A cheering musical to be sure, but But I’m a Cheerleader is ill-suited to the intimacy of the Turbine Theatre, it needs a bigger stage (and a bit of an edit) to truly shine.
‘This is a powerful revival of this punchy play’: COCK – West End
If some of the detail of Mike Bartlett’s Cock now feels a little dated, the skill of his writing is as fresh as ever, performed brilliantly at the Ambassadors Theatre.
‘I yearn for a transfer so that more people can see it’: THE WICKER HUSBAND – Watermill Theatre, Newbury
The Wicker Husband is a show that has my heart entirely. A future life is surely going to happen but catch it now at the Watermill Theatre while you can.
‘Five cracking performers all get their moments to shine’: THE DRIFTERS GIRL – West End
The Drifters Girl is a classic example of the worst type of jukebox musical – a group effort in failing to tell an interesting story whilst putting on a good show.
‘As much calculating businessman as inspirational ruler’: HENRY V – Donmar Warehouse
There’s way too much going on in this production of Henry V at the Donmar Warehouse, despite Kit Harington’s return to the stage.
‘A truly troubling scenario emerges with a horrific imbalance of power’: AFTER THE END – Theatre Royal Stratford East
With all its effortful but pointless violence, Dennis Kelly’s After the End leaves me cold at the Theatre Royal Stratford East.
‘Disappointingly formulaic in its treatment of two artistic icons:’ THE COLLABORATION – Young Vic Theatre
Paul Bettany and Jeremy Pope star as artistic legends in The Collaboration but Anthony McCarten’s play at the Young Vic doesn’t thrill.
‘Undoubtedly stylish but seriously underwhelming’: THE FOREST – Hampstead Theatre
Like being given a jigsaw with no corner pieces, the challenges of putting together what is happening in Florian Zeller’s The Forest means it is hardly worth the trip to the Hampstead Theatre.
‘How rare it is to see work from Middle Eastern writers’: BROKEN WINGS – Charing Cross Theatre
The music of Nadim Naaman and Dana Al Fardan’s Broken Wings remains strong, but the musical around it feels slightly disappointing at Charing Cross Theatre.
‘Well acted to be sure but just not my cup of tea’: 2:22 – A GHOST STORY – West End
The perils of going to see something just because you like an actor in it… I loved seeing Elliot Cowan onstage again but was significantly less keen on 2:22 – A Ghost Story.
‘Entertainingly put together & starrily cast’: STEVE – Seven Dials Playhouse
The Seven Dials Playhouse opens with the European premiere of Mark Gerrard’s gently amusing and affecting Steve.
‘Full of the expressive theatricality director Emma Rice has built her reputation on’: WUTHERING HEIGHTS – National Theatre
Emma Rice dips into her usual bag of theatrical tricks for a highly expressive take on Wuthering Heights but possibly to diminishing returns.
‘The realities of contemporary city-dwelling coupledom bite hard’: US – White Bear Theatre
It’s the little things. Like using up the kitchen roll when there’s no toilet paper, or not getting some milk when the carton’s run out.
‘The beauty of Shanley’s play is that nothing is black & white’: DOUBT – Chichester
Monica Dolan is more than worth the journey in Lia Williams’ striking production of Doubt: A Parable at Chichester Festival Theatre.
‘Caryl Churchill’s play has only gained in depth & gravitas’: A NUMBER – Old Vic Theatre
Paapa Essiedu and Lennie James deliver stunning performances in a cracking production of Caryl Churchill’s A Number at the Old Vic Theatre.
‘A striking play about a most striking woman’: PAYNE – The Stars Are Fire – Jack Studio Theatre
I may still not know what a variable star is but Cecilia Payne did and that’s what matters.
‘Illuminates the struggle to pursue an almighty artistic vision’: HOLST – The Music in the Spheres – Jack Studio Theatre
Arrows & Traps return to live performance in customary ambitious style with Holst – The Music In The Spheres at the Brockley Jack Theatre.
Year in review: Ian’s 10 favourite shows of 2021
Just a little bit late… Here’s 10 of my favourite shows, both online and onstage but fully acknowledging that I saw a lot less than usual, I might actually have broken the back of this theatre obsession – it just took a global pandemic to do it…!
Year in review: Ian’s 10 top theatrical moments of 2021
As distinct from my favourite shows of the year, this list celebrates the fact that sometimes the good and the not-so-good co-exist right next to each – some of my favourite moments.
‘This revival can’t help but resemble a middling 1970s sitcom’: HABEAS CORPUS – Menier Chocolate Factory
Alan Bennett’s Habeas Corpus gets a belated revival at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Stuck in the past, should it have been left in the past too?