fri 18/10/2019

Theatre Reviews

The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Young Vic

Carole Woddis

The Martin McDonagh phenomenon is a curious one. He burst upon the world in 1996, aged 26, born in Camberwell, the son of Irish parents. The quirk of fate that placed him in south east London may or may not have been the making of him. But by pure accident, and whether he actually knew the people involved or not, it aligned him with what was to become the abiding zeitgeist of the mid-Nineties: BritArt and Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.

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The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, Duchess Theatre

alexandra Coghlan

How do you construct a compelling play about the greatest of fictional detectives without either mystery or reveal? The cryptic answer, in the form of Jeremy Paul’s 1988 theatrical two-hander The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, is far from elementary.

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Pygmalion, Chichester Festival Theatre

bella Todd

Revivals of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion are generally too busy making an artistic case for the play over the My Fair Lady musical to worry about listening out for contemporary resonances. But in many ways Simon Cowell is the Henry Higgins of our day: betting with his fellow X-Factor judges that he can pass off such-and-such under-privileged teen as a pop star; putting them through their paces before a rigorous public test; and showing little regard for what...

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Lingua Franca, Finborough Theatre

aleks Sierz

While films frequently spawn sequels and prequels, theatre — with the spectacular exception of the Bard’s history plays — tends to go for one-offs. In Peter Nichols’s new play, which opened at the tiny Finborough fringe theatre last night, the main character is called Steven Flowers — and yes, those of you who are paying attention have by now correctly guessed that is a follow-up to Privates on Parade, Nichols’s hit play of 1977 (last revived at the Donmar in 2001). But as well as...

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Henry IV Parts One & Two, Shakespeare's Globe

james Woodall

Shakespeare’s two-part Henry IV cycle locks together the first modern plays in English. They strive for something quite new in drama, retaining a structural boldness and complexity seldom encountered in contemporary theatre. That's how "modern" they are (or seem).

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Aspects of Love, Menier Chocolate Factory

Matt Wolf

The Menier Chocolate Factory could scarcely be on mightier form, or so it seems, punching far beyond its weight as a small, out-of-the-way south London playhouse that is nonetheless responsible at the moment for five commercial transfers between London and New York.

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The Prisoner of Second Avenue, Vaudeville Theatre

Sheila Johnston

Jeff Goldblum is a big guy, 6'4" tall to be precise, and, though his character inhabits an improbably spacious, high-ceilinged New York apartment, he roves around it like a crazy caged animal in this intensely athletic and entertaining revival of Neil Simon's disturbing 1971 comedy.

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The Railway Children, Waterloo Station

alexandra Coghlan

"Oh! My Daddy, my Daddy!" It’s a cry that has echoed through the childhood of generations of English children, reducing all but the very staunchest to tears. Whether encountered through Edith Nesbit’s book or the classic 1970 film, The Railway Children is a national touchstone, sitting alongside Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland at the core of a proper English upbringing.

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I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw The Sky, Theatre Royal Stratford East

David Nice Stewart Charlesworth's closety cop arrests Leon Lopez's Dewain while Leila (Cynthia Erivo), David (Jason Denton) and Tiffany (Natasha J Barnes) look on

John Adams thinks his and poet June Jordan's fantasia on love in a time of earthquake flopped at its 1995 Berkeley premiere for two main reasons. The characters - three blacks, two whites, a Hispanic and an Asian - were deemed too self-consciously multiculti: odd when America knew that was just how LA was then, even more so than Stratford...

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Nevermore, Barbican Theatre

alexandra Coghlan Bretta Gerecke's costumes are Edward Gorey by way of Tim Burton

If there was an opposite to the limitless “ever after” of fairytales, the relentlessly nullifying "nevermore" of Edgar Allan Poe’s raven would come pretty close. A deformed, sickly smiling "musical fable for adults", the ominously named Nevermore is Canadian theatre company Catalyst’s grim(m) take on the life of that greatest of storytellers, Poe himself. Had Little Red Riding Hood decided to meet the Wolf at an S&M club for a spot of burlesque (and had Nick Cave been on hand to...

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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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