wed 25/04/2018

playwrights

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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The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Kneehigh on tour review - sweetest musical Chagalliana

Time flies so much more beguilingly in Daniel Jamieson and Emma Rice's 90-minute musical fantasia than it ever has, for me, in Bock and Harnick's Fiddler on the Roof – and the songs aren't bad, either. The inspiration here – and inspiration's the...

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The Birthday Party, Harold Pinter Theatre review - starry cast create a stunning masterpiece

Is modernism dead and buried? Anyone considering the long haul of Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party from resounding flop in 1958 to West End crowd-pleasing classic today might be forgiven for wondering whether self-consciously difficult literary...

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Best of 2017: Theatre

Year-end wrap-ups function as both remembrances of things past and time capsules, attempts to preserve an experience to which audiences, for the most part, have said farewell. (It's different, of course, for films, which remain available to us...

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Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle, Wyndham’s Theatre review – paradoxically predictable

Playwright Simon Stephens and director Marianne Elliott are hyped as a winning partnership. Their previous collaborations include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a massive Olivier award-winning hit, and her sensitive revival of...

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The Blinding Light, Jermyn Street Theatre, review – Jasper Britton is fascinatingly febrile

Anyone who likes playing “Spot the weirdo” will find themselves instantly at home in Howard Brenton’s new play, which has its world premiere in this West End fringe venue, a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus. Its subject is Swedish playwright and...

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The 'self-experimenter': Howard Brenton on Strindberg in crisis

I wrote The Blinding Light to try to understand the mental and spiritual crisis that August Strindberg suffered in February 1896. Deeply disturbed, plagued by hallucinations, he holed up in various hotel rooms in Paris, most famously in the Hotel...

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Knives in Hens, Donmar Warehouse review – Yaël Farber not symbolic enough

Hark, is that the call of the earth I hear? In a frenetic urban world, the myth of rural simplicity exerts a strong pull. Surely a simpler life is possible; a more natural rhythm and a slower pace? Oh yes, I can smell burnt peat, and almost scent...

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When Sam Shepard was a Londoner

Sam Shepard came to live in London in 1971, nursing ambitions to be a rock musician. When he went home three years later, he was soon to be found on the drumstool of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder tour. But in between, not long after he arrived in...

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