Lazarus’ production of Hamlet at the Southwark Playhouse (Borough Road branch) strips the older generation from the play, leaving us with only the younger characters. Battered, used and confused, the play reveals how focusing on their experience can show us a familiar text in a new and disturbing light. Hamlet is, among many other things, a tale of an older generation destroying their successors to serve themselves.
Plenty of productions search fruitlessly for the magic in As You Like It, but Josie Rourke’s version at the new @sohoplace theatre makes it seems effortless. This is greatly helped by the delightful new space, designed by architects Haworth Tompkins as that rare thing – a theatre in the round.
Sarah at the Coronet Theatre is an authentic alcoholic’s tale, sentimental and entirely self-centred, but transformed in the telling if, just for a moment, we can buy into the drinker’s mindset. His name is Scott, and the fact he is telling us this at all hints at some sort of redemption. He may be alive, but this is not a redemptive story.
All’s Well is the definition of a tricky play, with its combination of the fantastical and the emotionally brutal, its historically specific yet confusingly vague setting and its hard-nosed, difficult to love characters. Embracing the oddness is probably the only way to make it work on stage but, despite some promising ideas and strong individual performances, Blanche McIntyre’s production does not feel coherent.
The Rest Of Our Lives at Summerhall, Edinburgh ends in a remarkable moment of mass dancing as the audience descends on the stage, suddenly finding themselves at full emotional stretch thanks to an unashamed expression of personality from these two delightful performers.
Antigone, Interrupted is exceptional and thrilling dance and, like several productions at this year’s Fringe, reverts to Greek myth to provide stories for our trouble times, with remarkable results.
Sarah-Louise Young is brisk, charming and authoritative, engaging the audience in vocal warm-ups as they take their seats. Her confident stage demeanour sets the scene for one-woman show The Silent Treatment at Summerhall that becomes remarkably revealing and painfully honest.
Sara Joyce’s production of The Last Return for Druid Theatre at the Traverse is carefully choreographed and absorbing. Sonya Kelly has re-imagined Ionesco for the post-colonial era, and leaves us feeling we’ve seen something we won’t forget in a hurry, even if its exact meaning is elusive.
Peter Morgan’s new play Patriots at the Almeida Theatre is a history lesson, filling in the gaps in our understanding of how we ended up where we are now. Specifically, it connects events in Russia after the fall of Communism with the high profile deaths in the UK of Russians who had fallen out with Vladimir Putin and, more implicitly, with the invasion of Ukraine and the state of Russia today.
Lindsay Duncan and Hilton McRae reveal the full depths of The Dance of Death’s ambiguity in production that is funny and strangely touching. Directed by the Arcola’s own Mehmet Ergen, the couple – married in real life – interact with a naturalness that takes the edge off their barbed attacks on one another, even as they push one another further and further and, almost, over the edge.
It says something about national cultures that the French equivalent of The Mousetrap is Eugène Ionesco’s short play, The Lesson. It has been running at Théâtre de la Huchette in Paris since 1951, and is as far from the contained, comforting threat of Agatha Christie as drama has to offer.
That Is Not Who I Am by Dave Davidson – Royal Court Theatre, London (This review consists almost entirely of spoilers) The nudge-nudge cover story for this play – that it’s the debut by someone who has worked in ‘the security industry’ for 38 years – is fairly transparent, and suspicions are confirmed when the Royal Court’s … Continue reading That Is Not Who I Am
An exceptional piece of theatre, Girl on an Altar at the Kiln Theatre remakes a story that is part of Western cultural heritage, with deceptive ease, as though it could have happened yesterday.
Anupama Chandrasekhar’s new play The Father And The Assassin about Nathuram Godse, the man who murdered – assassinated – Mohandas Gandhi in 1948, is an alarmingly current piece of work, but you wouldn’t know that from watching it.
The Globe’s main, outdoor theatre has not staged shows with a full audience since the summer of 2019, so the opening of its summer season with Lucy Bailey’s production of Much Ado About Nothing feels like an occasion.
However, Dominic Cooke’s production of Emlyn Williams’ play The Corn Is Green makes a good case for reviving it but the real reason to see the drama is for Nicola Walker.
David Hare’s new play is a history lesson. New York city planner Robert Moses shaped the modern city by supplying it with expressways and parkways.
The Merchant of Venice is seen as a problematic play but, increasingly, it seems that the problems are with us, as much as they are with Shakespeare.
Dennis Kelly’s 2005 play After The End is set inside a nuclear fallout shelter, so it is not surprising that it deals with situations beyond the boundaries of what passes for normality.
Sean Holmes’ new production of Hamlet in the Globe’s indoor space opens with a snatch of “Oh mother I can feel the soil falling over my head”, from The Smiths’ song ‘I Know It’s Over’.