All stories by Clare Brennan on BroadwayStars

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Tom, Dick & Harry review – spectacular, daring take on The Great Escape by Clare Brennan

New Vic, Newcastle-under-LymeClowning and humour are brilliantly woven into the darkness and danger of this prisoner-of-war story, best known from the 1963 film Tom, Dick and Harry are the t…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:07AM
Sunday, June 19, 2022

Playboy of the West Indies review – feelgood musical that fails to click by Clare Brennan

Birmingham RepThis attempt to make Mustapha Matura’s adaptation of the classic drama into a calypso-laced entertainment has lost something in translation Something’s not quite right. The…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:06AM
Sunday, June 5, 2022

The Dance of Death review – gender-swapping adaptation neuters Strindberg by Clare Brennan

Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal Bath; and touringRebecca Lenkiewicz’s version of this 1900 play loses the high stakes of the influential original August Strindberg is probably best known in …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:06AM
Sunday, May 29, 2022

Corrina, Corrina review – high seas drama hits the rocks by Clare Brennan

Everyman theatre, LiverpoolChloë Moss’s well-intentioned new play can’t quite navigate the choppy waters of sex and race among the crew of a cargo ship This ambitious new play by Chloë…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:54AM
Sunday, May 22, 2022

Now Is Good – a joyous musical with a makeover at its heart by Clare Brennan

Storyhouse, ChesterTim Firth’s touching show about a father and son converting a bank into a home is perfectly constructed and performed This father-and-son love story is unabashedly senti…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 12:37PM
Sunday, May 15, 2022

First Touch review – an attempt to give sexual abuse the red card by Clare Brennan

Nottingham PlayhouseA young footballer is groomed by his coach in a new play lacking the intensity and drama of the beautiful game at its best “If your first touch is good, life is easy. I…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:24AM
Sunday, May 8, 2022

The White Card review – the liberal art world’s blindness to privilege by Clare Brennan

Northern Stage, NewcastleA strong cast makes Claudia Rankine’s exploration of the ‘invisibility of whiteness’ compelling Alex tells Charlotte he is angry that “your people” are bei…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:12AM
Sunday, May 1, 2022

Habibti Driver review – predictable east-meets-west cabbie comedy by Clare Brennan

Octagon, BoltonAn Egyptian-British father and daughter tussle over culture clashes in an underpowered Wigan-set drama saved by its smart design Ashraf (Dana Haqjoo), born in Egypt, longtime …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 12:03PM
Sunday, April 24, 2022

Wars of the Roses review – a little too much shock and awe by Clare Brennan

Royal Shakespeare theatre, Stratford-upon-AvonThe consummate stagecraft of the RSC evokes the chaos of warfare, but the characterisation gets lost in the tumult Opposing leaders, each assert…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:36AM
Sunday, April 17, 2022

Red Ellen review – sketchy treatment of a heroic politician by Clare Brennan

Nottingham PlayhouseCaroline Bird’s drama about the Labour MP Ellen Wilkinson gives us the bullet points of an extraordinary life but slips into melodrama The Red Ellen of the title was El…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:33AM
Sunday, April 10, 2022

Molière 2022 review – France’s greatest playwright comes home by Clare Brennan

Comédie-Française, ParisIn an innovative and risk-taking 400th anniversary season, Ivo van Hove and others explore the comic master’s endless variety In the foyer of the Comédie-França…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:42AM
Sunday, April 3, 2022

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar review – Roald Dahl magic for the social media age by Clare Brennan

Perth theatreA talented cast and inventive creatives adapt a classic story of transformation into youth theatre at its best Earlier this year, a number of theatre professionals shared, via …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:33AM
Sunday, March 27, 2022

Petula review – a schoolboy’s quest is out of this world by Clare Brennan

Sherman Theatre, CardiffThe action may be absurd but the trauma and confusion of growing up are totally realistic Pwdin is 12 years old. He thinks he’s fat (“You’re not fat!” exclaim…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:18AM
Sunday, March 20, 2022

Wonder Boy review – an exhilarating teenage spin on The King’s Speech by Clare Brennan

Bristol Old VicA schoolboy overcomes his stammer in an energising paean to the power of language marked by fine performances Writer Ross Willis has a terrific feel for words, their sounds, t…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:33AM
Sunday, March 13, 2022

Macbeth review – an excess of sound and fury by Clare Brennan

Leeds PlayhouseEfforts to make Shakespeare accessible to all rub against confused staging and wayward delivery in Amy Leach’s ambitious production Cacophonous crashes signal the opening. S…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 01:03PM
Sunday, March 6, 2022

The Bone Sparrow review – an immigrant story for all ages by Clare Brennan

York Theatre RoyalA Rohingya refugee boy in an Australian detention centre befriends a local girl in a moving adaptation of Zana Fraillon’s novel In staging Zana Fraillon’s 2016 novel, Y…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:18AM
Sunday, February 27, 2022

