Theatre: It's a Shaw thing
Most Thrilling Night Out of the year was Deborah Warner's staging of Britten's `The Turn of the Screw' for the Royal Opera House. Now she has a new show to thrill us with... in a venue which hasn't seen a public performance since 1880
Saturday 13 December 1997
As a sneak preview, I shall tell you that this year's Most Thrilling Night Out Award goes to Deborah Warner for her astonishingly scary, highly charged production of Britten's The Turn of the Screw, a production that proved that not everything the Royal Opera House touches turns to lead.
It's been quite a year for Warner. In the summer, she revived her Brighton Festival staging of Honegger's extraordinary Joan of Arc for one night only, one of the most successful stagings ever seen at the Proms. Dressed in white, Fiona Shaw stood in the centre of the arena caught in a powerful shaft of light and surrounded by the Prommers who became the crowds at her trial. A truly memorable night.
We were to have seen the pair of them doing Noel Coward's greatest play, Private Lives, at the National this autumn, but despite Shaw's presence as Amanda, a suitable Elyot could not be found and the project collapsed. Faced with a sudden gap in their normally action-packed diaries, the two women set about finding a suitably potent London site for their production of TS Eliot's The Waste Land, which has already been seen in New York, Toronto, Montreal, Brussels, Paris and Cork. Their chosen location for this 37-minute marvel is a space almost no-one knows about: Wilton's Music Hall, built in 1859 and the oldest of its kind still standing. As the last public performance there was in 1880, however, barely anyone knows about this neglected gem, with its decorated "papier-mache balconies and barley sugar cast-iron pillars under a vaulted roof".
A recent poll voted Rudyard Kipling's "If" as the nation's favourite poem, which tells us little except that a large chunk of the older end of the age spectrum voted. The Waste Land certainly doesn't have Kipling's yearning, stirring sentiment, but there are few poems with anything like its claim to be the most influential poem of the 20th century. (In the right hands, it's also a good deal funnier.) Even if the idea of Fiona Shaw performing it is not enough to entice you to Tower Hill, curiosity about this rediscovered gem of a theatre should guarantee your attendance.
Wilton's Music Hall, Grace's Alley, off Ensign Street and Cable Street, London E1 from tomorrow, 4.30pm. 16, 17, 18 Dec at 7.30pm. Thereafter, performance times vary. Call 0171-928 2252 for times and precise location
Life & Style blogs
The high-powered dream team trying to create a stiletto shoe as comfy as a trainer
Apple MacBook review: preposterously thin and extravagantly attractive, this is the best-designed laptop Apple has ever made
How Old Do I Look: Microsoft’s super advanced age-guessing app is terrible at guessing how old celebrities are, too
UK skin cancer statistics 'shocking' as sun-worshippers ignore the dangers of exposure
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
- 4 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 5 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...
£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...