wed 05/10/2022

playwrights

The P Word, Bush Theatre review - persecution and pride

Britain is a divided nation, but one of the divisions that we don’t hear that much about is that between Pakistani gay men. Written by Waleed Akhtar (who also stars in this impressively heartfelt two-hander), The P Word is about the differences in...

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Silence, Donmar Warehouse review - documenting disaster

Partition equals trauma. It cannot have escaped anyone’s attention that the British Empire’s solution to intractable problems in three of its most important colonies and mandates – namely Ireland, India and Palestine – was the divisive device of...

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Middle, National Theatre review - a bit of a muddle

The traditional, and much derided, well-made play is meant to have a beginning, middle and end. Although playwright David Eldridge often writes in opposition to these outdate forms, his trilogy about relationships, which started in 2017 with the hit...

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Cock, Ambassadors Theatre review – brutal, bruising and brilliant

Mike Bartlett’s Cock invites suggestive comments, but the main thing about the play is that it has proved to be a magnet for star casting. Its original production at the Royal Court in 2009 starred Ben Whishaw, Andrew Scott and Katherine Parkinson....

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First Person: Tim Walker on crossing over from critic to playwright

The divide between theatre critics and the theatrical profession has always been a chasm, but occasionally a wire has been thrown between the two and plucky or foolhardy individuals have attempted to traverse it. A three-times-unsuccessful applicant...

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The Glow, Royal Court review – bizarre, beautiful and breathtaking

Bizarre. Breathtaking. Beautiful. I leave the Royal Court theatre with these Bs, as well as others such as bewitching and beguiling, buzzing in my mind. Alistair McDowall, whose previous plays include Pomona (2014) and X (2016), has created a mind-...

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Peggy For You, Hampstead Theatre review - comedic gold, and a splinter of ice, from Tamsin Greig

Was Peggy Ramsay a “woman out of time”? The celebrated London literary agent, who nurtured the talents of at least one generation of British playwrights, surely counted as a legend in her own lifetime (she died in 1991). Has she lasted beyond it?...

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Straight White Men, Southwark Playhouse review - an exciting Korean-American playwright arrives in the UK

The Korean-American writer Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men, currently enjoying its UK debut at Southwark Playhouse, is presented within a frame that cleverly and radically alters what’s inside it. That would be a sparkly prologue...

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Old Bridge, Bush Theatre review - powerful, poetic and profound

Is the Bosnian conflict of 1992–95 the war that Europe forgot? Maybe, although most fans of new writing for the British stage will remember its massacres as the inciting incident for Sarah Kane’s 1995 modern classic, Blasted. Certainly, this...

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Raya, Hampstead Downstairs review - a richly fraught reunion

Thirty years on, Alex and Jason meet at a university reunion and cab it back to Jason’s old student house where Alex is thinking “probably…” and Jason is thinking “probably not…”  - each, it turns out, with good reason. We look on as the clumsy...

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Tarantula, Southwark Playhouse online review – spine-tingling love and trauma

I think I can safely say that polymath playwright Philip Ridley has had a good lockdown. In March last year, when The Beast of Blue Yonder, his new show for Southwark Playhouse, was closed due to the pandemic, he came up with an idea called The...

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Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom review - keeping things theatrical

There was always bound to be a hint of melancholy watching George Wolfe’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Try as you might to focus on the film, you can never quite shake the fact that you’re watching the final performance of Chadwick Boseman, whose life...

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