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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.

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‘A heartfelt epic play’: THE FELLOWSHIP – Hampstead Theatre

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

With Windrush Day being 22 June, last week was originally going to be the opening night of Roy Williams’ new Hampstead Theatre play, The Fellowship, until plans had to be changed because Lucy Vandi, who was to play the main character, fell sick and performances were postponed. Cherrelle Skeete bravely takes on this major role and her dynamic stage presence, partly with script in hand on press night, is one of the evening’s highlights.

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Screen fame may be a major driver of ticket prices, but the breadth of British acting talent is vast

In Features, London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

Television and big screen fame is a major driver for West End producers. Opened last week are Taron Egerton and Jonathan Bailey in a new production of Mike Bartlett’s COCK, and the lowest ticket price is £65, with the bulk at £100 or more, so it also translates to big prices.