, previews, reviews, theatre with tags , , , , , , , , , on 5 October, 2009 by ambarussa

Here’s a first review of last weekend’s performances of “The Grapes of Wrath” at New Wimbledon Theatre. I’ll update this post if there should be more.


“(…) Despite being superbly acted by the large English Touring Theatre cast, under the direction of Jonathan Church, the three hours of unremitting misery which it entails as the sad story of the Joad family unfolds is heavy duty stuff. (…)”

“(…) Damian O’Hare hit the right mood as Tom Joad, fresh out of jail and looking for a new life. (…)”

Someone suggested to look for reviews on Twitter. I did, and looking for “Grapes of Wrath” was a hoot: students winging about being forced to read the book (grapes of wrath is rly booooorin”), metal bands on tour, banned books, other students complaining about the ending (grossest ending ever!!!)  – and even some reviews!

Looking for information on twitter is more fun than google, no doubt (I’m dying a slow wine inflicted death. Grapes of wrath.” \o/ ) .

“(…) Fairly intense. (…)”

(…) Very moving. (…)

(…) Funny to watch Brits do American Oklahoma accents! (…)

(…) In the interval of marvellous production of The Grapes of Wrath at Wimbledon… (…)

(…) v focused story (no subplot to spk of) & sad! Good acting, rain & set. (…)

(…) could be a bit shorter, but gave good feel of epic journey across USA &portrayed massive courage of family. Recommended! (…)

(…) (play) was ‘meh’. Not engaging enough for me to truly enjoy. Hammy acting. Slow and tired storytelling. (…)

As I don’t know the netiquette for linking to Twitter posts, there aren’t any source links here. Should you be the author of any of those quotes and want a link back to your twitter (or have the quote removed), please leave a note. Commenting on this one post is enabled.

Then are two previews for the performance at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh



and the Theatre Royal in Plymouth:



“Grapes of Wrath” preview / German “Taking the Flak” review

Posted in festivals, grapes of wrath, previews, reviews, taking the flak, theatre, tv with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 14 July, 2009 by ambarussa

PORTSMOUTH TODAY: “Christopher’s on a journey of discovery”

Actor Christopher Timothy, who plays Pa Joad in “The Grapes of Wrath” at Chichester Festival Theatre, gave an interview to “Portsmouth Today”. He gives some insights into the rehearsal process.

Rehearsals, he reflects, have been largely satisfying, ‘but also dissatisfying because you sometimes take two steps forward and three back.

‘You try different ideas, but what seemed a good idea in the bath suddenly doesn’t seem as good in the rehearsal room with 17 other actors.

‘But you have to try. It’s called courage, though it’s very difficult sometimes.’

While the British media can’t make up their mind whether to love or loathe “Taking the Flak”,, a German website dedicated to – yes, you guessed it, Britcoms – has reviewed the first episode. I wondered how the show would be received internationally (nothing travels as bad as humour); here’s a (very rough) translation for those interested. All translation errors are mine.

BRITCOMS.DE: “Drop the Flak” (…)
(Flak =/= “Flag”!)

“Taking the Flak” (BBC 2, Wednesdays 10pm), the new, expensive comedy-drama about a news team of the BBC, going about their business as frontline reporters in a fictional African state was announced as an acerbic satire. It does look expensive: shot on location and with top-class casting (among others Doon Mackichan and Mackenzie Crook (“The Office”)), the first 60 minutes episode did look impressive. Unfortunately, there was hardly any humour that went beyond stereotypical Africans with funny names, non-stop diarrhoea and other obvious jokes. The characters around the completely superficial senior reporter, the always-stressed producer who’s got a fling with a hard-nosed cameraman and the chubby, sad, lonely radio reporter are all vapid and lack so much a human touch that one hardly notices any of the drama in this comedy-drama (with exception of the drama-department of the BBC having probably increased the budget significantly).

The subject would have offered more, though: “Drop the Dead Donkey” proved it, and the makers of “Taking the Flak” should have more material to work with; Tira Shubart, co-creater, -writer and -producer, is in the news business for 20 years and has worked in more than 40 countries.

But maybe this will work, after all, in the next episodes.

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