sat 13/04/2024

Theatre Reviews

A Thousand Stars Explode in the Sky, Lyric Hammersmith

aleks Sierz Ann Mitchell, Nigel Cooke and Harry McEntire: ‘Much of the dialogue is obstinately ordinary, with a deliberately insistent quotidien feel’

During the past week, as the first coalition government for 70 years has been formed in the UK, we were frequently warned that failure to find a solution might be the end of the world. It’s a solid, if usually over-used, metaphor. But what would happen if we really did face the end of life on Earth? You know, the real thing: a total catastrophe — the implosion of the universe — which we could predict, but not prevent? That is the premise of this unusual new play, a joint effort by playwrights...

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Love the Sinner, National Theatre

aleks Sierz

Religion, and a sense of the revival of belief, is such an important part of everyday life in the wider population that it is one of the stranger facts about contemporary theatre that so few plays tackle this subject. In fact, the last new British play to do this at the National was David Hare’s Racing Demon in 1990. Now, 20 years later, the same Cottesloe theatre space bears witness to a new play, which opened last night, about the same subject.

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Eurydice, Young Vic Theatre

Sam Marlowe Love's young dream: Ony Uhiara and Osi Okerafor

Since Eurydice was the ill-fated wife of Orpheus, master musician, it’s not inappropriate that this reworking of the classical myth by the award-winning US writer Sarah Ruhl should be so much like a song. Her language has a kind of blunt lyricism, and the action of her drama, with its recurrent waves of water imagery, has a vivid, surreal fluidity that eddies and flows like an elusive melody. Sometimes the playfulness is beguiling; sometimes it merely seems arch. And in Bijan Sheibani’s stark...

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Debbie Reynolds - Alive and Fabulous, Apollo Theatre

David Nice

Let me confess immediately: Debbie Reynolds didn't mean a great deal to me beyond Singin' in the Rain, warbling "Tammy" and Being Princess Leia's Mother (and believe me, she gets plenty of comic mileage out of the Carrie Fisher connection). But I knew she had a fabulous Hollywood history, and having been smitten by old troupers Elaine Stritch and Barbara Cook in London, I wondered if she could match them.

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Women Beware Women, National Theatre

aleks Sierz

The recent fuss about British culture being anti-Catholic just because some civil servant wrote a spoof memo satirising the Pope’s upcoming visit may have been overblown, but it is certainly true that, in the past, Italy was a byword for rank corruption. To doughty English Protestants, Rome was a stew of sin and Italians were Machiavellian plotters and idolators.

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Would Like to Meet, Barbican Centre

aleks Sierz non zero one: ‘the show will appeal more to idealistic youngsters than hardened cynics’

Is there such a thing as iPod theatre for a new digital generation? Given the enormous boom in site-specific performances and the growing use of electronic gadgets, the answer seems like yes, and this new show by non zero one - a group of recent graduates from Royal Holloway, University of London - is billed as an interrogation of the “new methods of communication that are designed to connect us over huge distances and in all scenarios”. An example of participant theatre, the 50-minute piece,...

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Pressure Drop, Wellcome Collection

Fisun Güner The liberal meets the far-right hard nut in a play exploring English identity

Four podia occupy the Wellcome Collection’s temporary gallery space. Three are stage sets: a living room, a pub and a funeral parlour, all recognisable as “typical” working class - in fact, the living room might have been based on Pauline Fowler’s dog-eared front room. The fourth, placed further back, is where Billy Bragg will intercut the dramatic action with a new set of songs with his three-piece band, plus engage in a bit of ad-lib banter that will direct the audience back and forth across...

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Pictures from an Exhibition, Sadler's Wells

Ismene Brown

I’ve seen raping Popes, I’ve seen more naked guys dancing with waggling penises than I can count, I’ve seen naked breasts on dancing girls for what feels like all my adult life. But a man with a blood-stained prosthetic cock that looks like a baby’s bottle? A teacher munching a testicle off his pupil? Well, lor' love a duck.

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Ruined, Almeida Theatre

David Nice Mother Courage of the Congo: Jenny Jules as Mama Nadi, trying to keep violence out of her domain

Telling the truth about women in a war zone usually hits hardest through one of two means: clear reportage that presents the facts, or the devastating narrative of a survivor. Making a drama out of atrocity gets harder, though it's an age-old tradition, which is maybe why directors usually prefer to draw parallels through updating Euripides or Shakespeare. Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, fired by interviews with women in the Democratic Republic of Congo and premiered last year in...

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The Real Thing, Old Vic

william Ward

By general consent, The Real Thing expresses an almost perfect balance between the brilliance of its dialogue and the ideas examined on one hand, and the depth and range of human feelings on the other. Anna Mackmin’s brisk and dynamic take on the play, first performed nearly 30 years ago, to a large extent succeeds in recontextualising what is surely a classic, for a subsequent generation of viewers.

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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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