In our continuing series, our editor Lisa Martland picks out some of her Top Picks from the last week of theatre (to 27 October 2019). Maryam Philpott is gripped by the work of Claire Foy and Matt Smith in Lungs at The Old Vic, while Rachel Williams is not sure she has seen a better version of Ages Of The Moon, currently playing at The Vaults. Plus reviews of Botticelli in the Fire, Little Baby Jesus, Sinatra: Raw, Gaslight and Afterglow.
Maryam Philpott: “Claire Foy and Matt Smith are superb here and entirely believable as the couple who use words and principles to mask their deep love for one another – and it is this rather than their need to save the world or share it with a child that keeps them together.”
Botticelli in the Fire – Hampstead Theatre
Aleks Sierz: “Tannahill is a vivid writer. Instead of the usual bland history play, he offers an exciting mash-up of ancient and contemporary, peopling his show with outrageously polysexual individuals who sport mobile phones and travel by car.”
Little Baby Jesus – Orange Tree Theatre
Naomi Westerman: “The play moves on a dime, flipping between broad physical comedy, quotidian epics where a trapped carpet becomes the stuff of legend, and incredibly dark… well I’d say tragedy, but at points it’s closer to horror.”
Sinatra: Raw – Wilton’s Music Hall ★★★★
Sunita Jaswal: No wonder Richard Shelton received an Offie Award nomination as Best Male Performance – his portrayal of the legend that is Frank Sinatra is real, natural, emotional and warms you up inside listening to him sing.
Ages of the Moon – The Vaults
Rachel Williams: “The chemistry between Christopher Fairbank and Joseph Marcell is perfect and they dominate the slightly odd space that is The Vaults-as-straight-theatre. I loved watching them and it’s hard to imagine this piece being acted much better than they do here.”
Gaslight – Playground Theatre
Liz Dyer: “The strongest and most interesting performances come from Jemima Murphy and Joe McArdle – the former captures Bella’s nervous energy and confusion, while the latter brings a slightly dangerous edge to the character of Rough.”
Afterglow – Waterloo East Theatre
Stephanie Ressort: “To reduce Afterglow to
‘that show with the naked men and sex
scenes’ would be to do it a massive disservice. The play examines the dangers of open relationships, when emotions inevitably get complicated.”