The story of The Master Builder can be told in one sentence: An ageing builder meets a passionate young girl who gives him, so he thinks, a new lease of life and a return of creative energy that both restores and destroys him. Warning: This review contains spoilers for those that have not seen the production Within this simple framework, Ibsen considers the whole subject of age and youth, of idealism, of dream and reality of, in fact all of life and death. The play resonates on many … [Read more...]
Old Vic Theatre London Reviews, News & Tickets
Old Vic Theatre
103 The Cut, London, SE1 8NB
Old Vic Seating Plan
Venue and Travel Information
Nearest Tube: Waterloo
Tube Lines: Waterloo & City, Bakerloo, Northern, Jubilee
Directions from nearest tube: (7mins) Take Mepham Street (100 metres) down to Waterloo Road. Turn right on Waterloo Road, but keep left as the theatre is 100 metres further along on the opposite corner.
Railway Station: Waterloo
Bus Numbers: (Waterloo Road) 1, 4, 26, 59, 68, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 521, X68; (Mepham Street) 211, 243, 507
Night Bus Numbers: (Waterloo Road) 139, 176, 188, N1, N68, N171; (Mepham Street) 243
Car Park: Waterloo Station (4mins)
Within Congestion Zone: Yes
Venue Facilities: Air conditioned, Bar, Disabled toilets, Infrared hearing loop, Toilets, Wheelchair accessible
The Old Vic Theatre London
The Old Vic is one of the oldest theatres in London, being built in 1818, and is popular throughout the English speaking world. Often referred to as “the actors’ theatre”, as many of the leading performing artists of the last century have acted on its stage, including Sir Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Sybil Thorndyke, Dame Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Kevin Spacey, Edith Evans, Peggy Ashcroft, Alec Guiness, Vivien Leigh, Ralph Richardson, Michael Redgrave and Peter O’Toole.
The Theatre was built on former marsh land that was Lambeth Marsh and it took many years to construct due to a severe lack of finance. The Foundation stone was placed by the Prince of Saxe Coburg and Princess Charlotte of Wales in September 1816, thus the Old Vic started life as The Royal Coburg, promising the nobility and the gentry “entirely new entertainment”. The opening night in 1818 included a Melodrama, an Asiatic ballet and a Harlequinade. This followed in 1831 with Edmund Kean plays Richard III, Othello, Macbeth and King Lear during a six-night engagement. In 1833 the theatre re-opened ‘for the encouragement of Native Dramatic Talent’, and named The Royal Victoria, in honour of Princess Victoria. Subsequently in 1871 the theatre once again re-opens and this time as The New Victoria. During the decade it was twice put up for sale by auction, before closing down. In 1880 a leading Victorian social reformist Emma Cons, opens the theatre as The Royal Victoria Coffee and Music Hall. The word ‘theatre’ is dropped supposedly because of its ‘impure associations’. In 1884 philanthropist Samuel Morley prevents the theatre from closing down and renames it The Royal Victoria Hall and Coffee Tavern.
In 1914 Shakespeare productions make their debut at the theatre, under the direction of Ben Greet. From 1920-25 under the direction of Robert Atkins all 36 Shakespeare plays in the First Folio are performed. During 1925 West End Star Edith Evans joins the company.
From 1929-31 John Gielgud’s Hamlet and Richard II established him as the new Shakespearean star. During 1932 Peggy Ashcroft joins the company to play Rosalind, Portia, Juliet and Miranda. Michael Redgrave and Edith Evans in As you like it.
During 1936 Michael Redgrave, Alec Guinness and Laurence Olivier join the company. During the Second World War in 1941 the theatre was very badly damaged by German bombs.
Following renovations the theatre opens again in 1950 with a performance of Twelfth Night. During 1957 Judi Dench joins for the first of the four seasons. Her roles include Ophelia, Hermia, and Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli’s production of Romeo and Juliet. John Stride and Judi Dench star in Romeo and Juliet in 1960.
