Vardy V Rooney, the theatrical take on the trial that had the country enthralled, transfers to the Ambassadors Theatre for a limited run before embarking on a UK tour. But what have critics had to say about it?
News, Reviews and Features
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We’re partial to a dark and twisty grown-up show so our interest was immediately piqued by the press release for Snowflakes, a black comedy promising a cross between Black Mirror and Inside No. 9. Exploring themes of morality, justice and revenge, Robert Boulton’s debut play offers a dystopian take on trial by social media, where the consequences of cancellation are distinctly more permanent than being hounded off Twitter.
To call The Beekeeper of Aleppo a story for our time would be an understatement. Christy Lefteri’s original novel is the epic, moving tale of a family escaping war-torn Aleppo at the outset of the Syrian civil war and embarking on the dangerous journey to safety – crossing multiple borders before finding safety in Yorkshire
If we think we suffer from a paranoid cancel-culture, we should note this reminder of mid-1950s America – notably Hollywood – in the McCarthyite witch-hunt against suspected communists. Retrograde at the Kiln Theatre is a three-hander by Ryan Calais Cameron (who gave us For Black Boys…). It lays out in 90 minutes real time – though sometimes too slowly – a meeting in a movie office.
After a surprisingly (to them) successful stint at this year’s Vault Festival, disability-led FlawBored Theatre returns with It’s a Motherf**king Pleasure at the Soho Theatre, their razor-sharp satire on all things ableism. And yes, it is indeed a pleasure.
Jules and Jim at the Jermyn Street Theatre is an exploration of love and friendship told through the lens of three people living an unconventional lifestyle. Jules (Samuel Collings) is a German poet who meets Frenchman Jim (Alex Mugnaioni) in Paris. They share a love of art and travel together until Kath (Patricia Allison) arrives with an enigmatic smile that mirrors the one they saw on a statue of a Goddess in Greece. Naturally, they both fall in love with her.
Following a performance of ANIMAL at the Park Theatre, I was joined by star Christopher John-Slater, playwright Jon Bradfield, cast member Matt Ayleigh, and Joshua Hepple, whose brilliant initial idea made the whole thing happen.
Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon take a look at what is being said about Deborah Bruce’s new play Dixon and Daughters, making its debut at the National Theatre.
The latest in a long line of jukebox musicals to be impeccably performed but dead behind the eyes – Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations opens at the Prince Edward Theatre
In Complicité Theatre’s Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead, Kathryn Hunter keeps the audience engaged as her confidante and our gateway into shining a light on the anti-ecological policies of local government. The production team, especially Dick Straker’s video design, should also be commended.
To be honest, if it’s an evening of laugh-yourself-silly fun, catchy tunes, inspired lunacy and bona fide triple threat star turn performances that you’re after, it doesn’t get much better than Shucked at the Nederlander Theatre, New York.
The playwright Lynn Nottage – double Pulitzer winner – has plunged here into a full musical version of Sue Monk Kidd’s rather odd novel The Secret Life of Bees at the Almeida Theatre. The lyrics (excellent ones) are by Susan Birkenhead and the music by Duncan Sheik. It’s bluesy, a bit gospelly, sometimes rock, all wonderfully sung. As the characters develop the songs offer every nuance from romantic gentleness to the immense defiant ‘Hold this House Together!’ anthem near the end.
“They Call Me, “Woman!’’ (written by Ayo Jaiyesimi and presented by Thespian Family Theatre & Productions, Nigeria) is a set of five monologues spotlighting some of the issues confronting the African woman. Whilst there’s strong advocacy for gender recognition, equality and equity all over the world, the struggles of African women, educated or illiterate, young, or old, modern, or traditional, need to be felt in order to be understood. This is our spotlight.”
Animal arrives in London riding high on rave reviews – believe the hype! John Bradfield’s unflinching but hilarious play is a queer, inclusive joy. Filthy and funny, it’s unmissable entertainment.
The Dry House at London’s Marylebone Theatre an excellent piece of drama that attempts to tackle some of the more pervasive issues of the day – in a theatrical, but sobering, way.
Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa is a memory play told from the perspective of Michael (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), nephew to five sisters living in a cottage near the fictional town of Ballybeg. It is slow to get going, but it gets under your skin, and you don’t realise it until long afterwards. It’s a play that is joyful and sad, charming and moving.
Big Aunty – the first home produced show of the spring season – will play in The Belgrade Coventry’s B2 auditorium from 24 April to 6 May, with a press night on 26 April. Midlands-born performers Alexia McIntosh and Kieren Hamilton-Amos will join Belgrade creative director Corey Campbell in the production, directed and devised by Campbell.
Ramps on the Moon’s Village Idiot at Theatre Royal Stratford East is entertaining in many ways but it does need to tone down the crudeness a tad to make more of an emotional impact – despite the wonderful way in which the characters have been written and the way in which the story has been framed.
Ain’t Too Proud is a wonderful addition to the West End that features dazzling production value, and timeless music. A celebration of The Temptations and their impact on Motown, it will leave you humming their hits long after the curtain falls.
Written and performed by Collette Cooper, Tomorrow May Be My Last is an unabashed love letter to Joplin, and her legacy as a performer and human being. Anyone who knows anything about Joplin’s life knows that there is a lot to unpack and near impossible to convey succinctly or in-depth.