All stories by Friends on BroadwayStars

Thursday, June 10, 2021

AMELIE. Criterion, W1 by Libby Purves and Friends

AMELIORATING PARISIAN LIVES ONE PUPPET AT A TIME       It could hardly be calculated more finely to fulfil every post-lockdown need:   a cast of sixteen nimble actor-musician-singers vis…

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Friday, June 4, 2021

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM Shakespeare’s Globe SE 1 by Libby Purves and Friends

PINK SATIN AND A  FAIRY PINATA FOR A PIMMS-Y NIGHT OUT         Face it, this play’s a rom-com,  a lark,  a happy pretty way to blame the fickleness of young love on petulant fairies…

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Sunday, May 30, 2021

WALDEN         Harold Pinter Theatre SW1 by Libby Purves and Friends

SPACE IS THE LIMIT AS THE WEST END RETURNS There was real excitement in a first west end moment since the November lockdown crushed the few brave shoots of returning theatre.  The Sonia Fri…

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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS      Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds by Libby Purves and Friends

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS      Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds INSTEAD OF TRAVEL…     So what do we need, to reopen a tiny Georgian playhouse in a time of continuing uncertainty, mas…

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Saturday, December 12, 2020

PANTOLAND Palladium, W1 by Libby Purves and Friends

     O YES IT IS       I had booked us in the very day Lloyd Webber and QDOS announced that with antiviral door handles, fogging, separating of bubbles and teeth-gritted determination,…

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Friday, December 11, 2020

A CHRISTMAS CAROL – OUTDOORS. Angel Hill Bury st Edmunds by Libby Purves and Friends

  ANOTHER ….GOD BLESS US EVERY ONE     Scrooge is testy, cold and solitary as an oyster, shocking as ever in his indifference to the poor who ought to die off and “decrease the surplu…

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Thursday, December 10, 2020

A CHRISTMAS CAROL Bridge, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A SCROOGE TO REMEMBER       Beneath festoons of horrid chains, nimble amid strongboxes and trunks and safes, three actors bring the old text to violently emotional life.  Assisted only b…

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FLIGHT Bridge, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

Great journeys told in tiny windows       The daily epics of the refugee crisis haunt us on every bulletin:: small boat crossings, lethal lorry journeys, arrests and detentions. It. Is r…

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Sunday, December 6, 2020

POTTED PANTO Garrick, WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

MINIATURE REVELS They’re at it again. And in this dour year, crowned with the financially reckless renaissance of West End theatre, Dan and Jeff – Daniel Clarkson and Jeff Turner – are…

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Friday, October 30, 2020

HOWERD’S END Golden Goose Theatre, Camberwell by Libby Purves and Friends

TITTER YE NOT: IT WAS TOUGH         An element of pilgrimage here: new-fledged theatre, new play, worth the long masked train to London and then a bus’s wild wanderings south of the ri…

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Tuesday, October 6, 2020

THE LAST FIVE YEARS Southwark Playhouse SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

And so to a real press night, an event now as rare as a mystical apparition , a shining sword rising from a dark lake. . The gallant Southwark Playhouse offers a miniature musical, Jason Rob…

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TWO MORE FROM ALAN BENNETT              One of the darkest and one of the merriest.   PlAYING SANDWICHES  is an even more than usually sombre one of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads.…

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Thursday, September 3, 2020

BEAT THE DEVIL Bridge, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

BACK IN THE STALLS!   AND A VERY FIENNES START         After nine months’ exile – my chemotherapy ended slap bang at the start of lockdown –  I felt like the Ancient Mariner, goo…

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Saturday, August 1, 2020

TWELFTH NIGHT Red Rose Chain by Libby Purves and Friends

A SINGING, SEASIDE,  STRIKING DEFIANCE OF THE NEW SEPARATION   Theatrecat remains dark,  as it has been since December when chemotherapy began and then ran seamlessly, in March, into loc…

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Thursday, March 19, 2020

AS THE VIRUS SAFETY CURTAIN FALLS… by Libby Purves and Friends


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Friday, December 6, 2019

THEATRECAT IS UNDER THE VET… by Libby Purves and Friends

A MESSAGE FOR THOSE KIND ENOUGH TO DROP INTO THIS SITE… Theatrecat followers: a bit of news below, in detail for your information or in case any of you are undergoing the parallel thing. …

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE        Bridge Theatre, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

