‘Neither a straight play nor an absurdist drama’: SEA CREATURES – Hampstead Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Aleks SierzLeave a Comment

The Downstairs studio space of the Hampstead Theatre manages to continue to offer an opportunity to go beyond the usual naturalism of traditional storytelling, and this is exemplified by Cordelia Lynn’s new play Sea Creatures, which is an experiment in new writing, partly a family play and partly a symbolist drama. While not entirely successful, it does have its good points.

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‘Neither a straight play nor an absurdist drama’: SEA CREATURES – Hampstead Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Aleks SierzLeave a Comment

The Downstairs studio space of the Hampstead Theatre manages to continue to offer an opportunity to go beyond the usual naturalism of traditional storytelling, and this is exemplified by Cordelia Lynn’s new play Sea Creatures, which is an experiment in new writing, partly a family play and partly a symbolist drama. While not entirely successful, it does have its good points.

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‘Has some wonderful moments’: LINCK & MULHAHN – Hampstead Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Aleks SierzLeave a Comment

With the total loss of its Arts Council funding, Hampstead Theatre’s future as a specialist new writing venue is in doubt. But before anything drastically changes, the playwrights and plays developed by Roxana Silbert, who was edged out as artistic director in December last year, are still coming through. One of them is Ruby Thomas, whose Either, her 2019 drama in the studio here, was thrillingly experimental. Boy, can she write! Her latest, this time on the main stage, is Linck & Mülhahn, a historical queer love story which features a gender-pioneering couple.

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‘Plenty of theatricality to enjoy along the way’: THE ART OF ILLUSION – Hampstead Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Maryam PhilpottLeave a Comment

From a red handkerchief disappearing within the hands of a magician to fake footage in the early 20th century, Hampstead Theatre’s latest international import is the UK premiere of The Art of Illusion, a 2014 French play exploring the history of magical performance and inventive approaches to entertaining audiences.

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‘A ray of optimism in a horrible world’: SONS OF THE PROPHET – Hampstead Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Aleks SierzLeave a Comment

In his award-winning play, which premiered in Boston in 2011, American playwright Stephen Karam examines the issues in a thoroughly original, brilliantly constructed and thematically compelling way. Now getting its belated European premiere at the Hampstead Theatre, Sons of the Prophet is an enthralling experience, both intellectually and emotionally.

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‘Hard, clever, truthful, sometimes funny’: BLACKOUT SONGS – Hampstead Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Libby PurvesLeave a Comment

Blackout Songs is another sharp, pared-down studio production: in 95 minutes Joe White delivers a necessarily painful two-hander about youthful alcoholism and the disaster of colliding addictions. We watch two lovers, over an uncertain wavering timeline, who can neither control nor remember their lives and real selves: we get flashes, snapshots of their meeting, coupling, celebrating, fighting, betraying.

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‘Rona Morison is shiveringly powerful’: MARY – Hampstead Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Libby PurvesLeave a Comment

For 400 years the reputation of Mary, Queen of Scots, has been battled over: she has been called victim and whore, murderess and heroine, flighty and heroic. Romance flowers in drama and opera: she was a young mother, beautiful, imprisoned, finally executed by her cousin Elizabeth I. But in this static but powerful 90-minutes, in which the Queen herself is offstage except for two glimpses, Rona Munro concentrates on the period before her forced abdication in 1567.

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‘Munro’s writing is sharp & fearsome’: MARY – Hampstead Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Maryam PhilpottLeave a Comment

Rona Munro’s latest piece, Mary, treads similar ground to historical trilogy The James Plays in its examination of Mary Queen of Scots and the series of fateful activities that led to her being deposed in favour of her infant son in 1567. This superbly written 90-minute drama passes in the blink of an eye but the fate of a country, a Queen and a scandal-ridden woman are brilliantly contained within.

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‘What you remember is the power of the characters’ emotions’: RAVENSCOURT – Hampstead Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Aleks SierzLeave a Comment

Therapy is inherently dramatic. After all, it’s all about character – and it has the aim of producing a recognisable change. But who is most affected by the process: client or therapist? Georgina Burns, a graduate of Hampstead Theatre’s Inspire course for emerging playwrights, examines the issues in her debut play, Ravenscourt.

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‘There is a good play somewhere in here’: THE SNAIL HOUSE – Hampstead Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Louise PennLeave a Comment

The set (by Tim Hatley) is absolutely beautiful in the much anticipated, new original play The Snail House from celebrated theatre director Richard Eyre, giving a sense of occasion and opulence. Portraits look on in the private school room, wooden surfaces hold the marks of a long history.

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‘Rarely less than entertaining but too restrained’: THE SNAIL HOUSE – Hampstead Theatre ★★★

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Libby PurvesLeave a Comment

Shiny though the shell is, Richard Eyre’s play The Snail House at Hampstead Theatre becomes a frustrating stew of ideas, attitudes and family tensions which doesn’t quite hit the finishing line. Directed by the author himself it is rarely less than entertaining, always emotionally recognisable and interestingly topical: but it’s too humble, too restrained.

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‘It feels like several plays mashed together’: THE FELLOWSHIP – Hampstead Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Rev StanLeave a Comment

Roy Williams’ play The Fellowship centres on a small family unit, but there are a lot of big things going on. Dawn (Cherrelle Skeet) is grieving the loss of a child while caring for her terminally ill mother with little help from her high-flying lawyer sister Marcia (Suzette Llewellyn). She can tell her teenage son Jermaine (Ethan Hazzard) is lying to her, and if it’s about what she suspects, she will be fuming.