With the review of 2011 taken care of, and the new year upon us, now seems a good moment to take a look forward, and to list just a few of the theatre productions, films and albums that I’m especially excited for in 2012.
Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Apollo)
O'Neill's masterpiece, perhaps the greatest of all American “family” plays, was last seen in London in 2000, in an intense and beautiful production by Robin Phillips that starred Jessica Lange, Charles Dance and Pauls Rudd and Nichols as the tormented Tyrones. Anthony Page's production may have to go some to top that one. But with the quartet headed by David Suchet and Laurie Metcalf (making a much-anticipated return to these shores following her performance in the 2001 NT All My Sons) this time around, the prospect of seeing what Richard Eyre calls “the saddest play ever written” once again makes me very, very happy indeed.
The Winter’s Tale (Propeller)
“A sad tale’s best for winter”… Not too long to wait now for the opening of Propeller’s production of the Bard’s most gorgeously confounding late romance, the second part of the company’s 2011/12 double-bill.
Sweeney Todd (Adelphi)
Having missed the production in Chichester I very much look forward to seeing the goriest musical in creation when it settles into the West End in March. Trailer below.
(The Musical Formerly Known as) The Light Princess (National Theatre)
After a few delays - mostly occasioned, perhaps, by the tendency of one of its collaborators to dash off on lengthy world tours - here’s hoping that Tori Amos and Samuel Adamson’s adaptation of George Macdonald’s wonderful fairytale makes it to the stage this Christmas - and that the magnificent “Winter’s Carol” is to be heard “ringing out” at the National Theatre at long last. My interview with Samuel Adamson is here.
Also: Constellations (Royal Court), The Duchess of Malfi (Old Vic), The Changeling (Young Vic), The Lady from the Sea (Rose Kingston), Hay Fever (Noel Coward Theatre).
The vagaries of film distribution being what they are these days, it’s doubtful that all of these movies will appear on British screens this year. (Or, in some cases, ever.) But these are some of the things I’m most excited to see, if possible.
The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius), Keyhole (Guy Maddin), The Kid With A Bike (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne), Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan), The Beloved (Christophe Honoré), The Great Gatsby (Baz Luhrmann), The Sleeping Beauty (Catherine Breillat).
With the disgraceful amount of 2011 releases I still have to catch up on, it’s actually fine by me if no new music gets released this year. But since the great Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas is already done and dusted, it would be churlish not to check it out. And should Iris DeMent feel like getting around to recording something new anytime soon, I can be trusted to find some time to listen to that too.
Now is also a good time to flag up that posting on this blog may take a dip in frequency over the next few months, due to my need to make serious headway on a second book project this year. I’ll aim to check in a few times a month, at least, and to write on occasion for other sites as well. But, in the interests of keeping up a semblance of what passes for “quality control” (ahem) here, posting may be a little less frequent for a while. For those of us who work in academia - where laboured-over articles and reviews can sometimes take months and even years to see the light of day after submission - the “quick fix” of blogging is incredibly seductive (not to say addictive), and is something that I’d never turn my back on entirely. In the meantime, thanks as always to everyone* who’s stopped by this blog in the past year to cast an eye over these musings on topics cinematic, theatrical and musical. Your readership and comments are very much appreciated indeed.
*Even Neil LaBute.