 MONSTROUS AND MAJESTIC ,  A NARNIA FOR NOW      How to interpret an old favourite?  A Christian fantasy allegory, the world of Narnia,  the first of C.S.Lewis’ immortal children’…

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Thursday, November 21, 2019

DEAR EVAN HANSEN Noel Coward Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

BEN DOWELL REVIEWS: A bright, socially withdrawn teenager called Evan is desperately lonely, taking comfort in the internet and not much else. He has a crush on a girl from his school, but c…

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Friday, November 15, 2019

MARY POPPINS. Prince Edward Theatre. w1 by Libby Purves and Friends

BEN DOWELL AND DAUGHTER POP WITH PLEASURE AT ITS PEP.. It has floated in one the chilly autumn breeze like a much-needed blast of summer sunshine. Yes, this Mary Poppins is as supercalifragi…

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

THE SEASON Wolsey, Ipswich & then Northampton by Libby Purves and Friends

A BIG APPLE ROMANCE WITH CRUNCH        How romantic New York is to the British heart!  From Superman to Friends we seem to know it,  from Elf and 34th Street (not to mention the Pogues…

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

LIGHT FALLS             Royal Exchange, Manchester by Libby Purves and Friends

NORTHERN GUEST REVIEWER HELEN GASKELL TIRES OF THE RELENTLESS GRIT…   A family of five, scattered across the North of England, are brought together by tragedy.  The play shows a picture …

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WHEN THE CROWS VISIT Kiln NW6 by Libby Purves and Friends

ARROGANCE, ANGER ,   INDIA’S  SHAME     Hema’s is a house of women now.  The old grandmother is in bed below the tall screen doors ,  feeding  crows who move shadow-shapes behind…

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

VASSA Almeida, N1 by Libby Purves and Friends

GUEST CRITIC BEN DOWELL DOES NOT HAVE A GOOD NIGHT OUT   What a strange evening this is. Young director Tinuke Craig has taken Maxim Gorky’s 1911 play (there was a revision in 1935 but s…

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Thursday, October 24, 2019

BOTTICELLI IN THE FIRE Hampstead, NW3 by Libby Purves and Friends

RENAISSANCE  RUTTING,   VENUS AND  VANITIES   Sandro Botticelli, he makes clear to us at the start, plans to tell his version. He’s Dickie Beau: skinny and swaggeringly queeny in blac…

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​LUNGS.    Old vic, SE1​​​ by Libby Purves and Friends

​​IT TAKES TWO​​…​   Here’s  a sharp eyed little gem about coupledom and the wary, fretful road towards parenthood in an age of easy contraception and illimitable expectation…

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

A MUSEUM IN BAGHDAD Swan, Stratford upon Avon by Libby Purves and Friends

TWO CURATORS,  ACROSS EIGHTY YEARS     The little Swan , a jewel-box of a theatre, often sees the new plays the RSC does best: immaculate technique and careful clarity elucidating complex…

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Sunday, October 20, 2019

AN INSPECTOR CALLS Touring by Libby Purves and Friends

INSPECTOR GOOLE,  BACK  BACK ON THE ROAD    Below,  edited, is my original London review of this remarkable production.  This new tour deserves to be marked, though:   regarding the t…

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Friday, October 18, 2019

[BLANK] Donmar, WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

A COOL EYE ON SHATTERED LIVES          Of all the well known flaws of our criminal justice system,  one of the most glaring is how badly it fits women – though they  are only around…

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

ASSASSINS           Watermill, Bagnor Newbury by Libby Purves and Friends

THE DARK AND THE CRAZY       This is  – for us anyway – the first  production in the Trump era of this savage musical:  a revue reimagining of all the attempts, successful or not,…

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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

THE NIGHT WATCH New Wolsey, Ipswich & touring by Libby Purves and Friends

PEOPLE OF THE BLITZ    Sarah Waters’ best novel, evoking lives during and after the London Blitz,  was told backward in time.  It is much the same way, indeed, as we meet real people…

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FOR SERVICES RENDERED              Jermyn St Theatre WC1 by Libby Purves and Friends

THE LOW DISHONEST DECADE…   It’s always intimate, the Jermyn,.  We’re in an autumn garden, apples on the ground and fading roses on the wall;  birdsong,  and a tea table set defia…

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Sep 14, 2021: Chicago - Ambassador Theatre