tue 19/10/2021

family relationships

The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Lyric Hammersmith review - matchless revival of a contemporary classic

“You can’t kick a cow in Leenane without some bastard holding a grudge for 20 years,” sighs Pato Dooley (Adam Best) prophetically; he has already started making his escape from that particular Galway village, doing lonely stints on London building...

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Rice, Orange Tree Theatre review - whip-smart, but unsure where it stands

“Careful, there’s a hole in the floor.” The warning’s an unusual one, passed along conscientiously by the stewards at the door of the tiny Orange Tree Theatre.The hole in question is long and angular and will soon be filled with water, stretching...

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First Person: Rachel O'Riordan on the enduring power of a sad, funny, and extraordinary play

The Beauty Queen of Leenane is a vicious, sad and extraordinary play.On the surface, Martin McDonagh's play, first seen 25 years ago and revived now in a collaboration between Chichester Festival Theatre and my home base, the Lyric Hammersmith...

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Marcin Wicha: Things I Didn’t Throw Out review - the stories told by stacks of stuff

Marcin Wicha’s mother Joanna never talked about her death. A Jewish counsellor based in an office built on top of the rubble of the Warsaw Ghetto, her days were consumed by work and her passion for shopping. Only once did she refer to her passing,...

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Jonathan Franzen: Crossroads review - can goodness ever be its own reward?

It’s Christmas 1971 in New Prospect, a suburb of Chicago, and pastor Russ Hildebrandt has plans for time alone with Frances, an attractive young widow who’s just moved back into town.Important facts become quickly apparent: Russ resents his long-...

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What If If Only, Royal Court review - short if not sweet

Few sights speak so eloquently of loss, of an especially cruel and painful loss, as one glass of wine, half-full, alone on a table. A man speaks to a partner who isn’t there, wishes her back, but knows that she has gone. Then another woman...

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Shining City, Theatre Royal Stratford East review - occasional sluggishness alongside a true star turn

When Brendan Coyle, playing a modestly magnetic widower and sales rep called John in this revival of Conor McPherson's 2004 play Shining City, first appears on stage, he looks thoroughly bewildered. His eyes dart back and forth as he initially...

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The Lodger, Coronet Theatre review - underdeveloped family drama

The Coronet Theatre is a beautiful space – it’s a listed Victorian building, and the bar’s like something out of a film about Oscar Wilde. Unfortunately, Robert Holman’s The Lodger, a new play about family and trauma, doesn’t live up to its...

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Rose Plays Julie review - a sombre story of rape, adoption and a search for identity

Rose (Ann Skelly; The Nevers) is adopted. The name on her birth certificate is Julie and the possibility of a different identity – different clothes, different hair, different accent - beckons. If she could embrace this second life, she thinks, she...

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Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane review - twinkling spectacle with a sincere drama at its heart

Let it snow! The Broadway musical adaptation of the Disney film behemoth Frozen premiered back in 2018 and now, following Covid delays, a rejigged version finally makes its home in the West End – to the delight of the army of miniature Elsas in...

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Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury review - dazzling Disney rewrite

Bedknobs and Broomsticks has always suffered from not being Mary Poppins, the movie delayed in development and released in 1971 (it is a Sixties film in tone and technology) and always seeming to appear later on the BBC’s Christmas Disney Time...

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The Nest review – intriguing, off-kilter family drama

The Nest is a peculiar animal, hard to nail down, parts family drama and social satire, but with a creepy sense of suspense rippling under the surface that threatens to bust the plot wide open. The fact that it’s written and directed by...

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