All stories by Friends on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

JUMPING THE SHARK Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds & touring by Libby Purves and Friends

SITCOMS MADE US, BUT CAN WE MAKE THEM?     It’s a very good idea, bang on the money:  David Cantor and Michael Kingsbury (TV sitcom writers with a pedigree) set their play in a bland pr…

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Monday, January 30, 2023

MY SON’S A QUEER (BUT WHAT CAN YOU DO?) Ambassadors, WC1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A BLAST OF DAFT JOY    Zip-a-dee-doo-dah!  Here’s a treat.   Disney music, blasting out before this vigorous 65-minute one-man spree, sets the mood.  It is carnivalesque, fantastical,…

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Sunday, January 29, 2023

THE ELEPHANT SONG Park Theatre N4 by Libby Purves and Friends

 A PATIENT TO TRY PATIENCE          It must be challenging to play a psychiatrist at work , maybe especially in Finsbury Park   where there are bound to be a few in the audience.  Yo…

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Wednesday, January 25, 2023

NOISES OFF COMES UP WEST Phoenix, WC1 by Libby Purves and Friends

Just a few new notes on this , as its completes its triumphant national tour with (amazingly) no stopping-injuries despite the heroically vigorous slapstick direction by Lindsay Posner (move…

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Thursday, January 19, 2023

WATCH ON THE RHINE Donmar, WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

HELLMAN’S LESSON IN HUMANITY      Theatre can offer few more topical messages for a nation which might hesitate over Ukraine’s needs than this neglected one-set domestic play by Lilia…

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IN THE NET Jermyn Street Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

PULLING THE WOOL         Most dystopian visions set themselves quite far in the future. Misha  Levkov, however, keeps us in 2025, specifying that productions should always be set a cou…

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Wednesday, January 18, 2023

ALLEGIANCE Charing Cross Theatre WC1 by Libby Purves and Friends

AN OLD INJUSTICE REMEMBERED        An old man steps onstage alone:  upright, soldierly in khaki as a former US war hero who is,  he says resignedly,  “brought out every year on the …

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Friday, December 23, 2022

MANDELA Young Vic SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A TALE FOR ALL TIMES   The story of Nelson Mandela has become almost a folktale: imprisoned for 27 years for campaigning against the hideous “apartheid” regime which kept  the black ma…

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Sunday, December 18, 2022

MOTHER GOOSE Duke of York’s Theatre WC! & touring by Libby Purves and Friends

THIS DAME HAS A WHOLE LOT BEHIND HIM       I last saw Sir Ian McKellen onstage  as Lear,   missed him as the oldest Hamlet ever,   but far longer ago saw him in a frock at the … Cont…

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Friday, December 16, 2022

THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS Avenue Theatre, Ipswich by Libby Purves and Friends

BREEZILY BLOWING IN FROM 1908, FRESH AS EVER      In Mole End on Christmas Eve,in a burrow cosy with domestic detail  they’re breaking out the beer and sardines and reminiscing about t…

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Tuesday, December 13, 2022

SONS OF THE PROPHET Hampstead Theatre NW3 by Libby Purves and Friends

A TRAGICOMIC BEAUTY     Hard to express how much I loved Stephen Karam’s play. Maybe it just hit the right moment:  yomped through freezing night, strikes and ‘severe delays” readi…

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Sunday, December 11, 2022

NEWSIES Troubadour, Wembley Park by Libby Purves and Friends

THE MOST ENJOYABLE STRIKE YOU’LL SEE THIS CHRISTMAS     I love it when the theatre perfectly fits the show.  Artists can overcome a wrong space, but there’s gleeful concord when it su…

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Friday, December 9, 2022

HEX Olivier, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

FREUDIAN ISUES IN FAIRYLAND      Everyone’s got mental health  issues in HEX:  which is the Sleeping Beauty story extended to the troublesome folk-tale aftermath.   The tousled Fairy…

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Monday, December 5, 2022

ORLANDO Garrick Theatre WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

A PACK OF WOOLFS PROWL ROUND THE GENDER-BEND   One bespectacled, anxious-looking Virginia Woolf in a sensible brown skirt and dreary cardigan is never enough,  so Michael Grandage’s prod…

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Friday, December 2, 2022

OTHELLO. Lyttelton, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A COLD ANGRY CRUSHING SYSTEM        It’s a cold unadorned monochrome scene: courts, brawls and bedchamber all framed on three sides by vast looming tiered steps and a high flat parapet…

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BEST OF ENEMIES. Noel Coward Theatre WC1 by Libby Purves and Friends

UP WEST, IT LOSES NOTHING…STILL A FIERCE TREAT Leaving the former Young Vic production a lad far too young to remember 1968 said sadly to me “It was the beginning of Now, wasn’t it?”…

