sun 26/05/2024

Theatre Reviews

Northanger Abbey, Orange Tree Theatre review - larky retelling of Austen’s satire with a poignant core

Helen Hawkins

What Zoe Cooper has concocted in her loving rewiring of Jane Austen’s first completed novel looks at first sight like a knockabout satire of a satire. But her aim is more sober than that: a queer rereading of this text as she first experienced it as a student.

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Cowbois, Royal Court review - fabulously queer extravaganza

aleks Sierz

At its best theatre is a seducer. It weaves a magic spell that can persuade you, perhaps against your better judgement, to love a show. To adore a show; to enjoy yourself. This, at least, is my experience of Charlie Josephine’s Cowbois, a queer Western extravaganza which opened at the RSC last year and now arrives, in all its shiny silk-costumed glory, at the Royal Court in London.

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Jekyll and Hyde, Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh review - audacious contemporary resonances

David Kettle

Evil walks among us. But it doesn’t arrive courtesy of mad scientists, bubbling potions and horrifying transformations. Instead, it comes from ordinary people surrendering themselves to their basest desires and resentments. Even worse, doing that feels… good.

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Kin, National Theatre review - heartfelt show makes its demands, but yields its rewards

Gary Naylor

Waiting in the National Theatre’s foyer on press night, a space teeming with people speaking different languages, boasting different heritages – London in other words – news came through that leading members of the government had resigned because the proposed Rwanda bill was not harsh enough.

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Don't Destroy Me, Arcola Theatre review - a theatre history curio

aleks Sierz

British Theatre abounds in forgotten writers. And in ones whose early work is too rarely revived. One such is Michael Hastings, best known for Tom & Viv, his 1984 biographical drama about TS Eliot and his wife Vivienne, so in theory it’s great to see this playwright’s 1956 debut, Don’t Destroy Me, being revived at the Arcola by director Tricia Thorns’ Two’s Company, whose remit is the discovery and resuscitation of long-ignored work.

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The Good John Proctor, Jermyn Street Theatre review - Salem-set drama loses some of its power in London

Gary Naylor

It is no surprise that the phrase “Witch Hunt” is Donald Trump’s favoured term to describe his legal travails. Leaving aside its connotations of a malevolent state going after an innocent victim whilst in the throes of a self-serving moral panic, it plays into a founding psychodrama of the USA - the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

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The Enfield Haunting, Ambassadors Theatre review - muddled revisiting of famous paranormal events

Heather Neill

Reports of supernatural events are always met with either willing belief or dismissive scepticism. The "camps" generally don't have much to say to each other: belief in immovable logic, discounting the weird as merely the so-far unexplained, can be as entrenched as its opposite. In the case of the ghostly goings-on in Enfield, sincerity and mischief are also stirred into the mix.

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1979, Finborough Theatre review - niche subject matter finds a strong resonance

Gary Naylor

If a week is a long time in politics, what price 44 years? And 3500 miles? Turns out, not much, as Michael Healey’s sparkling play, 1979, proves that events all that time ago and all that way across the Atlantic maintain a remarkable relevance today.

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This Much I Know, Hampstead Theatre review - an intellectual game with a slight emotional payload

Helen Hawkins

How do you make a play out of Stalin’s defecting daughter Svetlana, the psycho-economic theories of Daniel Kahneman and a fictionalised version of Derek Black, the son of a leading American white nationalist?

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The Motive and the Cue, Noel Coward Theatre - National Theatre transfer excels in the West End

Jane Edwardes

Plays about the theatre tend to go down well with audiences. Why wouldn’t they? The danger is that they become too cosy as actors and audience smugly agree on the transcendence of the artform. Jack Thorne’s The Motive and the Cue comes perilously close to falling into that trap, but, in the end, its wider preoccupations with old age, change, and the perils of the new, make it a rewarding and sometimes even challenging evening.

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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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