sun 08/12/2019

National Theatre

My Brilliant Friend, National Theatre review - sleek spectacle almost eats its characters

It took no time for Elena Ferrante's two Neapolitan friends to join the ranks of great literary creations: Lenù as successful writer-narrator, critical of her past ambivalence; Lila the unknowable fascinator, her brilliance often diverted into...

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The Best Plays in London

London is the theatre capital of the world, with more than 50 playhouses offering theatrical entertainment. From the mighty National Theatre to the West End, the small powerhouses of the Donmar Warehouse and the Almeida and out to the fringe...

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The Antipodes, National Theatre review - mysterious and gently momentous

The National Theatre is forging its own special relationship with American playwright Annie Baker, having now produced three of her plays within four years, all in their smallest Dorfman space. The result has allowed a gathering acquaintance...

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Translations, National Theatre review - stunning revival of poignant tragicomedy

At a point in history where – yet again – a few misplaced words from English politicians could wreak havoc with Irish lives, this is a welcome revival of Ian Rickson’s stunning production which first played here to rapturous reviews last year. Brian...

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'Master Harold' ... and the Boys, National Theatre review - timelessly moving

Time has been kind to Athol Fugard's "Master Harold"...and the Boys. It's a stealth bomb of a play that I saw in its world premiere production in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1982 and that has been a regular part of my playgoing life ever since. Yes,...

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Faith, Hope & Charity, National Theatre review - a grim compassion

Alexander Zeldin continues his devastating analysis of modern Britain in this culminating play of a (very loose) trilogy that started with 2014’s Beyond Caring, followed by LOVE two years after that. These are bleak dramas that show human...

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Hansard, National Theatre review - starry argument ends poorly

In the current feverish atmosphere at Westminster, with arguments about Brexit becoming increasingly shrill, the time is right once more for political theatre: serious plays about serious issues. Oddly enough, however, while television has...

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The Secret River, National Theatre review - turbulent tale of Australia's past

Neil Armfield’s resonant, turbulent production of Kate Grenville’s classic Australian novel The Secret River sing out from the stage of the Olivier like an epic, with its conflicts, culture clashes, and quest for new territories. But there are no...

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Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear the Musical, National Theatre review – gleefully subversive family musical

A great hunk of rotting meat hangs centre stage, suspended over a rusty wheelbarrow. A figure in a bloody butcher’s apron picks through the stalls, searching for cans of ‘xxxtra cheap lager’. From the direction of the band, sinister Wurlitzer sounds...

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Peter Pan, Troubadour White City review - off to a flying start

London’s Troubadour White City theatre has got off to a, literally, flying start. Sally Cookson‘s National Theatre-Bristol Old Vic adaptation of JM Barrie’s classic makes an exuberant comeback at this new venue, whose technical possibilities allow...

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Peter Gynt, National Theatre review - towering protagonist, middle-way production

Like Hamlet and both parts of Goethe's Faust, with which it shares the highest peak of poetic drama, Ibsen's Peer Gynt is very long, timeless enough to resonate in a contemporary setting and sufficiently ambiguous in its mythic treatment of the...

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Jellyfish, National Theatre review - Ben Weatherill's play hits the right notes

The intense relationship between a single parent and a single child is ramped up to its highest level when it involves a mother whose daughter has learning disabilities. From that dynamic, writer Ben Weatherill has crafted a warm, engaging and...

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