sun 20/10/2019

Theatre Reviews

La Bête, Comedy Theatre

Sheila Johnston

Infamously, the first production of La Bête, David Hirson's literary satire set in 17th-century France and written in rhyming couplets, closed in New York after only 25 performances.

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Salome, Hampstead Theatre

aleks Sierz Princess as chavette: Zawe Ashton in the title role of Salome

The last time I saw Oscar Wilde’s biblical tale it was performed by dancer Lindsay Kemp at the Roundhouse in London, back in the 1970s, in a production that was high on dope, incense, strange vocal drawling - and which transported you very quickly to hippie heaven. Choked by clouds of fragrant perfume, weird in its singsong language and thrilling in its strangeness, this seemed like an ideal way of realising the crazy vision of this odd piece. But theatre is not about being faithful to fond...

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As You Like It/The Tempest, Old Vic, London

Veronica Lee The Tempest: Edward Bennett and Juliet Rylance as the lovers, and Stephen Dillane as Prospero

The second season of the Bridge Project - a transatlantic relationship forged between between Kevin Spacey, artistic director at the Old Vic in London, theatre and film director Sam Mendes, and Joseph Melillo, executive producer of the Brooklyn Academy of Music - which aims to make theatrical connections in a series of cross-cast co-productions with American and British actors, has opened with a double header of Shakespeare. At first sight, As You Like It and The Tempest ...

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Welcome to Thebes, National Theatre

alexandra Coghlan

“Tragedy reminds us how to live,” declares Moira Buffini’s democratically elected heroine, Eurydice. It’s a reminder the playwright herself and her latest work, Welcome to Thebes, is eager to provide. Following on the well-worn heels of last season’s Mother Courage at the National comes a new play that once again places women in the front line.

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Sucker Punch, Royal Court Theatre

Matt Wolf

The poster for Sucker Punch, Roy Williams's ambitious new play about boxing and race during the schism-prone age of Margaret Thatcher, promises a sort of black British Raging Bull: There in one graphic image are the blood and sweat, the bravado and the pain, of a sport that for self-evident reasons makes it to the stage relatively rarely. How do you set...

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Lulu, Gate Theatre

james Woodall

What kind of play is Frank Wedekind's Lulu? The answer is a very odd one, with a fractured writing history. Wedekind subtitled his original five-act exploration of raw femininity, in 1894, "A Monster Tragedy", then divided it into two: Earth Spirit and Pandora's Box.

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Through a Glass Darkly, Almeida Theatre

Matt Wolf

Perhaps it's because the Almeida had a major hit with Festen (well, everywhere but Broadway) that the Scandinavian back catalogue of movies seems every bit as ripe for plunder as is mainstream Hollywood when it comes to feeding musicals on Broadway and the West End.

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Like a Fishbone, Bush Theatre

aleks Sierz Sarah Smart (Mother) and Deborah Findlay (Architect): who is best authorised to represent a grieving community?

One of the many absent friends in contemporary British drama is the play that tackles questions of religious belief. At a time when more and more people take their faith more and more seriously, this lacuna at the heart — or should that be soul? — of new work is surely regrettable. But perhaps the tide is now turning: in May, Drew Pautz’s Love the Sinner at the National examined belief and sexuality; now Australian playwright Anthony Weigh, whose new play opened last night, wrestles...

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The Fantasticks, Duchess Theatre

Matt Wolf

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the musical theatre (Paradise Found, anyone?), along comes The Fantasticks, and we are returned to square one.

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After the Dance, National Theatre

David Nice

A pall of ennui hangs over the 1930s drawing room of the National’s latest Rattigan revival, as deadly as the boredom its burnt-out party people all dread.

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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.

 

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This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman

 

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