thu 18/07/2024

Theatre Reviews

Dear Octopus, National Theatre - period rarity is a real pleasure

Matt Wolf

Sisters are doing it for themselves, just as families as a whole are, too, on the London stage these days. Dear Octopus follows Till the Stars Come Down and The Hills of California as the third domestic drama I've seen in the last 10 days and in some ways the most surprising.

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Just For One Day, The Old Vic review - clunky scenes and self-conscious exposition between great songs

Gary Naylor

So, a jukebox musical celebrating the apotheosis of the White Saviour, the ultimate carnival of rock stars’ self-aggrandisement and the Boomers’ biggest bonanza of feelgood posturing? One is tempted to stand opposite The Old Vic, point at the punters going in and tell anyone within earshot, “Tonight Thank God it’s them instead of you”. 

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The Picture of Dorian Gray, Theatre Royal Haymarket review - inventive rollercoaster of a revamp

Helen Hawkins

Oscar Wilde’s 1890 novella The Picture of Dorian Gray has given the world a trope built for flattery, along the lines of: “You look so young, you must have a portrait growing old in your attic”. But how many who use this line have read the text itself?  

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Ragnarok, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh review - moving miniature apocalypse

David Kettle

In terms of conveying monumental events using small-scale means, Edinburgh’s Tortoise in a Nutshell visual theatre company has form. Their 2013 Feral, for example, depicted the social breakdown of an apparently idyllic seaside town using puppetry and a lovingly assembled miniature set, to quietly devastating effect.

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Many Good Men, Tynecastle Stadium, Edinburgh review - daring but flawed provocation

David Kettle

There’s been an incident in Edinburgh. Right near the Scottish Parliament. Several dead, many more injured. Among the witnesses were two of the capital’s young football stars, now clearly traumatised by what they’ve seen. Someone shouting about women running the world, inflicting their agenda on powerless men. Something needs to happen – these people should be hunted down, made to pay for what they’ve done.

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Fascinating Aida, London Palladium review - celebrating 40 glorious years of filth and defiance

Helen Hawkins

You don’t expect a couple of septuagenarian contraltos, aided by a spring chicken of a soprano in her fifties, to sing naughty ditties about jacksies and titties. Then again, if you are a Fascinating Aida fan, you do. 

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Othello, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse review - 21st century interpretation delivers food for thought

Gary Naylor

Detective Chief Inspector Othello leads a quasi-paramilitary team of Metropolitan Police officers investigating gang activity in Docklands. With a chequered past now behind him, he has reformed and has the respect of both the team he leads and his superior officers. But his secret marriage to Commander Brabantio’s daughter, Desdemona, unleashes a stream of racist invective from her father, triggering memories of abuse that are never far from the surface.

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Metamorphosis, Lyric Hammersmith review - vivid images, but where's the drama?

aleks Sierz

Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis is a novella whose cultural resonance has echoed loudly down the years. As a modernist metaphor for alienation in our times it has frequently been adapted for the stage. There have been classic, and popular, adaptations by Steven Berkoff and by David Farr and Gísli Örn Gardarsson for Vesturport theatre company.

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Bronco Billy, Charing Cross Theatre - schmaltzy musical brings the feelgood factor just when it's needed

Gary Naylor

When entering a particular, well-populated region of MusicalTheatreLand, one has to check in a few items at the border. Weary cynicism, the desire for narrative coherence, that nerve that starts to throb when sentimentality oozes across the fourth wall – all need to be left behind. Like pantomime and opera, if you bring those attitudes with you, a dry desert is all you will see, but if you buy in, sometimes, not always, you’ll find oases too.

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Till the Stars Come Down, National Theatre review - exuberant comedy with a dark edge

aleks Sierz

The National Theatre is meant to represent the whole nation  and not just the metropolitan middle classes. So it’s really good to see that Beth Steel  who comes from an East Midlands working-class background and was once writer in residence at this flagship venue  is having her latest play staged here in the Dorfman space.

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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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