Yes! Yes! UCS! review – vibrant musical of worker power by Clare Brennan

Lantern theatre, SheffieldClyde dockworkers take a stand in 1970s Scotland, in an affecting new play by Townsend Productions The letters UCS, so firmly affirmed in the title, stand for Upper…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:48AM
Sunday, February 20, 2022

Anna Karenina review – overthought and underdone by Clare Brennan

Crucible, SheffieldThough well acted, this revival of Helen Edmundson’s 1992 adaptation doesn’t feel ready for the big stage “All ideas are good,” according to the great theatre tea…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:54AM
Sunday, February 13, 2022

The Invisible Man review – therapy and sound effects in HG Wells update by Clare Brennan

Northern Stage, NewcastleDespite clever stagecraft and the best efforts of four committed young actors, the drama and bite of Philip Correia’s new adaptation is muffled The staging is witt…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:03AM
Sunday, February 6, 2022

The White Handkerchief review – Bloody Sunday powerfully relived by a local cast by Clare Brennan

Guildhall, DerryDrama, music and movement are combined to potent effect in this new play depicting the tragic events of 30 January 1972 Iconic photographs give this new musical play its titl…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 12:03PM
Sunday, January 23, 2022

Jean-Daniel Broussé: (le) Pain review – baker’s son gets a rise in this playful, affecting mime by Clare Brennan

The Place, LondonBroussé brings a tale of baking and suffering to glorious life in this much-kneeded autobiographical show The title of Jean-Daniel Broussé’s solo show is a pun on the Fr…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:48AM
Sunday, January 16, 2022

Wendy & Peter Pan review – Wendy finds her way in a boy-shaped world by Clare Brennan

Leeds PlayhouseDeveloped between teams in Leeds and Tokyo, this spectacular reimagining brings new complexity to JM Barrie’s story Ella Hickson’s adaptation of JM Barrie’s world-famous…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 11:33AM
Sunday, December 19, 2021

The Play What I Wrote review – Morecambe and Wise homage brings us sunshine by Clare Brennan

Birmingham Rep This 20-year-old comedy with the nightly surprise guest works its magic in a superb revival directed by its co-writer, the Rep’s artistic director, Sean Foley As the title s…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 10:42AM
Sunday, December 12, 2021

A Chorus Line review – a timely revival of the 70s musical by Clare Brennan

Curve, LeicesterThe 70s musical centred on a group of Broadway musical auditionees is all about the ensemble in Nikolai Foster’s winning revival It’s not difficult to see why Nikolai Fos…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:24AM
Sunday, December 5, 2021

From a joyous Mancunian Wiz to the most charming of Beasts – the best Christmas family shows by Clare Brennan

Hull Truck; Hope Mill, Manchester; Barn, Cirencester; New Vic, Newcastle-under-Lyme; Watermill, NewburyThe Railway Children reduces our critic to tears, and a topical take on The Wizard of O…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:36AM
Sunday, November 21, 2021

My Voice Was Heard But It Was Ignored – vital voices on racism by Clare Brennan

Leeds Playhouse and touringThe arrest of a man outside a shop provides the framework for a dramatic investigation of black people’s experiences Nana-Kofi Kufuor’s new two-hander opens wi…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 12:18PM
Sunday, November 7, 2021

Life Is a Dream review – an existential celebration to die for by Clare Brennan

Royal Lyceum theatre, EdinburghWils Wilson delivers a high-energy version of the 17th-century play about a monstrous prince faced with the ultimate question Edinburgh’s Lyceum has reopened…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:12AM
Sunday, October 31, 2021

Jitney review – August Wilson’s cab drivers do the talking by Clare Brennan

Leeds PlayhouseA strong cast and the world-weary Pittsburgh cab drivers they portray are all battling circumstances beyond their control in this overly busy production of Wilson’s 1982 pla…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:24AM
Sunday, October 24, 2021

The Lemon Table review – love and death with Julian Barnes by Clare Brennan

Salisbury Playhouse and touringIan McDiarmid wryly contemplates mortality in his engaging new adaptation of two Julian Barnes short stories “Among the Chinese, the lemon is the symbol of d…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:48AM
Sunday, October 17, 2021

The Enemy review – Ibsen goes digital by Clare Brennan

Dundee RepA powerful overhaul of An Enemy of the People weaves texts and emails seamlessly into the action Kieran Hurley’s take on Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People was about to go i…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:36AM
Sunday, October 10, 2021

Dracula: The Untold Story review – gripping vampire tale with added bite by Clare Brennan

Leeds PlayhouseImitating the Dog’s technical marvel of a show turns an updated version of Bram Stoker’s novel into a live-action graphic novel New Year’s Eve; a police interrogation ro…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:12AM