fri 18/10/2019

Theatre Reviews

Palace of the End, Arcola Studio 2, London

Carole Woddis Imogen Smith (Nehrjas), Robin Soans (Dr David Kelly): A daisy chain of images and words, carried on from one character to another'

With controversial documents – WikiLeaks and the David Kelly toxicology reports – once more hitting the headlines, Iraq is ever with us. As are its ghosts. Canadian playwright Judith Thompson’s Palace of the End, winner of the 2009 Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award, now at the Arcola Studio in Hackney in a spare, eloquent revival by Jessica Swale, figures three of them. It is a painful reminder of the human cost of a desperate and degrading period in their, and our,...

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Blasted, Lyric Hammersmith

aleks Sierz Hold onto me: Danny Webb and Lydia Wilson in 'Blasted'

If any play of the past two decades deserves the label legendary it must be Sarah Kane’s debut, which was condemned as “this disgusting feast of filth” on its arrival in 1995, but is now firmly ensconced in the canon of contemporary playwriting. Although the shock of its original production, which in retrospect simply heralded the appearance of a distinctive new voice, has led audiences to expect a similarly frightful experience every time it is revived, subsequent productions have...

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When We Are Married, Garrick Theatre

Matt Wolf He Leica the liquor: Roy Hudd plays a bibulous photographer in J B Priestley revival

Those who want a taste of the way the West End used to be - that's to say, bustling star vehicles where the furniture isn't the only amply upholstered aspect of the evening - will relish When We Are Married, the 1938 J B Priestley comedy that tends to hove into view every 10 or 15 years, or thereabouts. But I wonder whether theatrical pleasure-seekers will be prepared for the tetchiness and rancour that have come to the fore of this once time-honoured comic warhorse. Indeed, take...

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Men Should Weep, National Theatre

Sam Marlowe

“It seems to me there’s nae end tae trouble. Nae end tae havin’ the heart torn out of you.” That’s the gut-wrenching cry of despair voiced by Maggie Morrison, the worn-down woman who is herself the heart of Ena Lamont Stewart’s vivid, sprawling 1947 drama. The piece was voted one of the 100 greatest plays of the 20th century in the National Theatre’s millennium poll; yet, aside from a landmark revival by Scottish company 7:84 back in 1982, it’s rarely been seen. Now young director Josie...

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The Thrill of It All, Forced Entertainment, Riverside Studios

aleks Sierz

It’s pretty hard to describe a Forced Entertainment show. But let’s try anyway: imagine a stage full of crazy dancers, the men in black wigs, the women in white ones, prancing around, flinging their arms in the air, mistiming their high kicks, and then running frantically up and down the stage. The lighting slides from bright white to sick pink, and the music is pop tunes with Japanese lyrics. Welcome to a wonderful world of controlled zany exhilaration.

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Red Bud, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs

Sam Marlowe

They drink, they swear, they get high, they play air guitar: but it all looks a little sad, and more than a little desperate, when the red-blooded, all-American dudes involved are middle-aged, with the beer guts and the emotional baggage to match. This new play by US writer Brett Neveu is a noisy riff on disillusion, ageing and the hollow promise of the American Dream. It’s a little over an hour long, and it’s fine as far at it goes.

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My Romantic History, Bush Theatre

aleks Sierz Office romance: Iain Robertson in 'My Romantic History'

Let's face it, the rom-com has an image problem. Too often, this genre is tainted by either sugar-sweet sentimentality or crashing cliché, or both. Often, there’s something more than a little oppressive about the whole idea of romance, as if love’s natural idealism is too weak to withstand a cold dose of reality. But there are exceptions. And this show is one of them. It’s great to be able to welcome D C...

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Tribes, Royal Court Theatre

Veronica Lee

t's a nice historical twist that the Royal Court in London, a theatre once known for its kitchen-sink dramas, is having such a great run with plays about the middle classes; following the joys of Posh, Wanderlust and Clybourne Park comes Nina Raine’s Tribes, a belter of a play about a bohemian family who talk a hell of a lot but do very...

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Flashdance The Musical, Shaftesbury Theatre

Sam Marlowe Out of step: Victoria Hamilton-Barritt and friends in 'Flashdance'

They keep on coming, these screen-to-stage musical adaptations, noisy, bombastic, as unsubtle as juggernauts. The best of them offer up their uncomplicated entertainment with some pizazz; but Flashdance is a particularly vacuous example of the genre. You probably had to be female, and teetering on the edge of your teens, to enjoy Adrian Lyne’s critically derided film back in 1983 (I freely admit that I was, and I did): Tom Hedley and Joe Eszterhas’s screenplay is both shapeless and...

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Onassis, Novello Theatre

Matt Wolf It's all Greek to him: Robert Lindsay plays Aristotle Onassis in Martin Sherman's new play

What's the Greek for "oy"? All the bouzouki dancing and retsina in the world wouldn't be enough to make a satisfying play out of Onassis, Martin Sherman's rewrite of his own Aristo, seen two years ago at Chichester with the same director (long-time Sherman collaborator Nancy Meckler) and absolutely invaluable leading man (Robert Lindsay). The star gives the piece his customary highly theatrical all, in the process making you think perhaps the material really is the stuff of...

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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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