All stories by Ismene Brown on BroadwayStars

Monday, March 14, 2022

Dogs of Europe, Belarus Free Theatre, Barbican Theatre review - doom art with doom reality by Ismene Brown

★★★ DOGS OF EUROPE, BELARUS FREE THEATRE An apocalyptic vision has dreadful timeliness An apocalyptic vision of an insatiable, all-obliterating Russia has dreadful timeliness Hindsi…

SOURCE: at 01:24AM
Thursday, January 27, 2022

Ava: The Secret Conversations, Riverside Studios, Hammersmith review - about Ava Gardner's effing by Ismene Brown

★★★AVA: THE SECRET CONVERSATIONS, RIVERSIDE STUDIOS Elizabeth McGovern is glamorous but unrevealing as Ava Gardner Elizabeth McGovern is glamorous but unrevealing as the gloriously fou…

SOURCE: at 02:03AM
Friday, November 12, 2021

The Seven Pomegranate Seeds, Kingston Rose Theatre review - misogynist Euripides stands corrected by Ismene Brown

***THE SEVEN POMEGRANATE SEEDS, KINGSTON Pierce Brosnan's James Bond finds daft but apt place in Euripidean rewrite Pierce Brosnan's James Bond finds a daft but apt place in Euripidean rewr…

SOURCE: at 07:24PM
Friday, October 15, 2021

The Cherry Orchard, Windsor Theatre Royal, review - Tolstoy meets Mrs Two Soups by Ismene Brown

****THE CHERRY ORCHARD, WINDSOR McKellen's scene-stealing comic act is worth the ticket Ian McKellen's scene-stealing is not the only reason to see Chekhov's comedy The cherry orchard in Ant…

SOURCE: at 08:18PM
Thursday, October 7, 2021

The Mirror and the Light, Gielgud Theatre review - nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition by Ismene Brown

**THE MIRROR AND THE LIGHT Mantel self-adapts, and eviscerates, her novel on stage Third time round, Hilary Mantel self-adapts, and eviscerates, her novel on stage The first two stage adapta…

SOURCE: at 10:12AM
Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Leopards, Rose Theatre, Kingston review - a no-thrill thriller about sex and power by Ismene Brown

** LEOPARDS, KINGSTON When the trousers come off and the handcuffs go on, the climax is the sexual politics lecture   When the trousers come off and the handcuffs go on, the climax is the s…

SOURCE: at 08:18PM
Friday, August 13, 2021

Constellations, Vaudeville Theatre, review - multiple casts continue to shine by Ismene Brown

*****CONSTELLATIONS, VAUDEVILLE THEATRE Chris O'Dowd and Russell Tovey join the bittersweet comedy about sex, bees and cosmic luck The gay couple and the O'Dowd option bring new laughs and t…

SOURCE: at 10:12AM
Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Hamlet, Windsor Theatre Royal review - the age is out of joint by Ismene Brown

HAMLET, WINDSOR THEATRE ROYAL Leaping out of time from Gandalf to Hamlet - athletic thespianism from Sir Ian McKellen  Leaping out of time from Gandalf to Hamlet - athletic thespianism from…

SOURCE: at 06:32PM
Sunday, June 26, 2016

As You Like It, The Savill Garden, Windsor by Ismene Brown

How often are you charmed by one of Shakespeare’s sylvan romances while literally under a greenwood tree? Even if this summer is proving rather generous with the rough weather, it is an un…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 01:04PM
Friday, May 20, 2016

King John, Rose Theatre, Kingston by Ismene Brown

According to Sellar and Yeatman in 1066 and All That, the true bible of English history, King John was a Bad (to be exact, an Awful) King. Shakespeare had quite an interest in Bad Kings - Ri…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 07:28PM
Thursday, February 11, 2016

Toast, Rose Theatre, Kingston by Ismene Brown

If one says, accurately, that Richard Bean’s Toast is a comedy about Hull’s lost bread industry, trade unions and the poor working man, you will possibly yawn and turn the page. But it i…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 10:21PM
Thursday, November 12, 2015

Henry V, RSC, Barbican Theatre by Ismene Brown

Pro patria mori. Now there’s the test for Henry V - perform it on Remembrance Day. The “band of brothers” shtick relies on an idea of patriotism from an age when there was no need to d…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 09:37PM
Thursday, July 23, 2015

Richard II, Shakespeare's Globe by Ismene Brown

The earthy contact with groundlings that Shakespeare’s Globe offers in its stagings makes a comical but telling context for Richard II, a play largely about political point-scoring between…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 03:50PM
Sunday, May 24, 2015

