Classic 1953 play by the English Chekhov is fascinating, but rather dated in its values and too clumsy in its production.
Ace! Revival of Joe Penhall’s brilliantly written contemporary classic is superbly staged and brilliantly performed… Each exchange is like a duel, and each duel is humorous as well as deadly serious. By the end of the evening, you feel as if the sparks have flown in all directions. And some have burnt your brain.
Do scandals have a sell-by date? When it comes to sex and politicians, the answer is no. The tabloids, and the news-hungry public, still seem to relish a good story about a powerful man who is caught with his trousers around his ankles. So Harley Granville Barker’s Waste — first put on in 1907 and then rewritten some 20 years later — is ostensibly a highly relevant drama of a personal tragedy in which our characteristic national mix of prurience and puritanism gets a longwinded airing. Certainly, the plot is instantly recognisable.
Over the past quarter century the reputation of toff playwright Terence Rattigan has been restored, mainly by strong stagings of his classic dramas, such as Deep Blue Sea. But his first smash hit, French Without Tears, has been the unicorn of his output — often talked about, often mentioned, often remembered, but never actually seen. Now Paul Miller, the ever-enterprising artistic director of the Orange Tree, has brought this unicorn into public view, allowing audiences to enjoy a joyful sighting of a rare beast.