Quality Street, written by J M Barrie (Peter Pan), tells the story of Phoebe Throssel (Paula Lane) and her sister Susan Throssel (Louisa-May Parker) as young women, Phoebe being the chirpy, happy and excitable one, along with her many curls, giving her the name Miss Phoebe of the ringlets.
The first thing I said to my friend during the interval of Private Lives at the Donmar Warehouse was, ‘I don’t remember this being a play about domestic violence’. We’d just witnessed Elyot (Stephen Mangan) and Amanda (Rachael Stirling) having a physical fight which included Elyot grabbing Amanda by the throat and throwing her onto a sofa.
little scratch (deliberately styled in lower case) is adapted by Miriam Battye from Rebecca Watson’s 2020 debut novel, and was first staged at the Hampstead Theatre in 2021. It now transfers, with a slight cast change, to the New Diorama.
Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon takes a look at what critics have said about Lolita Chakrabarti’s staging of Maggie O’Farrell’s novel, Hamnet.
After One Who Wants to Cross at the Finborough in February, I’m thrilled to chair the post-show talk for another new play care of Clarisse Makundul Productions, Makundul’s own Under the Kundè Tree at Southwark Playhouse Borough.
A good double bill of one act plays can be a bit of a rarity. It might consist of pieces with radically different themes by diverse writers who adopt varying tones forming an unsatisfactory pairing. Or it might just gel as a cohesive evening where each element benefits from the presence of the other and enhances the overall experience. Fortunately Generation Games, currently playing at the White Bear Theatre, falls into the latter category with both plays examining intergenerational gay relationships.
Renowned international touring company Complicité’s world premiere production of Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, the new stage adaptation of Nobel Prize-winning author Olga Tokarczuk’s novel of the same name, will play Belgrade Theatre Coventry’s Main Stage from 18 to 22 April 2023. The venue is also one of the production’s co-producing partners.
It’s a joy to have the intimate Swan auditorium open again, refurbished after going dark in the first sudden Covid closure, and to see once again a strong, nimble RSC ensemble conjuring up the past in Hamnet.
The sun is setting on Michael Longhurst’s time at the Donmar Warehouse and his penultimate production is a timeless classic, Noel Coward’s sparky and charismatic relationship comedy about middle aged love, Private Lives, a fairly safe bet which this century alone has resulted in some great comic pairings from Alan Rickman and Lindsay Duncan to Toby Stephens and Anna Chancellor. But Coward’s work is tricky to get right and it always looks far easier than it really is.
This touring production of Home, I’m Darling did have me questioning the role we all play in setting out norms and the judgements we make about people, lifestyle choices and assets but it was certainly not a gloomy comment on any of that. All in all it was a perfect combination of vintage style, jive and humour.
The Downstairs studio space of the Hampstead Theatre manages to continue to offer an opportunity to go beyond the usual naturalism of traditional storytelling, and this is exemplified by Cordelia Lynn’s new play Sea Creatures, which is an experiment in new writing, partly a family play and partly a symbolist drama. While not entirely successful, it does have its good points.
Celebrating over 50 years since its initial publication, Judith Kerr’s Mog the Forgetful Cat is now an institution for families all across the UK, as they settle down to a bedtime story together. As the nation’s favourite feline, it’s perhaps surprising that it has taken a golden anniversary to see Mog hit our stages
The RSC’s production of Julius Caesar is dynamic and refreshing. Atri Banerjee’s directorial debut for the company is a brave, brilliant and bold experience, bringing this 400-year-old play bounding on to the stage in a way that has never been seen before but is most definitely a must see.
Emma Rice’s adaptation of Brief Encounter certainly adds a fresh look at the 1945 British romantic film directed by David Lean, which had originally been adapted from the Noël Coward play of 1936, Still Life.
Eugene O’Hare’s astonishing three-hander, The Dry House, premiering at the new Marylebone Theatre in a well nigh perfect production by the author himself, continues to demonstrate his remarkable ability to pan beautiful gold from ugliness.
It doesn’t take long to understand why Rafaella Marcus’ debut play Sap garnered so many rave reviews at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe. The quality of the writing and its exceptional delivery under Jessica Lazar’s direction make an instant impression, even before the complexity of the play and its themes fully comes to light.
We are not meant to be sure of anything, but the author is no Florin Zeller. What we do know is that the infuriating, self-consciously poetic piece Sea Creatures at the Hampstead Theatre was written by Cordelia Lynn during a four week writers’ “residency” in America.
Wow! James Norton naked! Wow! New play by Ivo van Hove. Wow! It’s four hours long. Wow! Wow! Wow! The much anticipated play of the year, an adaptation of Hanya Yanagihara’s 700-page bestselling novel of 2015 A Little Life, comes to the West End in a huge blaze of publicity.
For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy at the Apollo Theatre is a powerful and thought-provoking production which offers a unique perspective on the challenges faced by young black men in today’s society.
Sucker Punch by Roy Williams delivers more than one or two physical and emotional punches throughout the play. Set within the boxing club environment throughout the production. Every battle fought within the play takes place in or around the boxing ring.