thu 18/07/2024

Theatre Reviews

Boys from the Blackstuff, National Theatre review - a lyrical, funny, affecting variation on a television classic

Heather Neill

Prolific playwright James Graham was born in 1982, the year Alan Bleasdale's unforgettable series was televised. From Nottingham rather than Liverpool, Graham recognised in his own surroundings the predicaments of the main characters, the bonds between them and the importance to them of place and of shared stories.

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The Harmony Test, Hampstead Theatre review - pregnancy and parenthood

aleks Sierz

“Welcome to motherhood, bitch!” By the time a character delivers this reality check, there have been plenty of laughs, and some much more awkward moments, in Richard Molloy’s The Harmony Test, which premieres in the Hampstead Theatre’s Downstairs studio space.

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Bluets, Royal Court review - more grey than ultramarine

aleks Sierz

When does creativity become mannered? When it’s based on repetition, and repetition without development. About halfway through star director Katie Mitchell’s staging of Margaret Perry’s adaptation of Maggie Nelson’s Bluets – despite the casting of the always watchable Ben Whishaw – I had the horrible feeling that this 80-minute show was on repeat. Moody words, repeat, moody visuals, repeat, moody mood, repeat, repeat, repeat.

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Romeo and Juliet, Duke of York's Theatre review - doomy and deathly, and much-hyped

Matt Wolf

One of Shakespeare's longest plays gets gets served up fast and filleted courtesy the director of the moment Jamie Lloyd, who is second to none when it comes to revealing the hidden performance strengths of various (and very varied) stars.

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Jerry’s Girls, Menier Chocolate Factory review - just a parade that passes by

David Nice

Catchy even when the lyrics are at their cheesiest, the Jerry Herman Songbook serves up a string of memorable tunes: you’ll probably find that, like me, you recognize about 80 per cent of the material in Jerry’s Girls. But is it enough when you (read I) have fallen in love with productions of Dear World and La Cage aux Folles but haven’t yet seen Hello, Dolly! or Mame on stage? The appetite still needs gratifying.

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Richard III, Shakespeare's Globe review - Michelle Terry riffs with punk bravado

Tom Birchenough

There’s a fierce, dark energy to the Globe’s new Richard III that I don’t recall at that venue for a fair while. The drilled cast dances seemed more frenzied, and there are more of them, and for once let’s start with a shout-out for James Maloney’s musical score. It’s a thing of some wonder, ranging from jazz palpitations and wiry strings to the throbbing beats of intrigue that riff on the rapid action of the “troublous world” unfolding beneath the musicians’ balcony.

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Between Riverside and Crazy, Hampstead Theatre review - race, religion and rough justice

aleks Sierz

It’s often said that contemporary American playwrights are too polite, too afraid of giving offence. But this accusation can’t be levelled at Stephen Adly Guirgis, whose dramas – from Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train in 2002 to The Motherfucker in the Hat in 2011 – are dirty-tongued and often fiercely emotional.

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Passing Strange, Young Vic review - exuberant pocket musical with a thoughtful core

Helen Hawkins

From New York’s Public Theater, the venue that nurtured Hamilton, comes another estimable pocket musical, Passing Strange. It was first staged in 2008, to Tony-nominated acclaim, and it shows. Its forthright cheek and irreverence are refreshing and welcome.

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Fawlty Towers: The Play, Apollo Theatre review - lightning strikes twice

Adam Sweeting

There are many definitions of bravery, and taking on the challenge of embodying John Cleese as Basil Fawlty in Cleese’s own stage adaptation of Fawlty Towers would undoubtedly be one of them. But Adam Jackson-Smith pulls it off with aplomb, deftly nailing Basil’s every acidic aside, outburst of impotent rage or episode of manic terror. Or, indeed, silly walk.

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People, Places and Things, Trafalgar Theatre review - a scintillating shot in the arm

Demetrios Matheou

It’s unusual for a play to be revived with its original director and star, let alone a decade after they premiered the piece. But here we are, with Jeremy Herrin again steering Denise Gough through Duncan MacMillan’s thorny, provocative, exhilarating account of addiction, rehab and a kind of redemption.

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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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