thu 18/07/2024

Theatre Reviews

The Merchant of Venice 1936, Criterion Theatre review - radical revamp with a passionate agenda

Helen Hawkins

It’s an unhappy time to be staging Shakespeare’s problematic play, given its antisemitic content, so hats off to adaptor-director Brigid Larmour and actor Tracy-Ann Oberman for persevering with this updated version, now in the West End. Their ambition to make Shylock a female anti-fascist has been hard won, though.

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The Big Life, Stratford East review - musical brings the joy and honours the past

Gary Naylor

Is there a healthier sound than that of laughter ringing round a theatre? 

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Hir, Park Theatre review - incendiary production for Taylor Mac's rich absurdist family drama

Helen Hawkins

In 2017, two years after Hir premiered, Taylor Mac was awarded a “Genius Grant” and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for drama. The new production of Hir at the Park demonstrates why. It’s a rich, provocative piece about the ideas that drive us now, thrown into a blender and blitzed.

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Samuel Takes a Break... in Male Dungeon No. 5 after a long but generally successful day of tours, The Yard Theatre review - funny and thought-provoking

Gary Naylor

You do not need to be Einstein to feel it. If the only dimension missing is time, 75% of a place’s identity can invade your very being, hollow you out, replace your soul with a void. It happened to me at Auschwitz and it’s happening to Samuel at Cape Coast Castle, Ghana.

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King Lear, Almeida Theatre review - Danny Sapani dazzles in this spartan tragedy

Mert Dilek

Less than three years after her magnificent Macbeth, Yaël Farber returns to the Almeida with another Shakespeare tragedy. Her take on King Lear (main picture) offers a full-bodied, slow-burn version of this devastating drama, where Danny Sapani’s masterful performance as Lear sears the stage.

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Hadestown, Lyric Theatre review - soul-stirring musical gloriously revamps classical myths

Mert Dilek

Doom and gloom, we are told, may have abounded in the classical underworld, but Hadestown suggests otherwise. Returning to London five years after its run at the National Theatre, this time with a slew of Tony Awards, this bracing musical proves its mettle as a heart-warming and atmospheric feast of deeply soulful tunes.

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An Enemy of the People, Duke of York's Theatre - performative and predictable

Matt Wolf

Real life is a helluva lot scarier right now than you might guess from the performative theatrics on display in the new West End version of An Enemy of the People, which updates Ibsen's 1882 play to our vexatious modern day.

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Double Feature, Hampstead Theatre review - with directors like these, who needs enemies

Demetrios Matheou

It’s awards season in the film world, which means that we’re currently swamped by hyperbolic shows of love and respect – actors and their directors gushing about how each could simply never have reached their creative heights without the other. Of course, it’s not always like that; there is plenty of hell unleased on a movie set. 

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Turning the Screw, King’s Head Theatre review - Britten and the not-so-innocent

David Nice

David Hemmings was, by his own later admission, a knowing and bumptious boy when Britten cast him as the ill-fated Miles in his operatic adaptation of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw. The upheaval Hemmings wrought in Aldeburgh’s Crag House when Britten and his life-partner Peter Pears were living there has potential for a similar ambiguity to the opera’s carousel of what’s innocent and what’s “depraved,” and Kevin Kelly has realized the essential drama in it.

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The Hills of California, Harold Pinter Theatre - ladies' night for Jez Butterworth

Matt Wolf

Art makes for unexpected bedfellows, and so it proves in Jez Butterworth's moving if meandering The Hills of California.

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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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