sat 04/07/2020

Theatre Reviews

Roald Dahl's Twisted Tales, Lyric Hammersmith

Sam Marlowe

The spinning roulette wheel, the revolver, the devil’s mask, and above all that lissom semi-naked female gyrating in silhouette against flickering infernal flames: we all remember the opening titles to Tales of the Unexpected, which made its first TV appearance in 1979.

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Little Platoons, Bush Theatre

aleks Sierz

The second play in this venue’s ambitious Schools mini-season is the first drama to tackle the currently contentious subject of Free Schools. While the earlier play, John Donnelly’s The Knowledge, was a powerful account of how a young teacher is blooded in her encounters with a group of unruly kids, the second, by Steve Waters, focuses more on parents, and shows how a fortysomething teacher, Rachel, joins a group of middle-class west Londoners in order to set up a Free School.

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Less Than Kind, Jermyn Street Theatre

alexandra Coghlan

“There’s no situation in the world that can’t be passed off with small talk,” claims hostess extraordinaire Olivia Brown in Terence Rattigan’s Less Than Kind. It’s a maxim that could well serve as Rattigan’s theatrical epitaph, the philosophy that allows him to smuggle desperation, frustration and steel-capped social critique in amongst the silk peignoirs and smoking jackets of his drama.

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Into the Whirlwind, Sovremennik, Noël Coward Theatre

David Nice

Tradition has often bedded down very comfortably in the Russian performing arts, which ought to be an asset in the current vortex but brings mixed blessings. Detailed ensemble work, the Moscow Sovremennik Theatre's strongest asset, takes time to develop, yet actors with roles for life may be slow to yield to fresh blood.

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Becky Shaw, Almeida Theatre

Sam Marlowe

Becky Shaw is lonely, unattractively needy, nervous, hungry for affection, affirmation, security. We are all Becky Shaw. That’s a gross generalisation, of course – but then, generalisation is the language of Gina Gionfriddo’s play, which premiered in Louisville, Kentucky, prior to a 2009 off-Broadway run.

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Seduction: An Erotic Black Comedy, Above the Stag Theatre

David Nice Show a little tenderness: Simon Boughey as the Movie Producer and Stanley Eldridge as the Rent Boy in the final scene of Seduction

Have you ever found onstage nudity sexy? Unlike a friend of mine, for whom the epiphany of the National Theatre's Bent was the giant member in the first five minutes, I honestly haven't. Sensuous, once, in the Maly Theatre's skinny-dipping Platonov, and even sweet, in ATS Theatre's strong adaptation of Forster's Maurice. Since the...

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Twelfth Night, National Theatre

Sheila Johnston

Set at a pivotal point in Shakespeare's canon, Twelfth Night is a glass-half-full kind of play. Is it a joyous, clear-eyed, compassionate comedy of human foibles by a writer reaching maturity, a wild and crazy ride through a season of carnival misrule and role reversal? Or, on the other hand, an ominous harbinger of the troubling, darkening work still to come?

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Tiger Country, Hampstead Theatre

aleks Sierz

Playwright Nina Raine has a gift for evocative play titles. Her 2006 debut was called Rabbit, and her sellout success at the Royal Court last year was Tribes. This time, we seem to be on safari with Tiger Country, but appearances can be deceptive.

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As You Like It, RSC, Roundhouse

alexandra Coghlan Star-cross(dressed) lovers: Orlando (Jonjo O'Neill) gets to grips with Rosalind (Katy Stephens)

“Now go we in content. To liberty and not to banishment.” A touchstone to productions of As You Like It, Celia’s wishful recasting of the Forest of Arden can rarely pass unchallenged by directors. In 2009 we saw Michael Boyd’s RSC production go head to head with Thea Sharrock’s unexpected and beguilingly sunny interpretation at the Globe – a contest in which Sharrock proved a comfortable victor. Returning once again with his conventionally darker-hued take on Shakespeare’s comedy,...

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The Knowledge, Bush Theatre

aleks Sierz

At a failing secondary school in Tilbury, Essex, Zoe arrives as an ambitious, newly qualified teacher who hopes to make a difference to her unruly pupils. But although she impresses her learning mentor, Maz, and Harry, the soon-to-retire acting head, she gradually gets into an emotional tangle.

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Pages

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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