thu 02/04/2020

new writing

On Blueberry Hill, Trafalgar Studios review - superb acting, specious plot

Some wondrous acting is sacrificed on the altar of an increasingly wonky plot in On Blueberry Hill, the first play in 10 years from Sebastian Barry, the Irish playwright and novelist whose onetime Royal Court entry The Steward of Christendom...

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Sinners, Playground Theatre review - intimacy but also fear

Layla is trapped in a pit of sand up to her shoulders, with a shroud over her head and piles of rocks surrounding her. On steps Nur, who has been tasked with arranging the rocks. The two were engaged in an adulterous affair, and he must begin the...

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Leopoldstadt, Wyndham's Theatre review - Stoppard at once personal and accessible

It’s not uncommon for playwrights to begin their careers by writing what they know, to co-opt a frequently quoted precept about authorial inspiration. So it’s among the many fascinations of Leopoldstadt that Tom Stoppard, at the age of 82, should...

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Collapsible, Bush Theatre review - a high-wire solo engagement

There’s such remarkable symbiosis between material and performance in Irish dramatist Margaret Perry’s Collapsible that you wonder how the hour-long monologue will fare in any future incarnation. I don’t know how much Perry had the performer...

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The Haystack, Hampstead Theatre review - a chilling surveillance state thriller

With counter-terrorism an urgent concern – and specifically how best to find, track and use the data of suspected threats, without sacrificing our privacy and civil liberties – it’s excellent timing for a meaty drama about the surveillance state....

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Faustus: That Damned Woman, Lyric Hammersmith review - gender swap yields muddled results

Changing the gender of the title character “highlights the way in which women still operate in a world designed by and for men,” argues Chris Bush, whose reimagining of Marlowe’s play premieres at the Lyric ahead of a UK tour. It’s certainly a...

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The Sunset Limited, Boulevard Theatre review - all talk, no theatre

Cormac McCarthy’s two-hander, premiered at Chicago's mighty Steppenwolf Theatre in 2006, has by this point been everything short of an ice ballet: a self-described “novel in dramatic form”, as one might expect from the American author of such titles...

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You Stupid Darkness!, Southwark Playhouse review - an intriguing muddle

Armageddon would appear to be at the gates in Sam Steiner’s intriguing if ramshackle play, a co-production between Paines Plough and Theatre Royal, Plymouth, that has reached London while still seeming a draft or so away from achieving its full...

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Scrounger, Finborough Theatre review - uncomfortable play tackles disability discrimination

Scrounger is no comfortable evening in the theatre, for reasons both intentional and inadvertent. Athena Stevens’ new play recounts her 2016 battle with British Airways and London City Airport, who subjected her to the humiliation of being...

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The Tyler Sisters, Hampstead Theatre Downstairs review – raucous celebration of sisterhood

The Tyler sisters start as they mean to go on: bickering. Middle sister Gail (Bryony Hannah) has come home from uni to find that youngest Katrina (Angela Griffin) has stolen her room. “What about Maddy’s? Why didn’t you take that?” Gail snaps. “She...

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Fairview, Young Vic review - questioning the assumptions of race

Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Fairview comes to the Young Vic with the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama under its belt, and a reputation for putting audiences on their mettle through a build-up of theatrical surprises that culminate in a denouement about...

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Ho Sok Fong: Lake Like A Mirror review - an intoxicating collection

“Truth was further from safety than two islands at opposite ends of the earth,” proclaims the narrator of ‘Lake Like A Mirror’, the titular short story in Ho Sok Fong’s intoxicating new collection. When a young Chinese Malaysian literature tutor...

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