tue 29/09/2020

Theatre Reviews

Home Death, Finborough Theatre

Judith Flanders Malcolm Tierney and Ania Marson as George and Diana Melly

What is a "good" death? How do most of us want to die? These are not questions that we often stop to ask, particularly in the theatre, where deaths tend to be either heroic or sordid. Two years ago, however, the playwright Nell Dunn’s partner of three decades died slowly, painfully, of lung cancer. On his last day he felt as if he were drowning, but of the five NHS professionals who visited him at home, all were trained to prolong life, none to ease the suffering of the dying. Home...

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That Day We Sang, Opera House, Manchester

philip Radcliffe

The creative seed, once planted, can take a long time to germinate and come into bloom – in this case 37 years. For Victoria Wood, 1974 was a seminal year – she turned 21, she won New Faces and she saw a Thames TV documentary about the Manchester Children’s Choir who famously sang Purcell’s "Nymphs and Shepherds" with the Halle under Sir Hamilton Harty in the Free Trade Hall.

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Road Show, Menier Chocolate Factory

Matt Wolf Brotherly love, or not: David Bedella and Michael Jibson play the Mizners, Wilson and Addison, in Stephen Sondheim's latest

"Onward we go," the hearty but essentially hapless Wilson Mizner (David Bedella) remarks well into Road Show, the Stephen Sondheim/John Weidman musical that has been slow-aborning, and then some, since it first appeared in workshop form in New York as Wise Guys in 1999. Three titles and two directors later, the same material has been refashioned into the restless, always intriguing, fundamentally incomplete musical now at the Menier Chocolate Factory, the south-London venue...

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War and Peace at the Circus, Giffords Circus

ismene Brown

A village green, a little big top - and War and Peace. Sometimes large ambitions come in the smallest packages, and one can only take one’s hat off to the ambitious, pocket-sized Giffords Circus for setting out to squish Tolstoy’s four-volume epic of love and internecine war into a very small sawdust ring, with horses, jugglers, aerialists, clowns and gymnasts. And as you park your car on the green and wander over under the quiet afternoon sky to the cute white tent where a rackety...

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The Village Bike, Royal Court Theatre

aleks Sierz

For a couple of years now British theatre has been harvesting a new crop of young female talent. Market leaders such as Lucy Prebble (Enron) and Polly Stenham (That Face) have made a splash in the West End, and where they led many others have followed.

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Top Girls, Minerva Theatre Chichester

bella Todd

The remarkable thing about Caryl Churchill, Max Stafford-Clark has said, is that she is "completely new, every time she comes out of the box". Watching the first act to his revival of her most celebrated work, which Stafford-Clark revisits for Chichester Festival 29 years after he directed its Royal Court premiere, you feel Top Girls isn’t so much being lifted fresh from that box as bursting through the lid.

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Richard III, Old Vic

james Woodall

It's the hard-hitting hoedown of high summer. Old Vic supremo Kevin Spacey being reunited with director Sam Mendes for the first time since 1999's American Beauty was bound to make 'em whoop, and their new production of Richard III doesn't disappoint.

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The Beggar's Opera, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Veronica Lee

John Gay’s 1728 satirical drama was the first ballad opera. The vernacular work not only cocked a snook at the Italian operas that were so in vogue in 18th-century London, but it also lampooned Whig politician Sir Robert Walpole and the British love for scoundrels. It was an instant, huge hit; as a witticism of the time had it, The Beggar’s Opera made Rich gay, and Gay rich.

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Lullaby, Barbican Pit

alexandra Coghlan Octopuses perform a stately pas de quatre, tentacles aloft.

There are few absolutes left in contemporary theatre. Fourth walls have long since crumbled underfoot; site-specific and immersive theatre experiences have further done away with divides between theatre and world, performer and audience. The one principle you can rely on is that consciousness is generally a good thing – that a play capable of putting you to sleep is bad. Oh, and that turning up to an opening night in your pyjamas is guaranteed to get you sent straight home again. Step...

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Hundreds and Thousands, Soho Theatre

aleks Sierz

One of the many strengths of new writing for the stage is that it’s not afraid to go into the darkest and most upsetting places of the human psyche. Whether at the Royal Court or at the Bush or Soho theatres, young playwrights have dived in to explore the grimmest reaches of our imaginations. Hundreds and Thousands, which opened last night, is Lou Ramsden’s powerful and compelling account of one family’s descent into a nightmare.

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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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