The Talking Heads monologues The Shrine and Bed Among the Lentils are absorbing and thrilling and touching and – here is the surprise – amid Alan Bennett’s wry pathos the playlets are often enormously funny.
Mates blogger: Libby Purves
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Covid-19 must have its say to start with, so off goes the season with Ralph Fiennes directed by Nicholas Hytner and delivering Beat The Devil, a monologue by David Hare.
What the tiny Ipswich company Red Rose Chain, has achieved with Twelfth Night in the time of social-distancing is oddly brilliant, you’re unlikely to find a more uplifting show in this strange, frustrating summer.
This freshened-up and first-rate production of A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic sees Paterson Joseph giving one of the performances of his life, his humanity simply erupting onto the stage.
Everything is both spectacular and, importantly, also feels like something you could play at home with tablecloths and cardboard in The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe. If you can’t borrow any children to take, haul your own inner-child along.
Dear Evan Hansen is a taut and original work, garlanded work which scrutinises the problems of basic human narcissism colliding with the fact that social platforms allow everyone to be heroes of their own narratives these days.
Mary Poppins is as supercalifragilisticexpialidocious as one can hope, a riot of good cheer, fun, excellent signing and some quite breathtaking stagecraft.
I was step-sprung, charmed by this miniature musical, The Season, by Jim Barne and Kit Buchan.
High Fidelity stomps along unmemorably with great goodwill and a three-piece band overhead, and moments of soul or hare-krishna pastiche are wittily done
Light Falls is too Northern. It’s far, far too Northern. The grit-spreaders have truly been out in force, and it’s excruciating to swallow so very many clichés in one dose.
Director Indhu Rubasingham spares us none of the rage and horror of violent mutilation as male anger rises against women who are educated in Anumpama Chandrasekhar’s play When The Crows Visit and – this makes you wince – of female complicity in the middle and oldest generations
Vassa, once a timely satire of the iniquities of capitalism in its day, doesn’t really have much to say when the director has so squarely decided to move it so out of time and place.
Lungs is a sharp eyed little gem about coupledom and the wary, fretful road towards parenthood in an age of easy contraception and illimitable expectations.
Jordan Tannahill’s play Botticelli In The Fire, premiered here after Canada, is gloriously staged under Blanche Macintyre’s direction.
There is nothing wrong with having two periods onstage at once, and the fine cast does its best with the infuriatingly threadbare drawing of relationships, but The RSC’s A Museum in Baghdad feel like a bit of a mess.
Alice Birch’s [Blank], about how our criminal justice system treats women, features tremendous ensemble work, physically expressive, verbally articulate, ripping off layers of smug delusion with elegant skill.
Groan Ups has hamster substitutions, unexpected subtler laughs and a moment of real pathos before it swizzles into something more poignant.
Bill Buckhurst’s production of Assassins has all the necessary vigour and the human seriousness too: plus it helps having a stunningly gifted set of actor-musicians roaming the stage.
While the seemingly desultory opening scenes may baffle a few strangers to the book, this stage adaptation of The Night Watch grows in clarity and drama to become a gripping piece of theatre, a testament.
Somerset Maughan’s 1930s play For Services Rendered surfaced last at Chichester, in the heart of the WW1 anniversary years, and reminded me how much theatre taught me about that war and, not least, its aftermath.
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