tue 26/01/2021

Theatre Reviews

Ghost the Musical, Piccadilly Theatre

Matt Wolf

Death means learning to say "I love you" in the woozy world of Ghost, the 1990 film that has become a breathlessly vapid musical sure to keep hen parties happy for some while to come (especially now that Dirty Dancing has closed and Flashdance barely got going). The material is cheesy, often defiantly so, and it's here been polished to...

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A Woman Killed With Kindness, National Theatre

David Nice

Can Thomas Heywood's prosy Jacobean drama of country folk hunting, card playing, screwing around, sliding aristocratically into debt and harrowing one another to death translate successfully to the aftermath of the First World War? Only, perhaps, as edgy semi-farce, towards which Katie Mitchell's nervy, twilit production sometimes veers, not often intentionally. Acting to make you half believe in impossible characters might have saved it.

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theartsdesk MOT: Yes, Prime Minister, Apollo Theatre

aleks Sierz Power play: Richard McCabe and Simon Williams in ‘Yes Prime Minister’

Situation comedy relies on strong brands, and some ideas just run and run. Yes, Prime Minister is the stage version of the long-running 1980s BBC television shows Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister, which memorably starred Nigel Hawthorne and Paul Eddington. First seen at Chichester last year, the play now returns, with a new...

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In the Penal Colony, Young Vic Theatre

aleks Sierz

Kafka is a bit of a stranger to British stages at the moment, but elsewhere he remains a strong presence. In his short parables, as well as in his classic novels such as The Trial, he conveys a deep understanding of the human condition. But while European postmodern culture might shrug off his insights, he is still close to the heart of some Middle Eastern theatre-makers.

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Lay Me Down Softly, Tricycle Theatre

aleks Sierz Travelling, gentle man: Michael O’Hagan in ‘Lay Me Down Softly’

Until quite recently, plays about sport were as rare as British Wimbledon winners. Then, over the past couple of years, came a whole slew of plays about various sports, led by punchy stories about boxing, from Roy Williams’s Sucker Punch to Bryony Lavery’s ...

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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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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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