All stories by Libby Purves on BroadwayStars

Thursday, August 11, 2022

TWO UKRAINIAN PLAYS.   Finborough Theatre SW10 by Libby Purves and Friends

VOICES FROM THE GRAVE AND THE CELLAR, UNIGNORABLE        Timely, enterprising, emotionally shattering, politically shaming.   These two plays were both  both first born at the time of …

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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

CULT FIGURE. Jermyn St Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

CARRY ON. OR, TO PUT IT ANOTHER WAY, KEEP MESSIN’ ABOUT…     My first concern was, will they dare give us the sadness? Kenneth Williams was a comic marvel self-created, a versatile act…

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Wednesday, August 3, 2022

DAZZLING DIVAS. Jermyn St Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

GLITTER AND HARD GRAFT        A basement hung with glitter strings, a small moody band with earthy bass,  a bar: few better places to revel in torch songs, deep-dug anthems and memory o…

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MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Lyttelton, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.       Lyttelton, SE1 SHAKESPEARE IN THE SWING AGE      A star danced, and under it was Simon Godwin’s joyful, 1930s Riviera production born.  Quite apart fro…

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IDENTICAL Nottingham Playhouse by Libby Purves and Friends

 STARRY SISTERHOOD IN OLD VIENNA      Identical twin girls, separated at birth in their parents divorce, meet at summer camp and resolve to swop places.   Remember  “The Parent Trap…

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Saturday, July 30, 2022

MACBETH Theatre in the forest, Sutton Hoo by Libby Purves and Friends

THE SCOTTISH PLAY ON ANCIENT TURF     “This castle hath a pleasant seat..”   Indeed it does:  Red Rose Chain’s traditional outdoor show now lives alongside the mysterious mounds wh…

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Wednesday, July 27, 2022

101 DALMATIANS       Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park NW1 by Libby Purves and Friends

101 DALMATIANS       Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park NW1 BARKING IN THE PARK        Wooof!    The OAT’s new show,  bounding and cavorting along  under the direction of that am…

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Tuesday, July 26, 2022

CRAZY FOR YOU Chichester Festival Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

CHARLIE IS , ONCE AGAIN, OUR DANCING DARLING…        Foiled by heatwave and trains,  I made it six days later to the summer’s highlight, the glorious absurdity of this wickedly succ…

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Saturday, July 23, 2022

CHAMBER OPERAS ON TOUR caught at Thorington, Suffolk by Libby Purves and Friends

     Twice lately, under tall oaks and pines on what is becoming known as Suffolk’s mini-Minack,  I have encountered touring opera companies doing wonderfully, relaxedly, professionall…

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Thursday, July 14, 2022

JACK ABSOLUTE FLIES AGAIN Olivier, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

SCRAMBLE!   CHOCKS AWAY!    Who knew that Caroline Quentin could achieve (almost) the splits, while strumming a ukulele?  Or that that Richard Bean and Chris Oliver – who a decade ago…

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ANYTHING GOES Barbican EC1 by Libby Purves and Friends

DECK-LICIOUS, DELOVELY,  SAILING BACK IN STYLE A year on, and after a partly recast tour, SS America drops anchor back in the Barbican and in style. Actually feels even better than before. …

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Tuesday, July 12, 2022

PATRIOTS Almeida, N1 by Libby Purves and Friends

  MOTHER RUSSIA AND ITS MEN     Here’s a fresh history play: confrontational , shocking, classic in its focus on vast flawed characters and pretty close to documented  – and very re…

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Saturday, July 9, 2022

REVIEW: Evelyn, Southwark Playhouse ✭✭✭ by Libby Purves

By Libby Purves Our very own theatreCat Libby Purves reviews Tom Ratcliffe's play Evelyn now playing at the Southwark Playhouse. This post REVIEW: Evelyn, Southwark Playhouse ✭✭✭ first…

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Friday, July 8, 2022

EVELYN Southwark Playhouse SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

MOB JUSTICE, NO JUSTICE      There are women who, seeing a friend in an almost-good outfit, cannot help reaching out: adjusting a belt , removing  an ill-judged frill, suggesting a hat.…

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Thursday, July 7, 2022

BAREFOOT IN THE PARK Mill at Sonning, Berks by Libby Purves and Friends

STEP BACK TO THE SIXTIES SIMPLICITIES…   Once again , off to this most enticing dinner-theatre embedded in a historic treasure,  its big real watermill whirling away in the bar and the …

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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

THE SOUTHBURY CHILD Bridge SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

The review below is from its Chichester opening a couple of weeks back. So just a note on seeing it again: something that could well become a habit, because it really is rich snd fine. It wo…

