All stories by Michael Billington on BroadwayStars

Thursday, August 17, 2017

King Lear review – poverty-stricken Shakespeare puts spotlight on homeless by Michael Billington

Shakespeare’s Globe, London On a stripped-back stage, Nancy Meckler’s production locates Lear in a world of deprivation, broken family relationships and bubbling anger‘No disco-dancing…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:48AM
Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Majority review – solo show asks us to vote on ethical issues by Michael Billington

Dorfman, London Rob Drummond presents us with questions such as whether violence is a legitimate weapon of political protest but there’s not enough room for real debateVoting is becoming t…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:06AM
Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Divide review by Michael Billington

King’s theatre, EdinburghAlan Ayckbourn’s Handmaid’s Tale-esque projection of a plague-ravaged future contains many nice ironies and performances, but strains patience over its six hou…

Linked From The Guardian at 02:18AM
Friday, August 11, 2017

Looking at Lucian review – mesmerising portrait of the artist as an old man by Michael Billington

Ustinov Studio, BathHenry Goodman is utterly convincing in Alan Franks’ one-man play about Lucian Freud, with stories of his models, from the Krays to the QueenA solo play about a painter …

Linked From The Guardian at 08:12AM
Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Whip Hand review – fiery family drama tackles the slave trade by Michael Billington

Traverse, EdinburghDomestic friction and a guilty history set the scene for powerful performances in Douglas Maxwell’s new playSubtlety is not the prime asset of Douglas Maxwell’s new pl…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:36AM
Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Play it again, Sam: why Krapp's Last Tape still leaves us reeling by Michael Billington

Albert Finney sobbed like an animal, Harold Pinter ramped up the terror and John Hurt even resembled Beckett himself. Now, at the Edinburgh festival, Barry McGovern takes on the role that ne…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:54AM
Monday, August 7, 2017

Zinnie Harris brings stampeding rhinos and marooned lovers to Edinburgh by Michael Billington

The Scottish playwright’s take on an Ionesco classic comes with added festival gags, while her drama Meet Me at Dawn looks at the difficulty of letting goThree works by the Scottish dramat…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:24AM
Sunday, August 6, 2017

Flight review – miniature models tell epic refugee story by Michael Billington

Church Hill theatre, Edinburgh Two boys endure stormy seas and slave labour as they journey from Kabul to London this highly imaginative productionHow do you begin to recreate the refugee ex…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:04AM
Friday, August 4, 2017

Apologia review – Stockard Channing induces sympathy for a monstrous matriarch by Michael Billington

Trafalgar Studios, LondonThe West Wing and Grease star takes the lead in this revival of Alexi Kaye Campbell’s play, but is let down by unresolved contradictionsStockard Channing, star of …

Linked From The Guardian at 07:33AM
Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Gangsta Granny review – David Walliams’s comic crooks hit the West End by Michael Billington

Garrick, LondonNeal Foster has created a gentle, genial show based on the bestselling book about a boy and his gran joining forces for a heist at the Tower of LondonDavid Walliams bounced on…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:12AM

Stage direction: North By Northwest takes Hollywood to the theatre by Michael Billington

A theatrical adaptation of the Hitchcock classic finds clever ways to rework film techniques – and is the latest example of how the screen is influencing the stageHollywood in its infancy …

Linked From The Guardian at 04:32AM
Sunday, July 30, 2017

Road review – raucous 80s account of a divided Britain still hits close to home by Michael Billington

Royal Court, LondonLemn Sissay stars in a revival of Jim Cartwright’s 1986 account of a community scarred by unemployment that couldn’t be more relevant or rousingJim Cartwright’s play…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:36AM
Friday, July 28, 2017

Just to Get Married review – the home counties Hedda shows her brutal side by Michael Billington

Finborough theatre, LondonCicely Hamilton’s feminist play from 1911, exposing the plight of women forced to use marriage to gain their independence, is full of attackCicely Hamilton (1872-…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:54AM
Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ review – Townsend's gawky icon rescues the British musical by Michael Billington

Menier Chocolate Factory, LondonWith the help of a vibrant ensemble, Luke Sheppard tells the earnest diarist’s much-loved story with wit, craft and crackling Cuban dance numbersSurprisingl…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:18AM
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Girl from the North Country review – Dylan's songs are Depression-era dynamite by Michael Billington

Old Vic, LondonA superb cast use Bob’s back catalogue to glorious effect in Conor McPherson’s astonishing cross-section of hope and stoic suffering in Depression-era MinnesotaThis is the…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:48PM

Mosquitoes review – sparring sisters collide in Lucy Kirkwood's science stormer by Michael Billington

