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.
Mates blogger: Libby Purves
Libby Purves is one of over 45 theatre bloggers who are part of the MyTheatreMates collective. This page features Libby'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.
The latest from Libby on MyTheatreMates
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.
As a world of harmony tilts into filth you can feel the jolt going through the audience in Athol Fugard’s personal play set in apartheid era South Africa, ‘Master Harold’… and the boys at the National Theatre.
Thus Andrew Davies sexes up Jane Austen’s Sanditon for ITV with incest, brothels and Theo James leaping on coaches, and up from Chichester, adapted a bit, here’s Laura Wade taking on the earlier Watsons.
Underneath Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present beats Ayckbourn’s sorrowful, understanding heart, showing us that comedy is just tragedy on its way to happening.
The RSC’s King John could work, and in the shorter, darker, more medieval part after the interval it begins to, with the actors at last allowed to stop yelling and clowning.
In a tight 90 minutes Nancy Harris’ new play Two Ladies moves from a sharp, occasionally funny observation of this wifely condition into a meditation on politics both gender and global:
The National Theatre does not disappoint with A Taste of Honey. The production is absolutely superb, with some of the cleverest staging imaginable.
Big is smashing fun if you can cope with the fact that at the heart of it is a power-relationship dynamic raising slightly awkward questions. But not in a Big way.
The King of Hell’s Palace is a play brimful of good intentions but with virtually no artistry or dramatic tension.
But more and more, there’s a sense in Hedda Tesman at the Minerva that what you are seeing is some damn fine acting in a rather ho-hum play.
Marina Litvinenko’s final address in A Very Expensive Poison, reminding us of our political cowardice and idly greedy tolerance of crooked Russian money in our capital city, will bring theatres to their feet in admiration for her and shame at our shabbiness. It needed telling.
With Parliament in uproar upriver, the NT hit a luckily apt moment to stage Simon Woods’ first play Hansard and promote it as a “witty and devastating portrait of the governing class”. Just the night to hurl some fine invective at an audience fancying a torture-a-Tory session.
John Osborne’s disgusted play The Entertainer about a washed-up, alcoholic comedian whose son is at war dates from 1957 – Suez and Macmillan – but Sean O’Connor has hauled it forwards to the 1980s
The double bill of Gillian Whitehead’s Hotspur with Schoenberg’s great Modernist Pierrot Lunaire is the first outing for innovative opera company formidAbility, which seeks to bring disabled and non-disabled professional artists together on (and off) the opera stage.
From this quiet earth in the 1930s rose gold and jewels, a sword and helmet, intricate brooches and pins, platters and drinking-horns. This is Sutton Hoo, which was called “England’s Little Egypt”.
More from Libby
See the latest posts from Libby's own websiteClick here