For Tracy Letts’ first play, it is almost perfectly structured and paced. Each dark twist in Killer Joe is unravelled delicately, each scene is a steadily heating pressure cooker. And the dialogue! Cutting, mean-spirited and genuinely witty.
It was time the Oliviers had an inspiring success again, and Translations is it. It ought to run longer. It ought to be in cinemas and touring.
Perfect. Red at the Wyndham’s Theatre, starring Alfred Molina and Alfred Enoch, is a play of fire and poetry, laughter and rage. An imagined colloquy with its own kind of genius.
What Carrick has done in Put Out the Lights is tremendous: no Wolf-Hall aristocracies and political gaming, simply a sense of clear young voices speaking to us from a distant past, suffering and relishing seismic changes in the way a whole western world thought and believed.
It is Natasha Gordon’s mastery of the family dynamic and relationships that makes this debut play, Nine Night such a spell-binding experience.
It’s a great tapestry of a play: Rodney Ackland’s portrait of a Soho nightclub as WW2 ended. It is louche and honest, funny and sad, just what the National Theatre should be doing.
So after the fascinating Shadow Factory, Southampton gets a second theatrical take on its history with the touring revival of Thom Southerland’s marvellous production of Maury Yeston’s Titanic musical.
Instructions For Correct Assembly is a profoundly compassionate, intelligent, heartbreaking play: about parenthood and grief, self-delusion, and the commodification and competitiveness surrounding the idea of an ideal family.
In Quiz James Graham’s serious points emerge clearer too: the rise of “emo-tainment”, the class-conscious manipulation of the masses for profit, and above all the age of nosey, lipsmacking knee-jerk judgment of strangers:
Here in Chicago at the Phoenix Theatre are the murderous snarls and artful smiles, supple cynicism on endless sheer black-stockinged legs, and a hot hot band.
There are places deep inside us that only song can reach; when – in Caroline, Or Change – Sharon D Clarke’s sometimes mellifluous, sometimes scorching, tones reach that place, they shake your soul and awaken your spirit.
On the far side of Emma Rice’s brief unhappy tenure at the Globe, here Brief Encounter comes again, with a few fine tweaks, to remind us what Rice does best, and how playful, inventive, sincere and inspiring Kneehigh can be when it beats its own path through the woods.
While the fifth star or mouse is often supposed by tradition to belong only to life-changing innovation, in awarding it now I must make it clear that for me the fifth one is often more fitly represented by a heart. I loved the production. It will be a delight to Dickensians everywhere, and a means of conversion to others. Bravo.
Lesley Manville, whose wrenching, delicately controlled pain scorched through Richard Eyre’s unforgettable production of Ibsen’s Ghosts a while back, now shines in an extraordinary performance under the same director in A Long Day’s Journey Into Night.
In Julius Caesar at the Bridge Theatre Nicholas Hytner has pointed up the current parallels – populism, fake news, regime changes – and gleefully refashioned his new theatre to allow some 200 of us, on foot in the pit, to represent the Roman mob.
In Lanie Robertson’s Woman Before a Glass at Jermyn Street Theatre – an evocation of Peggy Guggenheim’s life, art collection, and robust attitudes – Judy Rosenblatt gives a tremendous performance.
My principal review from the Old Vic is here (http://tinyurl.com/y8u2na24) . But now it transfers (with glorious irony to the Noel Coward Theatre..it’s the least Cowardy of all plays ever). So I see it for the third time (the second, … Continue reading →
Theatrecat wouldn’t usually do gigs, concerts, even opera. But this brief January tour is so remarkable, so theatrical in the power of its storytelling, that unless you have a real antipathy to folk, you should know about it.
Honour to the Royal Court for two things. First for the initial wobble, then for executing a rapid u-turn over Andrea Dunbar’s rather wonderful play.
Either play stands alone – the first perhaps more easily than the second – but together the rich intelligence and lively wisdom of this political, intimate saga is to be treasured.