All stories by Friends on BroadwayStars

Sunday, October 1, 2023

PETER PAN GOES WRONG touring by Libby Purves and Friends

IT’S BACK, THROUGH THE NURSERY WINDOW, STILL FLYING       Just to reassure you:  this offshoot from Mischief, the team who brought you the perennial  Play-goes-wrong, is still a lot o…

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Thursday, September 28, 2023

CLOSE UP Menier, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

  THE TWIG WHO BRANCHED OUT      We get up to speed on the period,  with irresistible tracks from the golden age of pop: Beatles, Stones, Animals.   Onstage is a photographer’s white…

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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

OCTOPOLIS Hampstead Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

A TANKFUL OF EMOTIONAL TENTACLES       Where better than Hampstead to watch the interplay of cutting-edge science with emotional intensity and philosophical unanswerables?  Upstairs we h…

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Friday, September 22, 2023

PYGMALION Old VIc, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

PHONETICALLY PHABULOUS      Last time Bertie Carvel was on this stage it was as Donald Trump. Now our best shapeshifter is Henry Higgins: capering, swearing, somewhere on the far side of …

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Thursday, September 21, 2023

THE WHITE FACTORY. Marylebone theatre, NW1 by Libby Purves and Friends

THE INFECTION OF WICKEDNESS          The history of the Lodz ghetto in Poland is a part of the Holocaust story worth foxusing on, ot least because the Jewish population there were made …

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REBECCA Charing Cross Theatre WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

LAST NIGHT I DREAMT I WENT TO MANDERLEY  YET AGAIN…       Daphne Du Maurier’s story is almost a national myth, what with the grand house on the towering cliffs, the terrifying housek…

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Tuesday, September 19, 2023

ANTHROPOLOGY Hampstead Theatre, NW3 by Libby Purves and Friends

LOSS AND GRIEF IN A SILICON WORLD         In a bleak grey minimalist space  Merril (a restlessly gamine Myanna Buring) is grieving her much younger sister Angie,  who has vanished, pre…

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Friday, September 15, 2023

THE FATHER AND THE ASSASSIN Olivier, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

INDIA 1948 , LESSONS FOR ALL TIME      This show  is a happy return, especially if like me you missed it last summer: the National at its best, a modern epic and warning directed with fl…

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Thursday, September 14, 2023

THE INVINCIBLES Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch by Libby Purves and Friends

SHOOT, SCORE, SPARK!  This is the year of  football plays. First Dear England at the Olivier, now  the women’s turn on another stage,  out East a bit.  Here’s another neon strip lig…

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Wednesday, September 13, 2023

INFAMOUS Jermyn St theatre SW1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A SCANDALOUS WOMAN IN A STORMY WORLD       A distant thunder of naval artillery: against elegant panelled walls in Naples a bundled matron   in a bonnet watches her flighty daughter toss…

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Sunday, September 10, 2023

GOD OF CARNAGE Lyric, Hammersmith by Libby Purves and Friends

FOUR MORE AWFUL PEOPLE, HURRAH          Two four-handers about awful middle class behaviour in a week:  just what the irritable heatwave needed.   This, which I caught in a late previ…

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Thursday, September 7, 2023

NEVER HAVE I EVER. Minerva, Chichester by Libby Purves and Friends

WHEN THE VIRTUE-SIGNALS DRIVE YOU OFF THE RAILS      In a boutique restaurant going bankrupt, Jacq and Kas nervously prepare to admit it to their main investor Tobin and his wife Adaego.�…

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Friday, August 18, 2023

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park by Libby Purves and Friends

 HAVING THE BEST OF TIMES IN THE PARK     Even in familiar classics you can never predict which anthem will set you dabbing your eye.    You might expect it at Albin’s anguished ‘I …

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Thursday, August 17, 2023

THE EFFECT. Lyttelton, SE 1 by Libby Purves and Friends

DOPAMINE , DRUGS, DANGER, DOCTORS   This intriguing play by Lucy Prebble  aired in 2012 in the intimate Cottesloe space , with Billie Piper and Jonjo o’Neill as paid subjects in an antid…

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Wednesday, August 16, 2023

FALKLAND SOUND. Swan, Stratford upon Avon by Libby Purves and Friends

FORTY YEARS ON, FROM TWO PERSPECTIVES     This is a properly interesting RSC commission: a history play about the Falklands invasion by Argentina in 1982 and the British task force which e…

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Wednesday, August 9, 2023

SPIRAL Jermyn St Theatre SW1 by Libby Purves and Friends

SORROW AND SUSPICION     This one had me from the first few minutes: another Jermyn find.   A new play, whose young actor- writer Abigail Hood and director Kevin Tomlinson both perform in…

