thu 18/07/2024

Theatre Reviews

London Tide, National Theatre review - haunting moody river blues

aleks Sierz

“He do the police in different voices.” If ever one phrase summed up a work of fiction, and the art of its writer, then surely it is this description, by Charles Dickens in his 1865 novel, Our Mutual Friend, of his character Sloppy’s ability to read aloud from a newspaper. Ironically enough the book itself is one of Dickens’s least exuberant performances, written in his maturity, and with enormous and unnecessary detail (800 pages worth).

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Machinal, The Old Vic review - note-perfect pity and terror

David Nice

Virtuosity and a wildly beating heart are compatible in Richard Jones’s finely calibrated production of Renaissance woman Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal. It hits hard as a 1920s mechanical symphony with a lyrical slow movement and words/cliches used like musical refrains. There’s an army of generals at work in the team of 16 actors, led by fearless Rosie Sheehy, and in the genius lighting, movement, sound, design. You rarely see such meticulous, detailed work in the theatre.

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An Actor Convalescing in Devon, Hampstead Theatre review - old school actor tells old school stories

Gary Naylor

One can often be made to feel old in the theatre. A hot take in a snappy 90 minutes (with video!) on the latest Gen Z obsession (is it even Gen Z, or were they last year, Daddio?) can leave one baffled or wondering whose gripe is it anyway. Sometimes the new blood feels like an exotic Type AB negative, when we’re boring old O positive and the transfusion is rejected.

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The Comeuppance, Almeida Theatre review - remembering high-school high jinks

aleks Sierz

I’ve never been one for school reunions, but even if I had kept in touch with former classmates I think that American playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s The Comeuppance might, just might, lead me to reflect on the wisdom of revisiting the adolescent past.

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Richard, My Richard, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmund's review - too much history, not enough drama

Laura De Lisle

History is very present in Philippa Gregory’s new play about Richard III. Literally - History is a character, played by Tom Kanji. He strides around in a pale trenchcoat, at first rather too glib and pleased with himself, but quickly sucked into the action as Richard’s life plays out in front of him. If only Katie Posner’s production, which started at Shakespeare North Playhouse and is now at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmund’s, could draw us in so powerfully.

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Player Kings, Noel Coward Theatre review - inventive showcase for a peerless theatrical knight

Helen Hawkins

Shakespeare’s plays have ever been meat for masher-uppers, from the bowdlerising Victorians to the modern filmed-theatre cycles of Ivo Van Hove. And Sir John Falstaff, as Orson Welles proved in Chimes at Midnight, can be the star of his very own remix, bestriding three plays and dying offstage in a fourth. 

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Cassie and the Lights, Southwark Playhouse review - powerful, affecting, beautifully acted tale of three sisters in care

Gary Naylor

"In care". It’s a phrase that, if it penetrates our minds at all, usually leads to distressing tabloid stories of children losing their lives at the hands of abusive parents (“Why oh why wasn’t this child in care?”) or of loving parents separated from their sons and daughters by over-zealous bureaucrats (“Social workers tore our family apart”). 

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Gunter, Royal Court review - jolly tale of witchcraft and misogyny

Helen Hawkins

Many an Edinburgh Fringe transfer has struggled when it moves to the big city, but the Dirty Hare company’s Gunter, sensibly embedded in the Royal Court’s intimate Upstairs space, has settled in nicely, thanks.

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Underdog: the Other, Other Brontë, National Theatre review - enjoyably comic if caricatured sibling rivalry

Heather Neill

The Brontë sisters and their ne'er-do-well brother will always make good copy. The brilliance of the women constrained by life in a Yorkshire parsonage contrasts dramatically with the wild moors around their home, while their early deaths lend romance and tragedy to their life stories. Mythologised they may be, but their strength and determination are indisputable; to be successfully published novelists, albeit to begin with under men's names, was a notable feat.

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Long Day's Journey Into Night, Wyndham's Theatre review - O'Neill masterwork is once again driven by its Mary

Matt Wolf

Memory is a confounding thing. By way of proof, just ask the Mary Tyrone who is being given unforgettable life by Patricia Clarkson in London's latest version of Long Day's Journey into Night, which has arrived on the West End (and at the same theatre) a mere six years after the previous version of Eugene O'Neill's posthumously premiered masterwork; that one headlined a top-rank Lesley Manville in the same part.

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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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