At the end of a year in which female-forward and feminist theatre has made so much progress, The Boy Friend looks regressive as well as nostalgic. On the other hand, it is a colourful and escapist retreat from the winter, and we could all do with a night off from angst.
‘A tuneful & comic delight’: COPPÉLIA – Royal Opera House ★★★★
Coppélia may be the nearest classical ballet comes to pantomime and as a choice alternative to the usual slew of Nutcrackers and Sleeping Beauties, this one is a tuneful and comic delight.
‘All feels a bit under-weight’: THE WOLF OF WALL STREET – Secret Location
If you’re with a bunch of co-workers and up for a turkey and tinsel-free ‘night out’ for your department that won’t frighten Mavis from Accounts, The Wolf Of Wall Street may be just what you’re looking for.
‘Some enchanted evening’: KELLI O’HARA – Cadogan Hall ★★★★★
The American leading ladies London seems to take to its heart seem to be belters, but Kelli O’Hara has more variety in her voice than any of them.
Best of the Blogs: The House of the Spirits, The Green Fairy, Death of a Salesman & more
In our continuing series, our editor Lisa Martland picks out some of her Top Picks from the last week of theatre (to 10 November 2019) including Aleks Sierz’s thoughts on Caridad Svich’s “excellent” adaptation of Isabel Allende’s 1982 modern classic The House of the Spirits at Cervantes Theatre.
‘Cements O’Hare’s position as a contemporary writer to watch’: SYDNEY & THE OLD GIRL – Park Theatre ★★★★
Sydney & the Old Girl is a refreshing breath of foul air, a dark comedy with deeply unpleasant characters which manages to echo Pinter and Joe Orton in its macabre domestic antagonism.
‘Still the best fun you’ll have at the opera’: THE MIKADO – London Coliseum ★★★★
Time and again, this production of The Mikado comes up fresh as paint and is the perfect antidote to dark days every bit as much now as in 1986 or when Gilbert and Sullivan wrote it in 1885.
‘Falling under its spell’: ISLANDER – Southwark Playhouse ★★★★
Islander most certainly isn’t a rehearsal, it’s a perfectly finished piece, like a stone polished by the waves.
‘Ensemble acting of this quality is rare’: A DAY IN THE DEATH OF JOE EGG – Trafalgar Studios ★★★★★
Don’t miss it A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. Makes you laugh, makes you think. Makes you realise Toby Stephens is one of our finest.
Best of the Blogs: The Mates give their verdicts on Joe Egg, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Mites, Islander & more
Editor Lisa Martland picks out some of her Top Picks from the last week of theatre (to 13 October 2019), ranging from Aleks Sierz’s thoughts on the still very relevant A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg at the Trafalgar Studios to Libby Purves’ reaction to Mischief Theatre’s new offering Groan Ups.
‘Doesn’t survive the surgery’: THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT – West End
Director Sean Foley had a huge success with The Ladykillers, turning the gentle fifties Ealing comedy into a smart farce. You can’t blame him for taking a second bite at the same cherry. Unfortunately, The Man in the White Suit feels infinitely more laboured.
‘Minimalist & thoughtful’: EQUUS – West End ★★★★
Ned Bennett’s minimalist and thoughtful production of Equus is by turns thrilling and dull, sensationally staging the sexual and violent aspects of the story while confining the psychiatrist’s self-doubting soliloquy within drapes of blank white sheeting.
‘You’re fully caught up with the rise & rise of Eva’: EVITA – Open Air Theatre ★★★★
At last, someone has laid the sugary ghost of Elaine Paige. Jamie Lloyd’s stripped-back Evita at the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park has all the metallic modernity of their Jesus Christ Superstar.
‘A strong & generously immersive piece that wraps around you’: TREE – Young Vic Theatre ★★★★
If a student disco is your personal nightmare, look away now. Tree starts and ends with a throbbing onstage party to wish the audience is persuasively invited. The last time this many Waitrose customers grooved awkwardly to African beats was on Paul Simon’s Graceland tour.
Best of the Blogs: The Mates give their verdicts on Peter Pan, The Worst Witch, Crystal Clear & more
Best of the Blogs: The Mates give their verdicts on Peter Pan, The Worst Witch, Shackleton’s Carpenter & more
‘A delight of constantly inventive staging’: PETER PAN – Troubadour White City Theatre ★★★★★
Sally Cookson’s reinterpreted Peter Pan at the new, splendid, exciting Troubadour Theatre very near White City tube captures contemporary imaginations because they can see how it works, and are gripped by the techniques.
‘It does hold your attention’: THE ILLUSIONISTS – West End ★★★
The Illusionists is not overpriced, it does hold your attention – even the row of 11 just-out-of-school-for-the-holidays girls on booster cushions behind me didn’t talk or fidget during the show – so if you have some, take them.
Best of the Blogs: The Mates give their verdicts on Joseph, Jesus, Kylie Jenner, Peter Gynt & more
It’s all in a name this week as our editor Lisa Martland picks out her Top Picks from the last week’s theatre in the West End, London Fringe or beyond.
‘Over-engineered production’: NOISES OFF – Lyric Hammersmith ★★★
Thirty-seven years later, I’m back to see Noises Off re-staged with Meera Syal, Lloyd Owen and Daniel Rigby in a rather over-engineered production by Jeremy Herrin.
‘Clean & crisp’: PRIVATE LIVES – Sonning
Tam Williams’ production of Private Lives at the Mill at Sonning is clean and crisp, nicely framed with a lady accordoniste setting the location, and after a slowish start the piece moves up a gear in the scenes involving all four characters, and especially in two well-choreographed fights.