British actress Carey Mulligan has won glowing reviews for her West End debut, with critics hailing her performance in Skylight as "moving" and "beautiful". The David Hare play, which opened at London's Wyndham's Theatre on Wednesday (19Jun14), stars Mulligan and veteran actor Bill Nighy as two former lovers who meet up after several years and reminisce about their affair.
The production, directed by Stephen Daldry, has won over reviewers, who heaped praise on the two leading performers.
Charles Spencer of Britain's Daily Telegraph gives the drama five stars out of five and calls it a "knockout production", writing, "Nighy and Mulligan beautifully capture both the hurt and anger of lost love, and sudden piercing moments of enduring sadness."
The Independent's Paul Taylor hails Mulligan for her "moving, intensely focused performance", while Dominic Maxwell of Britain's The Times was most impressed by Nighy, who appeared in a previous production of the play back in 1996, calling him "a case study in charisma" and "an enormously seductive presence" who "boasts a performance of pure class".
Quentin Letts of Britain's Daily Mail gives similar praise to the lead actor, writing, "Bill Nighy at full belt on stage is astonishing, unbalancing, unforgettable" but adds that Mulligan "holds her own... to not be upstaged by a rampaging Nighy is an achievement".
Skylight will run until 23 August (14).
Veteran actress Kathleen Turner's new play Bakersfield Mist has been savaged by critics who branded it "implausible", "phoney", and "too pleased with itself". The new drama, which opened in the West End on Tuesday (27May14), stars Turner as Maude, a trailer park resident who believes she has unearthed a valuable Jackson Pollock painting. She enlists a New York art expert named Lionel, played by Scottish actor Ian McDiarmid, to verify it.
However, the culture-clash show, written by Stephen Sachs, has failed to impress many critics, who found the plot unconvincing and suggested the actors' performances are the only highlight.
Henry Hitching, of the London Evening Standard, writes, "Her (Turner) passionate performance and an enjoyably outrageous one from Ian McDiarmid can't redeem a play that turns a true story into something clunkingly implausible... There are flashes of humour, but despite the strong performances Bakersfield Mist feels very slight."
Charles Spencer, from the Daily Telegraph, echoes the criticism, adding, "Bakersfield Mist, neatly directed by Polly Teale and cleverly designed by Tom Piper, is too slight, and a touch too pleased with itself, to be fully satisfying. But, unlike the dubious picture at the play's heart, the performances are definitely the genuine article."
Mark Shenton, from The Stage, writes, "A play about trying to verify the authenticity of art falls at the first hurdle if it itself feels phoney... The situation here simply beggars belief... I suspect it will quickly fade into the mists of memory."
Bakersfield Mist will run until 30 August (14) at the Duchess Theatre in London.
Rapper Kanye West and his fiancee Kim Kardashian will exchange vows in Florence, Italy following a pre-wedding party in Paris, France, according to a new report. The couple is set to tie the knot on 24 May (14) and a recently-leaked wedding invitation revealed guests had been summoned to Paris to celebrate the nuptials.
However, sources tell ETonline.com that around 100 attendees will be served dinner in Paris, before boarding private jets to fly them to Florence, where the actual ceremony will take place. West and Kardashian's plans to become man and wife in the French capital hit a snag last month (Apr14) when they discovered French law required foreign citizens who wish to marry there must live in the country for 40 days before the wedding.
Reports suggested the pair would exchange vows during a civil ceremony in Los Angeles ahead of the European nuptials, but the bride-to-be took to her Twitter.com blog last week (ends09May14) to dismiss speculation she and West had already married in secret. The couple, parents to daughter North West, has been engaged since October (13).
Here are this week's highlights from VH1, Celebuzz, Flavorwire, and Hollywood.com.
There's a lot of incest in Hollywood. That is, some celebrities have played both the sibling and the lover of their co-stars, most recently Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley in The Fault in Our Stars. See a gallery of other notable instances of movie incest at VH1 Celebrity.
Becoming a mother has really broadened Kim Kardashian's perspective. She dealing with the big issues: race and discrimination. Read what she has to say at Celebuzz.
