View Post

‘It’s writing from the heart’: ALL OF US – National Theatre ★★★★

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Alun HoodLeave a Comment

It would be unsurprising, indeed completely understandable, for a new state-of-the-nation play focusing on the treatment of, and opportunities for, disabled people in present-day UK, to fetch up on stage as a furious, ranty polemic. Francesca Martinez’s dramatic writing debut, All Of Us at the National, goes down a rather more unexpected and interesting route however.

View Post

‘Informs, educates & entertains’: ALL OF US – National Theatre

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

If the plotting is predictable, and the story arc unremarkable, the image of life represented is both strongly compassionate and often very pleasurable. In true welfare state style, comedian Francesca Martinez’s debut play All of Us at the National Theatre not only informs and educates, but also entertains.

View Post

‘Reminds you of Shakespeare’s extraordinary moments too easily forgotten’: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING – National Theatre ★★★★

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Libby PurvesLeave a Comment

A star danced, and under it was Simon Godwin’s joyful, 1930s Riviera production born. Quite apart from the fact that it is nice to have the earnest NT enjoying two outbreaks of frenetic jitterbug dancing at once – Jack Absolute upstairs at the Olivier, and here Much Ado About Nothing set in the Mediterranean hotel world of Noel Coward – where it feats with unexpected neatness.

View Post

‘The sheer visual beauty of the whole staging is a source of considerable pleasure’: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING – National Theatre ★★★

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Alun HoodLeave a Comment

Simon Godwin’s new production of Much Ado About Nothing for the National initially seems to be going for the full-on romantic escapism, from the bougainvillea and sun-kissed (Amalfi?) coast of the front curtain to the gorgeous Art Deco-meets-Italianate Palazzo mixture of colour and elegance of Anna Fleischle’s hotel setting

View Post

‘High-spirited direction keeps gales of laughter meeting good lines’: JACK ABSOLUTE FLIES AGAIN – National Theatre ★★★★

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Libby PurvesLeave a Comment

Who knew that Caroline Quentin could achieve (almost) the splits, while strumming a ukulele? Or that that Richard Bean and Chris Oliver – who a decade ago created the National Theatre’s world-conquering One Man, Two Guvnors – would for their next 18c update, Jack Absolute Flies Again, attempt a mashup of Sheridan’s classic frothy Restoration romcom The Rivals, and set it in a WW2 RAF base?

View Post

‘Entertaining comedy with pathos’: JACK ABSOLUTE FLIES AGAIN – National Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Not Exactly BillingtonLeave a Comment

“What will happen in England after we have won this war? Bunting! Bunting everywhere!” Richard Bean and Oliver Chris’ new play Jack Absolute Flies Again at the National Theatre takes R.B. Sheridan’s 1775 farce The Rivals and updates the setting to a Sussex country house in The Battle of Britain. The romantic pursuits, mistaken identities and malapropisms from The Rivals are combined with Bean’s typically bawdy sense of humour, some impressive aerial dogfights and a dose of WWII patriotism. The result is an entertaining, albeit safe and slightly too long, comedy with pathos.

View Post

‘Utterly joyous’: JACK ABSOLUTE FLIES AGAIN – National Theatre

In Comedy, London theatre, Opinion, Other Recent Articles, Plays, Reviews by Maryam PhilpottLeave a Comment

Delayed by Covid for over two years, Jack Absolute Flies Again finally lands on the Olivier stage when we have never needed Richard Bean and Oliver Chris’ goofy and hilarious romp more. An adaptation of Sheridan’s The Rivals relocated to a 1940s air base on a Sussex estate, there is a care in the construction of the play and a determination that everyone watching should have a good time that speaks to a wider need for lighter fare.