Arthur Schnitzler was, like Chekhov, a doctor; he was an Austrian Jew at a time when mistrust was rising. The Doctor belongs passionately to that time: but director Robert Icke’s very free adaptation belongs – urgently and exhilaratingly – to our own.
It is always a pleasure to see a professional debut which not only shines in itself but reminds us that belonging to a 21st-century, loose-limbed-liberal post-Christian generation doesn’t stop a new actor from empathising and utterly containing a character from another age.
Gail Louw’s play Shackleton’s Carpenter and Malcolm Rennie’s tremendous, unforgettable performance, were directed by Tony Milner of the New Vic before his death. This production – which tours single nights through autumn and winter, is in his memory. If you catch it, you won’t forget it.
If the overall effect of Oklahoma! at Chichester Festival Theatre is more of a puzzle-play than a lollipop romp, so much the better.
Clive Owen and Lia Williams do justice to the wild lush text of The Night Of The Iguana at the Noel Coward Theatre, rich in wonder and filth, corruption and beauty.
We love a starry debut, especially on opening night in a huge theatre: a 21-year-old not yet through drama school making a stonking, belting first professional appearance in a title role. So Laurence Connor knew what he was doing when he cast young Jac Yarrow in Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
David Hare has made as much sense of Ibsen’s sprawling masterpiece Peer Gynt as seems possible.
Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany are the Harry Potter team. They know how not to bore. But they’ve been here before too in a Royal Court state-of-the-nation mood, and they can make pieces like The End of History just as gripping.
The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ The Musical is the result of Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary badgering the late Sue Townsend to be allowed to do it, and with poppy tunes and a high-spirited cast under Luke Sheppard, it works surprisingly well.
After the querulous, inward-looking tedium of her feminist polemic The Writer, Ella Hickson returns to interesting form with this curiosity, Anna.
Savagely observed absurdity, blinding flashes of insight, profound yearning, sudden poetry singing clear notes from the cruel swamp of humanity. Orpheus Descending isn’t one of Tennessee Williams’ more familiar plays, but it has all the troubled master’s marks, glories and challenges.
Few other writers other than Vanbrugh simultaneously evoke quite the savage cynicism, torrential verbal wit and real anger of The Provoked Wife, this slightly alarming and ceaselessly entertaining piece about men, women, and social hypocrisies.
Frankly, I had qualms about Hugh Bonneville in the role of CS Lewis in Shadowlands: too handsome, too familiar in his evocations of dullish decent steadiness, but before many minutes in the chaffing Common Room scenes which open the play, I could see the point.
Howard Brenton’s new play Jude is a deliberate echo of Thomas Hardy’s darkest work, Jude the Obscure: an updated riff on his angry theme of how passionate genius in humble people is stifled and thwarted by society.
A CLEANSING FURY FROM THE 1880s Wipes you out every time, Ibsen’s furious, shocking, violent assault on the cruel decayed conventions of his century’s end. Its indecency – a plot driven by syphilis, prostitution, illegitimacy, … Continue reading →
It is almost uncanny how an Arthur Miller play like All My Sons, treated respectfully, can in the most wrenchingly extreme story still catch the common rhythms and tides of family and neighbourhood.
The minute you walk in the joint (Hey, big spender!), the trumpets and sax blare an impertinent welcome and you’re in the right dive for Sweet Charity.
This isn’t the Wind in the Willows by Alan Bennett or Disney. In Metta Theatre’s cheeky, exuberant hip-hop musical version, Kenneth Grahame’s oar-plashing sylvan tale is kidnapped by the unruly class at The Willows school, next to the rough Wildwood Estate where the Weasel gang rule.
Admissions is by the same Broadway writer as Bad Jews and even better. And nicely topical too, both sides of the Atlantic, since it’s about the middle-class obsession with shoehorning their 17- and 18-year-old kids into the ‘right’ colleges.
Tamasha’s romp through the great Fats Waller’s songbook in Ain’t Misbehavin’ is a two-hour treat, with a reeling, rocking cast of five and a joyful five-piece combo.