Dorfman, LondonOlivias Williams and Colman give a spellbinding account of sibling strife in this wonderfully ambitious play set during the Higgs boson breakthroughLucy Kirkwood has proved, w…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:48AM
Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Theatre review | Cat On a Hot Tin Roof | Novello, London by Michael Billington

Novello, LondonWhat difference does it make that Tennessee Williams's play is performed by a black cast in Debbie Allen's Broadway production? It undoubtedly gives the work a new dynamic. Bu…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:06AM

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof review – Sienna Miller and Jack O'Connell rattle their gilded cage by Michael Billington

Apollo, LondonBenedict Andrews’s radical update of the classic delivers emotional intensity shot through with humour – and a blistering performance by Jack O’ConnellThis is a classic e…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:06AM
Monday, July 24, 2017

Michelle Terry is a bold, unexpected and possibly inspired choice for Shakespeare's Globe by Michael Billington

The Globe’s new artistic director may have little directing experience. But as an actor, she had a huge range, a fierce intelligence and a profound understanding of Shakespeare’s languag…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:04AM
Sunday, July 23, 2017

The House They Grew Up In review – Samantha Spiro is magnetic in humane hymn to tolerance by Michael Billington

Minerva Theatre, ChichesterDeborah Bruce’s play follows the fallout of a friendship between a young boy and an autistic, eccentric hoarder as police, press and property hunters prey on the…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:04AM
Saturday, July 22, 2017

Passion Play – review by Michael Billington

Duke of York's, LondonIt's a well-known fact that Peter Nichols's play, which first appeared in 1981, forms part of an unofficial trinity of dramas about infidelity: it came after Pinter's B…

Linked From The Guardian at 03:04AM
Friday, July 21, 2017

Crestfall review – sleepy rural Ireland seething with cruelty and murder by Michael Billington

Mick Lally theatre, Galway Mark O’Rowe’s three-hander turns the Irish idyll into a seething mass of lust, junkies, pimps and wimpy husbandsDramatists from JM Synge to Martin McDonagh hav…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:12AM
Thursday, July 20, 2017

Woyzeck in Winter review – triumphant union of Büchner and Schubert by Michael Billington

Black Box, GalwayThe anguish and torment of Büchner’s tragedy and Schubert’s song cycle Winterreise are fused to brilliant effect in this pioneering piece of music-theatre Georg Büchne…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:54AM
Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dessert review – capitalist is held captive in Trevor Nunn thriller by Michael Billington

Southwark Playhouse, LondonOliver Cotton’s explosive new play explores wealth and morality as a luxurious dinner party is interrupted by an intruderOliver Cotton is not afraid to tackle bi…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:42AM
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Twilight Song review – Kevin Elyot reveals lives unchanged by gay liberation by Michael Billington

Park theatre, LondonIn his final play, which takes place over three summers, Elyot explores passions and pressures before and after the decriminalisation of homosexuality Related: Kevin Elyo…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:24AM
Monday, July 17, 2017

Theatre review: Action by Michael Billington

Young Vic Studio, London Rating: **Sam Shepard was once regarded as the quintessential American playwright. But, on the evidence of the recent revival of the rambling A Lie of the Mind and t…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:06PM
Friday, July 14, 2017

A Tale of Two Cities review – the Reign of Terror clashes with today's refugee crisis by Michael Billington

Regent’s Park Open Air theatre, LondonCharles Dickens’ 1859 novel simply does not lend itself to a modern-day reinterpretation featuring border police and demonstrationsIt is part of the…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:54AM
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bodies review – Vivienne Franzmann explores the ethics of surrogacy by Michael Billington

Royal Court, LondonThis family drama confronts a host of dilemmas but is at its best when it allows a fine cast to express the characters’ strained relationshipsVivienne Franzmann has in t…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:33AM
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Queen Anne review – Romola Garai is a sensational schemer in gripping history play by Michael Billington

Theatre Royal Haymarket, LondonHelen Edmundson’s account of the power struggle between the pious monarch and her ambitious friend Sarah Churchill is a rousing hymn to female agencyRomola G…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:06AM
Monday, July 10, 2017

David Mamet's move to punish theatres for debating his work is absurd by Michael Billington

It’s true that plays often defy instant analysis but Mamet’s attempt to prevent post-show discussions perpetuates the notion of theatre as a sanctified templeIt would be easy to mock Dav…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:54AM
Sunday, July 9, 2017

Returning to Reims review – Nina Hoss is magnetic in poignant political drama by Michael Billington

Home, ManchesterThe Homeland star impresses in Thomas Ostermeier’s engrossing staging of a memoir about political change and the left’s disregard of the working classThe title suggests a…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:18AM