All stories by Michael Billington on BroadwayStars

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Frozen review – Suranne Jones is riveting as mother facing child's killer by Michael Billington

Theatre Royal Haymarket, London The performances match the intensity of the writing in Bryony Lavery’s drama, which asks if some people are born evilFirst seen 20 years ago, Bryony Lavery…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:33PM
Sunday, February 18, 2018

Hamlet, Old Vic, London by Michael Billington

Old Vic, LondonTrevor Nunn, having last directed Hamlet 30 years ago, says for him the play has always been unfinished business. I suspect it will remain so even after this youth-orientated,…

Linked From The Guardian at 03:05AM
Friday, February 16, 2018

The Shadow Factory review – Howard Brenton's bolshy drama declares war by Michael Billington

NST City, SouthamptonThe Luftwaffe’s destruction of a Spitfire factory sparks vivid tensions between local people and the state in this Southampton-set playAn expansive new arts complex in…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:04AM
Thursday, February 15, 2018

Girls and Boys review – gut-wrenching Carey Mulligan charts a marriage's end by Michael Billington

Royal Court, LondonMulligan is a joy to watch as she brings her expressive powers to bear in Dennis Kelly’s flawed but compelling one-handerCarey Mulligan has had quite a week. First she s…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:54PM
Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The York Realist review – town and country clash in Peter Gill's moving romance by Michael Billington

Donmar Warehouse, LondonRobert Hastie’s excellent revival of Gill’s 2001 play about class, sex and divided loyalties brings out its poetryThe intersection of class and sex has long fasci…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:33AM
Friday, February 9, 2018

Pluto review – Astro Boy epic is a technical marvel by Michael Billington

Barbican, LondonSidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s visually spectacular adaptation of Osamu Tezuka’s manga is philosophical about our relationships with robots, but lacks a human heartIn 1920, Karel…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:06AM
Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Captive Queen review – Rutter bows out with rhyming couplets and marital spats by Michael Billington

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, LondonRelocating Dryden’s tale of love and dynasty in 17th-century India to an English mill, Rutter’s final show for Northern Broadsides is at its best when it d…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:48AM
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Long Day’s Journey Into Night review – Irons and Manville leave you emotionally pulverised by Michael Billington

Wyndham’s, LondonRichard Eyre’s production arrives in the West End, bringing out the dizzying contradictions in Eugene O’Neill’s masterpieceTime works wonders. When Richard Eyre’s …

Linked From The Guardian at 07:42PM

How the Young Vic's David Lan dared to put the world centre-stage by Michael Billington

Lan, who ran the theatre for 18 years, reached out to bold, dynamic directors from across the globe – and they repaid him with spectacular showsI often recall a remark made by David Lan, w…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:42AM

Cyril’s Success / Booby’s Bay review – pint-sized pub theatre toasts 150 years by Michael Billington

Finborough, LondonHJ Byron’s 1868 play sparkles with wit, while Henry Darke delivers a timely message about Cornwall’s housing crisis The Finborough Arms in Earl’s Court is 150 years o…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:48AM
Friday, February 2, 2018

Theatre review: Our Class, Cottesloe, London by Michael Billington

Cottesloe, London1,600 Jews were massacred in the small Polish town of Jedwabne in the summer of 1941. Such is the starting-point for this play by Tadeusz Slobodzianek which follows recent r…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:48PM

Dry Powder/Yous Two review – Atwell is a whiz and Christou's debut sparks by Michael Billington

★★★☆☆/★★★★☆Hampstead theatre, LondonHayley Atwell plays a ruthless capitalist while Georgia Christou shows promise with tale of a teenager and her feckless fatherHayley A…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:42AM
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Culture review – James Graham's shrewd spoof on Hull's big year by Michael Billington

The playwright juggles satire and farce in a knockabout celebration of Hull’s tenure as UK city of cultureSatire is one thing, farce another, and the two forms prove hard to reconcile in t…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:48AM
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Julius Caesar review – Hytner delivers a visceral, politically urgent tragedy by Michael Billington

Bridge theatre, LondonBen Whishaw and David Morrissey star in Nicholas Hytner’s promenade production, which shows putative dictators can be populistsLike Shakespeare’s Mark Antony, Nicho…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:36PM
Monday, January 29, 2018

Sleepers in the Field review – witty wartime drama without the heroics by Michael Billington

The Questors, LondonA deliberately unromantic view of the second world war as experienced by one family provides an antidote to current idealised versions on screenThis play by the late, muc…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:36AM
Sunday, January 28, 2018

Matilda – review by Michael Billington

The RSC have produced a dark and delightful adaptation of Roald Dahl's tale of a child genius, and her monstrous headmistressAt a time of year when mush is licensed, it is a bright idea of t…

