There’s a line in Trial By Laughter, the new touring production of Ian Hislop and Nick Newman’s play about freedom of the press, where one of the main characters says to the other: “But where are the jokes?” As neat summaries of a play in one line of dialogue go, it’s one of the best I’ve seen.
Mates blogger: Rachel Williams
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The latest from Rachel on MyTheatreMates
The way that the story of Violet is told elevates it to something really quite lovely, with huge emotional impact and a surprising timeliness.
Anomaly is a really exciting play. For all that it’s hard to watch and challenging to process, it is immensely rewarding and a great hour of theatre all round. It’s also an amazing showcase of young, female talent doing stuff on their own terms. And I think we can all agree that’s A Good Thing.
Somehow, despite the fact it’s been around for about a billion years, it’s taken me until 2019 to finally see War Horse on stage. Weird right? It’s done the National Theatre, it’s done the West End, it’s done Broadway, it’s done countless other countries around the world and tours around the UK but I’ve always missed it.
Normally I do two of these – Top Ten Shows and Top Ten Performances – but this year I’m combining the two – plus some sundry other awards.
Currently my favourite partnership of Simon Russell Beale and Shakespeare is at work in The Tragedy of King Richard the Second (or Richard II if you prefer, and as the person typing this I very much do) at the Almeida.
Summer & Smoke, the latest Almeida Theatre West End transfer, is the first thing I’ve experienced in a while where the theatre audience is really, properly engaged in a play. It’s like you could literally hear a pin drop.
Like ripping off a dramatic plaster, now that I’ve done one show’s worth of Harold Pinter it’s time to plunge headfirst into another. Pinter Three down, Pinter Four to go.
Overall, I really rated Pinter Three. Whether you know your Pinter or not, I’d wager there’s something new for you here. Funny, touching, and staged and performed with real class. Solidly good stuff.
If you like your theatre more experimental than I do, then Lands it’s definitely worth your time. And, as ever, you can’t fault The Bush’s bravery in commissioning it.
Yet another pat on the back is due for the Bush Theatre who has knocked things out of the park once again with its latest main house show. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, written by Luke Barnes and performed by the excellent folk from Hull’s Middle Child, is a superb piece of gig theatre.
I’m Not Running is, for my money, the sort of political theatre that gives both politics and theatre a bad name.
Marianne Elliott’s new and updated production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company is so utterly necessary. And I use the word necessary very deliberately.
Having seen the Bridge Theatre’s latest, Martin McDonagh’s A Very Very Very Dark Matter, my bonkers quota is through the roof.
Hogarth’s Progress consists of two plays by Nick Dear: The Art of Success, 30 years old, and a new companion piece, The Taste of the Town, set 30 years later. Both tell the story of William Hogarth, artist and satirist, his wife Jane and a fluctuating cast of friends and enemies.
Cock is by no means classic Mike Bartlett but it is still great fun and, for connoisseurs of supreme social awkwardness in particular, a decently entertaining hour and a half.
There is really very little to fault in this Antony and Cleopatra. It is lush, epic and a piece of sheer class. Better than that, it’s that rare theatrical beast: a god production in the Olivier.
An Adventure is a really lovely thing. Great writing, beautifully performed, artfully directed and an excuse to bop around to Brimful of Asha in the interval. Who needs more?
Sylvia is one of the best shows I’ve seen this year. So therefore what follows isn’t a review, not really (I’m not going to tell you what the very evident issues were, for a start). It’s just some thoughts, gut reaction, rendered into something slightly more user-friendly than a Twitter thread.
Dust was very much worth the wait for me. It’s a supremely powerful piece, undoubtedly not an easy watch but a necessary one nonetheless.
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