mon 09/12/2019

Theatre Reviews

Shun-kin, Complicite, Barbican Theatre

alexandra Coghlan

Complicite’s Shun-kin delivers sex and violence aplenty. A warped, wilfully kinky fusion of the two lies at the core of the play and its central relationship – sexy, edgy material with just the right degree of poetry to help smooth its way across the sophisticated palate of London’s theatre-goers. Yet to dwell on this is both to misunderstand and misrepresent Simon McBurney’s generous drama...

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Songs from a Hotel Bedroom, Linbury Studio

Edward Seckerson Frances Ruffelle and Nigel Richards wax lyrical with Weill

Where has this idea come from that Kurt Weill somehow lost his edge or, worse yet, sold out when he headed Stateside? Have the people who perpetrate this nonsense actually heard the Broadway shows? The diversity of subject matter, the individuality of the melodic style, the willingness to be easily assimilated and to embrace and to challenge a tradition that was growing in ambition and sophistication – this was the American Weill. As his wife Lotte Lenya put it: there were never two Weills...

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The Price of Everything, Stephen Joseph Theatre

Veronica Lee Master of all he surveys: Andrew Dunn as self-made businessman Eddie in 'The Price of Everything'

The TMA regional theatre awards are about to be announced, which makes it perfect timing to visit a nominee - one of the UK’s most influential venues, the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. The SJT was the country’s first theatre in the round and has been associated with new writing since it was established, as the Library Theatre, in 1955.

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Novecento, Trafalgar Studios

alexandra Coghlan Mark Bonnar: A bravura display of technique and dramatic stamina

Offbeat in more than just their rhythms, jazz musicians have always had an affinity to the extraordinary, living lives syncopated against the regular tread of society. Maybe it was the informality of their training, or the influence of brothels, bars and back streets that were their concert halls, but the likes of Buddy Bolden and Django Reinhardt have left a legacy of autobiography every bit as bold and unusual as their music. It is in this legacy that Alessandro Baricco’s fictional pianist...

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Palace of the End, Arcola Studio 2, London

Carole Woddis Imogen Smith (Nehrjas), Robin Soans (Dr David Kelly): A daisy chain of images and words, carried on from one character to another'

With controversial documents – WikiLeaks and the David Kelly toxicology reports – once more hitting the headlines, Iraq is ever with us. As are its ghosts. Canadian playwright Judith Thompson’s Palace of the End, winner of the 2009 Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award, now at the Arcola Studio in Hackney in a spare, eloquent revival by Jessica Swale, figures three of them. It is a painful reminder of the human cost of a desperate and degrading period in their, and our,...

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Blasted, Lyric Hammersmith

aleks Sierz Hold onto me: Danny Webb and Lydia Wilson in 'Blasted'

If any play of the past two decades deserves the label legendary it must be Sarah Kane’s debut, which was condemned as “this disgusting feast of filth” on its arrival in 1995, but is now firmly ensconced in the canon of contemporary playwriting. Although the shock of its original production, which in retrospect simply heralded the appearance of a distinctive new voice, has led audiences to expect a similarly frightful experience every time it is revived, subsequent productions have...

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When We Are Married, Garrick Theatre

Matt Wolf He Leica the liquor: Roy Hudd plays a bibulous photographer in J B Priestley revival

Those who want a taste of the way the West End used to be - that's to say, bustling star vehicles where the furniture isn't the only amply upholstered aspect of the evening - will relish When We Are Married, the 1938 J B Priestley comedy that tends to hove into view every 10 or 15 years, or thereabouts. But I wonder whether theatrical pleasure-seekers will be prepared for the tetchiness and rancour that have come to the fore of this once time-honoured comic warhorse. Indeed, take...

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Men Should Weep, National Theatre

Sam Marlowe

“It seems to me there’s nae end tae trouble. Nae end tae havin’ the heart torn out of you.” That’s the gut-wrenching cry of despair voiced by Maggie Morrison, the worn-down woman who is herself the heart of Ena Lamont Stewart’s vivid, sprawling 1947 drama. The piece was voted one of the 100 greatest plays of the 20th century in the National Theatre’s millennium poll; yet, aside from a landmark revival by Scottish company 7:84 back in 1982, it’s rarely been seen. Now young director Josie...

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The Thrill of It All, Forced Entertainment, Riverside Studios

aleks Sierz

It’s pretty hard to describe a Forced Entertainment show. But let’s try anyway: imagine a stage full of crazy dancers, the men in black wigs, the women in white ones, prancing around, flinging their arms in the air, mistiming their high kicks, and then running frantically up and down the stage. The lighting slides from bright white to sick pink, and the music is pop tunes with Japanese lyrics. Welcome to a wonderful world of controlled zany exhilaration.

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Red Bud, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs

Sam Marlowe

They drink, they swear, they get high, they play air guitar: but it all looks a little sad, and more than a little desperate, when the red-blooded, all-American dudes involved are middle-aged, with the beer guts and the emotional baggage to match. This new play by US writer Brett Neveu is a noisy riff on disillusion, ageing and the hollow promise of the American Dream. It’s a little over an hour long, and it’s fine as far at it goes.

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★★★★★

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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