sun 26/03/2017

Theatre Reviews

The Kid Stays in the Picture, Royal Court, review – ‘sad, bad and sprawling’

aleks Sierz

The beauty of fiction is that its stories have both compelling shape and deep meaning – they are dramas where things feel right and true and real. The trouble with real life is that it’s the opposite: it is messy, frequently shapeless and often meaningless.

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An American in Paris review - 'stagecraft couldn't be slicker'

Jenny Gilbert

What’s in a yellow dress? Hope over experience? Reckless confidence? This is a legitimate question when the second big cross-Atlantic people-pleaser hoves into view featuring a girl in a frock of striking daffodil hue. It doesn’t take a degree in semiotics to translate this. Forget the bad stuff, people. C’mon, get happy.

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Love in Idleness, Menier Chocolate Factory

tom Birchenough

What's in a name? Terence Rattigan’s Love in Idleness is a reworking of his 1944 play Less Than Kind (never staged at the time, it was first produced just six years ago). It reached the London stage at the very end of the same year with the Lunts, the premier theatre couple of their time, in the leads.

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Roman Tragedies, Toneelgroep Amsterdam, Barbican

david Nice

It felt good to be encountering Shakespeare at his most political with a world event to smile about, for once (hailing, of course, from this brilliant Dutch company's homeland).

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Stepping Out, Vaudeville Theatre

veronica Lee

Richard Harris's award-winning comedy about a group of seven women and one man who attend a weekly tap-dancing class in a dingy north London church hall ran for three years from 1984 in the West End, from where it went to Broadway.

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A Dark Night in Dalston, Park Theatre

aleks Sierz

Michelle Collins, actor and TV presenter, is so strongly associated with her roles in EastEnders and Coronation Street that it is something of a shock to see her live on stage at the Park Theatre, and not behind a bar or in a snug.

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The Miser, Garrick Theatre

tom Birchenough

Trimmings, trimmings. They prove the final straw for Molière’s Harpagon in this new adaptation of the classic French comedy-farce. The menu for his wedding banquet – which he doesn’t want to spend a centime more on than he has to – is being concocted by chef-cum-dogsbody, Jacques. Soup, yes; a bit of meat, possibly.

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Romeo and Juliet, West Yorkshire Playhouse

graham Rickson

Amy Leach’s energetic Romeo and Juliet is fast, furious and a little breathless, the setting transposed from Verona to a fairly grim contemporary Leeds. Think West Yorkshire Side Story.

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My Country; A Work in Progress, National Theatre

aleks Sierz

Oh dear. The first play explicitly about Brexit is being staged by the National Theatre in a production that has all the acrid flavour of virtue signalling. It is well known that in the wake of the referendum vote to Leave the European Union on 23 June last year, shock waves affected artists all over the nation.

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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Harold Pinter Theatre

Heather Neill

Martha is described in the script of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as "a large, boisterous woman...ample but not fleshy". Imelda Staunton is petite, neat and trim, not obvious casting for the female lead in Edward Albee's most famous play. But she has formidable, coiled-spring energy and, when she wishes, a rasping voice that can cut like a hacksaw. She is less a blousy seductress, more a quick, flick-tongued viper. Martha's husband George should be "thin, hair going grey".

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