sat 19/09/2020

Theatre Reviews

Honest, Queen’s Head Pub, London

aleks Sierz

Dave is a bomb, waiting to go off. He’s dangerous because he seems so ordinary. Late-twenties, he’s nothing much to look at. He wears a suit. Works as a civil servant in some absurdly obscure government department. No girlfriend. If truth be told, a bit of a piss-head really. But the thing that makes him dangerous is that - as the title of DC Moore’s 2010 play makes clear - he fancies himself as a truth-teller. He’s painfully honest, and, worse, he uses honesty as a weapon.

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The Wizard of Oz, London Palladium

Sam Marlowe

If it only had a heart. Animal cruelty, a sadistic green-faced witch, flying monkeys: L Frank Baum’s story, which spawned the MGM movie that made Judy Garland a star, is downright grotesque. And when it’s not unsettling you with its rusty Tin Man, straw-brained Scarecrow and camp Cowardly Lion, it’s making you gag on its sickly platitudes about best friends, family and finding your heart’s desire in your own backyard.

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Million Dollar Quartet, Noël Coward Theatre

joe Muggs Michael Malarkey as an "easygoing" Elvis

As acting challenges go it borders on the foolhardy: impersonate not just in looks and mannerisms but in musical skill too some of the most truly iconic figures of the 20th century. And do it up close and personal with an audience who know the subjects' work inside out to boot. It seems almost impossible that a cast could manage to convincingly portray the (real) musical meeting of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins at Sam Phillips's Sun Studios in 1956, but ...

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Moment, Bush Theatre

aleks Sierz Thicker than water: Deirdre Donnelly and Ronan Leahy in 'Moment'

At the moment, most of the energy in British new writing seems to be coming from American and Irish playwrights. This is such a regular phenomenon, one that comes around every few years, that it seems idle to speculate on the reasons for it; surely, it’s enough to welcome another new talent from Ireland? As well as being the artistic director of Tall Tales theatre company, Deirdre Kinahan is a prolific playwright. Her UK debut, Moment, opened last night at the Bush Theatre in west...

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Drowning on Dry Land, Jermyn Street Theatre

Veronica Lee

There’s a fascinating programme note for this production of Drowning on Dry Land, taken from an interview given by its author for the play's premiere at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. Back in 2004, Alan Ayckbourn told The Yorkshire Evening Press: "There will be a day not long ahead when everyone will have their own website with pictures that say, 'Here’s me in the bath'."

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As You Like It, Rose Theatre, Kingston

ismene Brown

Best sit upstairs in the Rose for their new As You Like It, Stephen Unwin's first Shakespeare production in the three-year-old theatre, modelled on the Elizabethan principle. The tilted perspective helps a great deal with the sparse little bit of scenery.

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Winterlong, Soho Theatre

aleks Sierz Born loner: Harry McEntire as Oscar in ‘Winterlong’

In contemporary British drama, kids are usually either suffering or doomed innocents. But Winterlong's Oscar is different. He is a loner who was abandoned by his schoolgirl mum and his scary dad at the age of four years old, and tries to make his way in a chilly world armed only with his small but powerful reserves of love. The writing throbs like an infected wound, so you can see why actor Andrew Sheridan’s debut play was joint winner of the 2008 Bruntwood Prize for playwriting,...

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Frankenstein, National Theatre

Sam Marlowe

Like the misbegotten monster at its heart, this stage version of Mary Shelley’s seminal novel is stitched together from a number of discrete parts; and though some of the pieces are in themselves extremely handsome, you can all too clearly see the joins. Here’s a bit of half-baked dance theatre, there a scene of simple, touching humanity. And for each dollop of broad ensemble posturing, there’s a visually stunning scenic effect.

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The Deep Blue Sea, West Yorkshire Playhouse

graham Rickson

The clipped Fifties accents raise a smile for the first few minutes, but what’s startling about this new production of Terence Rattigan’s 1952 play is how universal, how timeless the story is. Director Sarah Esdaile wisely decides to play things respectfully straight, and within seconds the time and place, both beautifully evoked in Ruari Murchison’s detailed set, melted into irrelevance.

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The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Donmar Warehouse

Matt Wolf How do you spell win? Steve Pemberton brings on the next contestant, while Katherine Kingsley looks on

Just in time to capitalise - is that how that word is spelled? - on awards season, along comes the latest Broadway-to-Britain transplant, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a musical all about a culture that likes to win, win, WIN! Does William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin's surprise 2005 New York hit go to the top of the London class? ...

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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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