Linked From The Guardian at 04:33PM
Friday, January 26, 2018

Oranges and Elephants review – Victorian London's girl gangs sing out by Michael Billington

Hoxton Hall, London Lil Warren’s scattershot musical about a turf war between all-female tribes in the capital has echoes of Sarah Waters’ Tipping the VelvetThis handsomely restored venu…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:04AM
Thursday, January 25, 2018

John review – check into Annie Baker's gothic Gettysburg B&B by Michael Billington

Dorfman, LondonBaker’s play, set in a boarding house close to a battlefield, is a piece of American gothic that taps into universal emotionsAnnie Baker is one of the most singular talents …

Linked From The Guardian at 06:54AM
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Brothers Size / Young Vic, London by Michael Billington

Young Vic, LondonPeople leapt to their feet at the end of this show as if we were in America, which is appropriate since Tarell Alvin McCraney's play has been a big hit at New York's Public …

Linked From The Guardian at 06:33PM
Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Birthday Party review – Pinter's cryptic classic turns 60 with a starry cast by Michael Billington

Harold Pinter theatre, LondonToby Jones, Zoë Wanamaker, Stephen Mangan and Pearl Mackie do rich justice to the playwright’s strange and captivating psychodrama“The first test of any wor…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:48PM

The Claim review – asylum seeker's fate becomes absurdist comedy by Michael Billington

Shoreditch Town Hall, LondonTim Cowbury’s play avoids the usual harrowing style associated with its subject and is swift, clear and well-actedThere is a growing body of theatre about the a…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:54AM
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

​Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 review – voices ring out from Rodney King riots by Michael Billington

Gate, LondonNina Bowers delivers a nimble account of testimonies gathered in the wake of the unrest sparked by King’s televised beatingI recently suggested that, while one-person shows cou…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:12AM
Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Here and This and Now review – drug reps find humour is best medicine by Michael Billington

Southwark Playhouse, London A pharmaceuticals team juggle views on the global health threat posed by antibiotic resistance with pep, though Glenn Waldron’s prognosis is gloomyWhat poses th…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:33AM
Friday, January 12, 2018

Lone dangers: the delights and dilemmas of the one-person play by Michael Billington

The fashion for solo shows is easily explained – they’re cheap, infinitely adaptable and highlight great acting – but does truly profound drama need multiple voices?In the space of a w…

Linked From The Guardian at 05:12AM
Thursday, January 11, 2018

Rita, Sue and Bob Too review – a study of lives blighted by harsh reality by Michael Billington

Royal Court theatre, LondonAndrea Dunbar’s unflinching portrait of a world of limited horizons still seems chillingly resonantThis production has had an eventful history. It was yanked out…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:24PM

Ballyturk review – Cillian Murphy and Stephen Rea are in fine comic form by Michael Billington

Black Box, GalwayEnda Walsh's new manic physical comedy is like Under Milk Wood as interpreted by Buster KeatonThere's plenty of ballyhoo around Ballyturk. Written and directed by Enda Walsh…

Linked From The Guardian at 12:48AM
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

My Mum's a Twat review – breathtaking tale of a mother claimed by a cult by Michael Billington

Royal Court, LondonPatsy Ferran is a puckish delight as an emotionally abandoned daughter in Anoushka Warden’s candid account of teenage wounded furyEyebrows might be raised at the Royal C…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:33PM
Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Imaginationship review – love, murder and disco dreams in Great Yarmouth by Michael Billington

Finborough theatre, LondonSet in the seaside town that registered one of the highest Brexit votes in the UK, Sue Healy’s ebullient play has some lively performancesThe English seaside town…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:42AM
Monday, January 8, 2018

Hanna review – gripping solo show captures glee and guilt of motherhood by Michael Billington

Arcola theatre, LondonSam Potter’s sharp play, about a woman who finds out her daughter is not hers, raises big questions and is performed superbly by Sophie Khan LevyThere is a long histo…

Linked From The Guardian at 01:54AM
Friday, January 5, 2018

Into the Numbers review – stark tale of author haunted by Nanking massacre by Michael Billington

Finborough, LondonChristopher Chen’s sombre piece explores how the writing of her bestseller The Rape of Nanking, about a mass killing in 1937, affected Iris ChangIt is a critical cliche t…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:06AM
Thursday, January 4, 2018

Michelle Terry's plan for Shakespeare's Globe is democratic – but is it doable? by Michael Billington

Terry’s first season at the theatre promises to dismantle hierarchies but how easy is it to stage Hamlet without one director in charge?Michelle Terry’s first season as artistic director…

Linked From The Guardian at 12:24PM

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