With plenty to say about the shallow foundations of political leaders hiding behind their PR machines, Jamie Lloyd’s triumphant Evita is raw, fresh and intense – “oh what a show!”
Grief on stage and in popular culture is rarely considered as a psychological state of its own but as a means or driver for other behaviour.
Whether rehabilitation is truly possible for such serious crimes committed by sex offenders, Bruce Norris never really decides, leaving only a dramatically engaging but morally troubling outcome in Downstate at the National Theatre.
By emphasising the common themes in Pinter One and the topicality of their subject matter, this a very strong start for the Pinter at the Pinter season.
There’s little for the cast to improve because the faults in Aristocrats lie with Friel. This production draws-out all of the core themes but cannot overcome the play’s reliance on heavy exposition and failure to satisfactorily resolve its own questions about the past of these characters.
Stand-out performances in any era are often only judged so in retrospect and modern theatre offers much that will be remembered. But once in a while, you know you’re in the presence of greatness, and Ian McKellen’s King Lear will be talked about for years to come.
Ian Rickson’s production is a tense and unnerving experience that utilises all the skills of its excellent cast to reinforce the oddity of one of Pinter’s most performed plays.
A dark new Agatha Christie adaptation has become something of a Christmas tradition, and even though the BBC only started this tradition two years ago with an excellent multi-part interpretation of And Then There Were None, it has fast become an established and much anticipated highlight of the festive schedule.
Naturally, facing what felt like a significant and unbreachable rift, instability and economic downturn was the likely outcome, which for the arts, could only mean one thing – cultural depletion – as audience seek safety in comfort and nostalgia.
The Grinning Man may not be suitable for children (it has an age limit of 12 years), and it’s certainly not a Christmas show in any way, but within the grotesque world that Grose, Morris, Teitler and Phillips create there is a rare and genuine theatre magic.
Because this is an exceptional year, imperfections seem more glaring, plays that haven’t quite found their rhythm are more obvious, and Amy Herzog’s new play Belleville, premiering at the Donmar Warehouse, relies on excellent central performances to cover its dramatic weaknesses.
We are endlessly fascinated by spies and the nature of betrayal. For those who knew the men spying for Russia in the mid-Twentieth Century, more than country or ideology, it is the personal treacheries that still rankle.
It’s a layered story that opens with a pub quiz, setting the scene for the world of obsessive competition fanatics, laying a direct trail from that bar to the gameshow hot-seat.
Network is enthralling, interpreting a strange story in a slick, fast-moving production that manages to reveal the media’s rather shallow relationship with truth and makes profound statements about the concept of collective action, all the while being true to its original movie roots.
The Playhouse Theatre seems to attract a big American star at least once a year; this year it’s the turn of Christian Slater who takes on the lead role in the latest revival of Glengarry Glen Ross, David Mamet’s brutal two-act story of property salesman in 80s America.