All stories by Friends on BroadwayStars

Sunday, March 19, 2023

MARJORIE PRIME Menier, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

FUTURE IMPERFECT      Artificial intelligence and robotics have long been a boon to us ethical-scifi buffs,  films like AI and I, Robot mercifully saving us from rocket ships and aliens …

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Wednesday, March 15, 2023

GUYS AND DOLLS Bridge, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

HYTNER ROLLS ANOTHER WINNING DICE     Daniel Mays has played a lot of tough-guy roles but has by nature a rather innocent and worried-looking face.  It is this quality that Nick Hytner sp…

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Tuesday, March 14, 2023

BRILLIANT JERKS Southwark, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

RIDE A WILD APP    In  a week when tech firms shuddered at the shock demise of their favourite bank, how better to spend 90  minutes  withJoseph Charlton’s exhilarating, fast moving 3…

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Sunday, March 12, 2023

THE CHILDREN Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds by Libby Purves and Friends

A RADIATING RESPONSIBILITY          Since I watched Sizewell A going up as a child,  live close to Sizewell B and dwell amid a forest of local posters furiously condemning Sizewell C, …

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Tuesday, March 7, 2023

THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF MUSICAL Noel Coward Theatre WC1 by Libby Purves and Friends

SUGAR RUSH  I can never resist scribbling down rhymes in new musicals, whether in a spirit appalled or admiring.    Take a bow Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary – writers of this extreme ca…

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Sunday, March 5, 2023

THE TIME MACHINE          touring  by Libby Purves and Friends

AN UN-SOLEMN WARNING FROM THE FUTURE    H.G.Wells is the inspiration,  with a larkily extrovert Dave Hearn from Mischief Theatre pretending to be his great-grandson, heir, and owner of th…

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Friday, March 3, 2023

GRENFELL: SYSTEM FAILURE. Tabernacle & Marylebone by Libby Purves and Friends

MORE DETAILS, MORE  DEVILRY          An Afghan army officer flees the Taleban and finds safety on the 23rd floor of Grenfell Tower.  His local nickhame is  “Sabar”, meaning “pa…

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Tuesday, February 14, 2023

STANDING AT THE SKY’S EDGE. Olivier, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

 HIGH ABOVE THE BRUTAL AND BELOVED CITY       It’s an architectural moment. Within the stark brutalist NT is a set in homage to a brutalist landmark:  the early 1960’s Park Hill Fl…

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Friday, February 10, 2023

PHAEDRA. Lyttelton, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

COUGAR CHAOS     The Greeks just go on giving.  Writer-director Simon Stone’s play,  set today amid the upper-middle classes of Holland Park and second-home Suffolk,  credits itself m…

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Thursday, February 9, 2023

THE LEHMAN TRILOGY. Gillian Lynne Theatre WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

A MONETARY MORALITY PLAY         Three hour-long plays, two intervals, three men in black frock-coats explain some financial history in a revolving glass box in front of a projected , m…

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Monday, February 6, 2023

LINCK AND MULHAHN Hampstead, N1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A TALE FOR TODAY FROM A PRUSSIAN PAST      Here’s a love story, an idyll of 18c Prussia:  Corporal Anastasius Linck, a Hanoverian musketeer in dashing white breeches and shiny buttons …

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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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Nov 27, 2022: KPOP - Circle In The Square