Mates blogger: Libby Purves

Libby Purves is one of over 45 theatre bloggers who are part of the MyTheatreMates collective. This page features recent posts from Libby's own website. 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.
Libby Purves
Libby Purves was theatre critic for The Times from 2010 to 2013. Determined to continue her theatre commentary after losing that job, she set up her own site in October 2013. She personally reviews all major London openings, usually with on-the-night publication, and also gives voice to a new generation of critics with occasional guest 'theatrekittens'. In addition to her theatre writing and myriad other credits, Libby has been a presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Midweek for over 30 years. She is also the author of a dozen novels, and numerous non-fiction titles. In 1999, Libby was appointed an OBE for services to journalism.
Libby Purves on Twitter

The latest from Libby's site

ODYSSEY – A HEROIC PANTOMIME          Jermyn Street Theatre WC1 28th November 2023
GHOSTS Wanamaker, SE1 25th November 2023
THE WITCHES Olivier, SE1 24th November 2023
SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER Orange Tree, Richmond 22nd November 2023
MATES IN CHELSEA Royal Court, SW1 10th November 2023
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE 1936 10th November 2023
CLYDE’S. Donmar, wC2 9th November 2023
BACKSTAIRS BILLY Duke of York’s theatre WC2 7th November 2023
TO HAVE AND TO HOLD Hampstead Theatre 7th November 2023
THE INTERVIEW. Park Theatre 2nd November 2023
THE TIME TRAVELLER’S WIFE. Apollo, W1 2nd November 2023
AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. Richmond & touring 1st November 2023
JEFFREY BERNARD IS UNWELL. Coach and Horses, Soho 31st October 2023
THE INQUIRY Minerva, Chichester 31st October 2023
THE UNGODLY Red Rose Chain, Ipswich 27th October 2023
THE CONFESSIONS Lyttelton, SE1 25th October 2023
THE SCORE Theatre Royal, Bath 20th October 2023
OWNERS Jermyn st Theatre 17th October 2023
A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE Chichester Festival Theatre 17th October 2023
A VOYAGE ROUND MY FATHER touring 16th October 2023
SUNSET BOULEVARD. Savoy theatre WC2 13th October 2023
PETER PAN GOES WRONG touring 1st October 2023
CLOSE UP Menier, SE1 28th September 2023
OCTOPOLIS Hampstead Theatre 26th September 2023
PYGMALION Old VIc, SE1 22nd September 2023
THE WHITE FACTORY. Marylebone theatre, NW1 21st September 2023
REBECCA Charing Cross Theatre WC2 21st September 2023
ANTHROPOLOGY Hampstead Theatre, NW3 19th September 2023
THE FATHER AND THE ASSASSIN Olivier, SE1 15th September 2023
THE INVINCIBLES Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch 14th September 2023
INFAMOUS Jermyn St theatre SW1 13th September 2023
GOD OF CARNAGE Lyric, Hammersmith 10th September 2023
NEVER HAVE I EVER. Minerva, Chichester 7th September 2023
LA CAGE AUX FOLLES Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park 18th August 2023
THE EFFECT. Lyttelton, SE 1 17th August 2023
FALKLAND SOUND. Swan, Stratford upon Avon 16th August 2023
SPIRAL Jermyn St Theatre SW1 9th August 2023
THE CROWN JEWELS. Garrick Theatre, WC2 4th August 2023
CUCKOO. Royal Court, SW1 4th August 2023
ROCK FOLLIES. Minerva, Chichester 1st August 2023
QUENTIN CRISP NAKED HOPE Touring 30th July 2023
THE WINTER’S TALE Sutton Hoo 29th July 2023
THE EMPRESS. Swan, Stratford upon Avon 19th July 2023
THE SOUND OF MUSIC Chichester Festival Theatre 17th July 2023
THE WIND AND THE RAIN Finborough, SW10 16th July 2023
DR SEMMELWEIS Harold Pinter Theatre SW1 12th July 2023
DEAR ENGLAND. Olivier, SE1 21st June 2023
ASSASSINS. Chichester Festival Theatre 13th June 2023
THE MIKADO Wilton’s Music Hall E1 11th June 2023
GROUNDHOG DAY 2023     Old Vic SE1 9th June 2023
