wed 13/12/2017

Southwark Playhouse

Dear Brutus, Southwark Playhouse review - a judicious mix of comedy and sadness

Confused people, some of whom may have made the wrong choices in life and love, find themselves in an enchanted wood at Midsummer. Dear Brutus has long been seen to echo Shakespeare’s comedy of metamorphosis, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A huge...

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Mother Courage, Southwark Playhouse review - this production is not one for our times

One of the questions that can be asked of Brecht is whether for a modern audience his Verfremdungseffekt — or alienation effect — still works as intended, provoking genuine reflections on justice by distancing audiences from emotional...

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Dessert, Southwark Playhouse review - undercooked and overwrought

"What is this, Saving Private Ryan?" a character randomly queries well into the actor Oliver Cotton's new play, Dessert. Well, more like a modern-day An Inspector Calls on steroids, with the volume turned up so high in Trevor Nunn's production...

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The Cardinal, Southwark Playhouse review - 'rarely produced play has renewed punch'

James Shirley is a rarely performed 17th-century playwright whose oeuvre has generally been consigned to theatrical study and research. Written for King Charles I at a time of great political upheaval and with the English Civil War looming, not to...

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School Play, Southwark Playhouse

Hot on the heels of Katherine Soper's award-winning Wish List, about the UK benefits system in crisis, and John Godber's This Might Hurt, about an NHS in crisis, comes this play about our education system in crisis. One suspects there will be plenty...

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Dream On: Surprises in the Athenian Wood

Doctor Peter Raby (Emeritus Fellow at Cambridge University) was quick to pull me up on my first stab at A Midsummer Night's Dream – an indulgence-of-a-production played out in a university park to the sound of cucumber flirting with Pimm's. His...

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Cyrano de Bergerac, Southwark Playhouse

Given that Edmond Rostand’s 1897 tragicomic verse play Cyrano de Bergerac gave the word "panache" to the English language, it’s an irony that panache is the quality most woefully lacking in Russell Bolam’s production of Glyn Maxwell’s adaptation. It...

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Grey Gardens, Southwark Playhouse

One of the more unusual Broadway offerings of recent times crosses the Atlantic with considerable style in an Off West End premiere of 2006 New York entry Grey Gardens that punches well above its weight. As luxuriantly cast as it is elaborately (and...

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Casa Valentina, Southwark Playhouse

The “femmepersonators” of Harvey Fierstein’s 1962-set drama would be flabbergasted by today’s level of trans visibility, from Grayson Perry and Caitlyn Jenner to Transparent and Eddie Redmayne’s new film The Danish Girl. Yet it’s the still pertinent...

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Shivered, Southwark Playhouse

Polymath Philip Ridley is British theatre’s prince of imaginative writing. At the moment, he’s clearly on a roll, and this year his diary has been filing up fast. First, there was a majestic revival of his 1991 debut, The Pitchfork Disney, with a...

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