fri 17/09/2021

Theatre Reviews

Rock of Ages the Musical, Shaftesbury Theatre

Kieron Tyler

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, all women were dressed by Frederick's of Hollywood and all men were a cross between David Lee Roth and Jon Bon Jovi. The Eighties-set Rock of Ages is so outlandish, it might as well be set on another planet. Instead, the all-singing, all-dancing action centres on a bar along LA’s Sunset Boulevard.

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The Playboy of the Western World, Old Vic

Veronica Lee

It's difficult for modern theatregoers – in or beyond Ireland – to understand the extraordinary furore The Playboy of the Western World caused when it was first performed in 1907 at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin.

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Grief, National Theatre

aleks Sierz

A new play by Mike Leigh is always an event. So there was a palpable excitement in the air at the Cottesloe Theatre (the smallest and most intimate of the three National Theatre auditoria) when his latest opened last night.

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Street Scene, Young Vic Theatre

Sam Marlowe

“A simple story of everyday life in a big city, a story of love and passion and greed and death.” That was how Kurt Weill described Elmer Rice’s 1929 play, Street Scene, set on the front stoop of a New York brownstone in sweltering summertime.

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Broken Glass, Vaudeville Theatre

aleks Sierz

Arthur Miller is one of those geniuses whose plays are metaphor-rich even when their storytelling is slow. First staged in 1994, Broken Glass is surely his best late-period drama, and this revival, directed by Iqbal Khan, arrives in the West End after originally opening at the Tricycle Theatre last year. This time, the ever-watchable Tara Fitzgerald joins Antony Sher in the cast.

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St Matthew Passion, National Theatre

alexandra Coghlan

It’s not like we’re short of operas. Thousands of works spanning over 400 years make up the western operatic repertoire. Of these maybe 100 get a regular airing in contemporary opera houses, with only about 20 making it into the popular consciousness. For the rest, a trip outside the archives is rare indeed, with many scores still vainly awaiting their “modern premiere”.

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This Is Where We Got To When You Came In, Bush Theatre

Carole Woddis

It all started back on Thursday, 6 April, 1972. In the dining room of the less than salubrious Bush Hotel on the corner of Shepherds Bush Green, in a room that had once been Lionel Blair’s studio, the Bush Theatre was born. Over the course of the next 39 years, the Bush became a byword for small theatrical miracles.

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My City, Almeida Theatre

aleks Sierz

Welcome back Stephen Poliakoff. With his first new play for 12 years, the master penman has set aside his television excursions into history and memory — most recently Glorious 39 for the BBC — for a haunting, contemporary tale of chance encounters and mysterious city nights. As the title makes clear, the play is a vision of London which is both personal and meditative. For me, it felt like a trip to a world that is surprising yet also familiar.

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No Naughty Bits, Hampstead Theatre

aleks Sierz

You could call it the BBC Four effect. It’s fact-based fictions set in the past, more often than not about the absurdities of sexual mores or other changing customs. In the latest theatrical example, Steve Thompson’s new play - which opened last night - we time travel back to December 1975, when the surreal BBC comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus was due to be broadcast all across the United States.

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Edward II, Royal Exchange, Manchester

philip Radcliffe

This is not exactly Edward II the musical. There’s no singing, but music plays a leading role. It is the food of love of the sort that dared not speak its name – and there is excess of it for my taste. The idiom is jazz of the edgy sort fashionable in Paris in the 1950s, reflecting pretty boy Piers Gaveston’s exile there, where he has been banished by Edward I for getting too close to his wayward son.

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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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