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.
Bryony Lavery – no stranger to dangerous topics after her unsettlingly brilliant Frozen – adapts Alice Sebold’s novel The Lovely Bones for this first stage version, directed by Melly Still.
The joy of a play like The Humans is that it can take a subject that feels as if it might have been done to death – a family gathering together for their Thanksgiving dinner – and cause us to forget that it has ever been done before.
A great pleasure of Fiona Laird’s production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, ceaselessly funny and over-the-top, is that it reminds you that Shakespeare is the honoured ancestor of a hundred sitcoms.
Like the roar of an older, bolder London, Mark-Anthony Turnage’s GREEK bounces snarling onto the Grimeborn stage, celebrating its thirtieth anniversary in the first ever revival of its world premiere production for Munich and ENO, directed both then and now by Jonathan Moore.
For this third time in the role we are told that Ian McKellen deliberately chose to play it in the intimacy of Chichester’s Minerva last year; here in the West End a reconfiguring of the Duke of York’s maintains much of that atmosphere.
This is Barry Humphries’ tribute to a long fascination with the short, fertile period of the Weimar Republic with its snarling cabaret songs, yearning romanticism and destructive political despair: “a fusion of naked liberation and bitterly gay pathos.”
Really, The King & I could hardly be bettered. Beautiful staging without exaggeration, a real spark between O’Hara and Watanabe, and perfect support.
Moral, intriguing, endlessly entertaining, The Lehman Trilogy is a fluent masterclass from three of our finest actors. Awed.
The sun has got his hat on, England’s in the semi-final under a chap with a proper waistcoat, and Noel Gay’s 1937 musical is a great big, lovely, silly, dancing elephant of an all-British vintage musical.
This Idomeneo works because it is seriously well acted within a clear directorial vision: Lowe, Bottone, Pierard and Nilon deliver intense, deeply felt characters driven to actions we can comprehend by emotions we can feel.
Verdi’s little-known opera about Peruvian Incas and Spanish conquistadors, Alzira has finally received its UK premiere at Buxton International Festival.
At the end of its epic London run with the peerless Mark Rylance creating the part, I went back to decide whether – without him at its core – Jez Butterworth’s play Jerusalem would really last.
CRITIC AND HELLRAISER LUKE JONES WINCES AND LAUGHS … This is as violent as anything I’ve seen on the stage. And I’m including in this survey that Titus Andronicus at the Globe which saw half a GCSE class collapse … Continue reading →