tue 23/07/2019

Theatre Reviews

theartsdesk MOT: Dirty Dancing, Aldwych Theatre

ismene Brown 'Dirty Dancing': a class-crossing romance where the Fifties meet the Sixties with alarm

I suspect that more than half the audience that goes to see Dirty Dancing on stage has seen the 1987 movie, and that quite a few of them have seen the stage version more than once. There’s a strange feeling of being at a party where everyone knows everyone, and the party’s held nightly at the same house. It surely is not the misleading title that accounts for the wildly enthusiastic flow of fans - there’s nothing dirty about this squeaky-clean story, and there’s not that much...

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The Thunderbolt, Orange Tree Theatre

Matt Wolf

So much of this London theatre year has been spent watching American work that it's doubly bracing to find some genuine English dramatic rediscoveries interspersed amongst The Prisoner of Second Avenue and La Bête one month, Clybourne Park and (still to open) Deathtrap another.

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Clybourne Park, Royal Court Theatre

aleks Sierz

The American Dream is a great subject for theatre. Not only is it a powerful myth that animates millions, but it is also vulnerable to being subverted by generations of playwrights. Like an aged boxer, it is liable to being floored by a well-aimed punch. In Bruce Norris’s new play, which premiered in New York earlier this year and opened in London last night, comedy is the kick that topples the great giant of the American Dream.

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theartsdesk MOT: Wicked, Apollo Victoria Theatre

Matt Wolf

Wicked is that rare Broadway musical transplant to London that has recouped its costs - and how.

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theartsdesk MOT: Chicago, Cambridge Theatre

Matt Wolf

Chicago, in some ways, remains the great musical theatre surprise success of modern times. Bob Fosse's dissection of sex and violence in the Windy City had a respectable Broadway run back in the 1970s (898 performances in all), featuring a heavyweight cast, two of whose three stars (Gwen Verdon and Jerry Orbach) are, alas, no longer with us.Chicago, in some ways, remains the great musical theatre surprise success of modern times.

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The Merry Wives of Windsor, Shakespeare's Globe

Matt Wolf

A genuine, if unanticipated, phenomenon has emerged over time at Shakespeare's Globe, the Bardic-themed playhouse that these days is full more often than not and with good reason, too. Time was when the canon's lesser-known offerings could be counted on to play to not much more than a devoted few. Well, no more.

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Edinburgh Fringe: Shakespeare - The Man from Stratford/ Mick Ferry/ John Grant

theartsdesk

The premise of Jonathan Bate’s one-man play, directed by Tom Cairns, is simple but surprisingly effective: a trawl through the seven ages of Shakespeare, from babe to box, told through a mixture of biographical narrative illuminated by relevant scenes from Will’s work.

Shakespeare – The Man From Stratford, Assembly Hall ****

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Into the Woods, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

David Nice

Sometimes people leave you halfway through the wood. Sondheim meant that in a life-and-death kind of way, but it applied literally to this ingenious show at the autumnal August preview I attended. Some folk thought Act One’s knitting-up of polyphonic fairy-tale lines really was the happy end. Others found unseasonable damp gnawing their bones and slunk off to comforting warmth. Don’t go, I pleaded, it gets deliciously darker.

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theartsdesk MOT: Les Misérables, Queen's Theatre

alexandra Coghlan

For most people a 25th anniversary is cause for celebration – a party, a dinner, maybe a few speeches. If you are musical theatre phenomenon Les Misérables however, festivities operate on an entirely different scale. London struggles to support two opera houses, yet this anniversary year will be playing host to three separate (and briefly simultaneous) productions of Boublil and Schönberg’s classic show, including an all-star, cast-of-thousands spectacular at the O2.

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Sister Act, London Palladium

Matt Wolf Whooping it up: the one-time star of the two 'Sister Act' movies makes her London stage debut in a role originated by Maggie Smith

You can't move in London for American performers, whether it's the Yankee contingent of The Bridge Project at the Old Vic, or the presence at various addresses of Mercedes Ruehl, Jeff Goldblum, Glee star (and erstwhile Tony...

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