fri 23/08/2019

Theatre Reviews

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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Mercury Fur, 3-4 Picton Place, W1

aleks Sierz

Imagine a future, a near future, in which gangs of teenage boys roam the deserted streets of the metropolis, selling hallucinatory butterflies and organising parties in squats for rich clients who have extreme tastes in sexual abuse. Imagine. This is the vividly conceived sci-fi world of Philip Ridley’s Mercury Fur, first staged in 2005 and now revived in an old London office block by the thrilling fringe company Theatre Delicatessen.

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Off the Endz, Royal Court Theatre

aleks Sierz

Over the past decade, much of the energy in new writing has come from black Britons. Homegrown talents such as Roy Williams, debbie tucker green and Kwame Kwei-Armah have sent us updates about the state of hybrid, streetsmart culture, and alerted us to the experiences of minorities. In doing so, they have reinvented punchy dialogue, with stage chat that zips along with dizzy humour and linguistic freshness.

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Serenading Louie, Donmar Warehouse

Matt Wolf Jason vs. Jason: An American face-off, ca. 1970

American spiritual anomie, that beloved realm of cultural enquiry that has fuelled the likes of Revolutionary Road and Ordinary People and much else besides, gets its latest theatrical airing in the form of Serenading Louie, a Lanford Wilson play that is almost as infrequently seen States-side as it is here. Now, here it is at the Donmar, in a mournful, acutely...

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Dunsinane, RSC/Hampstead Theatre

Veronica Lee

Scottish playwright David Greig’s new play, for the Royal Shakespeare Company in their London season at Hampstead, picks up where Shakespeare’s Macbeth left off (almost). We are in 11th-century Dunsinane, the seat of power in Scotland.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Rose Theatre

Sam Marlowe

It’s the pretext that reunites Judi Dench and Peter Hall to collaborate on Shakespeare’s comedy nearly five decades after they first ventured into the Athenian woods together at the RSC. But the conceit of conflating the fairy queen Titania with Gloriana doesn’t come close to lending Hall’s workaday production the necessary sense of enchantment. It’s performed on Elizabeth Bury’s sparse and decidedly...

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