mon 24/01/2022

Hampstead Theatre

Folk, Hampstead Downstairs review - thoughtful play about folklorist Cecil Sharp

Cecil Sharp, heritage hero or imperialist appropriator? If you attended school in the first half of the 20th century, you would have sung from his collections of English folk songs, and probably gritted your teeth and performed the country dances he...

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Best of 2021: Theatre

There was no live theatre at the start of 2021, just a return to the world of virtual performance and streaming to which we had become well accustomed, and very quickly, too. So imagine the collective surprise come the start of this month as show...

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Peggy For You, Hampstead Theatre review - comedic gold, and a splinter of ice, from Tamsin Greig

Was Peggy Ramsay a “woman out of time”? The celebrated London literary agent, who nurtured the talents of at least one generation of British playwrights, surely counted as a legend in her own lifetime (she died in 1991). Has she lasted beyond it?...

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little scratch, Hampstead Downstairs review - a maverick director surpasses herself

Katie Mitchell’s desire to bust the boundaries of theatre has taken a brilliant turn. Over her long and distinguished career as a director she has been tirelessly inventive, injecting stylised movement into Greek tragedy, projecting film onto giant...

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'Night, Mother, Hampstead Theatre review - despair in sotto-voce

‘Night, Mother remains a play of piercing pessimism, something that’s not necessarily the same as tragedy, though the two often run congruently. The inexorability of the development of Marsha Norman’s 1983 Pulitzer Prize winner certainly recalls the...

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The Memory of Water, Hampstead Theatre review – uneasy tragi-comedy

Memories are notoriously treacherous — this we know. I remember seeing Shelagh Stephenson’s contemporary classic at the Hampstead, when this venue was a prefab, and enjoying Terry Johnson’s racy staging, which starred Jane Booker, Hadyn Gwynne and...

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Big Big Sky, Hampstead Downstairs review - a perfectly realised character study

Get to Swiss Cottage early because Bob Bailey’s set for Tom Wells's new Hampstead Downstairs play Big Big Sky is a feast for the eyes. Angie’s cafe has the scrapey chairs, the tables you know will wobble a little if you get that one (and you...

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The Two Character Play, Hampstead Theatre review - tender, poetic and piercingly cruel

It’s the trivia question no one ever thought to ask: where was the only Tennessee Williams play premiered outside America first performed? The unlikely answer (so unlikely that even artistic director Roxana Silbert apparently didn’t know it until...

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Raya, Hampstead Downstairs review - a richly fraught reunion

Thirty years on, Alex and Jason meet at a university reunion and cab it back to Jason’s old student house where Alex is thinking “probably…” and Jason is thinking “probably not…”  - each, it turns out, with good reason. We look on as the clumsy...

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The Death of a Black Man, Hampstead Theatre review - blistering theatre with an unflinching vision

This blistering, fearless play about an 18-year-old black entrepreneur on the King’s Road raises a myriad of uncomfortable questions that resonate profoundly with the Black Lives Matter debate. It’s just one remarkable aspect of The Death of a Black...

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The Dumb Waiter, Hampstead Theatre review - menace without a hint of mirth

Add the Hampstead Theatre to the swelling ranks of playhouses opening its doors this month, in this case with a revival well into rehearsal last spring when the first lockdown struck. Re-cast in the interim, Alice Hamilton's 60th-anniversary...

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Theatre Lockdown Special 3: Mary Shelley twice over, Europe writ large, and one day more for a mega-musical

Time is moving in mysterious ways at the moment. It's been possible over the last month or so to mark out the beginning of each week with the arrival online of a different production streaming from the Hampstead Theatre archives. The National,...

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