All stories by Tom Birchenough on BroadwayStars

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Antony and Cleopatra, National Theatre review - Ralph Fiennes in marvellous throttle by Tom Birchenough

Supreme lucidity and two commanding performances make for a moving productionYou always wonder about those final scenes of Shakespeare’s tragedies. Are they really needed dramatically; do …

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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Eyam, Shakespeare's Globe review - plague drama, dark and loose by Tom Birchenough

Back to the 17th century: the village that cut itself off to dieThe end-of-season contemporary writing slot at the Globe must be a proposal as full of promise for playwrights as it is perhap…

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Monday, September 10, 2018

Underground Railroad Game, Soho Theatre review - scratching the American wound by Tom Birchenough

A furious, darkly comic riff on race, this frenetic two-hander dazzlesUnderground Railroad Game is scabrous theatre – in every sense. To start with, Jennifer Kidwell and Scott R Sheppard…

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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Love’s Labour’s Lost, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse review - in praise of a fantastical Spaniard by Tom Birchenough

The ladies of France shine in a production that otherwise makes heavy weather If ever there was a play of “well bandied” words, it’s surely Love’s Labour’s Lost. The early Shakesp…

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Homos, or Everyone in America, Finborough Theatre review - a complex pattern of glee and profundity by Tom Birchenough

Jordan Seavey paints a landscape of New York gay life that is as moving as it is witty I’m still not entirely sure what the full associations of the title of New York playwright Jordan Sea…

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Killer Joe, Trafalgar Studios review - family drama, creepy and cruel by Tom Birchenough

Orlando Bloom compels as the hitman-cop ruling Tracy Letts's dark, gothic worldRight from the beginning of this production of Tracy Letts’s very first play, it’s clear we’re in fo…

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The String Quartet’s Guide to Sex and Anxiety, Brighton Festival review - molto nervoso by Tom Birchenough

Calixto Bieito's melange of text and music delivers a mesmerising agony of desolationCalixto Bieito has a reputation as a radical theatre-maker, and by any traditional standards The Str…

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Friday, May 18, 2018

As You Like It / Hamlet, Shakespeare’s Globe review - ensemble emphasis sets leaner style by Tom Birchenough

Michelle Terry's new company explores gender fludity, charts new directionsThere’s a distinct feeling of back-to-basics to this opening double bill at the Globe under the theatre’s …

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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Rasheeda Speaking, Trafalgar Studios review - unsettling comedy, thorny racism by Tom Birchenough

Bravura performance from Tanya Moodie in sharp new American drama of racial discordConflict and comedy can be unpredictable bedfellows, and Chicago playwright Joel Drake Johnson’s 2014 pla…

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Monday, January 29, 2018

The Open House, The Print Room review - razor wit, theatrical brio by Tom Birchenough

★★★★ THE OPEN HOUSE, THE PRINT ROOM A tyrannical family reunion and a dramatic volte-face in Will Eno's ingenious new dramaA tyrannical family reunion and a dramatic volte-face in Wi…

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel, Charing Cross Theatre by Tom Birchenough

Was Tennessee Williams breaking rules, or breaking apart when he wrote this 1969 play? A bit of both, probably, and the two main characters of the rarely performed In the Bar of a Tokyo Hote…

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Friday, April 1, 2016

Les Blancs, National Theatre by Tom Birchenough

Lorraine Hansberry’s career as a playwright proved tragically short. A Raisin in the Sun is by some distance her best-known work, a key piece about the African American post-war experience…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 09:09AM
Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Rolling Stone, Orange Tree Theatre by Tom Birchenough

I’m still pondering the title of Chris Urch’s new play. On the surface it’s clear enough: The Rolling Stone is a weekly newspaper in Uganda that has been notorious for pursuing that co…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 10:21AM
Friday, January 15, 2016

P’yongyang, Finborough Theatre by Tom Birchenough

Every incarnation of totalitarianism has its own specific mythology, which exists in different forms as it is believed at home and “translated” abroad (or not, in both cases). North Kore…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 08:20PM
Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Christmas Carol, Noël Coward Theatre by Tom Birchenough

Is Jim Broadbent Britain’s best-loved actor? The slate of screen roles he’s accumulated over the years – this Christmas Carol is his return to theatre after a decade away – has surel…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 09:46AM
Friday, December 4, 2015

