tue 20/08/2019

Theatre Reviews

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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...

Read more...

theartsdesk MOT: The Woman in Black, Fortune Theatre

alexandra Coghlan

A good ghost story never ends. Its twirling impetus sets a narrative top in motion that continues to spin indefinitely in the mind, propelled by the force of a listener’s imagination. As good ghost stories go, The Woman in Black is among the most insidious, having reduced audiences of metropolitan adults to whimpering, night-light clutching infants since 1987.

Read more...

Earthquakes in London, National Theatre

aleks Sierz

What sound does a screaming foetus make? It’s not the kind of question that most theatre plays provoke you to ask, but Mike Bartlett’s new piece about climate change is not a normal play. At the end of the first half of this rollercoasting epic, dazzlingly directed by Enron maestro Rupert Goold and which opened last night, the image of a foetus crying out in the womb seems perfectly reasonable.

Read more...

Stephen Sondheim at 80, Royal Albert Hall

David Nice

Everybody in the business says don’t think Sondheim is easy. I’ve seen galas where big names stumbled in under-rehearsed numbers, and last night Bryn Terfel and Maria Friedman slipped and almost fell on the same banana skins that had done for them in a hastily semi-staged Sweeney Todd. Not enough to matter, though, and they rightly brought the house down. And the show as a whole?

Read more...

Alan Moore's Unearthing, Old Vic Tunnels

joe Muggs

It's very hard to ever know what to expect from Alan Moore, the Mage of Northampton. The author of era-defining comics like Watchmen, V For Vendetta and From Hell has long maintained that art and magic are one and the same, and since the mid-1990s his works have often tended to be long and complex explications of various occult principles, which while eye-opening can often lose readers in all their baroque unfoldings.

Read more...

theartsdesk MOT: The Phantom of the Opera, Her Majesty's Theatre

alexandra Coghlan

With summer now fully upon us, and tourists flocking to the West End, it seems a good time to lift the bonnet on the tireless engine of London’s long-running hit shows.

Read more...

Anne Boleyn, Shakespeare's Globe

David Nice

Never have the Tudors seemed so real. After decades of TV and film characters keeping us at a teasing, ermined distance, Hilary Mantel's dazzling novel Wolf Hall brings it all to life as never before, and the Globe's still-running Henry VIII has vigorously built on that. But the Stuarts?

Read more...

The Prince of Homburg, Donmar Warehouse

Veronica Lee 'The Prince of Homburg': Charlie Cox moves from dreamily boyish lover to heroic leader of men

This, Heinrich von Kleist’s last play, was completed not long before he committed suicide, aged 34, in 1811, when the map of Europe - and indeed that of his native Prussia - was changing with indecent frequency. It is loosely (very loosely) based on the real Prince of Homburg and events at the Battle of Fehrbellin in 1675, and with its leitmotif of honour, duty and loyalty to the Fatherland, it is no wonder that the play was appropriated (with suitable adjustments) by the National...

Read more...

Pages

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

latest in today

Prom 43: Haefliger, BBCSO & Chorus, Oramo review – the f...

Time was, not long ago, when the very word “premiere” was enough to ensure a sizeable smattering of red plush holes in the Royal Albert Hall...

The Day Mountbatten Died, BBC Two review - the IRA's au...

It was a lovely summer’s day in southern England, much as it was in County Sligo. I was with my parents, driving to visit a very elderly relative...

Making new waves: Royce Vavrek on forging a libretto from La...

It was during the 1997 Golden Globe Awards telecast that I first caught a glimpse of the...

DVD/Blu-ray: The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

Fred Schepisi’s The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978) was the...

Prom 41: Ghindin, LPO, Jurowski review - perfect sound in a...

It was a Disney theme-park of Russian music, and in an entirely good way: none of the usual rides, but plenty of heroes and villains, sad spirits...

Edinburgh International Festival 2019: MacMillan birthday co...

To celebrate the 60th birthday of Sir James MacMillan, the...

CD: New Model Army - From Here

Justin Sullivan, the last remaining original member of Bradford post-...

Niall Griffiths: Broken Ghost review - Welsh visions of hope...

The trend-hopping taste-makers who run British literary publishing have lately decided that “working-class” writing merits a small dole of their...

Edinburgh International Festival 2019: Eugene Onegin, Komisc...

Returning to Edinburgh International Festival, Berlin's Komische Oper brought Barrie Kosky’s sumptuous production of Eugene Onegin to the...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Phil Manzanera - Diamond Head

Diamond Head was Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera’s first solo album. Released in May...