King Lear, Northern Broadsides, Touring by Ismene Brown

Jonathan Miller’s new King Lear is rustic to its core, spoken in broad Northern accents, and the whole production could be packed onto a travelling theatre’s wagon and taken around Brita…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 07:27PM
Sunday, March 1, 2015

Three Men in a Boat, The Original Theatre Company, Touring by Ismene Brown

It’s a hostage to fortune really to create a play on one of the funniest books ever written, and a Victorian one at that. Still, Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat is regularly mined …

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 02:37AM
Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Single Spies, Rose Theatre, Kingston by Ismene Brown

Alan Bennett’s 80th birthday last May deserves celebrating not just as a point of respect for a formidable playwright but with awe at his continuing liveliness. More than 40 years after he…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 07:46PM
Thursday, September 11, 2014

King Charles III, Wyndham's Theatre by Ismene Brown

Prince Charles’s “black spider letters” - his attempts to influence or change government policy - are real, as is the government’s long collusion with Clarence House to keep them fro…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 07:13PM
Sunday, June 15, 2014

Extracts: John Tusa - Pain in the Arts by Ismene Brown

In the midst of ferment as the arts world faces fast-shrinking public subsidy, Sir John Tusa, former managing director of the BBC World Service and the Barbican Arts Centre, publishes this w…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 07:00PM
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bakersfield Mist, Duchess Theatre by Ismene Brown

When a big star meets a small play, they go one of two ways - they step up to it like a believer, or they clue in the audience that this is all a bit low, throwing everything they have in th…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 08:02PM
Saturday, May 17, 2014

Wolf Hall/ Bring Up the Bodies, Aldwych Theatre by Ismene Brown

Hilary Mantel’s two Thomas Cromwell novels have captured an enormous new readership for history with their crackling sense of place and immediacy of tension - the plays created on them, no…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 08:22PM
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Coriolanus, Donmar Warehouse by Ismene Brown

In his later life Shakespeare, who never ducked ways to define a hero, offered the public a challenge: Coriolanus is a professional warrior, deaf to reason, patrician hater of people power. …

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 08:00PM
Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ghosts, English Touring Company, Kingston and touring by Ismene Brown

A young man eaten up by fears of inherited disease, a mother who hid the facts of her awful marriage from her son to spare him, but is rewarded with even worse pain: the emotional plotlines …

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 07:00PM
Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Old Vic Tunnels by Ismene Brown

Here’s an elegant thing to do before 8 o'clock dinner - stroll out for an hour’s recital of a rollicking story-poem done in a hip underground venue with judiciously hip application of mo…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 07:44PM
Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Year Honours: Arts stand aside in an Olympics deluge by Ismene Brown

In among the deluge of New Year Honours poured over Olympians (headed by Sir Bradley Wiggins, Sir Ben Ainslie, Dame Sarah Storey and Companion of Honour Lord Coe), there is a modest sprinkli…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 01:14AM
Wednesday, November 7, 2012

People, National Theatre by Ismene Brown

The word “people” of the title of Alan Bennett’s new play is to be spat out, like a lemon pip. People, who invade your space, boss your values, make you be what they want. So does the …

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 07:21PM
Sunday, October 28, 2012

There are more theatre-goers than football-goers - arts awards defiant by Ismene Brown

Henry Goodman, Imelda Staunton and Aidan McArdle won the big acting prizes while Akram Khan and Opera North carried off the dance and opera gongs at the annual Theatrical Management Associat…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 08:38PM
Thursday, October 11, 2012

Desire Under the Elms, Lyric, Hammersmith by Ismene Brown

Pity the A-level English student: for them the “rarely seen masterpieces” that creep onto the curriculum and into the theatres. Judging from the frequently giggling reaction of the audie…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 08:15PM
Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Sacred Flame, English Touring Theatre by Ismene Brown

To revive a long-defunct play is dicing with death for a touring theatre company - was the play ahead of its time, or was it not good enough in any time? W Somerset Maugham was a commercial …

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 06:00AM
Friday, June 15, 2012

Arise, Sir Kenneth Branagh and Dame Zaha Hadid by Ismene Brown

Zaha Hadid, visionary architect of the London Olympics Aquatic Centre, becomes a Dame and three new knights of the arts are created in the Queen's Jubilee Birthday Honours announced this mor…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 08:38PM
Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Top Hat, Aldwych Theatre by Ismene Brown

David Cameron could hardly wish for a more apt musical to pep up the people’s spirits than Irving Berlin’s Top Hat, with its wheedling entreaties about the advantages of being caught in …

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 07:44PM
Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Long Day's Journey Into Night, Apollo Theatre by Ismene Brown

We’ve seen a few American film and TV actresses grace the West End stage with surprising potency, but no one surely will surpass Laurie Metcalf for profound emotional truth-telling in Euge…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 07:37PM

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