LIVE events at The Wellesley in March begin on Tuesday 6 March with the Royal Opera’s highly controversial production of Bizet’s opera, ‘Carmen’.
This radical reworking of one of the most popular operas by Director Barry Kosky has attracted diverse comments from critics. The Spectator’s critic called it ‘a colossal bore’ whilst The Stage’s reviewer said it was ‘theatrical and cinematic’ with ‘incidentals – lighting, costume, make-up – brilliantly achieved’ before adding that the production was ‘wacky, extreme, bawdy and hallucinatory’.
Audiences should note that this production opens at an earlier time of 18.45.
The current West End revival of Oscar Wilde’s comic masterpiece, ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ comes LIVE to The Wellesley on Tuesday 20 March at 19.15.
Jennifer Saunders stars in the production and ‘gives a bracing turn, full of very Jennifer Saunders-like pauses and swooping double takes, and pursed lips, as the interfering Duchess of Berwick, happy to dispense advice and spread poison in the ear of the impressionable Lady Windermere.’
‘Making her return to theatre, after a gap of two decades, she is extremely funny and entirely convincing as a woman who loves the sound of her own voice even if she is beginning to bore even herself.’
Samantha Spiro’s performance as Mrs Erlynne has been described as ‘superb’.
On Thursday 22 March the National Theatre much-lauded production of Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ is relayed from London’s new venue, The Bridge Theatre. Ben Whishaw stars as Brutus in this modern dress, promenade reworking of the classic, directed by Nicholas Hytner, with David Morrissey as ‘a perfect embodiment of a bumptious opportunist’ and David Calder’s Caesar as a ‘charismatic crowd-pleaser’.
The Guardian’s critic reviewed it as ‘exciting and intellectually subtle. Ben Whishaw plays Brutus excellently as the archetypal bookish intellectual stronger on revolutionary theory than practice; he pores over political volumes on the eve of the assassination and arrogantly overrides every one of his co-conspirators’ proposals.’
The Royal Ballet’s celebration of the centenary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth brings modern dance to local audiences on Tuesday 27th March at 19.15 with ‘The Age of Anxiety’, three pieces based on WH Auden’s poem set to Bernstein’s score, choreographed by Wayne McGregor, Christopher Wheeldon and Liam Scarlett. Reviews will be available when the production opens on 15th March.
Auden began work on his long poem in 1944 in New York with the imminence of World War Two in the background. Four ordinary, lonely, unacquainted people – Quant, an ageing Irish businessman; Malin, a retired medical officer in the Canadian Air Force; Rosetta, a Jewish buyer for a department store; and Emble, a handsome teenage naval recruit – get drunk in a bar in New York during wartime.
Berstein read the poem in the summer of 1947, finding it ‘fascinating and hair-raising’ and ‘one of the most shattering examples of pure virtuosity in the history of British poetry.’ By his own report the composition of a symphony took on an almost compulsive quality, and he worked on it steadily for the next two years, finally completing it in New York in March 1949 and playing piano when the work had its premiere on 8 April.
Tuesday 6 March at 18.45 ‘Carmen’ – Royal Opera House
Tuesday 20 March at 19.15 ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ – Vaudeville Theatre
Thursday 22 March at 19.00 ‘Julius Caesar’ – The Bridge Theatre
Tuesday 27 March at 19.15 ‘The Age of Anxiety’ – Royal Ballet