mon 10/08/2020

Theatre Reviews

Kin, Royal Court Theatre

aleks Sierz

Middle-class family angst continues to be this season’s theme at the Royal Court Theatre, but this time it is seen through the eyes of 10-year-old girls at a 1990s boarding school. But don’t expect this to be an episode of Malory Towers or even the rather good-natured naughtiness of St Trinian’s. No, this is a bleak institution where the girls are foulmouthed and vicious in their rivalry. As Mrs B, who supervises the dorms, says to the headmistress: “They are small dogs...

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The Rivals, Theatre Royal, Haymarket

alexandra Coghlan Weather-beaten she-dragon: Penelope Keith as Sheridan's beloved duenna Mrs Malaprop

“Suicide, parricide and salivation!” Not the ecstasies of a masochist, but the mangled verbal fanfare announcing that The Rivals – Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s classic comedy of manners – is once again a fixture in London’s West End. When it comes to powerhouse comedic casting, the National Theatre has long had the laurels for 2010 sewn up in Simon Russell Beale’s voluminous britches. Partnered by Fiona Shaw in Dion Boucicault’s London Assurance, the pair were mighty indeed...

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End of the Rainbow, Trafalgar Studios 1

David Nice

"Can't go on, ev'ry thing I had is gone". Hear Judy Garland deliver those lines from Arlen's "Stormy Weather" live at Carnegie Hall in 1961 and you'll know that no singer, not even Callas, could go further turning heartbreak into art and serving up the naked truth. I wasn't expecting this production of Peter Quilter's play, previously seen in Northampton, to do much more than echo your average queen's "such a tragic life" line, nor Tracie Bennett to go beyond a Star Impersonation.

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The Master Builder, Almeida Theatre

Sam Marlowe

Halvard Solness and Hilde Wangel have stalked each other among the shadow goblins of Henrik Ibsen’s extraordinary symbol-laden drama in two major productions this year. In Chichester, Philip Franks’s staging and David Edgar’s new version of the text gave us a shivery, haunted-house interpretation. Now comes American director Travis Preston’s modern-dress offering, starkly designed by Vicki Mortimer, but performed with such over-deliberate mannerism and stylised Expressionist movement by...

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The Glass Menagerie, Young Vic Theatre

Matt Wolf

Just about the time you're losing patience with the Young Vic revival of Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie - wondering at some of the variable accents and directorial overembellishments and the heavy sledding accompanying this most fragile and beautiful of plays - along comes one...

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Fela!, National Theatre

Peter Culshaw

For me there is a trinity of black musicians, visionaries who reshaped music in the last half-century: James Brown, Miles Davis and Fela Kuti. And just as it’s hard to imagine a biographical musical of James Brown or Miles Davis coming off - because which mere actor is ever going to have their charisma, attitude or moves - likewise it seemed a stretch to imagine Fela! being much more than sophisticated karaoke. Karaoke with a message and some groovy dancing, no doubt.

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Inside, Studio Theatre, Roundhouse

Carole Woddis Segun Oliaya as Brownie, hard-man top dog in Philip Osment's extraordinarily original new play

It’s just the luck of the draw. I’ve been sent to prison twice now in the past four days. Last Friday it was Clean Break’s day-long six-play epic in Soho. Last night it was an 80-minute all-male affair at the Roundhouse. Needless to say the encounters were planets apart. Men, after all, come from Mars, already primed for battle, women from Venus. Philip Osment’s Inside,...

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Charged 1 & 2, Soho Theatre

Carole Woddis

Facts first. In the last decade the number of women in prison has increased by 60 per cent: 63 per cent are in prison for non-violent offences. Between 2002 and 2009 there were 55 self-inflicted deaths by women prisoners; in 2008, there were 12,938 reported incidents of self-harm. Goodness knows how many more went unreported. Too few plays reflecting the reality of women’s lives appear on our stages - only 17 per cent of productions in English theatre are by female playwrights.

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A Festival of Brian Friel, The Curve, Leicester

Carole Woddis

Last year Brian Friel became an octogenarian. Yet the Irish playwright who has been greeted by the English like no other has so far failed to have that fact either celebrated or acknowledged with a retrospective festival by theatre’s major shakers and movers. It’s been left to The Curve in Leicester (that remarkable glass-fronted, inside-out, state-of-the art high-tech new theatre designed by Uruguyan, American-based architect Rafael Viñoly) to take the initiative.

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An Ideal Husband, Vaudeville Theatre

alexandra Coghlan

Directing an Oscar Wilde play is rather like being a chaperone at a party: at best you are invisible, at worst actively intrusive. Marshalling Wilde’s politicos, dandies and duchesses through this latest ball of An Ideal Husband, Lindsay Posner is quick to lose himself among the elegant riot of gilded sets and gorgeous dresses.

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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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