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.
Under Sam Yates’ direction The Phlebotomist is a spirited page-turner of a tale, with some marvellous leads. Drop a couple of unnecessary scenes and it would be an electrically thrilling 100-minutes-no-interval, giving us no respite from a satisfyingly likely dystopia. Brrr.
Exuberantly funny, elegant as a Deauville hotel balcony and sharp as the crack of a 78rpm record over a lover’s head, Joanna Carrick’s witty miniaturised production does Noel Coward’s sparkiest comedy full justice. I say miniature – it’s full length – only because of the venue: the tiny but vigorous home of Red Rose Chain.
More praise has always met the political paranoia and over-relished bullying aggression of Pinter’s other plays, long and short: Jame Lloyd’s Pinter season has been a triumph. But for me Betrayal was always going to be the treasure.
Couldn’t miss Nicholas Hytner’s bit of mischief: after his years of being being alternately feted and rubbished in print, he displays directorial glee in sending up the noisome denizens of a broadsheet arts desk thanks to Lucinda Coxon’s black-hearted comedy of modern media manners, Alys, Always at the Bridge Theatre.
The Tragedy of King Richard The Second is not stately, sacred, shockingly regicidal Shakespeareana. This is a brawl, a nasty coup against a hopeless king, a howl of rage at what fools, in power politics, these mortals be.
David Edgar’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol, directed as last year by Rachel Kavanaugh, gives the old story of ghosts and redemption deft additions and expanded scenes
A few hours after Theresa May postponed the parliamentary vote and spun us down into another layer of Brexi-hell, the little OFS – a theatre shared with Crisis homeless centre – gave us this premiere by Mike Bartlett.