YOURS UNFAITHFULLY Jermyn St Theatre SW1 7th June 2023
PATRIOTS Noel Coward Theatre WC1 7th June 2023
GYPSY The Mill at Sonning 2nd June 2023
THE CIRCLE Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond SW 11th May 2023
OPERATION MINCEMEAT         Fortune Theatre, WC2 10th May 2023
THE VORTEX Chichester Festival Theatre 4th May 2023
CYMBELINE Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon 4th May 2023
THE MOTIVE AND THE CUE Lyttelton, SE1 2nd May 2023
TONY! the rock opera Leicester Square theatre & Touring 30th April 2023
RETROGRADE Kiln, NW6 27th April 2023
JULES AND JIM Jermyn St Theatre 26th April 2023
THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES Almeida, N1 20th April 2023
DANCING AT LUGHNASA Olivier, SE1 19th April 2023
THE WAY OLD FRIENDS DO Touring 18th April 2023
PRIVATE LIVES Donmar, WC2 14th April 2023
HAMNET Swan, Stratford upon Avon 13th April 2023
SEA CREATURES Hampstead, NW3 5th April 2023
FARM HALL      Jermyn st Theatre WC1 (then Bath) 4th April 2023
HAY FEVER The Mill at Sonning 26th March 2023
MARJORIE PRIME Menier, SE1 19th March 2023
GUYS AND DOLLS Bridge, SE1 15th March 2023
BRILLIANT JERKS Southwark, SE1 14th March 2023
THE CHILDREN Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds 12th March 2023
THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF MUSICAL Noel Coward Theatre WC1 7th March 2023
THE TIME MACHINE          touring  5th March 2023
GRENFELL: SYSTEM FAILURE. Tabernacle & Marylebone 3rd March 2023
STANDING AT THE SKY’S EDGE. Olivier, SE1 14th February 2023
PHAEDRA. Lyttelton, SE1 10th February 2023
THE LEHMAN TRILOGY. Gillian Lynne Theatre WC2 9th February 2023
LINCK AND MULHAHN Hampstead, N1 6th February 2023
JUMPING THE SHARK Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds & touring 1st February 2023
MY SON’S A QUEER (BUT WHAT CAN YOU DO?) Ambassadors, WC1 30th January 2023
THE ELEPHANT SONG Park Theatre N4 29th January 2023
NOISES OFF COMES UP WEST Phoenix, WC1 25th January 2023
WATCH ON THE RHINE Donmar, WC2 19th January 2023
IN THE NET Jermyn Street Theatre 19th January 2023
ALLEGIANCE Charing Cross Theatre WC1 18th January 2023
MANDELA Young Vic SE1 23rd December 2022
MOTHER GOOSE Duke of York’s Theatre WC! & touring 18th December 2022
THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS Avenue Theatre, Ipswich 16th December 2022
SONS OF THE PROPHET Hampstead Theatre NW3 13th December 2022
NEWSIES Troubadour, Wembley Park 11th December 2022
HEX Olivier, SE1 9th December 2022
ORLANDO Garrick Theatre WC2 5th December 2022
OTHELLO. Lyttelton, SE1 2nd December 2022
BEST OF ENEMIES. Noel Coward Theatre WC1 2nd December 2022
THE WIND IN THE WILTONS.        Wiltons Music Hall, E1 1st December 2022
A SHERLOCK CAROL Marylebone Theatre NW1 27th November 2022
THE MASSIVE TRAGEDY OF MADAME BOVARY. Jermyn Street Theatre WC1 23rd November 2022
MRS WARREN’S PROFESSION. Theatre Royal Bath & touring 16th November 2022
PHANTOM REVISITED 16th November 2022
BLACKOUT SONGS Hampstead Theatre 15th November 2022
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. Rose theatre, Kingston 3rd November 2022
MARY. Hampstead theatre NW3 31st October 2022
TAMMY FAYE. Almeida, N1 26th October 2022
MARVELLOUS @sohoplace 22nd October 2022
SOMETHING IN THE AIR Jermyn St Theatre SW1 18th October 2022
GOOD Harold Pinter Theatre SW1 13th October 2022
BLUES FOR AN ALABAMA SKY Lyttelton, SE1 12th October 2022
THE DOCTOR. Duke of York’s WC1 10th October 2022
THE CRUCIBLE Olivier, SE1 7th October 2022
RAVENSCOURT Hampstead Theatre 6th October 2022
JEWS IN THEIR OWN WORDS. Royal Court SW1 5th October 2022
THE RAVEN. Touring East 4th October 2022
JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN. Bridge Theatre, SE1 30th September 2022
NOISES OFF. Theatre Royal Bath, and touring 29th September 2022