Patton Oswalt won Twitter. Flavorwire goes so far as to call him a "brave Twitter warrior." Read about his latest genius here.
There are two Don Drapers: the drunken slob and Mr. Nice. Which do you prefer? Read about his dual personality and cast your vote at Hollywood.com.
A new British musical based on the early career of The Kinks has won high praise from critics, who have awarded the production top marks. Sunny Afternoon, named after the rockers' 1966 hit of the same name, opened at London's Hampstead Theatre on Thursday night (01May14) and the stage musical, which features a slew of the icons' tracks, has gone down a storm with reviewers.
The Daily Mail's Quentin Letts brands the show "a belter" and exclaims, "You really got me! ...This show is far better than a mere tribute evening, though it includes lots of Kinks hits. It gives you a strong sense of period - some terrific short hemlines on the girls - yet also well-drawn characters that evolve with the band."
Nick Hasted from TheArtsDesk.com awards the show four out of five stars and writes, "In The Kinks' 50th Anniversary year, their spirit could hardly be better revived", while The Telegraph's Charles Spencer states, "It is an irresistibly enjoyable and touching night, and anyone who loves pop music at its greatest would be mad to miss it."
Lead actors John Dagleish and George Maguire, who portray Ray Davies and his guitarist brother Dave, respectively, have also been singled out for applause, with the Evening Standard's Henry Hitchings calling Dagleish's performance "immense", while claiming Maguire gives his character "an exciting wildness".
Reports suggest Sunny Afternoon may transfer to the West End stage once its run at the Hampstead Theatre wraps on 24 May (14).
Simon Cowell's The X Factor musical has impressed critics who have hailed the satirical show as "smart," "funny" and "bonkers". Reality TV spoof I Can't Sing!, which has been bankrolled by The X Factor creator Cowell, has suffered numerous setbacks over the last few weeks as producers struggled to correct a slew of technical problems, but it opened as scheduled at the London Palladium on Wednesday night (26Mar14).
The show went off without a hitch and won over theatre reviewers, who were full of praise for comedian Harry Hill's script and Downton Abbey actor Nigel Harman, who plays a role spoofing Cowell.
Paul Taylor of The Independent newspaper described Harman's performance as "deliciously funny", adding, "A satire on The X Factor that's been endorsed and partly financed by Simon Cowell sounds an improbable proposition... So it's with some surprise that I must confess to having really rather enjoyed this £6m (million) musical spoof... There is a bonkers, surreal charm to the loopy lampooning."
The Daily Express' Simon Edge praised the show as "smart, funny, foot-tapping and surprisingly hard-hitting" and even compared it to acclaimed stage show Jerry Springer: The Opera, which lampooned the controversial U.S. TV star.
Charles Spencer of The Daily Telegraph also gave the production a good write-up, calling the show a "rude and raucous hit".
He adds, "The show is wildly eccentric and wonderfully funny. It is also splendidly rude about Cowell himself... It's not exactly West Side Story, but the performers give it all they've got, the designs are spectacular and the whole delightfully bonkers show has a winning wit and warmth about it."
Cowell was in the audience for the opening night show along with his girlfriend, Lauren Silverman.
A new West End adaptation of Hollywood thriller Fatal Attraction has received a frosty reception from critics, with reviewers branding the production "horrible", "pointless" and "amateurish". The 1987 movie has been transformed into a play with Mark Bazeley in the role of the adulterous husband played by Michael Douglas, and Natascha McElhone taking on Glenn Close's part as his bunny-boiling lover, with Kristin Davis as the betrayed wife.
The show opened at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in the British capital on Tuesday night (25Mar14), but it failed to win over critics, who attacked the plot changes, the script and the concept.
Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail newspaper writes, "Though I give Fatal Attraction three stars - this new stage version is decently acted and coolly staged - I hated almost every minute of it. What a horrible, heartless story."
The Daily Telegraph's Charles Spencer brands the show "pointless", adding, "Though some of the changes to the film may intrigue or infuriate Fatal Attraction obsessives, and the new final twist is undoubtedly ingenious, they are hardly ground-breaking and hardly justify the trouble and expense of a trip to the West End."
