tue 19/10/2021

National Theatre

The Normal Heart, National Theatre review - Ben Daniels triumphant

Hypocrisy. Is this the right word? I don’t mean the play, but the audience. Of course, in the middle of the current COVID 19 crisis, there’s bound to be a certain amount of discomfort when watching Larry Kramer’s 1985 modern activist classic about...

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Rockets and Blue Lights, National Theatre review - strong, but inconclusive

For more than three decades, playwright Winsome Pinnock has been at the forefront of new writing, often experimenting with form as well as documenting the lives of black Britons. Her new play’s original opening at the Royal Exchange Theatre in...

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Paradise, National Theatre review - war, woe, and a glimmer of hope

Philoctetes, Odysseus, Neoptolemus: the men’s names in Sophocles’ Philoctetes are all unnecessarily long and weighed down by expectations. Poet Kae Tempest’s lyrical new adaptation for the National Theatre focuses on the chorus, spinning out the...

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Under Milk Wood, National Theatre review - Michael Sheen at his most magnetic

There's commanding, and then there's Michael Sheen, who sweeps on to the Olivier stage 15 minutes or so into the new National Theatre revival of Under Milk Wood and scoops up the entire production with it. Inheriting a role made to order for this...

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After Life, National Theatre review - thanks for the memories

Limbo, in Jack Thorne’s latest play, is a room lined ceiling-high with drawers, a sort of morgue rebooted as a vast filing system. It apparently provides comfy accommodation for the souls waiting to pass over, and its activities are run in tight...

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Romeo and Juliet, National Theatre online review - a triumphant hybrid

Shakespeare's enduring tale of star-crossed lovers is especially pertinent in a pandemic. The fatal plot twist depends on failed communication during an outbreak of pestilence, and one of the most famous lines is Mercutio's heartfelt, "A plague on...

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Dick Whittington, National Theatre at Home review - colourful and amiable entertainment

In a much-depleted and truncated pantomime season that withered on the vine, the National Theatre's debut production of Dick Whittington lasted only four performances before the show was cancelled; it has now released this recording, which will be...

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Best of 2020: Theatre

"Goodbye": The single word lingered heavily in the air last March 16, as the scripted closing both of the terrific Southwark Playhouse revival of The Last Five Years and as an ancillary farewell to live theatre. Late afternoon on that same day, in...

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Death of England: Delroy, National Theatre review - a furious if fleetingly seen sequel

Broadway tends to be the Darwinian environment where a show's opening night can also mark its closing. But such has been the Covid-prompted fate of the National Theatre's fiery return to the fray that Death of England: Delroy managed 11...

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An Evening with an Immigrant, Bridge Theatre review – poetic and engaging

When the history of British theatre’s response to COVID-19 comes to be written, the names of two men will feature prominently: Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr. The “two Nicks” were the creative force behind the National Theatre’s pioneering NT Live...

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Amadeus, National Theatre at Home review – wild dance at the edges of sanity

It is 41 years since Peter Shaffer ripped off Mozart’s respectable façade to reveal a foul-mouthed verbally incontinent child-man with no more ability to control his behaviour than his genius. Inspired by a short story by Alexander Pushkin that put...

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Theatre Unlocked 1: George Floyd remembered, a classic transformed, and a call to action re climate change

We're easing out of lockdown, haircuts are being had, and the theatre continually shape-shifts to accommodate these changing times. All credit to the 14 writers who have conjoined forces in urgency and haste to create 846, a collection of audio...

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