sat 19/10/2019

Theatre Features

Desperate: How a disaster was born

Jasper Rees

In recent years theatre has sought assistance from a pair of popular art forms. Shows based either on movies, or on pop groups’ back catalogues, have become mainstays of the theatrical economy. So the latest musical to open in the West End has the whiff of  boardroom cynicism. What happens when you randomly select a famous film and an iconic songbook, yoke them together and shove them out in front of the footlights?


Opinion: Is acting now just for the privileged?

Jasper Rees

Knock knock. Who's there? Eamonn. Eamonn who? Eamonn Etonian. There's an Eamonn at No 10, an Eamonn is Mayor of London, an Eamonn is even Archbishop of Canterbury. Oh, and Eamonns are third and - for three more months - fourth in line to the throne. Recently Eton has started to dominate British film, television and theatre. In 2012 one Eamonn won an Emmy, another was given a Bafta and a third played a Shakespearean king on the BBC. 


Ayahs, lascars and munshis: staging The Empress

Tanika Gupta

It was over four years ago that I was commissioned by Michael Boyd,  then artistic director of the RSC, to write a play which I had vaguely pitched to him as “a costume drama set in the nineteenth century with Asians running around in it”. And here we are, finally, about to open an epic and ambitious play set over the last 14 years of Queen Victoria’s reign.


Thatcher: We are an impersonator

Jasper Rees

Mrs Thatcher famously presided over a huge rise in unemployment, but down the years she kept a large sorority of impersonators (and one male one) off the dole. She was lucky with her mimics, who included some of the great actresses of the age, and never luckier than when Meryl Streep (pictured below) inhabited the role of Britain's first female Prime Minister.


Why write about Ruth Ellis?

Amanda Whittington

"Why write about Ruth Ellis?"  It’s a question I’ve been asked many times in the run-up to The Thrill of Love and it’s a good one.  I’d like to know the answer, too. 


Richard Griffiths, 1947-2013

Jasper Rees

Richard Griffiths, who has died at the age of 65 from complications during heart surgery, will be remembered above all for three performances, two on screen and one onstage. In Withnail & I (1987), he embodied in Uncle Monty a predatory homosexual who, according to the film’s director Bruce Robinson, was based on Franco Zeffirelli. Many years later Griffiths found himself playing a character parked on the same spectrum in Alan Bennett’s The History Boys (2005).


theartsdesk in Malta: After Censorship

aleks Sierz

Legendary English playwright Edward Bond doesn’t often come to Malta, but when he does, he doesn’t suffer fools gladly. After the first performance of his Olly’s Prison — a stage version of the 1993 BBC television series — Bond takes the stage for a Q&A. Dr Paul Xuereb, who is the Mediterranean island’s premiere theatre critic, asks him: “Why are your plays so violent?” “They’re not violent,” replies Bond quietly. “Read the play.”


Manchester International Festival 2013 Preview

Peter Culshaw

Yesterday Kenneth Branagh was thanking Manchester – saying that he felt he had “come of age” the previous time he had performed Shakespeare in the city 25 years ago, the audience being so “generous, quick-witted and lively".


It's ladies' night on the London stage in 2013

Matt Wolf

The London theatre looks to be awash in great women of the English (and Irish) stage in a 2013 line-up of star roles that disproves the often-held assertion that the men get all the great stuff. Those who missed Hattie Morahan's award-winning Nora last summer in A Doll's House will have a second chance at the Young Vic in April, while Kim Cattrall brings her singular glamour to Tennessee Williams's Sweet Bird of Youth at the Old Vic come the summer.


Interview: Martin Crimp in the Republic of Satire

aleks Sierz

Playwright Martin Crimp defies labels. He has been called obscure and oblique, too difficult and, worst of all, too Continental. But although he is feted on the European mainland — George Benjamin’s opera Written on Skin, with text by Crimp, comes to the Royal Opera House next spring but it began its much-lauded European tour in Aix-en-Provence — he is also a quintessentially British playwright: his style is colloquial, socially aware and politically acute.



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A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway


Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.



This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman


Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.


Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.

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