Michael Billington of The Guardian was also unimpressed with the show, concluding, "There is something pathetic about the commercial theatre's increasing reliance on movies for source material... It puzzles me why people should be expected to cough up to see a transplanted screenplay; and, even though (writer) James Dearden has made some adjustments to his 1987 script for Fatal Attraction, it remains an essentially hollow experience."
The Times critic Dominic Maxwell gave the play a lowly one star out of five, and branded the show, "a bad idea, poorly executed," adding, "It's amateurish... It's risible." Maxwell also criticised producers over the iconic 'bunny boiling' scene, revealing he could "see the bunny still alive and well in its cage" when it was purported to be in a saucepan onstage.
Veteran actress Dame Angela Lansbury was the toast of the West End on Tuesday night (18Mar14) when she made her London stage comeback after an absence of nearly 40 years. The Murder, She Wrote star last appeared on stage in the British capital in a 1975 production of Hamlet at the National Theatre, but she has made a triumphant return in a revival of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit.
The play opened at the Gielgud Theatre, the same stage once graced by Lansbury's actress mother Moyna MacGill in 1918, on Tuesday and won rave reviews and a standing ovation for its star.
Paul Taylor of The Independent newspaper hails Lansbury's portrayal of kooky medium Madame Arcati as "deliciously erratic" and "funny and endearing" while Charles Spencer of The Daily Telegraph awards the show a maximum of five stars, adding, "Lansbury brings astonishing energy and comic panache to her performance. It is a comedy that still startles and delights... She is terrific... But the whole show is a treat."
Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail also gives the play five stars, adding, "She is perfect. Makes it look effortless," while Henry Hitchings of the London Evening Standard concludes, "Angela Lansbury's return to the West End... is something to treasure... Her fans will be entranced by the charm, balance and precision she brings to such a well-known role."
R&B legend Melba Moore is taking aim at a New York Post story, in which she reportedly offers her support to her ex-husband as he prepares to stand trial for allegedly running a $5 million (£3.13 million) Ponzi scheme, insisting she has never spoken to the publication. Huggins faces up to 20 years behind bars amid allegations he conned wealthy clients, including comedian Steve Harvey, into investing in diamond and gold mining in West Africa, only to use the money to fund a record company and other business ventures from 2008 to 2011.
Moore appeared to have put her differences with her ex aside in the Post article, in which she was quoted as saying, "Charles is in a place in his life now that he needs me, and I'm probably the closest person to him right now. We can't live in the past. I'm there for him now."
But she insists her remarks are made up, stating, "I have made no statements to the New York Post or any other periodical or media of any kind regarding the details of the of the court case of Charles Huggins or any of the details of his personal life. The New York Post's supposed quotes of me are completely and totally erroneous and bogus.
"I have stayed away from it and made no public comments primarily for the safety and security of our daughter... I don't know anything about it, I haven't been involved in it... I have purposely not made myself aware of it... I don't (even) talk about it with my daughter."
R&B singer Melba Moore is lending her support to her embattled ex-husband, music producer Charles Huggins, as he prepares to stand trial for allegedly running a $5 million (£3.13 million) Ponzi scheme. Huggins faces up to 20 years behind bars amid allegations he conned wealthy clients, including comedian Steve Harvey and American football great Emmitt Smith, into investing in diamond and gold mining in West Africa, only to use the money to fund a record company and other business ventures from 2008 to 2011.
He is due to stand trial this week (begs10Feb14) and Moore reveals she will be there to support to her ex, despite the fact he left her broke following a nasty divorce battle in 1991.
The Lean On Me hitmaker tells the New York Post, "Charles took everything, but I had to start all over again, and I did.
"Charles is in a place in his life now that he needs me, and I'm probably the closest person to him right now. We can't live in the past. I'm there for him now."
Moore, who accused Huggins of "economic spousal abuse" during their lengthy marriage, insists she is simply repaying the kindness her former husband showed her at the start of their relationship decades ago.
She says, "I know that Charles did all of those horrible things to me. But what I choose to focus on now is the Charles that helped guide my career and teach me the ropes."