Around the World in 80 Days, St James Theatre by Tom Birchenough

One of the joys about this stage adaptation of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days is the contrast between its phlegmatic hero Phileas Fogg, who deals with everything in terms of pre…

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Flowering Cherry, Finborough Theatre by Tom Birchenough

In the world of rediscoveries, half a century may not be a long time. Slightly more, in fact, with Robert Bolt’s first performed stage play Flowering Cherry, which premiered in 1957 with R…

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

One Minute, The Vaults by Tom Birchenough

The repercussions of loss ripple inexorably through Simon Stephens’ 2003 play One Minute. Foreshadowing elements developed in his later work, it’s a testing piece that speaks most of all…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 05:33AM
Friday, August 21, 2015

Lady Anna: All At Sea, Park Theatre by Tom Birchenough

If you were expecting a fusty, formal adaptation of Anthony Trollope – and one of his least known novels, to boot – Lady Anna: All At Sea will come as a breath of fresh air. Colin Blumen…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 08:21PM
Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Heresy of Love, Shakespeare's Globe by Tom Birchenough

Helen Edmundson’s The Heresy of Love may be set in 17th century Mexico and follow the conflict between strict religion and personal development, but its theme of a woman denied her voice b…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 12:01PM
Saturday, July 11, 2015

Lesere, Jermyn Street Theatre by Tom Birchenough

There’s a clear territorial divide in the small space of the Jermyn Street Theatre at the opening of Ashley G Holloway’s Lesere. At the centre of Ellan Parry’s persuasive design there…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 07:14AM
Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Three Lions, St James Theatre by Tom Birchenough

The devil gets the best lines. That may depend, of course, on whether we’re prepared to qualify David Cameron as the devil, but in William Gaminara's rapid-firing farce The Three Lions, th…

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Broken Heart, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse by Tom Birchenough

Jacobean playwright John Ford is flavour of the season at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. His better-known, and simply better, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, opened the venue’s new programme la…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 11:14AM
Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Playhouse Theatre by Tom Birchenough

It’s true that there is something wildly, garishly, theatrical about Pedro Almodóvar’s films – none more so than this rampant farce – but it’s equally true that their sensibility …

Linked From The Arts Desk at 05:42AM
Thursday, December 4, 2014

3 Winters, National Theatre by Tom Birchenough

The single spacious room that is the central location of Tena Štivičić’s 3 Winters has seen plenty of ghosts. It’s part of an old Zagreb mansion, and through the course of the pl…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 10:25AM
Friday, October 10, 2014

Notes from Underground, Print Room by Tom Birchenough

“I am spiteful! I am ill! You are not going to like this!” With these words Harry Lloyd opens his one-man show that adapts the Dostoevsky 1864 novella that is often hailed as the first w…

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fortune's Fool, Old Vic by Tom Birchenough

There’s cruel comedy and human drama aplenty in Fortune’s Fool, so much so that it’s hard sometimes to know whether we’re watching farce or tragedy. But it’s a mixture that works w…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 07:25AM
Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Love Girl and the Innocent, Southwark Playhouse by Tom Birchenough

Southwark Playhouse's new production of The Love Girl and the Innocent is London’s first in over 30 years, and there’s a reason Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s play rarely reaches the stage: …

Linked From The Arts Desk at 11:35AM
Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Preview: Solzhenitsyn's The Love Girl and the Innocent by Tom Birchenough

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was two years out of prison camp when he wrote The Love Girl and the Innocent. The experience of the eight years of hell that followed his sentence in July 1945 for an…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 03:27AM
Friday, September 6, 2013

Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Queen Elizabeth Hall by Tom Birchenough

It’s hard to imagine much upstaging Martyn Jacques, the indomitable falsetto frontman of the Tiger Lillies, but the gaping mouth of an enormous mythical fish that seems to have swum straig…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 07:00PM
Friday, June 7, 2013

The Tiger Lillies, Southbank Centre by Tom Birchenough

The last two years have seen the Tiger Lillies hit a prolific peak of activity, to be found as often on the theatrical as the concert stage, drawing on plenty of influences from outside the …

Linked From The Arts Desk at 04:59AM

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