All stories by Libby Purves on BroadwayStars

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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Tuesday, November 1, 2022

REVIEW: Mary, Hampstead Theatre ✭✭✭ by Libby Purves

By Libby Purves Our very own theatreCat Libby Purves reviews Rona Munro's play Mary at Hampstead Theatre. This post REVIEW: Mary, Hampstead Theatre ✭✭✭ first appeared on British Theatr…

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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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Thursday, October 6, 2022

RAVENSCOURT Hampstead Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

THERAPISTS AS HUMANS  Georgina Burns  is a trained and experienced NHS therapist,  now with Hampstead support a playwright.  So, unlike most other writers tempted by the theatricality of…

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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

JEWS IN THEIR OWN WORDS. Royal Court SW1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A MODEST AND REMORSEFUL SELF-REBUKE        There’s  a curious outbreak of reparations going on. The Old Vic, which binned Into the Woods in outrage at Terry Gilliam’s reportedly inc…

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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

THE RAVEN. Touring East by Libby Purves and Friends

A GOTHIC SORROW IN OLD BOSTON When you say you’re off to a Suffolk village hall to see a tiny company –  best known for its mini-pantos – doing a dramatised tribute to Edgar Allan Po…

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Friday, September 30, 2022

JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN. Bridge Theatre, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

AMBITION , DISGRACE, RUIN, WOMEN Heavy footfalls pace overhead, enervating, raising anxiety. Anna Fleischle’s  galleried grey set is half Scandi-minimo-chic, half penitentiary. Downstairs…

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Thursday, September 29, 2022

NOISES OFF. Theatre Royal Bath, and touring by Libby Purves and Friends

GLORIOUS AS EVER         Millions know it by now, but in case like my enthralled companions last night you aren’t among them,   grant me a moment or skip the the penultimate paragraph…

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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

WOMAN IN MIND.        Chichester Festival Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

WISHFUL DELUSIONS IN A MIDDLE AGED DOLDRUM Susan finds herself in mid-life with a dull clerical husband (Nigel Lindsay  really enjoying it) , obsessed with his dreary parish history pamphle…

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Monday, September 26, 2022

REVIEW: Eureka Day, Old Vic Theatre London ✭✭✭✭✭ by Libby Purves

By Libby Purves Our very own theatreCat Libby Purves reviews Helen Hunt in Jonathan Spector's comedy Eureka day at London's old Vic Theatre. This post REVIEW: Eureka Day, Old Vic Theatre Lon…

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Friday, September 23, 2022

EUREKA DAY. Old Vic, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

LORD, WHAT FOOLS WE LIBERALS BE…      In a beanbagged, bright-coloured primary school in Berkeley, California,  its executive committee of five seek consensus over reclassifying the dr…

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DISTINGUISHED VILLA.      Finborough Theatre SW10 by Libby Purves and Friends

REFINED AND FEATHER-DUSTED: CRUELTY IN THE SUBURBS We are in a suburban drawing-room in 1926,  which some characters will still call  the “parlour”.  Near the front, close enough to t…

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Thursday, September 15, 2022

ROSE Park Theatre, N4 by Libby Purves and Friends

A CENTURY SURVIVED    It is no bad week to be contemplating the Jewish custom of sitting shiva:  spending seven days on a hard wooden bench when “you laugh, you cry, you argue” in tri…

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Wednesday, September 14, 2022

THE SNAIL HOUSE. Hampstead Theatre, NW1 by Libby Purves and Friends

EVEN A SNAIL WILL REACH ITS HOME          That’s a Nigerian saying, apparently.   But shiny though the shell is,   Richard Eyre’s play becomes a frustrating stew of ideas, attitud…

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Tuesday, September 13, 2022

LOVE ALL. Jermyn St Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

SAYERS, SAYING IT FOR WORKING WOMEN   Here’s a treat:  first half in Venice (with a glorious Canaletto backdrop) and the second, after some elegant Jermyn set-changing, in a London playw…

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Saturday, September 3, 2022

PENELOPE: SEVEN WAYS TO WAIT Arcola, E8 by Libby Purves and Friends

GUEST REVIEWER CHARLOTTE VALORI FINDS SOME INTERESTING THREADS SLIGHTLY UNRAVELLED AT GRIMEBORN Fringe opera festivals sometimes give us a chance to see new work in progress – i.e. unfinis…

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Wednesday, August 24, 2022

INTO THE WOODS Theatre Royal, Bath by Libby Purves and Friends

A SPIKY AND SPECTACULAR DELIGHT              Humanity in every century has needed to plunge into the dark forests, questing or fleeing,  finding wonders or wolves:    it’s in Dan…

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Thursday, August 18, 2022

GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY – TOUR (Marlowe,Canterbury & onwards) by Libby Purves and Friends

IT’S BACK:  A NEW DIRECTION HOME    This humbly immense, uniquely created show threw me for a loop five summers ago. It’s back on tour,  via Oliviers and Broadway awards,   with its…

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All that Chat

Nov 27, 2022: KPOP - Circle In The Square