Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days is, as Lisa Dwan observes, often described as ‘the female Hamlet’. Dwan has played every other female Beckett lead but even she was intimidated by a role previously inhabited by Peggy Ashcroft, Brenda Bruce, Fiona Shaw and Juliet Stevenson, among others. It is understandable. Happy Days, first performed in 1961, is a mighty play, and 60 years later still unlike anything you’ve seen.
In an empty Almeida Theatre, two heavyweight actors – Adrian Lester and Danny Sapani – bring serious male energy to Lolita Chakrabati’s new play Hymn.
NAKED is a powerful, funny and thoroughly engaging piece of physical theatre. It is the first show from performers Luke Vincent and Paige-Marie Baker-Carroll of the NAKEDpresents queer collective.
Cut off in its prime in March, Ian Rickson’s Uncle Vanya returns to us from an empty theatre, filmed for cinema release.
The National Theatre’s 2016 production of Les Blancs was directed by Yaël Farber and used the full resources of the Olivier stage to transmit its full force.
The online release of productions from Druid Theatre’s 2005 season of JM Synge’s complete works is a lockdown boon.
The Battle of the Beanfield is the first show by Breach Theatre, now known for the excellent It’s True, It’s True, It’s True about Renaissance artist Artemisia Gentileschi.
The chaos of national politics in the mid-1970s seemed light years away in 2014, but how arrogant that assumption seems now.
Tim Crouch’s series of performances as overlooked characters in Shakespeare is a fascinating body of work. He has been developing these one-man shows (with assistance) for more than 15 years.
I have been collecting these for at least 35 years and now have a nearly complete set of post-war programmes from the Stratford theatres (if anyone has a hoard of uber-rare, early programmes from The Other Place, I need to know).
The excitement still builds on a Thursday night, when many of us sit down to watch theatre as though it was analogue television in the four-channel era.
After the theatres closed, the National Theatre was quick to announce a free mini-season of online shows from their NT Live broadcasts, which immediately became the only evening bookings in thousands of newly empty diaries. The first Youtube show – Nicholas Hytner’s mid-2000s mega-hit, One Man, Two Guvnors – had a real sense of anticipation.
Despite the combined skills of its performers, The Cutting Edge lacks pace and drive and the key moment of crisis, which always seems around the corner, never arrives.
The Incident Room is a multi-layered and satisfying drama, a proper assessment of a story that gripped, terrified and obsessed the nation. This excellent production confronts our dark past head on.
I, Cinna is a small masterpiece of unshowy writing and performance that is some of the best small-scale theatre of its time, equally satisfying to audiences of young people and adults.
In our continuing series, editor Lisa Martland picks out some of her Top Picks from the last week of theatre (to 16 February 2020) including Maryam Philpott’s thoughts on Tom Stoppard’s new play Leopoldstadt at the Wyndham’s Theatre.
Caryl Churchill wrote Far Away in 2000 and, 20 years on, it feels more current by the moment.
The company in People Show 137 has an admirable ability to conjure moments that capture the audience’s attention and to deliver about turns that keep the audience intrigued.
Holy What’s version of Antigone is about the two teenage girls at the heart of the play, Antigone herself (Annabel Baldwin) and her sister Ismene (Rachel Hosker).
Gregory Doran’s RSC production of Measure for Measure is a subtle and absorbing account of a play that gets weirder with every viewing.