The impressive Laurence Olivier and Maggie Smith star in Othello in 1964. Sadly in 1963 The Old Vic company disbands. Over the next thirteen years company regulars include Albert Finney, Anthony Hopkins, Geraldine McEwan, Joan Plowright and Maggie Smith.
During 1977 the theatre is leased to visiting companies with the first production being The White Devil, starring Glenda Jackson.
In 1982 the theatre is put up for sale and bought by Canadian businessman Ed Mirvish who restored it to its former glory. The facade of the building is founded on an 1830 engraving, with the auditorium on the designs of 1871.
During 1998 the Mirvish family wish to sell the theatre. There are proposals for altering it into a themed pub, a bingo hall or a lap-dancing club. In answer to the public demand and political pressure, the theatre is taken over by The Old Vic Theatre Trust 2000, a registered charity set up by Sally Greene.
Coming to The Old Vic Almeida’s production of The Iceman Cometh is transferred and is a big success. Kevin Spacey deservedly wins the Evening Standard Drama and Olivier Awards as Best Actor (1999). With The Old Vic presently back to its former glory the theatre has continued to produce spectacular shows.
Daniel Mays and George Mackay will join the previously announced Timothy Spall in Harold Pinter's The Caretaker, directed by The Old Vic's Artistic Director Matthew Warchus. When The Caretaker premiered in 1960 it changed the face of modern theatre. Now, Harold Pinter's groundbreaking classic comes to The Old Vic in a new production. Disturbed handyman Aston (Daniel Mays) has invited an irasible tramp (Timothy Spall) to stay with him at his brother's jumbled London flat. At first it seems … [Read more...]
The Lorax is an utter delight. Simply magnificent! The show includes all that is wonderful about theatre: Great acting, catchy songs sung by talented singers who intersperse rhyming dialogue, smartly choreographed dancing, colorful and creative costumes, and a storyline that satisfies both young and old. Take that perfect theatrical mix and then stage it at the historic Old Vic Theatre, and what you have is a show not to be missed. The very setting of The Old Vic, situated conveniently near … [Read more...]
The Old Vic have announced the full cast for their upcoming production of Henrik Ibsen's The Master Builder in 2016. Joining the previously announced Ralph Fiennes in the production, which opens at the Old Vic Theatre in January 2016, will be Linda Emond as Aline Solness, James Laurenson as Knut Brovnik, Charlie Cameron as Kaja Fosli, James Dreyfuss as Dr Herdal and Sarah Snook as Hilde Wangel. Fiennes plays the leading role of Halvard Solness. Halvard Solness, a master architect, has … [Read more...]
Inspired by Dr. Seuss’s (The Cat In the Hat, How The Grinch Stole Christmas!) classic tale, The Lorax tells of a moustachioed and cantankerous critter who’s on a mission to protect the earth from the greedy, tree-chopping, Thneed-knitting businessman known only as The Once-ler. Adapted by David Greig and brought to the stage by acclaimed director Max Webster (James And The Giant Peach, To Kill A Mockingbird, Twelfth Night) with music by Charlie Fink (Noah and the Whale), The Lorax blends … [Read more...]
At some point in everybody’s life a question is asked that is, in many respects, never fully answered “where do I fit in?” We all want to belong to something - anything from a particular group of people to an entire socio-economic group - it is conditioned in us and once we find that position, often we are content to stay there for a lifetime, unless something happens to make us question where we are in the grand scheme of things. Eugene O'Neill takes this idea to an extraordinary place with his … [Read more...]
Yank stares at the large round Moon. It is the face of a man that looks down at him - an interior labourer - who shovels coal to keep his grand ocean liner afloat. Yank, then, heads to the zoo to face his inner "filthy beast" which his employer's well-bred daughter had branded him. He scares and taunts another beast - a wary caged gorilla. What we have here is a working class man violently rebelling against society and reflecting angrily on his social place in the world. In 1922, when script … [Read more...]