sat 06/06/2020

Theatre Reviews

Silence, Royal Shakespeare Company/Filter, Hampstead Theatre

Matt Wolf Making noise quietly: Katy Stephens plays the tinnitus-stricken Kate in 'Silence'

If your heart breaks a continent or more away from home, does it make a noise? Very much so in the scintillating Royal Shakespeare Company/Filter collaboration Silence, the second in a series of three RSC premieres at the Hampstead Theatre. Wedding Filter's interest in the synergy between technology and text with a subset of Shakespeareans who have been wandering...

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The Cherry Orchard, National Theatre

Sam Marlowe

A stench of decay rises from Howard Davies's production of this 1903 drama by Anton Chekhov. Ranyevskaya’s wooden home, designed with characteristic visual eloquence by Bunny Christie, is quietly rotting. Weeds sprout through cracks, the windows are filthy; an ugly pylon raises its arms in the foreground, its wires stretching into a future of seismic political and social change for which the family – and Russia itself – are so ill prepared.

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Macbeth, Everyman Theatre, Liverpool

philip Radcliffe

Has the King of Knotty Ash been usurped? I saw him embrace Shakespeare and play Malvolio here just 40 years ago. I’m talking about Ken Dodd, more used to playing the fool. Now, another upstart from Knotty Ash is even more ambitiously playing the King of Scotland. I’m talking about David Morrissey. No fool he.

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A Delicate Balance, Almeida Theatre

Matt Wolf An alcohol-fuelled Imelda Staunton lets rip as niece Lucy Cohu looks on

Serenity hangs by a fraying thread in the thrilling Almeida Theatre revival of A Delicate Balance, Edward Albee's 1966 Pulitzer Prize-winner about remembrance, fear, and somehow facing a new day. This particular playhouse has long been associated with Albee, from its (overrated) Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? through to various UK and even world premieres. But...

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Bette and Joan, Arts Theatre

David Nice

Don't go expecting the "But ya are, Blaaanche, ya are" Gothic of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?. After all, crazy Bette Davis and even phoney Joan Crawford must have been human behind the sacred-monster facade. Anton Burge's new play tries to show us just that in a two-hander set during one day of rehearsals for Robert Aldrich's shlocky B-movie in 1962.

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I Am the Wind, Young Vic

aleks Sierz

Today’s Britons are a minor miracle of globalised taste. Typically, we are amazingly eclectic: we eat curry and sushi, read Swedish novels or South American magic realists, dress like Italians, drive German cars, listen to world music. Our houses are full of Scandinavian design. Our favourite films are as likely to be made in China or Afghanistan as in Hollywood. So, watching the British premiere of a new play by Norwegian Jon Fosse directed by French theatre legend Patrice Chéreau, one is...

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All's Well That Ends Well, Shakespeare's Globe

David Nice James Garnon's comic sidekick Parolles (right) steals the show from juve lead Sam Crane (centre) and Michael Bertenshaw's apoplectic Lafeu (left)

Trust the "wooden O" to set the Shakespearean record straighter than usual. In John Dove's production, this is no problem play but a bright comedy where the immaculate plotting proves more admirable than its questionable characters. Its low cuddleability quotient will never make All's Well Everyman's favourite; the heroine has Rosalind's or Viola's resourcefulness and none of their charm as she pursues a callow, snobbish young man whom you can't at first blame for feeling cornered...

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The Passion of Port Talbot, NTW/WildWorks

Jasper Rees

To begin at the end, this was an astonishing creation, a piece of street theatre of transcendental power which no one who was there at the death last night could or will ever forget. Those witnesses included what felt like the whole population of Port Talbot who filled the streets in their many thousands - 5000?

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The Tempest, Little Angel Theatre/ Royal Shakespeare Company

Carole Woddis Parallel worlds: Puppet Caliban (Jonathan Dixon) with human Stephano (Brett Brown)

Puppetry has come a long way in this country. Once considered the domain of children’s theatre only, you’ll now be hard pushed to find a classical production where puppets are not used in some way. For this sea change we have to thank, amongst others, a couple of Canadian geniuses, Ronnie Birkett and Robert Lepage, and - almost single-handedly carrying the torch for puppetry as a grown-up form to be taken seriously in this country - John and Lyndie Wright, founders of the Little Angel...

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Tender Napalm, Southwark Playhouse

aleks Sierz

Playwright, film-maker and polymath Philip Ridley has had a great couple of years. All over the place, there have been powerful and revealing revivals of his 1990s classics, such as The Fastest Clock in the Universe. His 2000 play, Vincent River, enjoyed an outing in the West End and his 2005 shocker, Mercury Fur, got a new and exciting site-specific production.

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Advertising feature

★★★★★

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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