sat 20/04/2019

Theatre Reviews

Dunsinane, RSC/Hampstead Theatre

Veronica Lee

Scottish playwright David Greig’s new play, for the Royal Shakespeare Company in their London season at Hampstead, picks up where Shakespeare’s Macbeth left off (almost). We are in 11th-century Dunsinane, the seat of power in Scotland.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Rose Theatre

Sam Marlowe

It’s the pretext that reunites Judi Dench and Peter Hall to collaborate on Shakespeare’s comedy nearly five decades after they first ventured into the Athenian woods together at the RSC. But the conceit of conflating the fairy queen Titania with Gloriana doesn’t come close to lending Hall’s workaday production the necessary sense of enchantment. It’s performed on Elizabeth Bury’s sparse and decidedly...

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Jerusalem, Apollo Theatre

aleks Sierz

Looking at posters outside the Apollo Theatre, where the West End transfer of Jez Butterworth’s award-heavy Royal Court success opened last night, you might be tempted to start humming: “And did those feet in ancient time…” But such nostalgic sentiments are unlikely to survive the opening scene of this phenomenal play. Soon after the curtain, a symbolically faded flag of St George, rises, we see a familiar rural scene: under-aged kids stoned out of their minds, dancing in a thumping rave.

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A Life in Three Acts, Soho Theatre

Veronica Lee Bette Bourne and Mark Ravenhill: 'An unusual treat, from an East End childhood, through early gay liberation, Aids and the advent of queer theatre'

You may know the actor, drag artist and gay activist Bette Bourne from his portrayal of Quentin Crisp in the theatre, or perhaps his Lady Bracknell for English Touring Theatre (a role he was surely born to play) but outside the gay/theatrical London loop, he is less well known. That’s a shame because this charming and rather unorthodox piece of theatre shows that his life story - from an East End childhood, through early gay liberation, the scourge of Aids and the advent of queer theatre to...

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Really Old, Like Forty Five, National Theatre

aleks Sierz

Okay, now that you’re a citizen of Dystopia, and you’ve reached the regulation old age, it’s time to check into an approved care home. Please enter the Ark, and take your allotted bed. A government official will be with you in due course. Yes, that’s right, just take those pills and you will be fine. Will you be expecting visitors? Okay. Any problems, just ask Nurse. In Tamsin Oglesby’s satirical new drama, which opened last night at the National's Cottesloe space, the biblically named Ark...

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Waiting For Godot, Theatre Royal Haymarket

Matt Wolf

The wait is over. Less than six months after dramatic literature's defining tramps departed the West End, here are Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo) back again, with some new faces to flesh out Beckett's eternal verities about that grievous but also grimly funny thing we call life.

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Wet Weather Cover, King's Head Theatre

Sheila Johnston Unfair weather friends: Steve Furst (left) and Michael Brandon

"Plays about cinema tend to be written by people who have done some movies, come back and filled their fountain pens from their spleen," the Oscar-nominated screenwriter Larry Gelbart once told me. David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow is probably the best-known example, followed by such works as Christopher Hampton's Tales From Hollywood, Martin Crimp's The Treatment and, most recently, last week's ...

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The Whisky Taster, Bush Theatre

aleks Sierz

Synaesthesia is a tricky beast. It’s basically a neurological condition which condemns those afflicted with it to a life in which words evoke colours, and emotions can be experienced as colour. Sometimes it is almost playful, with the mere names of the days of the week evoking tonal sensations; at other times it is intensely painful, with the mere glimpse of a buzzy pattern causing dizziness or strong feelings conjuring up great blasts of colour, an unbearable onslaught of confusion and...

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The Little Dog Laughed, Garrick Theatre

Matt Wolf

Tamsin Greig takes her mighty stage chops to a new level in The Little Dog Laughed, a minor Broadway comedy that gets a major star performance from Greig in her first West End role since God of Carnage.

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Progress, Union Theatre

aleks Sierz

Sexual politics has always been fertile (oops) ground for comedy, and Doug Lucie’s vigorous satire — whose 1984 premiere starred Lindsay Duncan, David Bamber and Kevin Elyot — is here given a revival on the London fringe. We are in Kilburn during the Thatcher era, and the local trendy lefties have turned inward.

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