WOMAN IN MIND.        Chichester Festival Theatre 28th September 2022
EUREKA DAY. Old Vic, SE1 23rd September 2022
DISTINGUISHED VILLA.      Finborough Theatre SW10 23rd September 2022
ROSE Park Theatre, N4 15th September 2022
THE SNAIL HOUSE. Hampstead Theatre, NW1 14th September 2022
LOVE ALL. Jermyn St Theatre 13th September 2022
PENELOPE: SEVEN WAYS TO WAIT Arcola, E8 3rd September 2022
INTO THE WOODS Theatre Royal, Bath 24th August 2022
GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY – TOUR (Marlowe,Canterbury & onwards) 18th August 2022
THE MAGIC FLUTE. Grimeborn, Arcola Theatre E8 18th August 2022
TWO UKRAINIAN PLAYS.   Finborough Theatre SW10 11th August 2022
CULT FIGURE. Jermyn St Theatre 9th August 2022
DAZZLING DIVAS. Jermyn St Theatre 3rd August 2022
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Lyttelton, SE1 3rd August 2022
IDENTICAL Nottingham Playhouse 3rd August 2022
MACBETH Theatre in the forest, Sutton Hoo 30th July 2022
101 DALMATIANS       Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park NW1 27th July 2022
CRAZY FOR YOU Chichester Festival Theatre 26th July 2022
CHAMBER OPERAS ON TOUR caught at Thorington, Suffolk 23rd July 2022
JACK ABSOLUTE FLIES AGAIN Olivier, SE1 14th July 2022
ANYTHING GOES Barbican EC1 14th July 2022
PATRIOTS Almeida, N1 12th July 2022
EVELYN Southwark Playhouse SE1 8th July 2022
BAREFOOT IN THE PARK Mill at Sonning, Berks 7th July 2022
THE SOUTHBURY CHILD Bridge SE1 5th July 2022
RICHARD III Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon 30th June 2022
CANCELLING SOCRATES Jermyn St Theatre 29th June 2022
TONY!  The Tony Blair rock opera          Park Theatre N4 28th June 2022
PARADISE LOST caught at Thorington, touring 26th June 2022
THE SOUTHBURY CHILD           Chichester Festival Theatre then Bridge 18th June 2022
ORLANDO Jermyn St theatre WC2 15th May 2022
OKLAHOMA Young Vic, SE1 15th May 2022
THE BREACH Hampstead Theatre NW3 13th May 2022
CHINESE BOXING Touring 12th May 2022
THE CORN IS GREEN Lyttelton, SE1 9th May 2022
MARYS SEACOLE. Donmar, WC2 6th May 2022
MIDDLE Dorfman, SE1 4th May 2022
PRIMA FACIE Harold Pinter Theatre, WC1 28th April 2022
BARRY HUMPHRIES ; THE MAN BEHIND THE MASK Touring towards London 26th April 2022
HENRY VI REBELLION: and THE WARS OF THE ROSES Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford 22nd April 2022
HENRY VI: REBELLION.        Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford u-Avon 20th April 2022
THE 47th Old Vic SE1 17th April 2022
DIARY OF A SOMEBODY Seven Dials Playhouse W1 10th April 2022
“DADDY” 7th April 2022
THE FEVER SYNDROME Hampstead Theatre NW3 6th April 2022
PINAFORE Wilton’s Music Hall, E1 4th April 2022
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Gielgud, W1 1st April 2022
CLYBOURNE PARK Park Theatre, N4 24th March 2022
STRAIGHT LINE CRAZY. Bridge, SE1 24th March 2022
THE MARRIAGE OF ALICE B.TOKLAS   Jermyn St Theatre, WC1 23rd March 2022
THE ANIMAL KINGDOM Hampstead theatre, NW3 18th March 2022
THE WOODS Southwark Playhouse, SE1 16th March 2022
COCK Ambassadors Theatre, WC2 15th March 2022
THE COLLABORATION Young Vic SE1 25th February 2022
THE FOREST Hampstead Theatre NW3 15th February 2022
SPIKE Watermill Theatre, Nr Newbury 11th February 2022
FORCE MAJEURE Donmar, WC2 14th January 2022
LIFE OF PI Wyndhams WC2 13th January 2022
FOLK Hampstead Theatre, NW3 5th January 2022
REVIEW OF TWO PLAGUE YEARS,    2020-2021 Part 1 30th December 2021
PEGGY FOR YOU Hampstead Theatre NW3 18th December 2021
PANTOLAND mk2 Palladium, W1 10th December 2021
BEST OF ENEMIES Young Vic SE1 9th December 2021
THE BOOK OF DUST Bridge, SE1 8th December 2021
THE PLAY WHAT I WROTE Birmingham Rep 7th December 2021
THE TEMPEST           Jermyn St Theatre SW1 3rd December 2021
FOUR QUARTETS Harold Pinter Theatre 1st December 2021
