wed 30/09/2020

new writing

Declan, Traverse Theatre online review - compressed and compelling

In normal times, Edinburgh Festival audiences would now be packing into the city’s invaluable Traverse Theatre, home to some of the most vibrant new writing in the country. Instead, the Traverse has created a new online venue, Traverse 3, that...

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Theatre Unlocked 4: Shows in concert and a contemporary classic comes to TV

After months spent sifting amongst the virtual, I'm pleased to report that live performance looks to be on the (socially distanced) rebound. The week ahead sees the start of a six-week run at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park of the alfresco...

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Imagine... My Name is Kwame, BBC One review - interesting but incomplete

Filmed, as one would, well, imagine, prior to lockdown, Imagine .... My Name is Kwame hearkens to what now seems a bygone era of full and buzzy playhouses and adventurous theatre-making that was about the live experience and not some facsimile...

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Theatre Unlocked 3: Signs of activity after a long siesta

After a weeklong hiatus due to an absence of noteworthy material, this column is back heralding the return, as well, of something resembling live theatre. Okay, so the Simon Stephens premiere Blindness at the Donmar doesn't actually feature actors...

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Scrounger, Finborough Theatre online review – autobiography meets meta-theatre

During the current pandemic, stories about isolation have a particular resonance. Feelings of claustrophobia, loneliness and frustration slide off the stage and echo in our subconscious – yes, this is us alright. One of the most prescient is Athena...

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Jenny Diski: Why Didn’t You Just Do What You Were Told? Essays review - a posthumous collection from the pages of the LRB

“Jenny Diski lies here. But tells the truth over there.” That was Diski’s response to daughter’s Choe’s observation that if she were buried – a friend had just offered her a spot in a plot she’d bought amid the grandeur of Highgate Cemetery – she’d...

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Theatre Unlocked 2: A starry premiere and musical revival alongside Greek tragedy where it began

Theatres will begin gently unlocking their doors as we head into August. In the meantime, a beleaguered community continues to find fresh and startling ways to sustain interest and excitement, whether that be the premiere of a new play starring...

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Tiger Country, Hampstead Theatre online review - a taut drama of NHS pressure and pain

If ever there was a “play for today”, it’s surely this. Nina Raine’s 2011 A&E drama follows hospital staff – doctors senior and junior, surgeons, registrars, consultants, nurses – as they confront, individually and collectively, the stress of a...

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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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