Daniel Mays has played a lot of tough-guy roles but has by nature a rather innocent and worried-looking face. It is this quality that Nicholas Hytner spotted as perfect for his Nathan Detroit in Guys & Dolls at the Bridge Theatre: lowlife but hapless, indecisive about the faff and cost of marrying his tolerant fiancee of 14 years standing, Miss Adelaide (an irresistible Marisha Wallace).
‘When it fully works, it’s wonderful’: GUYS & DOLLS – Bridge Theatre ★★★★
For any theatre enthusiast who has been living under a rock, Nicholas Hytner’s new production of Guys & Dolls at the Bridge Theatre is unique because it is immersive, in the manner of this venue’s previous acclaimed versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Julius Caesar.
‘Never a false note’: JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN – Bridge Theatre ★★★★★
In great plays a scene, character or domestic confrontation can be both appalling and comic: pity, terror and barks of shocked laughter are not incompatible even within a sentence. Ibsen knew that, but in the Norwegian rebel’s grim late works it takes a relaxed director and some weapons-grade actors to keep that balance. Cue Nicholas Hytner, Simon Russell Beale and Lia Williams: rescuing, for me and for good, a play (John Gabriel Borkman at the Bridge Theatre) I hated last time I saw it.
‘The hero is evoked beautifully in every line & gesture by Alex Jennings’: THE SOUTHBURY CHILD – Chichester Festival Theatre ★★★★★
The Southbury Child is a fine play, sharply written with some really strong unexpected laughs and a heartstopping ending. Its subtleties of character ask a great deal (not in vain) from the cast.
‘Ralph Fiennes is in his element as a man whose tragic flaw will clearly be his downfall’: STRAIGHT LINE CRAZY – Bridge Theatre
David Hare’s new play is a history lesson. New York city planner Robert Moses shaped the modern city by supplying it with expressways and parkways.
‘Ralph Fiennes gives it everything… He is irresistible’: STRAIGHT LINE CRAZY – Bridge Theatre ★★★★
It is not often I resort to drawing in the notebook, but there it is: half an hour into the first part of David Hare’s play about the city planner Robert Moses, whose demonic energy built modern New York between the 1920s and the ’60s.
REVIEW ROUND-UP: The Book of Dust at the Bridge Theatre
On LoveLondonLoveCulture, Emma Clarendon rounds up the reviews for the premiere stage adaptation of Philip Pullman’s fantasy tale The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage, now at London’s Bridge Theatre.
Looking back on the last two plague years: Part 1, The Onset
I set out to chronicle and celebrate the return of live theatre since May 2021. And this will follow. But when I totted up the 2021 score – 60 theatre nights, 30 being completely new plays and 19 brand-new productions – it seemed to me only decent to pause, look back at the year before.
‘A big show in an edgy time’: THE BOOK OF DUST – La Belle Sauvage – Bridge Theatre ★★★★
First things first: this is the most wonderfully evocative, romantic and dramatic bit of set-projection you will see all year.
‘We’re joyously submerged in the thrills & terrors of this parallel universe once again’: THE BOOK OF DUST – La Belle Sauvage – Bridge Theatre
Nicholas Hytner returns to the world of Philip Pullman with an impressively atmospheric take on The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage at the Bridge Theatre.
NEWS: Nicholas Hytner directs Alex Jennings in the world premiere of The Southbury Child
Three-time Olivier award-winning Alex Jennings will lead the cast in the world premiere of The Southbury Child, the new play by BAFTA winner Stephen Beresford directed by Nicholas Hytner.
NEWS: National Theatre Live returns to cinemas in January with four productions
National Theatre Live will return with a new programme of four productions to be broadcast to audiences worldwide in cinemas, in January.
‘Sometimes entertaining in a despairing way, sometimes alarming’: WHITE NOISE – Bridge Theatre ★★★★
This feels like a howl of baffled frustration, from a millennial generation unable to deal with the emotional legacy of a long-ago slave trade.
REVIEW ROUND-UP: White Noise at the Bridge Theatre
On LoveLondonLoveCulture, Emma Clarendon rounds up the reviews for Polly Findlay’s European premiere production of White Noise, by Pulitzer Prize-winning US playwright Suzan Lori-Parks.
REVIEW ROUND-UP: Bach & Sons at the Bridge Theatre
Find out what critics have had to say about the world premiere of Nina Raine’s new play Bach & Sons at the Bridge Theatre.
NEWS: Dates announced for The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage at the Bridge Theatre
Dates are now confirmed for Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage at the Bridge Theatre. Directed by Nicholas Hytner in Bryony Lavery’s new stage adaptation which takes place 12 years before Pullman’s epic His Dark Materials trilogy, performances are from 2 December 2021 to 19 February 2022 with opening night on 14 December.
‘It is the music of its humanity which echoes long afterwards’: BACH & SONS – Bridge Theatre ★★★★★
Bach & Sons at the Bridge Theatre is a lovely play: domestic and intellectual, dryly wise and recklessly passionate. It harmonizes the bawdy and the holy, the loving and the lyrical.
For work or pleasure? Respecting the etiquette of being a critic
Audiences go to the theatre for pleasure, not work; critics need to remember that their work is someone else’s pleasure.
‘Pushes the envelope in terms of form & content’: FLIGHT – Bridge Theatre
An intimate and overwhelming experience in spellbinding miniature, Vox Motus’ Flight at the Bridge Theatre offers 45 minutes of quietly exquisite storytelling that packs a powerful punch.
Being in the room where it happens: How quickly are theatre audiences going to return?
As theatre next week starts to finally edge cautiously out of a full lockdown of over five full months, plus only very intermittent appearances in the nine months before that, the question arises will the audiences be there for it?