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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

THE WIND IN THE WILTONS.        Wiltons Music Hall, E1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A GLORIOUS DOWNSTREAM WILLOWS FOR OUR AGE You won’t see a prettier, more refreshing or  sustainable stage this Christmas:  natural colours, riverbank rushes, a bare tree (which will have…

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Sunday, November 27, 2022

A SHERLOCK CAROL Marylebone Theatre NW1 by Libby Purves and Friends

CELEBRATORY, MY DEAR WATSON  I had come from the magnificent Old Vic Christmas Carol, where once again with mince pies,  bells and lanterns and Dickensian cheer and a message about how poo…

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Wednesday, November 23, 2022

THE MASSIVE TRAGEDY OF MADAME BOVARY. Jermyn Street Theatre WC1 by Libby Purves and Friends

CLEVER, CLOWNING, CLASSIC     What could be more seasonal than Flaubert’s tale of wifely frustration, romantic illusions, disastrous adulteries and ruinous shopaholic debt?  This adapt…

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Wednesday, November 16, 2022

MRS WARREN’S PROFESSION. Theatre Royal Bath & touring by Libby Purves and Friends

A DAUGHTER OF DISREPUTE   1893, and here’s George Bernard Shaw passing the Bechdel Test with flying colours by centring the action on two women at odds , with surrounding men remarkably d…

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PHANTOM REVISITED by Libby Purves and Friends

PURE PLEASURE AT HER MAJESTY’S        It seemed worth the money – these were not press tickets – to check out how good old Fanty is getting on after 36 years at Her Majesty’s The…

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Tuesday, November 15, 2022

BLACKOUT SONGS Hampstead Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

DRUNKENNESS AND THE DARK     The  studio at Hampstead has been on a roll recently, with  intelligent and emotionally honest plays : FOLK, RAVENSCOURT, THE ANIMAL KINGDOM et al.  It nurt…

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Thursday, November 3, 2022

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. Rose theatre, Kingston by Libby Purves and Friends

THE IMPORTANCE OF NOT BEING TOO TRADITIONAL ABOUT IT This cheerfully exuberant rendering of Oscar Wilde’s witty rom-com  is also a sort of political act. In the foyer a gorgeous selection…

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Monday, October 31, 2022

MARY. Hampstead theatre NW3 by Libby Purves and Friends

ABDUCTION, ASSAULT, ABDICATION For four hundred years the reputation of Mary, Queen of Scots, has been battled over:  she has been called victim and whore,  murderess and heroine,  flight…

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Wednesday, October 26, 2022

TAMMY FAYE. Almeida, N1 by Libby Purves and Friends

WHEN THEY PUT THE FUN – AND THE FUNDS  – INTO FUNDAMENTALISM..        Rarely in the history of Islington playgoing have so many first-nighters whooped so enthusiastically at  Gospe…

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Saturday, October 22, 2022

MARVELLOUS @sohoplace by Libby Purves and Friends

DODD-LEVEL HAPPINESS IN SOHO       Hard, on its first night ever, not to review the theatre itself.  Nica Burns and Nimax open the first new West End theatre in fifty years: agleam with …

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Tuesday, October 18, 2022

SOMETHING IN THE AIR Jermyn St Theatre SW1 by Libby Purves and Friends

OLD MEN DO NOT FORGET        Peter Gill’s  new play has a melancholy beauty about  it;  it’s a sort of poem as the veteran playwright and director engages with  age, regret and m…

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Thursday, October 13, 2022

GOOD Harold Pinter Theatre SW1 by Libby Purves and Friends

THE PROFESSORIAL ROAD TO HELL     David Tennant is a fastidious actor.  That sounds negative, prim perhaps, but in fact expresses why his performance in C.P.Taylor’s extraordinary play …

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Wednesday, October 12, 2022

BLUES FOR AN ALABAMA SKY Lyttelton, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A HARLEM TRAVIATA Three in the morning and Angel the showgirl is raring , glitterimg drunk “if you caint be drunk in Harlem..” she slurs furiously.  Her friend Guy brought her home, an…

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Monday, October 10, 2022

THE DOCTOR. Duke of York’s WC1 by Libby Purves and Friends

RETURN OF A WILD AND QUESTIONING PLAY      This is the return of Robert Icke’s modern version of Schnitzler’s 1912 play – details below, as laid out in part of my original Almeida r…

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Friday, October 7, 2022

THE CRUCIBLE Olivier, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A WARNING FOR ALL TIMES     This is the big one.  It’s the National Theatre at its strongest:   unapologetic, classic,  unsparing, gripping, impassioned.    Here’s  the heavy art…

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Nov 27, 2022: KPOP - Circle In The Square