wed 19/05/2021

Theatre Reviews

The Hurly Burly Show, Garrick Theatre

alexandra Coghlan Miss Polly Rae slips into something a little less comfortable

It’s not often you find yourself advised at the start of a West End performance that “mobile phones, photography and fellatio are not permitted”, but then The Hurly Burly Show isn’t exactly your average theatrical fare. The first time the West End has seen a major burlesque revue, the show’s move from a small cabaret club in Soho to the Garrick Theatre reflects a changing attitude to this ancient art. If you believe the hype, women across the UK, in bedrooms, boardrooms and the...

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Blithe Spirit, Apollo Theatre

Sheila Johnston

Blithe Spirit was born in the shadow of the Blitz: Noël Coward, whose London home had just been bombed, wrote it in Portmeirion, Wales, in 1941 over a brisk six days. But the evil Hun never once puts in an appearance (over breakfast, the characters briefly wonder whether there's anything of note in the morning's Times; of course, there is not). Another, more complicated war is being waged here: the battle of the sexes.

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Mogadishu, Lyric Hammersmith

aleks Sierz

Recently, some British playwrights have gone back to school, and found that it feels very much like a war zone. All the old tensions between teachers and pupils have escalated into open conflict: knives are drawn, punches thrown and arguments are settled by fights. Likewise, the language is disrespectful at best, and always expletive-heavy.

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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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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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