sat 20/04/2019

Theatre Reviews

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Novello Theatre

Matt Wolf

The voice has landed, and what an astonishing sound it makes.

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Detaining Justice, Tricycle Theatre

aleks Sierz Hallelujah: the prayer meeting scene in Detaining Justice

The plight of asylum-seekers is no laughing matter, but that doesn’t mean that dramas about the subject have to be worthy, or dull. In fact, young playwright Bola Agbaje’s Detaining Justice, which opened last night, is an exemplary mix of laughter and tears. As the final part of the Tricycle Theatre’s trilogy examining the state of the nation at the end of the new millennium’s first decade, this play confirms the feeling that much of the energy in new writing is coming from black...

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The Priory, Royal Court Theatre

aleks Sierz Kiss 2009 goodbye: 'Suddenly you don’t feel like laughing any more'

If it’s not quite the time of year to start making New Year resolutions, then it’s not far off. Everywhere, you can read the signs: bright lights on the main shopping streets, merry cash registers ringing and the sound of yule logs being felled in empty forests. Plus chronic gift anxieties and a grim foreboding about the coming Election Year. In Michael Wynne’s new comedy, The Priory, which opened last night at the Royal Court, a New Year’s Eve party gives us a taste of what’s to come...

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The Line, Arcola Theatre

Matt Wolf

The habit of art - a favourite topic of late, or so it would seem - gets a pummelling in The Line, a sort of Several Decades in the Atelier with Edgar (as in Degas) that would defy even Stephen Sondheim to shake a wordy and dour play into impassioned life. Henry Goodman brings his customary fervour to an assignment whose...

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Cock, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs

Matt Wolf

Indecision takes the characters to the point of psychic collapse and beyond in Cock, the provocatively titled Mike Bartlett play that forsakes nudity for a far more troubling collective baring of the soul. Ben Whishaw is the name draw for a run that is already pretty well sold out, but James Macdonald's production is scathingly acted across the board; this is a play best seen with someone you fully trust.

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The Habit of Art, National Theatre

ismene Brown

It sounded a dry subject and a dry title for Alan Bennett’s first play for five years - a fictional meeting between composer Benjamin Britten and poet W H Auden 25 years after they fell out, two old buggers, one furtive, the other extrovert. But at last night's premiere The Habit of Art proved an excruciatingly funny play, ribald, merciless, and as much about the bad habit of Theatre as that of the higher-toned Art.

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The Making of Moo, Orange Tree Theatre

aleks Sierz

Reviving rarely performed plays is a high-risk strategy. On the one hand, there’s the chance of discovering a forgotten gem; on the other, there may be good reasons for the play being rarely performed. Nigel Dennis’s The Making of Moo was first staged at the Royal Court in 1957 with a cast that included Joan Plowright, John Osborne and George Devine, and provoked accusations of blasphemy. How has this satire on religion stood the test of time?

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Mixed Up North, Wilton's Music Hall

aleks Sierz

At first glance, verbatim theatre is a total bore. This form of drama, which collects the words spoken by real individuals and puts them into the mouths of actors, has been a central plank of the rebirth of political theatre since 9/11, but its pleasures tend to be cerebral rather than visceral, moral rather than physical. Attending a verbatim theatre event - such as Out Of Joint's latest show, Mixed Up North - usually makes you feel good as a citizen rather than as a person.

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Architecting, Barbican

Veronica Lee Kristen Sieh: Scarlett O'Hara in the TEAM's innovative play Architecting

There’s always a danger that when one raves about a play at the Edinburgh Fringe, seeing it a year later in another theatre and with a slightly different staging can be a disappointment. But that’s not the case with Architecting, a devised piece by New York-based ensemble the TEAM in a co-production with the...

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Shraddha, Soho Theatre

aleks Sierz Your mother should know: Miranda Foster and Jade Williams in Shraddha

Oh dear, poor Pearl is in a bit of pickle. She's 17, and her mum wants to know what she's doing talkin' to Joe, a young lad from the local estate. After all, Pearl is meant to be engaged to Clive, her childhood sweetheart. And he'd come running if only Pearl would whistle. But she ain't interest'd. Anyhow, Pearl's mum knows what's what, and she reckons that mixed marriages never work. You see, Pearl is a Romany Gypsy and Joe is just a "Gorger" boy - that's Romany for anyone who isn't "one of us...

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