High Fidelity stomps along unmemorably with great goodwill and a three-piece band overhead, and moments of soul or hare-krishna pastiche are wittily done
Light Falls is too Northern. It’s far, far too Northern. The grit-spreaders have truly been out in force, and it’s excruciating to swallow so very many clichés in one dose.
Director Indhu Rubasingham spares us none of the rage and horror of violent mutilation as male anger rises against women who are educated in Anumpama Chandrasekhar’s play When The Crows Visit and – this makes you wince – of female complicity in the middle and oldest generations
Vassa, once a timely satire of the iniquities of capitalism in its day, doesn’t really have much to say when the director has so squarely decided to move it so out of time and place.
Lungs is a sharp eyed little gem about coupledom and the wary, fretful road towards parenthood in an age of easy contraception and illimitable expectations.
Jordan Tannahill’s play Botticelli In The Fire, premiered here after Canada, is gloriously staged under Blanche Macintyre’s direction.
There is nothing wrong with having two periods onstage at once, and the fine cast does its best with the infuriatingly threadbare drawing of relationships, but The RSC’s A Museum in Baghdad feel like a bit of a mess.
Alice Birch’s [Blank], about how our criminal justice system treats women, features tremendous ensemble work, physically expressive, verbally articulate, ripping off layers of smug delusion with elegant skill.
Groan Ups has hamster substitutions, unexpected subtler laughs and a moment of real pathos before it swizzles into something more poignant.
Bill Buckhurst’s production of Assassins has all the necessary vigour and the human seriousness too: plus it helps having a stunningly gifted set of actor-musicians roaming the stage.
While the seemingly desultory opening scenes may baffle a few strangers to the book, this stage adaptation of The Night Watch grows in clarity and drama to become a gripping piece of theatre, a testament.
Somerset Maughan’s 1930s play For Services Rendered surfaced last at Chichester, in the heart of the WW1 anniversary years, and reminded me how much theatre taught me about that war and, not least, its aftermath.
As a world of harmony tilts into filth you can feel the jolt going through the audience in Athol Fugard’s personal play set in apartheid era South Africa, ‘Master Harold’… and the boys at the National Theatre.
Thus Andrew Davies sexes up Jane Austen’s Sanditon for ITV with incest, brothels and Theo James leaping on coaches, and up from Chichester, adapted a bit, here’s Laura Wade taking on the earlier Watsons.
Underneath Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present beats Ayckbourn’s sorrowful, understanding heart, showing us that comedy is just tragedy on its way to happening.
The RSC’s King John could work, and in the shorter, darker, more medieval part after the interval it begins to, with the actors at last allowed to stop yelling and clowning.
In a tight 90 minutes Nancy Harris’ new play Two Ladies moves from a sharp, occasionally funny observation of this wifely condition into a meditation on politics both gender and global:
The National Theatre does not disappoint with A Taste of Honey. The production is absolutely superb, with some of the cleverest staging imaginable.
Big is smashing fun if you can cope with the fact that at the heart of it is a power-relationship dynamic raising slightly awkward questions. But not in a Big way.
The King of Hell’s Palace is a play brimful of good intentions but with virtually no artistry or dramatic tension.