sat 15/06/2024

violence

The Mongol Khan, London Coliseum review - unique operatic spectacle utterly overwhelms flaws in pacing and story

“But that’s what they’re paying for!” replied my son as we, a little shellshocked by the previous three hours, skirted Trafalgar Square on the way home. I had reservations about some key components of the alchemy that produces great theatre, but...

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1984, Hackney Town Hall review - Room 101 shapeshifts into 2023, but remains as terrifyingly plausible as ever

The day after I saw the show, as went about the mundanities of domestic life, I wondered how long it would take to come across a reference to 1984. My best bet was listening to an LBC phone-in concerning next week’s conference at Bletchley Park on...

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Trueman and the Arsonists, Roundhouse Studio review - new warnings in old lessons

A dystopian present. Sirens ring out across the city. Firefighters rush to the wrong locations. A man insists on entry to a big house. He’s not selling anything, so he can’t be an arsonist can he? His friend turns up and she’s pretty upfront about...

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The Flea, The Yard Theatre review - biting satire fails to sting

A flea bites a rat which spooks a horse which kicks a man and… an empire falls?James Fritz has won writing awards already in his developing career, but he has set himself quite the challenge to weave a thread that can bear that narrative weight. Two...

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The Changeling, Southwark Playhouse review - wild ride proves too bumpy to land all its points

Writing about the upcoming 60th anniversary of the founding of the National Theatre in The Guardian recently, the usually reliable Michael Billington made a rare misstep. He called for the successor to Rufus Norris, the departing artistic director,...

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Othello, Riverside Studios review - three Iagos pitch Shakespeare's villain into the 21st century

Shakespeare gives Iago over 1000 lines to implant the jealous rage in Othello, so there’s plenty to of raw material to work with. The director Sinéad Rushe has had the idea to split these weaselly words between three actors, a device that seems so...

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Expend4bles review - last ride for the over-the-hill gang?

Thanks to numerous arguments and disagreements over script, casting etc, nine years have elapsed since Expendables 3 hit the multiplexes, and Sylvester Stallone and his mercenary crew were perilously close to being over the hill even then. In...

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Makeshifts and Realities, Finborough Theatre review - Edwardian dramas with a pinch of Chekhov

We’re in (pretty much literally so in this most intimate of venues) an Edwardian sitting room, time hanging heavily in the air, gentility almost visibly fading before our eyes. Two sisters (young, educated, attractive) bicker with each other. But...

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Macbeth, Shakespeare's Globe review - uneven production of intermittent power

That Shakespeare speaks to his audiences anew with every production is a cliché, but, like so many such, the glib blandness of the assertion conceals an insistent truth. The Thane of Glamis has had some success in life, gains preferment from those...

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Special Ops: Lioness, Paramount+ review - high-octane female cast conducts war on terror

If you want to get a hit show on American TV, you could do a lot worse than recruit Taylor Sheridan to create it for you. Special Ops: Lioness, a bruising trip into the innards of a CIA counter-terror unit, follows a string of successes which have...

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Robin Hood. The Legend. Re-written, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre review - no bullseye for new take on familiar characters

After the pantos, the movies (epic, camp and animated) and the television series, is there anything new to be mined in the story of Robin Hood? Probably not, as this messy, misjudged show takes that hope and fires an arrow through its heart.We’re in...

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Under the Black Rock, Arcola Theatre review - political thriller turns soapy

“Darkly comic thrillers” (as they like to say) set in Ireland tracking how families, or quasi-families, fall apart under pressure are very much in vogue just now. Whether The Banshees of Inisherin will garner the Oscars haul it hardly deserves...

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