COME FROM AWAY   Phoenix WC1    REPRISE  28th November 2021
MANOR Lyttelton, SE1 24th November 2021
THE WIFE OF WILLESDEN Kiln, NW6 18th November 2021
VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE     Charing X Theatre, WC2 18th November 2021
LA CLIQUE Leicester Square Spiegeltent 17th November 2021
STRAIGHT WHITE MEN.       Southwark Playhouse, SE1 17th November 2021
PRIVATE LIVES Touring, Chichester next 14th November 2021
BOBBY AND AMY               Seagull Lowestoft, touring on 12th November 2021
TOP HAT The Mill at Sonning 11th November 2021
SIX Vaudeville, WC2 10th November 2021
THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE    Duke of York’s Theatre 8th November 2021
INDECENT PROPOSAL Southwark Playhouse, SE1 4th November 2021
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (SORT OF) Criterion, WC1 3rd November 2021
TONY! A rock opera newborn at the Park Theatre N4 23rd October 2021
GET UP, STAND UP! Lyric Theatre, WC1 19th October 2021
GRENFELL – VALUE ENGINEERING Tabernacle Theatre, W11 19th October 2021
WHITE NOISE Bridge Theatre, SE1 16th October 2021
THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH Almeida, N1 14th October 2021
INTO BATTLE Greenwich Theatre 14th October 2021
OUR WHITE SKODA OCTAVIA Sir John Mills Ipswich & touring 10th October 2021
THOUGHTS ON CUSH JUMBO’S HAMLET Young Vic SE1 8th October 2021
THE MIRROR AND THE LIGHT Gielgud, WC2 6th October 2021
THE WOMAN IN BLACK (yes, honestly) 6th October 2021
BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS touring UK 3rd October 2021
THE NORMAL HEART Olivier, SE1 30th September 2021
RELATIVELY SPEAKING Jermyn St Theatre WC2 22nd September 2021
BLITHE SPIRIT Harold Pinter Theatre SW1 21st September 2021
THE LODGER Coronet, W11 16th September 2021
INDECENT Menier, SE1 15th September 2021
THE MEMORY OF WATER Hampstead Theatre NW3 10th September 2021
BIG BIG SKY Hampstead Theatre 9th September 2021
FROZEN the musical         Theatre Royal Drury Lane. WC2 8th September 2021
SYD touring 30th August 2021
CINDERELLA Gillian Lynne Theatre, WC2 26th August 2021
THIS BEAUTIFUL FUTURE    Jermyn St Theatre, WC2 25th August 2021
OPERATION MINCEMEAT Southwark Playhouse SE1 25th August 2021
BASKERVILLE Mercury, Colchester 17th August 2021
THE WINDSORS ENDGAME Prince of Wales Theatre, WC1 12th August 2021
SINGING IN THE RAIN Sadlers Wells Theatre 6th August 2021
OLEANNA Arts theatre, WC1 5th August 2021
DIE WALKÜRE Hackney Empire, N1 5th August 2021
ANYTHING GOES Barbican, EC2 5th August 2021
GIN CRAZE Royal and Derngate, Northampton 22nd July 2021
SOUTH PACIFIC. Chichester 14th July 2021
RED SKIES Touring, East Anglia 11th July 2021
RAYA Hampstead Theatre, NW3 8th July 2021
AFTER LIFE Dorfman, SE1 7th July 2021
UNDER MILK WOOD Olivier, SE1 3rd July 2021
BACH AND SONS           Bridge Theatre, SE1 30th June 2021
STAIRCASE Southwark Playhouse SE1 29th June 2021
AMELIE. Criterion, W1 10th June 2021
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM Shakespeare’s Globe SE 1 4th June 2021
WALDEN         Harold Pinter Theatre SW1 30th May 2021
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS      Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds 26th May 2021
PANTOLAND Palladium, W1 12th December 2020
A CHRISTMAS CAROL – OUTDOORS. Angel Hill Bury st Edmunds 11th December 2020
A CHRISTMAS CAROL Bridge, SE1 10th December 2020
FLIGHT Bridge, SE1 10th December 2020
POTTED PANTO Garrick, WC2 6th December 2020
HOWERD’S END Golden Goose Theatre, Camberwell 30th October 2020
LONE FLYER – Watermill, nr Newbury 24th October 2020
THE LAST FIVE YEARS Southwark Playhouse SE1 6th October 2020
TALKING HEADS The Shrine & Bed Among the Lentils Bridge SE1 17th September 2020
BEAT THE DEVIL Bridge, SE1 3rd September 2020
TWELFTH NIGHT Red Rose Chain 1st August 2020