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Thursday, June 30, 2022

RICHARD III Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon by Libby Purves and Friends

THE BOTTLED SPIDER, HEDGEHOG, ABORTIVE ROOTING HOG, IS BACK…MAGNIFICENTLY           The winter of discontent made glorious summer is ushered in with a wild conga round the stage under…

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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

CANCELLING SOCRATES Jermyn St Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

ALL GREEK TO US, AND TOPICAL WITH IT Fascinating to see how, despite many light tempting fatuities and sentimentalities onscreen and onstage, and the countercurrents of self conscious experi…

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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

TONY!  The Tony Blair rock opera          Park Theatre N4 by Libby Purves and Friends

IT HAS COME TO FRUITION. REJOICE!    In a spirit of joyful pastiche, it’s a Sweeney-Todd sound that opens the show:  “`Prepare! To be made Aware! Of the most successful Labour Premier…

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Sunday, June 26, 2022

PARADISE LOST caught at Thorington, touring by Libby Purves and Friends

OF MAN’S FIRST DISOBEDIENCE….  Thorington is a new outdoor theatre, a beautiful bomb-crater amid tall sighing pine trees and beneath a great oak in Suffolk.  It runs only one-night,  …

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Monday, June 20, 2022

REVIEW: The Southbury Child, Chichester Festival ✭✭✭✭✭ by Libby Purves

By Libby Purves Our very own TheatreCat Libby Purves reviews The Southbury Child now playing at the Chichester Festival Theatre prior to a season at the Bridge Theatre, London. This post REV…

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Saturday, June 18, 2022

THE SOUTHBURY CHILD           Chichester Festival Theatre then Bridge by Libby Purves and Friends

VIA MEDIA ANGLICANA IN A NEW JERUSALEM       We’re in  a vicarage kitchen in a small West Country town,  its incumbent dealing with parishioners, a resentful, weary wife and two daugh…

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Sunday, May 15, 2022

ORLANDO Jermyn St theatre WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

WOOLFING ROUND THE GENDER BEND A bit of a conversion experience for me, this. Disliked Woolf for years, Lighthouse and Waves and all, and therefore never read Orlando. Thought of it as a bit…

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OKLAHOMA Young Vic, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A DARKER HAZE ON AMERICA’S  MEADOW Traditionally, audiences don’t go to Oklahoma to be unsettled . On the other hand you don’t go to the Young Vic to have your expectations cosily met…

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Friday, May 13, 2022

THE BREACH Hampstead Theatre NW3 by Libby Purves and Friends

TEENS FALLING, UNPROTECTED     An empty basement in a working class Kentucky neighbourhood in the mid 70s.  An offstage adult world is preoccupied with unemployment,  the mained young c…

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Thursday, May 12, 2022

CHINESE BOXING Touring by Libby Purves and Friends

A SCRUTABLE TAKE ON CHINA     This is a beguiling  70-minute solo show from the actor, writer, wandering maverick entrepreneur  and China pundit Mark Kitto.  He plays three parts in seq…

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Monday, May 9, 2022

THE CORN IS GREEN Lyttelton, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

VOICES FROM THE VALLEYS       It is a curious feeling to be half charmed and half irritated by a production: one moment absorbed in a confrontation and engaged with a character, the next…

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Friday, May 6, 2022

MARYS SEACOLE. Donmar, WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

NURSING ACROSS CONTINENTS      Kayla Meikle, stalwart in Victorian dignity and Caribbean matriarchy, addresses us firmly at the start of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s manic, sometimes  chao…

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Wednesday, May 4, 2022

MIDDLE Dorfman, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

IN THE MIDDLE OF LIFE’S JOURNEY..THROW A PLATE OR TWO      Ah, middle age! Waists spreading outwards, options  contracting, marriage all too familiar, parents getting older fast and ch…

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Thursday, April 28, 2022

PRIMA FACIE Harold Pinter Theatre, WC1 by Libby Purves and Friends

SEXUAL ASSAULT , HARD LAW, AND AN ASTONING WEST END DEBUT    Forget the cold sadistic clotheshorse Vilanelle from Killing Eve.  Actually, forget all Jodie Comer’s screen awards.  This …

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Tuesday, April 26, 2022

BARRY HUMPHRIES ; THE MAN BEHIND THE MASK Touring towards London by Libby Purves and Friends

HALF A CENTURY OF HAPPY MISCHIEF Full disclosure: I have been following this man around for the best part of 50 years. Went with my brother Mike to his first show, Housewife Superstar, at th…

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