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Friday, August 4, 2023

THE CROWN JEWELS. Garrick Theatre, WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

A CORONATION YEAR ROMP ANYWAY          A neighbour in the stalls confided that she sees a lot of West End theatre but avoids “the more highbrow sort”.  She was in the right place, …

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CUCKOO. Royal Court, SW1 by Libby Purves and Friends

THREE GENERATIONS UNDER SMARTPHONE RULE  Bit late to this one, and it had mixed reviews – largely I suspect because Michael Wynne’s play, a two hour four-hander all-woman slice of life …

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Tuesday, August 1, 2023

ROCK FOLLIES. Minerva, Chichester by Libby Purves and Friends

NEVER MIND THE MOUNTAIN, OVER THE ROAD CHICHESTER ROCKS      Now here’s a perfect gig for us 1970’s leftovers, though I suspect today’s young rockers  will also love the shiny leat…

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Sunday, July 30, 2023

QUENTIN CRISP NAKED HOPE Touring by Libby Purves and Friends

OLD SOHO SPEAKS AGAIN, AND WISELY   Of all the places you’d expect to see Quentin Crisp  – even as a ghost or tribute – one of the least likely is a wooded amphitheatre in Suffolk at…

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Saturday, July 29, 2023

THE WINTER’S TALE Sutton Hoo by Libby Purves and Friends

TRAGEDY,    JOKES, ORACLES,  SINGING SHEEP AND A BEAR      After last year’s storming Macbeth,  Red Rose Chain returns  to the wooded site at Sutton Hoo for its second big outdoor …

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Wednesday, July 19, 2023

THE EMPRESS. Swan, Stratford upon Avon by Libby Purves and Friends

THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN?     Tanika Gupta’s play is a sprawling,  angrily intimate epic about Indians in Britain during the height of empire,  thirteen years running up to old Queen V…

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Monday, July 17, 2023

THE SOUND OF MUSIC Chichester Festival Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

A FEW OF OUR FAVOURITE THINGS…         Let it be said first of all that Gina Beck is a glorious gamine Maria:  sings like a bird and is satisfyingly able to convey in her voice her gr…

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Sunday, July 16, 2023

THE WIND AND THE RAIN Finborough, SW10 by Libby Purves and Friends

THE WAY IT WAS      Ah, the forgotten plays of the 30s and 40s, how they lure me to basements and pub rooms and tunnels:  Jermyn and Finborough and Southwark in particular!     Like co…

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Wednesday, July 12, 2023

DR SEMMELWEIS Harold Pinter Theatre SW1 by Libby Purves and Friends

BIRTH, DEATH, SCIENCE , ANGER        “The smell – the smell – the sheets…”   Curtain up,  he is gripped by urgency, past or present. . Now a successful doctor home in Hungary…

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Tuesday, June 20, 2023

DEAR ENGLAND. Olivier, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

COME ON MY SONS…     At the end of the first half of this exhilarating play, England is through to the World Cup quarter-finals in Russia after several bracing straight wins and  an ago…

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Tuesday, June 13, 2023

WHEN WINSTON WENT TO WAR WITH THE WIRELESS. Donmar. WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

1926 AND ALL THAT, ON THE AIR Fresh from doing cartwheels in the Bake Off musical up the road, Haydn Gwynne is now a strangely convincing Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin , in pinstripe.  Oh,…

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ASSASSINS. Chichester Festival Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

QUIET DESPERATION, NOISY GUNSHOTS “Everybody tell the story Everybody sing the song, Every now and then a country Goes a little wrong…”         Hard for it not to feel topical,  S…

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Sunday, June 11, 2023

THE MIKADO Wilton’s Music Hall E1 by Libby Purves and Friends

HIGH NOTES AND KNOBBLY KNEES        I am a relative newcomer to Gilbert & Sullivan, having long thought I hated them  (heard too many gammony fans in my childhood wrecking the songs…

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Friday, June 9, 2023

GROUNDHOG DAY 2023     Old Vic SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

WELCOME BACK TO PUNXATAWNEY        Seven years after its premiere at the Old Vic earned a  flurry of Oliviers, by way of a pandemic and a disappointingly short Broadway run ,   here it…

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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

YOURS UNFAITHFULLY Jermyn St Theatre SW1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A TIME CAPSULE OF OPEN MARRIAGE   I am pleased to find out about Miles Malleson:  an Edwardian student joker,  WW1 conscientious objector, Bolshevist, founder of Left drama groups and the…

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