What Gregory Doran frames most brilliantly in Measure For Measure at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon is the is the central confusion of morality.
It felt like a pilgrimage, homage to pay. Thirty-seven years ago Michael Frayn’s greatest of comedies, Noises Off, a wicked love-song to the great age of touring rep, premiered in this very theatre.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Bridge Theatre is a dream of a Dream. One expected fun from the combination of Nicholas Hytner, a roiling mass of promenaders in the pit and a Bunny Christie design which makes the most of this fresh big theatre’s technical tricks.
Psychology, social rage, human sadness and betrayal move in an elegant circle in Rutherford & Son at the National Theatre and Findlay’s direction doesn’t miss a beat of it.
Small Island is a terrific yarn, both romantic and tough, about history and Empire and sex and frustration, escape and hope and love and racism: about promises turned to dross and the great seas of misunderstanding that roll between people.
Five mice for White Pearl at the Royal Court Theatre because it’s different and clever and useful, and horribly good fun.
This is gorgeous. Funny, truthful, wise, and bravely original in form. Anyone with a a family – past, present, remembered, or merely observed in cautious auntly incredulity – should see Tim Firth’s musical This Is My Family.
Specific though the SA setting is, Kunene & The King opens great vistas of heart-stopping universal wisdom about death, guilt, reconciliation and human need.
If we accept that people are widely diverse, we have to accept that paedophiles are too. Not all the same identi-monster. Moreover, if their horrifying actions pose us questions we need to think very clearly about answers.
Nine Night is an honest and beautiful play which by being so particular and rooted in one community becomes a conduit of universal emotional truths. Fabulous.
Has the performance of A Christmas Carol, and Simon Callow, changed over the years? Probably, but not from ego or bravura, no cheap tricks, no knowing modernities: if anything the sincerity has deepened.
You gasp and laugh and shiver in recognition and, yes, love. However many times you have seen it this tight, intimate, heartfelt production at the Menier Chocolate Factory sparks new life into Fiddler On the Roof.
A Christmas Carol at The Old Vic is, if possible, even finer and more heartfelt and gripping, tuneable and serious and moving than last year.
Marianne Elliott’s production of Company is the comeback kid, another demonstration that Britain is natural Sondheim country: all dry wit and laughing resignation.
We know the story of Joe Simpson’s book: climbing in the remotest Andes with his friend Simon Yates, but theatre sometimes gives films – and books – a remarkable translation, making stories deeper, stranger, more tense. Touching the Void is an example of that.
In The Height Of The Storm, faultlessly directed by Jonathan Kent, the strangeness and pathos are extreme. Because though indeed Jonathan Pryce’s patriarch is in rising dementia, and Eileen Atkins his living – or dead – wife, the theme above all is love: settled, interdependent, half-century devotion.
Hugh Whitemore’s 1983 play Pack of Lies, immaculately set in every humble postwar detail, reconstructs a real case: the plight of a hapless suburban couple who found their daughter’s bedroom requisitioned for surveillance of the opposite neighbours.
Antony & Cleopatra can be a bit of an ordeal. The last RSC one was. So I am happy to say that this time, and in the trickily vast Olivier, director Simon Godwin has absolutely pulled it off .
The renamed Tricycle (no, I am not taking sides) is open: its leader Indhu Rubasingham launches her sprauncy new theatre with Alexis Zegerman’s dark, sharp new comedy about one of the great corruptions of British society.
This joint Wolsey and Hornchurch production of Once, the regional premiere long overdue for this lovely show, raises the heart and hits the spot.