Take this as purest Shakespearian tragedy: vigorous but classic, a magnificent magnification of the darkest human and political longing, of affection, terror, defensiveness, hubris and – in the women – a defiant courage that rings down the ages. Don’t miss Richard III at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon.
The Jermyn Street Theatre – small as it is – has been rocking Howard Brenton’s latest play Cancelling Socrates, set in Ancient Greece and dealing with the last days and condemnation for sacrilege of the philosopher Socrates.
The Southbury Child is a fine play, sharply written with some really strong unexpected laughs and a heartstopping ending. Its subtleties of character ask a great deal (not in vain) from the cast.
The central theme in The Breach at the Hampstead Theatre remains perennial, terrifying, universal and sorrowful: the fragile tipping into disaster of teenage children unnoticed by adults.
Traditionally, audiences don’t go to Oklahoma! to be unsettled. On the other hand you don’t go to the Young Vic to have your expectations cosily met by a singalong, with the dark bits tastefully brushed over.
This jolly adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando by Sarah Ruhl, directed con brio by Stella Powell-Jones, is a 90-minute treat and holiday too.
David Eldridge’s play Middle at the National Theatre’s Dorfman space is a sketch, a watercolour on the landing of middle life: sensitive, accomplished but not likely to stop you in your tracks.
Barry Humphries is 88, five shows into a 27-date tour, The Man Behind The Mask, and this time he is presented as himself, the trickiest character of all.
Jodie Comer’s extraordinary West End stage debut in Suzie Miller’s play Prima Facie at the Harold Pinter Theatre reveals not only strong vocal skill but an absolutely dazzling physical expressiveness and high-voltage emotional power.
Twelve years on from Jez Butterworth’s glorious shock-troop assault on metropolitan sensibilities, we welcome back Ultz’s woodland glade and knackered caravan, and surf along with Ian Rickson’s bravura direction.
Bertie Carvel as Donald Trump is magnificent. Eerily so, capturing not only the ex-President’s showmanship, the gestures and unwholesomely needy yet threatening charm, but moving beyond caricature.
The tiny Actors’ Centre is reborn under its new name, and since this play is set in what was a traditionally febrile, theatrical, subversively arty quarter in the 50s and 60s before it got chichi, it’s a good place to remember Joe Orton and his killing.
Jeremy O’Taylor is a much-feted American playwright (a Tony for Slave Play) adept at drilling in to the moment: BLM, fashionable white guilt, showy theatricality and retro-intellectual themes.
Aaron Sorkin worked on this play in the age of Trump and of Black Lives Matter, and it shows. A fusillade of trigger warnings reminds us that it cannot be handled without numerous racial slurs and acknowledgment of violence, sexual and otherwise.
At the end of the evening the great diva, director and muse informs us that we too must sing. In a packed house, on the far side of a pandemic, which made us fear one another’s very breath, we join the posse of old-timers and ingenu(e)s.
In 2010, Bruce Norris’ play wowed the Royal Court: this is a ten-year anniversary (well, plus two years lost to Covid) so forgive me for quoting what I wrote then.
It is not often I resort to drawing in the notebook, but there it is: half an hour into the first part of David Hare’s play about the city planner Robert Moses, whose demonic energy built modern New York between the 1920s and the ’60s.
With typical wit, the doughty little Jermyn has captured an intellectual-farcical oddity from New York, complete with author-director and star. Tom Littler signed them up for 2020, with obvious results, but lured them back.
Mike Bartlett’s mischievous, half-earnest play is about a gay man wrestling with his identity (and his furious partner) after falling for a woman. Who he loves both as a person and – to his confusion – as an anatomy. It’s clever to revive it in this even more gender-anxious time.
Two artists in a studio: Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat. They have been put there to collaborate in 1980s New York.