mon 24/06/2019

Theatre Reviews

Eigengrau, Bush Theatre

aleks Sierz

One of the most common genres of contemporary Brit drama is the "me and my mates" play – usually stories about flatsharing twentysomethings. Although, over the past decade, this type of drama has been somewhat overtaken by the return of the family play, you can still spot the genre in new writing venues all over the country.

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Random, Royal Court Theatre at Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre

aleks Sierz

It's common to feel a real sense of doom when you approach the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre. But it’s not the dodgy hoodies that turn your legs to jelly, it’s the sheer ugliness of the architecture. Yes, aesthetically, this is urban hell. But it’s also the site of the Royal Court’s Local project, in which a rundown shop unit has been turned into a makeshift theatre.

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London Assurance, National Theatre

Veronica Lee

For the life of me I cannot understand why London Assurance is not performed more often. It’s a rollicking comedy, written in 1841 but which has a Restoration heart, with a cast list that includes a wideboy named Dazzle, a valet Cool, a servant Pert, a lawyer Meddle and - hold your sides - a horsey broad brandishing a whip named Lady Gay Spanker. Calm down, now.

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Love Never Dies, Adelphi Theatre

Matt Wolf

In movies and on TV we expect sequels and spin-offs and the perpetuation of a franchise whereby we follow Rocky, The Terminator, or whomever seemingly to the grave. But theatre has tended to take the high road: Chekhov never revealed whether the three sisters actually reached Moscow.

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Sweet Nothings, Young Vic

james Woodall He loves me, he loves me not: Kate Burdette as Christine (David Sibley as her father) in Luc Bondy's new Schnitzler farrago

Arthur Schnitzler belonged to a culture of inquiry and experiment, in which dreams and desire were crying out to be articulated and delineated; sexual needs were the unexplored stuff of life - how well Vienna painters like Klimt and Schiele knew this - and, as Freud worked it all out for us, not necessarily dangerous. Where better to bring this to flesh-and-blood life than on stage?

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Lord Arthur's Bed, King's Head Theatre

william Ward Spencer Charles Noll 'sparkles both as uber-twink yuppy Donald and saucy, sassy Stella'

Regular punters at the King’s Head are familiar with cheerily naked gay romps, they are quite a speciality in this much favoured North London haunt, possibly enhanced by the intimate dimensions of the theatre itself. In Martin Lewton's Lord Arthur's Bed the stark lighting and very basic set – a double bed and a dining chair – further highlight the sensation of almost prurient proximity, something almost immediately addressed by Ruaraidh Murray’s very in-yer-face Jim, who tells the...

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Ghost Stories, Lyric Hammersmith

Sam Marlowe

“There is no hell, there is no heaven. This, this is real, this is now, and here is where matters.” So Professor Philip Goodman, sceptical expert in parapsychology and debunker of superstition, assures us. Except that what we are watching isn’t real, it’s theatre. The Professor is actually Andy Nyman, creative partner of celebrated trickster and mentalist Derren Brown and co-author of Ghost Stories with Jeremy Dyson of comic grotesques The League of Gentlemen.

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Private Lives, Vaudeville Theatre

Matt Wolf

The Vaudeville Theatre is turning into London's de facto playground for female icons from American TV. A few weeks ago, the venue hosted the misbegotten local cabaret debut of Will and Grace star Megan Mullally, who had scarcely set foot on stage before announcing that she had left her star-making role of Karen at home.

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Moonfleece, Rich Mix

aleks Sierz

Although our culture is obsessed with youth, very few adults can connect directly with teenagers. Instead teens have become the object of our fears — there’s even a posh word for this: ephebiphobia. In drama, teens are often portrayed as a problem to be solved, and deprived of their own voices. By welcome contrast, Philip Ridley’s Moonfleece, which opened last night in London and will tour the north of England, is unforgettably teenage in every way — it is young, young, young!

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Ghosts, Duchess Theatre

Veronica Lee

It is difficult for modern audiences to appreciate just how shocking Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts was when it was first published in 1881. Its sexual and syphilitic storyline - how the sins of the fathers are visited upon their sons - was considered immoral, loathsome even, and audiences must have felt deeply uncomfortable watching their Victorian, Christian hypocrisies laid bare. So how to make Ghosts relevant to today’s theatregoers?

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