sun 20/05/2018

playwrights

Nightfall, Bridge Theatre, review - moving but over-exposed

Playwright Barney Norris is as prolific as he is talented. Barely out of his twenties, he has written a series of excellent plays – the award-winning Visitors, follow-ups Eventide and While We’re Here – as well as a couple of novels and lots of...

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Mood Music, Old Vic review - riveting critique of the music biz

Playwright Joe Penhall and the music biz? Well, they have history. When he was writing the book for Sunny Afternoon, his 2014 hit musical about the Kinks, he had a few run-ins with Ray Davies, the band’s lead singer. A couple of years ago The Stage...

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Absolute Hell, National Theatre review - high gloss show saves over-rated classic

Rodney Ackland must be the most well-known forgotten man in postwar British theatre. His legend goes like this: Absolute Hell was originally titled The Pink Room, and first staged in 1952 at the Lyric Hammersmith, where it got a critical mauling....

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The Prudes, Royal Court review - hilarious but frustrating sex show

Playwright Anthony Neilson has always been fascinated by sex. I mean, who isn’t? But he has made it a central part of his career. In his bad-boy in-yer-face phase, from the early 1990s to about the mid-2000s, he pioneered a type of theatre that...

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The Inheritance, Young Vic review - a long day’s journey into light

About a decade ago, theatre-makers started routinely describing themselves as being in the business of storytelling. And “storytelling” is most certainly the term that best describes Matthew Lopez’s two-part, seven-hour epic The Inheritance....

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Summer and Smoke, Almeida Theatre - exquisite renaissance of Tennessee Williams's neglected play

That this 1948 Tennessee Williams play is rarely performed seems nothing short of a travesty, thanks to the awe-inspiring case made for it by Rebecca Frecknall’s exquisite Almeida production. Aided by the skyrocketing Patsy Ferran, it also makes a...

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'These star-crossed lovers are so young': adapting Brighton Rock

I never have the idea of adapting anything at all myself. The suggestions always come from directors or theatre companies. Someone calls me to say, Would I be interested in adapting this book… and I say… "Let me read it and get back to you”, then I...

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'Why we understand each other': Peter Gill on The York Realist

Fingers on buzzers… Question: What’s the connection between Days of Wine and Roses, Small Change, Making Noise Quietly and Versailles? Answer: They’re all past Donmar productions directed by Peter Gill.But it’s not just his directing skill – no one...

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The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Kneehigh on tour review - sweetest musical Chagalliana

Time flies so much more beguilingly in Daniel Jamieson and Emma Rice's 90-minute musical fantasia than it ever has, for me, in Bock and Harnick's Fiddler on the Roof – and the songs aren't bad, either. The inspiration here – and inspiration's the...

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The Birthday Party, Harold Pinter Theatre review - starry cast create a stunning masterpiece

Is modernism dead and buried? Anyone considering the long haul of Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party from resounding flop in 1958 to West End crowd-pleasing classic today might be forgiven for wondering whether self-consciously difficult literary...

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Best of 2017: Theatre

Year-end wrap-ups function as both remembrances of things past and time capsules, attempts to preserve an experience to which audiences, for the most part, have said farewell. (It's different, of course, for films, which remain available to us...

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Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle, Wyndham’s Theatre review – paradoxically predictable

Playwright Simon Stephens and director Marianne Elliott are hyped as a winning partnership. Their previous collaborations include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a massive Olivier award-winning hit, and her sensitive revival of...

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