Mates blogger: Aleks Sierz


Aleks Sierz is one of over 45 theatre bloggers who are part of the MyTheatreMates collective. This page features Aleks's posts on MyTheatreMates. Take a look at our full list of theatre bloggers and our aggregated feed of all our Mates' posts. We’re always looking for new theatre bloggers. Could that be you? Learn about how to join us.
Aleks Sierz
Aleks Sierz FRSA is a theatre critic, and author of the seminal study of new 1990s playwrights, In-Yer-Face Theatre. His other books include Rewriting the Nation, The Theatre of Martin Crimp, John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger, The Methuen Drama Guide to Contemporary British Playwrights and Modern British Playwriting. His latest book (co-authored with Lia Ghilardi) is The Time Traveller’s Guide to British Theatre. He also works as a journalist, broadcaster, and lecturer. Aleks blogs independently at www.sierz.co.uk and tweets at @alekssierz.
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The latest from Aleks on MyTheatreMates

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‘No amount of vegan-shoe jokes can save it’: KERRY JACKSON – National Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Aleks SierzLeave a Comment

Billed as an examination of gentrification, Kerry Jackson at the National Theatre has disappointingly little to say about this subject. Its main characters have clichéd opinions and stereotypical attributes, and De Angelis spends a lot of time getting them to tell us who they are, what they think and how they feel.

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‘One of the more original plays of 2022’: PARADISE NOW! – Bush Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Aleks SierzLeave a Comment

How many plays pass the Bechdel Test? Originally featured in a comic strip, and popularised in film criticism, it simply states that to pass this test your story has to have: 1) at least two women in it; 2) who talk to each other; 3) about something other than a man. Well, one of the brilliant things about Irish writer Margaret Perry’s new dark comedy, Paradise Now! is that it passes this test with an A Plus grade.

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‘A ray of optimism in a horrible world’: SONS OF THE PROPHET – Hampstead Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Aleks SierzLeave a Comment

In his award-winning play, which premiered in Boston in 2011, American playwright Stephen Karam examines the issues in a thoroughly original, brilliantly constructed and thematically compelling way. Now getting its belated European premiere at the Hampstead Theatre, Sons of the Prophet is an enthralling experience, both intellectually and emotionally.

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‘Enormous contemporary resonance’: 12:37 – Finborough Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Aleks SierzLeave a Comment

Julia Pascal is a resourceful theatre-maker who is unafraid of controversy. Her interest in the relationship between the personal and the political, and sympathy with both the victims of the Nazis and those of Israeli expansionism, means that her work is often provocative, and always unsentimental. She has also been active in bringing some less known episodes of Jewish history to public attention. In her latest play, 12:37, she explores the relationship between a couple of Irish Jews and the fight to create a Jewish state in 1940s Palestine, where the main colonial power was Britain.

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‘Either way the play does make you feel’: BAGHDADDY – Royal Court Theatre

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At best Baghdaddy at the Royal Court Theatre is a surreal trip into traumatic memory, at its worst it’s a self-indulgent mess. If you think that American crime are worse than Saddam’s you’ll love this show; if you like playwrights wagging their finger at you, you’ll love this show; if you believe that parental trauma can be inherited and then self-consciously joked about, you’ll love this show.

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‘What you remember is the power of the characters’ emotions’: RAVENSCOURT – Hampstead Theatre

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Therapy is inherently dramatic. After all, it’s all about character – and it has the aim of producing a recognisable change. But who is most affected by the process: client or therapist? Georgina Burns, a graduate of Hampstead Theatre’s Inspire course for emerging playwrights, examines the issues in her debut play, Ravenscourt.

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‘Smoothly watchable’: JEWS. IN THEIR OWN WORDS – Royal Court Theatre

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If you accept the documentary verbatim style of Jews. In Their Own Words at the Royal Court, and don’t mind the lack of any real drama, this is an intelligently crafted and committed piece of political theatre that tackles an issue too often swept under the carpet. But I’d love to see a proper play about the subject.

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‘Powerfully switches between the personal & the public’: FOR A PALESTINIAN – Camden People’s Theatre

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Identity is the sum of the stories we tell ourselves. Some of these are personal, and some political. Sometimes they blend, sometimes clash. In Aaron Kilercioglu and Bilal Hasna’s excellently staged and thought-provoking For a Palestinian, the performer and co-author Hasna tells two stories: one about himself and his new love for Palestine, and the other about the Palestinian activist and translator Wa’el Zuaiter, and his love affair with Australian-born painter Janet Venn-Brown. Her 2006 book, For a Palestinian, tells the story of Zuaiter and his assassination in Rome in 1972 by Mossad.

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‘Excellent in its writing, staging & acting’: THE P WORD – Bush Theatre

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Britain is a divided nation, but one of the divisions that we don’t hear that much about is that between Pakistani gay men. Written by Waleed Akhtar (who also stars in this impressively heartfelt two-hander), The P Word is about the differences in life experiences between one asylum seeker and one Londoner, and comes to the Bush Theatre in a production which has been supported by Micro Rainbow, the first safe house in the UK for LGBTQ asylum seekers and refugees. So what’s it all about?

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‘Convincing & urgent’: THE TRIALS – Donmar Warehouse

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In developing The Trials, the Donmar worked with more than 1,300 young people plus a further 200 in workshops at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and National Youth Theatre. Director Natalie Abrahami, helped by designer Georgia Lowe and video maker Nina Dunn, has created a compelling production, with more than half the cast making their stage debuts.

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‘Informs, educates & entertains’: ALL OF US – National Theatre

In Comedy, London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Aleks SierzLeave a Comment

If the plotting is predictable, and the story arc unremarkable, the image of life represented is both strongly compassionate and often very pleasurable. In true welfare state style, comedian Francesca Martinez’s debut play All of Us at the National Theatre not only informs and educates, but also entertains.

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‘A heartfelt epic play’: THE FELLOWSHIP – Hampstead Theatre

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With Windrush Day being 22 June, last week was originally going to be the opening night of Roy Williams’ new Hampstead Theatre play, The Fellowship, until plans had to be changed because Lucy Vandi, who was to play the main character, fell sick and performances were postponed. Cherrelle Skeete bravely takes on this major role and her dynamic stage presence, partly with script in hand on press night, is one of the evening’s highlights.


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