THEATRE: CURTAIN CALLS
Saturday 13 June 1998
AS I LAY DYING
A night of wonder and enchantment as Shakespeare's Illyria takes on an Indian hue. Tim Supple's marvellous production banishes every comedic stereotype and his actors play everything to the audience, who hang upon the words. This is wonderfully detailed real ensemble acting, but Thusita Jayasundera's Viola and Robert Bowman's gloriously unctuous Malvolio are simply tremendous. The same company alternate performances with an adaptation of As I Lay Dying. With this team, even those unfamiliar with William Faulkner's beautiful novel would be well advised to investigate.
Young Vic, SE1 (0171-928 6363)
THE SEDUCTION OF NORA BLAKE
Double Indemnity meets The House of Elliott in this hysterical musical noir about man-eating Laura and "sweet, trusting, naive little Nora", who just happen to be identical twin sisters, in a Manhattan murder mystery circa 1945. John Meyer's book, Hollywood-style music and lyrics are a ridiculous treat, the design is a tiny wonder and Nickolas Grace's production is spot-on. Claire Moore sings up a storm and Michael Matus is memorably lascivious. Sheer heaven.
Jermyn Street Theatre, SW1 (0171-287 2875)
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
The last time that Cheek by Jowl took on a Shakespeare comedy, they came up with a stunning, all-male As You Like It. Much Ado is a play of usually overlooked depths as well as the expected comic highs of Beatrice and Benedick battling out the merry war of words. This is the company's temporary swansong, so don't even think about missing it.
Playhouse Theatre, WC2 (0171-839 4401)
Thanks to the recent behaviour of Robin Cook, as well as the upheavals in Indonesia, this dramatically powerful debate about the morality of the arms trade (there's a contradiction in terms), comes up as crucial as Newsnight, but with better costumes... There's also Peter Hall's fine supporting cast, especially Anna Carteret and David Yelland.
Piccadilly Theatre, W1 (0171-369 1734)
THE LONDON CUCKOLDS
Ludicrously enjoyable, good old-fashioned filth. Caroline Quentin and a terrific cast fill the theatre with high spirits and low morals. They have a rollicking good time romping through this bawdy Restoration comedy and so will you. Carry On Cuckolding.
National Theatre, SE1 (0171-452 3000)
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