wed 20/06/2018

playwrights

Fatherland, Lyric Hammersmith review - loud and proud, shame about the content

Masculinity, whether toxic or in crisis (but never ever problem-free), is a hardy perennial subject for British new writing, and this new piece from playwright Simon Stephens, Frantic Assembly director Scott Graham and Underworld musician Karl Hyde...

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Translations, National Theatre review - an Irish classic returns with cascading force

What sort of physical upgrade can a play withstand? That question will have occurred to devotees of Brian Friel's Translations, a play that has thrived in smaller venues (London's Hampstead and Donmar, over time) and had trouble in larger spaces: a...

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Tartuffe, Theatre Royal Haymarket review - dual-language production loses its way

The idea of producing a classic play in a mix of two languages is pretty odd. What kind of audience is a bilingual version of Molière’s best-known comedy aiming at, you wonder. Homesick émigrés? British francophiles with rusty A-level French?...

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King Lear, BBC Two review - modernised TV adaptation is a mixed blessing

Some have contended that King Lear is unstageable, and perhaps it’s unfilmable too. Richard Eyre‘s new version for the BBC sets Shakespeare’s most remorselessly bleak tragedy in a pseudo-modern Britain where historic stately homes co-exist with...

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Nightfall, Bridge Theatre, review - moving but over-exposed

Playwright Barney Norris is as prolific as he is talented. Barely out of his twenties, he has written a series of excellent plays – the award-winning Visitors, follow-ups Eventide and While We’re Here – as well as a couple of novels and lots of...

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Mood Music, Old Vic review - riveting critique of the music biz

Playwright Joe Penhall and the music biz? Well, they have history. When he was writing the book for Sunny Afternoon, his 2014 hit musical about the Kinks, he had a few run-ins with Ray Davies, the band’s lead singer. A couple of years ago The Stage...

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Absolute Hell, National Theatre review - high gloss show saves over-rated classic

Rodney Ackland must be the most well-known forgotten man in postwar British theatre. His legend goes like this: Absolute Hell was originally titled The Pink Room, and first staged in 1952 at the Lyric Hammersmith, where it got a critical mauling....

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The Prudes, Royal Court review - hilarious but frustrating sex show

Playwright Anthony Neilson has always been fascinated by sex. I mean, who isn’t? But he has made it a central part of his career. In his bad-boy in-yer-face phase, from the early 1990s to about the mid-2000s, he pioneered a type of theatre that...

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The Inheritance, Young Vic review - a long day’s journey into light

About a decade ago, theatre-makers started routinely describing themselves as being in the business of storytelling. And “storytelling” is most certainly the term that best describes Matthew Lopez’s two-part, seven-hour epic The Inheritance....

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Summer and Smoke, Almeida Theatre - exquisite renaissance of Tennessee Williams's neglected play

That this 1948 Tennessee Williams play is rarely performed seems nothing short of a travesty, thanks to the awe-inspiring case made for it by Rebecca Frecknall’s exquisite Almeida production. Aided by the skyrocketing Patsy Ferran, it also makes a...

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'These star-crossed lovers are so young': adapting Brighton Rock

I never have the idea of adapting anything at all myself. The suggestions always come from directors or theatre companies. Someone calls me to say, Would I be interested in adapting this book… and I say… "Let me read it and get back to you”, then I...

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'Why we understand each other': Peter Gill on The York Realist

Fingers on buzzers… Question: What’s the connection between Days of Wine and Roses, Small Change, Making Noise Quietly and Versailles? Answer: They’re all past Donmar productions directed by Peter Gill.But it’s not just his directing skill – no one...

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