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.
Peter Gynt, a new adaptation of Ibsen’s apparently unstageable Peer Gynt by David Hare, is a great success as a piece of writing and so much fun.
I really can’t recommend Sweat highly enough. It’s not just a great play, and a great production, it’s an actually important one.
Amidst editor Lisa Martland’s seven Top Picks from the last week of theatre are Libby Purves’ description of her blissful time at Nicholas Hytner’s immersive production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Bridge Theatre and Aleks Sierz’s thoughts on the Kiln Theatre’s new opening, Samuel Adamson’s take on A Doll’s House in Wife.
The writing is brilliant, the production is brilliant and it is brilliantly performed. I would love it if Hedgehog at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre were picked up a venue like The Bush and given a chance to find a bigger audience at a theatre where you can’t hear bar chatter through the floor.
Small Island is an absolute joy and an overdue, no reservations at all, win for Rufus Norris at the NT. There’s nothing else to say. Well except this: you must see it, immediately.
Directors Marianne Elliott and Miranda Cromwell have brought their unique vision to one of the greatest plays of the 20th century by Arthur Miller, seen through the eyes of an African American family. So what did the Mates think of this Young Vic production of the American drama classic?
ANNA is such a great little show. It’s a curiosity, certainly, and it is worth seeing for the technical bravado alone. But it’s also an absolute belter of a thriller too, something which I don’t think it’s getting enough credit for.
Rutherford and Son is not my cup of tea. The acting does just about salvage it, or at least stop it from being a complete disaster, but it’s not enough.
Directed by Marianne (actual genius) Elliott and Miranda Cromwell and featuring an African American Loman family, this Death of a Salesman is the clearest, most moving and profound vision of this play I’ve ever seen.
First things first, how good a title for a play is Sad About The Cows? Pretty bloody good I would argue. It’s also a pretty bloody good play, as it happens.
All My Sons may not be my favourite Arthur Miller play but The Old Vic’s production of it is undeniably brilliant, especially the heavyweight and stunningly good cast.
Downstate at the National Theatre is a remarkable thing. An absolute masterpiece of writing, performed so sensitively and with such bravery.
Overall Going Through is just a beautiful thing. Gorgeous writing, a stonkingly good production and a brilliant cast. Seventy-five minutes of humanity and joy. Highly recommended.
Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s script for Emilia at the Vaudeville Theatre is spectacularly good: funny, poignant, angry and inspiring. It’s an amazing piece of theatre, yes, but it’s also something more than that. It feels like a movement, almost.
I’m genuinely not sure Admissions could be done much better than it’s done here. If you come expecting an entertaining comedy that will make you occasionally go ‘oh actually that’s a good point’ you won’t leave disappointed.
Look, as a piece of drama Alys, Always isn’t the best thing you’ll ever see. It’s unlikely to be troubling the Olivier nominations next year I wouldn’t think. But, actually, I sort of don’t care. It’s really good fun; sheer entertainment with a little bit of something to mentally chew over after the show.
The First Modern Man is an hour of solidly good writing, performed with honesty and commitment, and really well staged.
I really enjoyed and was really technically impressed with The American Clock. A decent play, in an amazing production by a truly visionary director, brought to life by a brilliant cast.
There’s a line in Trial By Laughter, the new touring production of Ian Hislop and Nick Newman’s play about freedom of the press, where one of the main characters says to the other: “But where are the jokes?” As neat summaries of a play in one line of dialogue go, it’s one of the best I’ve seen.