A Christmas Carol. Old Vic SE1 5th December 2019
THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE        Bridge Theatre, SE1 26th November 2019
DEAR EVAN HANSEN Noel Coward Theatre 21st November 2019
MARY POPPINS. Prince Edward Theatre. w1 15th November 2019
THE SEASON Wolsey, Ipswich & then Northampton 13th November 2019
HIGH FIDELITY                Turbine Theatre, SW11 1st November 2019
LIGHT FALLS             Royal Exchange, Manchester 30th October 2019
WHEN THE CROWS VISIT Kiln NW6 30th October 2019
VASSA Almeida, N1 29th October 2019
BOTTICELLI IN THE FIRE Hampstead, NW3 24th October 2019
​LUNGS.    Old vic, SE1​​​ 24th October 2019
A MUSEUM IN BAGHDAD Swan, Stratford upon Avon 23rd October 2019
AN INSPECTOR CALLS Touring 20th October 2019
[BLANK] Donmar, WC2 18th October 2019
GROAN UPS Vaudeville, WC2 11th October 2019
ASSASSINS           Watermill, Bagnor Newbury 10th October 2019
THE NIGHT WATCH New Wolsey, Ipswich & touring 2nd October 2019
FOR SERVICES RENDERED              Jermyn St Theatre WC1 2nd October 2019
MASTER HAROLD AND THE BOYS Lyttelton, SE1 1st October 2019
THE WATSONS. Menier SE1 30th September 2019
BIRTHDAYS PAST, BIRTHDAYS PRESENT            Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough 28th September 2019
KING JOHN Swan, Stratford upon Avon 27th September 2019
TWO LADIES Bridge, SE1 25th September 2019
A TASTE OF HONEY Lowry, Salford and touring 21st September 2019
BIG THE MUSICAL           Dominion,  W1        18th September 2019
THE KING OF. HELL’S PALACE. Hampstead. NW3 13th September 2019
HEDDA TESMAN Minerva, Chichester 10th September 2019
A VERY EXPENSIVE POISON Old Vic, SE1 5th September 2019
HANSARD Lyttelton, SE1 3rd September 2019
CABILDO Arcola, E8 31st August 2019
THE ENTERTAINER             Curve, Leicester & touring  30th August 2019
HOTSPUR /PIERROT LUNAIRE Arcola, E8 30th August 2019
EDITH IN THE BEGINNING Sutton Hoo 27th August 2019
AURORA Arcola, E8 25th August 2019
ORIGAMI SOUNDSCAPES /THE CRANE Arcola, E8 24th August 2019
THE WEATHERMAN Park Theatre 22nd August 2019
8 HOTELS Minerva, Chichester 21st August 2019
THE DOCTOR Almeida, N1 21st August 2019
COUNT ORY Arcola, E8 15th August 2019
GO BANG YOUR TAMBOURINE Finborough, SE10 9th August 2019
DIE FLEDERMAUS Arcola, E8 8th August 2019
DAS RHEINGOLD Arcola, E8 4th August 2019
ROMEO AND JULIET           Jimmy’s Farm, Wherstead Suffolk 3rd August 2019
SHACKLETON’S CARPENTER Jermyn St, SW1 1st August 2019
VIOLETTA Arcola, E8 1st August 2019
OKLAHOMA                   Chichester Festival Theatre 23rd July 2019
THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA       Noel Coward, WC2 17th July 2019
   JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOUR DREAMCOAT                London Palladium W1 12th July 2019
PETER GYNT Olivier, SE1 10th July 2019
MEASURE FOR MEASURE Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon 5th July 2019
THE END OF HISTORY Royal Court SW1 4th July 2019
NOISES OFF Lyric, Hammersmith 3rd July 2019
PRESENT LAUGHTER Old Vic SE1 30th June 2019
AFTER DARK – A DRAMA OF LONDON LIFE Finborough, SW10 29th June 2019
EUROPE Donmar, WC1 28th June 2019
THE HUNT Almeida, N1 27th June 2019
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY    Jermyn St Theatre WC2 13th June 2019
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM Bridge, SE1 11th June 2019
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON – a note Southwark, SE1 2nd June 2019
THE STARRY MESSENGER Wyndhams, WC2 30th May 2019
RUTHERFORD AND SON Lyttelton, SE1 29th May 2019
ANNA Dorfman SE1 22nd May 2019
DIDO Unicorn, SE1 22nd May 2019
WHITE PEARL            Royal Court, SW1 17th May 2019
ORPHEUS DESCENDING Menier, SE1 16th May 2019
    SMALL ISLAND. Olivier, SE1 16th May 2019

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