mon 18/12/2017

Theatre Reviews

Aladdin, Richmond Theatre review - great Dame, weak script

veronica Lee

It's always good news when Christopher Biggins announces he's going to don false bosoms again to play a panto Dame, and Aladdin offers lots of frock action in the role of Widow Twankey, Aladdin's washer-woman mum. So hopes were high for this show, which also stars Count Arthur Strong as Emperor Ming.

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The Jungle, Young Vic review - physically and emotionally challenging

aleks Sierz

Refugees, it is said, have no nationality – they are all individuals. This new docu-drama, deftly put together by theatre-makers Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, is a sombre account of a couple of recent years of the great European migration crisis, and acts as a testament to the individuality and complexity of the refugee experience.

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Pinocchio, National Theatre review - boy puppet lifts off, eventually

David Benedict

From Nicholas Hytner and Alan Bennett’s wonderfully nostalgic version of The Wind in the Willows through Coram Boy, the international smash hit War Horse and beyond, the National Theatre has a startling track record in turning what used to be patronisingly regarded as “family...

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Belleville, Donmar Warehouse review - prickly and unnerving

matt Wolf

The city of love provides a backdrop for marital discord and worse in Belleville, Amy Herzog's celebrated Off Broadway play now receiving a riveting British premiere at the Donmar.

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Jack and the Beanstalk, New Wimbledon Theatre review - Al Murray's panto debut

veronica Lee

It raised some eyebrows when Al Murray announced he was to make his pantomime debut – top comics rarely make that crossover these days – but, considering his alter ego The Pub Landlord is already an over-the-top creation, the character fits right into this production.

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Julius Caesar, RSC, Barbican review - Roman bromance plays straight

william Ward

Even more than some of Shakespeare’s other histories, Julius Caesar inevitably offers itself to “topical interpretation”, a Rorschach test of a play which directors short of an original idea can extrapolate to project their own political aperçus upon.

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Misalliance, Orange Tree Theatre review - smashing Edwardian comedy is a festive treat

Jenny Gilbert

If this play really were “A Debate in One Sitting” as its author called it in 1909, it would have sunk without trace. “Talk, talk, talk, talk”, complains Hypatia Tarleton (Marli Siu), daughter of an Edwardian underwear magnate. Sick to death of the menfolk talking at her and over her, she longs to be “an active verb”, and we sympathise.

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The Twilight Zone, Almeida Theatre review - from hokum to humanity

david Nice

Director Richard Jones watched all 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone as research for this Almeida production.

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Antony and Cleopatra, RSC, Barbican review - rising grandeur

tom Birchenough

Is there a key to “infinite variety”? The challenge of Cleopatra is to convey the sheer fullness of the role, the sense that it defines, and is defined by only itself: there’s no saying that the glorious tragedy of the closing plays itself out, of course, but its impact surely soars only when the ludic engagements of the first half have drawn us in equally.

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Cell Mates, Hampstead Theatre review - intriguing yet opaque

matt Wolf

The play that famously got away when one of its stars (quite literally) jumped ship is back. In 1995, Stephen Fry abandoned the West End premiere of Simon Gray's espionage drama Cell Mates, leaving co-star Rik Mayall in the lurch and prompting Gray to write a particularly dyspeptic account of the bizarre goings-on called Fat Chance.

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