sun 26/01/2020

National Theatre

The Welkin, National Theatre review - women's labour is a pain

History plays should perform a delicate balancing act: they have to tell us something worth knowing about the past, that foreign country where they do things differently, and also something about our current preoccupations. Otherwise, what's the...

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane, National Theatre review - terrifying, magical coming of age story

This scary, electrically beautiful adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s book about living on the faultline between imagination and reality is a fantastically alternative offering for the festive season. While the parameters of the story are dark, it’s an...

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Three Sisters, National Theatre review - Chekhov in time of war

Inua Ellams’ Three Sisters plays Chekhov in the shadow of war, specifically the Nigerian-Biafran secessionist conflict of the late 1960s which so bitterly divided that newly independent nation. It’s a bold move that adds decided new relevance...

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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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