tue 26/01/2021

Theatre Reviews

Wastwater, Royal Court Theatre

Sam Marlowe

Wastwater is the deepest lake in England, overshadowed by rugged Cumbrian screes and described by Wordsworth as “long, stern and desolate”. In this new play by Simon Stephens, directed by Katie Mitchell, it becomes a central metaphor: terrors may lie beneath its dark, still surface, like the violence and secret suffering behind a suburban front door.

Read more...

Terminus, Young Vic

Veronica Lee The compelling power of good acting: Declan Conlon and Catherine Walker in 'Terminus'

Mark O’Rowe is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary playwrights, and Terminus was first produced in 2007 by the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. It transferred to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2008 and is now being revived by the Abbey in an international tour. His play charts another ordinary night in Dublin city, but as this captivating triptych unfolds the events his characters - simply named A, B and C - describe are anything but. A man and two women deliver a series of overlapping...

Read more...

The Mill - City of Dreams, Drummonds Mill, Bradford

graham Rickson Cardboard city: In 'The Mill - City of Dreams' a property developer shares his plans for swish civic reinvention

Bradford, once the worsted capital of the world, now employs fewer than 1,000 workers in the textile industry. Some of the disused mills have been transformed into tourist attractions – nearby Salts Mill has a huge collection of artwork by David Hockney and a posh bistro. Drummonds Mill has lain silent since closure, to be reopened...

Read more...

Smash!, Menier Chocolate Factory

David Nice Seventies dilemma: Natalie Walter and Tom Conti

If you're going to put on a show about putting on a show, you gotta get a gimmick, as a wise man not unconnected with the late Jack Rosenthal's autobiographical comedy once wrote. Put it another way: if the show/film/TV series depicted is compromised, you need something or someone off-centre to stand out from the crowd. In Barton Fink, it was a hotel corridor and what the Coen...

Read more...

Rocket to the Moon, National Theatre

Sam Marlowe Office romance: Jessica Raine as Cleo and Joseph Millson as Ben

“Love is no solution to life,” declares a line from Clifford Odets’s 1938 drama; and in straitened times, then and now, it’s a sentiment that carries considerable doleful weight. And yet every character here is in desperate search of that elusive something to elevate the banal business of day-to-day existence – a personal rocket to the moon. Without it, they are trapped in endless Monday mornings, soul-destroying work that doesn’t bring in enough to pay the bills, and relationships in which...

Read more...

Cause Célèbre, Old Vic

alexandra Coghlan

Sexual intercourse, according to Larkin, began in 1963. By 1974 it had had a free-thinking, free-loving decade to become comfortable and frankly rather routine. It was the year the Ramones formed, when The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was in cinemas and Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying on bookshelves. Over at the Royal Court the “angry young men” might still be angry, but weren’t exactly young any more.

Read more...

A Magic Flute, CICT/Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, Barbican Theatre

David Nice Abdou Ouloguem, one of the two actors out-charming the singers in a purgatorial dream world

Without the definite article, what kind of a Flute is Peter Brook's - beyond, that is, the literal manifestation of a stick on a string that makes no soothing noises? Best describe it as a crescent moon of a version, loosely based on Schikaneder's text with less than half of Mozart's music and matching slivers of voices, attached to mostly fledgling stage presences. The diminishing returns of Brook's operatic deconstructions, from the bold Tragedy of Carmen through the more...

Read more...

Remembrance Day, Royal Court Theatre

aleks Sierz

The political background is vital to the play, so pay attention: during the Second World War, the small Baltic state of Latvia was threatened by its two big neighbours, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. In fact, when these countries signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939, this document included a secret clause which put Latvia in Russia’s “sphere of influence”. Soon after, Soviet troops occupied the country, only to be chucked out when the Nazis invaded in 1941.

Read more...

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Gielgud Theatre

Matt Wolf

Zut alors! A gifted English theatre artist, Emma Rice, comes a serious Gallic cropper with The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, a stage musical adaptation of the through-sung 1964 movie that only succeeds in making the recent, prematurely departed Love Story look by comparison like Sweeney Todd.

Read more...

Anna Karenina, Arcola Theatre

alexandra Coghlan

Frankenstein, Pride and Prejudice, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Great Expectations: it’s getting harder and harder to name a classic novel that hasn’t found itself covered in greasepaint and pushed out onto the stage.

Read more...

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.


latest in today

Blu-ray: Relic

Relic's deliberate drabness hits home first; set in Victoria,...

Romances on British Poetry / The Poet's Echo, English T...

A darkened stage; a pool of light; a solitary figure. And then, flooding the whole thing with meaning, music – even it’s just a soft chord on a...

theartsdesk Q&A: actor Polly Walker on 'Bridgerton...

Polly Walker's character in Netflix's sumptuous new ...

Album: Arlo Parks - Collapsed in Sunbeams

“Hope”, from the debut album by 20 year old London...

It's a Sin, Channel 4 review - poignant, funny, vibrant...

Finally, it seems, the time is right for a major British TV drama about how the AIDS crisis hit the early 1980s London...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Destin...

"Three plus versions of the same album. It’s ridiculous, but I’m glad.” The first paragraph of Richard Hell’s text in the booklet accompanying...

Persian Lessons review - confusing Holocaust drama

This is an odd film, made even odder by a caption near the beginning, which claims it is "inspired by true events" but doesn’t elaborate. Produced...

Album: Bicep - Isles

Bicep's second album fufills the promise of the first, released in 2017 to wide acclaim. Andrew Ferguson and Matthew McBriar, friends since...

Quo Vadis, Aida review - a Bosnian woman confronts genocide

Jasmila Žbanić’s latest film, once again about the people...

Back, Channel 4 review - return of sibling-rivalry comedy wi...

It has taken three years for the second series of Back to reach our screens (a combination of the creator being busy, a star being unwell...