wed 01/02/2023

Theatre Reviews

Two Billion Beats, Orange Tree Theatre review - lively, but overly idealistic

aleks Sierz

Do the right thing! But doing the right thing isn’t easy – especially if you are a teen. And a female teen who is being pressurised by your mother and your school teacher. It takes courage to make the best decisions, it’s scary and it’s hard.

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Othello, Lyric Hammersmith review - Frantic Assembly's high-energy take on the Moor

Helen Hawkins

Frantic Assembly’s Othello, originally co-developed with the Lyric in 2008, is back in its third iteration, and it’s still not exactly the play you studied at school or saw other companies perform. In some ways, that’s all to the good.

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Sound of the Underground, Royal Court review - loud and triumphantly proud

aleks Sierz

Ever been to a queer club? You know, drag cabaret night at Madame Jojo’s, or the Black Cap or Her Upstairs. No? Well, not to worry – the Royal Court’s latest provides a fabulously extravagant simulation of the experience with its staging of Sound of the Underground, a play written by Travis Alabanza – whose classic Burgerz is coming to the Purcell Room in March – and directed by his co-creator Debbie Hannan.

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Noises Off, Phoenix Theatre review - much revived classic farce gains in poignancy

Gary Naylor

There’s a chance – a slim one – that you haven’t seen Noises Off, Michael Frayn’s farce about a farce that, as legend has it with The Rocky Horror Show, must surely be going up somewhere in the world every day.

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Charlie & Stan, Wilton’s Music Hall, review - a beguiling fantasy about two silent comedy greats

Helen Hawkins

Imagine what would have happened if the young Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel were cabin-mates on a transatlantic liner. The Told by an Idiot company did just that, and the result is this show, a return visitor to the International Mime Festival, now bearing awards. 

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The Unfriend, Criterion Theatre review - dark comedy is (largely) audience-unfriendly

Laura De Lisle

We all have that friend. The person you met on holiday and couldn’t shake off. You added each other on Facebook, but they posted so much you’ve quietly unfollowed them. You can’t quite bring yourself to unfriend them, though.

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Allegiance, Charing Cross Theatre review - George Takei's childhood story makes a heartfelt musical

Gary Naylor

Like families, nations have secrets: dirty linen that they prefer not to expose to the light of day. Patriotic myths need to be protected, heroic narratives shaped, good guy reputations upheld. In 1942, the USA rounded up Japanese-Americans and locked them away in the badlands of the Midwest and promptly forgot about them – and then worked hard to keep it that way in the decades that followed. It’s likely you didn’t know that and it’s no accident if so.

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The Art of Illusion, Hampstead Theatre review - a hit from Paris conjures up strange-but-true stories

Helen Hawkins

First came Yasmina Reza’s 1994 long-runner Art; now another French hit, The Art of Illusion, has arrived after eight years in Paris. The two pieces couldn’t be more different: the former is a chatty spat between three sophisticated male friends (would producers use gender-fluid casting these days?); the new arrival, a larky, boisterous ensemble piece that plays with the theme of illusion and how much it contributes to what we have come to call “magic”.

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A Streetcar Named Desire, Almeida Theatre review - Patsy Ferran rises above fussy staging

Gary Naylor

It’s a long way from the dank chill of an English winter to the stultifying heat of a New Orleans summer, but we’ve been here before at this venue. Five years on from their award-winning Summer And Smoke, Rebecca Frecknall is back in the director’s chair and Patsy Ferran in the lead role for Tennessee Williams’ exploration of frailty and fear, A Streetcar Named Desire.   

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Watch on the Rhine, Donmar Warehouse review - Lillian Hellman's 1940 play is still asking awkward questions

Gary Naylor

We’re reminded, in a grainy black and white video framing device, that, as late as the summer of 1941, the USA saw World War II as just another European war. As brilliantly illustrated in Phillip Roth’s The Plot Against America, not only was such indifference to the rise of fascism more widespread than feels comfortable to reflect upon, but so, too, was a sympathy extended to the Nazis in their psychotic mission to make Germany great again.

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Pages

Advertising feature

★★★★★

A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway

 

Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.

 

★★★★★

This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman

 

Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.

 

Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.


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