sat 04/07/2020

Theatre Reviews

The Painter, Arcola Theatre

Sheila Johnston

Joseph Mallord William Turner - Billy to his intimates, such as he had - is the notional centre of The Painter, a snapshot of the great British landscape artist as a young iceberg. Toby Jones is the main draw in this world premiere of Rebecca Lenkiewicz's new play, and he emanates quiet charisma and sardonic...

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The Boy James, Southwark Playhouse

aleks Sierz Verbose Pan: Jethro Compton as the Boy in ‘The Boy James’

We remember JM Barrie as the creator of Peter Pan, that quintessentially English fairy story which features Neverland, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, and where “to die would be an awfully big adventure”. Generations have embraced this mythical tale as an expression of the spirit of upper-class Deep England. Here the...

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Julius Caesar, RSC, Roundhouse

alexandra Coghlan

Problematic in performance in a way that the “problem plays” simply aren’t, Shakespeare’s Roman plays remain some of his hardest to stage satisfactorily. Updated versions too often turn into Magritte-esque fantasies of identikit, suited politicos, while the togas of more traditional approaches can feel absurd, unavoidably laden with satiric or Hollywood associations.

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Ivona, Princess of Burgundia, Network Theatre

Carole Woddis Bjorn Drori Avraham's Ivona, whose ugliness and silence disturb a dissipated court

I suspect there is a different production waiting to be unveiled for Witold Gombrowicz’s 1938 black comedy Ivona, Princess of Burgundia. Under the arches at Waterloo, tucked beside the station down a dark and dank service road is the Network Theatre. Home for half the year to amateur theatre, it also now hosts professionals such as Sturdy Beggars, a fledgling group set up by post-grads from The Poor School drama training space at King’s Cross. A complete surprise to me, the...

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Subs, Cock Tavern Theatre

aleks Sierz Man at work: Naomi Waring as Anna and Michael Cusick as Finch in 'Subs'

The world of the media offers plenty of opportunities for satire, but the idea of a comedy about sub-editors at first glance seems odd. After all, the sub-editors, or subs, are hardly journalism’s most glamorous beings: these office-bound nerds spend their working days correcting the spellings of journalists and cutting their copy, while penning pun-heavy headlines and writing captions to pictures. Yet, as R J Purdey’s play - which was a sellout hit at this venue last year and now returns...

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Winter Wassail, Gabrieli Consort & Players, Shakespeare's Globe

David Nice The great Globe itself is not enough: McCreesh and company in a convivial setting

Vienna has its New Year's Day concert, conducted this year with some style but not quite enough sensuousness by Franz Welser-Möst. London could do worse for a more modest equivalent than let the Wooden O play host to a well-spiced small package of carols, seasonal songs and readings from Chaucer's times to Thomas Hardy's. But sing and play it lustily, ye Gabrieli ladies and gentlemen, or not at all. And it's sad to report that the proceedings got off to a start as soggy as the winter's...

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Salad Days, Riverside Studios

David Nice 'Pretty gels and goofy cheps': Katie Moore's Jane and Sam Harrison's Timothy are looking for a piano

"Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive," trilled critic Harold Hobson in Wordsworthian mood about a musical which even in 1954 must have made Gilbert and Sullivan look like Ingmar Bergman. Over half a century on, can Salad Days's sweetly silly paradise be regained? The fact that my eyes pricked as the two lovers launched into the dance-song celebrating their magic piano may partly be ascribed to nostalgia for teenage am-dram - late Seventies, not early Fifties - but much more to the...

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The Winter's Tale, RSC/Roundhouse

Sam Marlowe

A night when a fresh fall of snow was fluttering from the heavens could hardly have felt more fitting for the opening of this Shakespearean romance – particularly since David Farr’s production for the RSC, first seen in Stratford in 2009, so felicitously counters fire with ice.

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Hansel & Gretel, Kneehigh Theatre, Queen Elizabeth Hall

ismene Brown

London is a magical place at this time of year - so many streets with their individual lighting schemes and colours, and nowhere I think is lovelier than the new-look Southbank Centre, where from the side of the Festival Hall swings a spacious canopy of silver-blue trickles reflected in the glass of the new cafés alongside, a captivating, super-chic Thames-side installation.

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Beasts and Beauties, Hampstead Theatre

aleks Sierz

Once upon a time there was a free spirit called Tim, who fell in love with olde folk tales and created little shows all about spells and wonders, and peopled them with princes and princesses, farmers and animals. When he was more grown up, he formed a gang with another free spirit and then with a lady known as the Poet Laureate, who came from a cold, snow-covered country in the North. Then the three of them created a bigger show and staged it in a city called Bristol in the West of England...

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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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