fri 01/12/2023

National Theatre

The Witches, National Theatre review - fun and lively but where's the heart?

The National Theatre these days seems to be going from hit-to-hit, with transfers aplenty and full houses at home. And there's every reason to expect that this fizzy adaptation of Roald Dahl's 1983 creep-out, The Witches, has the West End and...

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The House of Bernarda Alba, Lyttleton Theatre review - dazzling darkness

Rebecca Frecknall opened 2023 with a youthful, visceral, and brutal Streetcar Named Desire at The Almeida; she ends it with another startlingly vigorous adaptation, again of a play in which women are abused by men both physically and...

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The Confessions, National Theatre review - rich mix of the personal and the epic

How to describe Alexander Zeldin’s latest, The Confessions? It is almost a kitchen-sink drama, but also a picaresque trawl through the life of an Australian woman that’s verging on epic, spanning most of her 80 years. And it’s stirring stuff,...

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Dear England, Prince Edward Theatre review - still a winner in its new West End home

It was interesting, in the same week that the England football team trounced Italy 3-1 in a Euros qualifier, to see Dear England again, the National Theatre smash that has just embarked on a West End run at the Prince Edward Theatre.One of the three...

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Death of England: Closing Time, National Theatre review - thrillingly and abundantly alive

It’s closing time somewhere in the East End. Nah, not the pub, but at a small local shop. Inside, Denise is banging around with some big pans, while Carly is packing up the flowers. Their business is coming to an end and they are about to hand over...

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The Father and the Assassin, National Theatre review - Gandhi's killer given an outstanding star turn

From the moment that the blood-stained Nathuram Godse rises out of the floor of the National Theatre's Olivier stage and demands ‘What are you staring at? Have you never seen a murderer up close before?’, we are locked into a queasy, teasing...

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The Odyssey: The Underworld, National Theatre review - community effort with real heart and a great staging

One of the great wonders of Western literary history is one of the earliest, Homer’s The Odyssey, an epic poem with all the thrills and spills of an Indiana Jones outing, with added Olympians. The National’s version turned out not to be The Odyssey...

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Grenfell: In the Words of Survivors, National Theatre review - verbatim theatre delivered to wrenching effect

The shadow of Grenfell Tower has already produced Nick Kent and Richard Norton-Taylor’s dispassionately forensic but devastating documentary plays based on transcripts from the Grenfell Inquiry. Now comes a companion piece, the National’s Grenfell,...

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Dear England, National Theatre review - filtering the national narrative through sport

"Is everything loss?" the great Oliver Ford Davies once asked on the National's Olivier stage, in the closing moment of David Hare's masterful Racing Demon. That question informs another masterful play, James Graham's Dear England, newly opened...

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The Crucible, Gielgud Theatre review - outstanding National Theatre transfer

Whining Donald Trump and snivelling Boris Johnson claim that they are victims of witch-hunts, although all the evidence suggests otherwise. In 1953, haunted by the iniquitous McCarthy trials that were designed to purge the US of communism, Arthur...

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The Motive and the Cue, National Theatre review - theatrical titans face off

Plays about the theatre are many and varied, from Gypsy and Noises Off to the numerous Shakespeare works that absorb theatrical performance into their very fabric.Jack Thorne's The Motive the Cue immediately takes pole position amongst recent...

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Dixon and Daughters, National Theatre review - cold discomfort harm

Men are bastards. Okay, not all of us, but enough to make the lives of millions of women a misery. This we know, but anyone who has any doubts might be educated by some of the horrific statistics of sexual assault and domestic violence in the...

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