All stories by Michael Billington on BroadwayStars

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Ghosts review – spirits of the dead haunt Ibsen's gripping classic by Michael Billington

Royal and Derngate, Northampton Mike Poulton’s new version lends fresh wit to the tragedy without diminishing its emotional intensity A great Manchester Guardian critic, CE Montague, once …

Linked From The Guardian at 07:54AM
Tuesday, April 23, 2019

All My Sons review – Sally Field and Bill Pullman deliver a Miller for our times by Michael Billington

Old Vic, LondonIn an era of fake news and moral uncertainty, this fine production of Arthur Miller’s play rings as true as ever Why the spate of Arthur Miller revivals? And why now? Watchi…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:06PM
Thursday, April 18, 2019

Sweet Charity, Donmar Warehouse review – Anne-Marie Duff has the rhythm of life by Michael Billington

Donmar Warehouse, LondonJosie Rourke turns this spirited Broadway musical into a hymn to female resilience in her exhilarating farewell production at the Donmar Anne-Marie Duff’s last appe…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:33AM
Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Three Sisters review – Frecknall and Ferran reunite for clannish Chekhov by Michael Billington

Almeida, LondonPatsy Ferran’s Olga is one of the many admirable performances in a production by Rebecca Frecknall that fails to deliver a full Chekhovian experience When actor Patsy Ferran…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:18AM
Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Sweeney Todd review – raging underdog adds politics to the pies by Michael Billington

Everyman, Liverpool Nick Bagnall’s ingenious revival reminds us that Sondheim’s musical thriller is also a savagely political piece about injustice Forty years after its premiere, Stephe…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:18PM
Friday, April 12, 2019

A German Life review – Maggie Smith shines as Goebbels' secretary by Michael Billington

Bridge Theatre, London Smith returns to the stage in triumph as she relives one woman’s extraordinary experience in Nazi Germany Absent from the stage for 12 years, Maggie Smith returns in…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:04PM

Rooms review – Enda Walsh's empty spaces are full of despair by Michael Billington

Barbican, LondonPart installation, part prose-poem, this strangely beautiful piece takes its audience into other people’s heads Enda Walsh’s plays are often about people trapped inside f…

Linked From The Guardian at 12:06PM
Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Pah-La review – fascinating Tibetan drama sets theatre ablaze by Michael Billington

Royal Court, LondonAbhishek Majumdar’s play launches a philosophical inquiry into non-violence and defying oppression A special virtue attaches to playwrights who take us into unfamiliar t…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:12AM
Monday, April 8, 2019

Intra Muros review – prison play takes liberties with a serious subject by Michael Billington

Park theatre, LondonAn English version of a play by golden boy of French theatre Alexis Michalik is too cavalier in its depiction of prison life Alexis Michalik is the man of the moment. His…

Linked From The Guardian at 02:06AM
Friday, April 5, 2019

Scary Bikers review – John Godber saddles up for a bumpy Brexit ride by Michael Billington

Trafalgar Studios, LondonIn his funny and perceptive two-hander, Godber and his wife play a quarrelsome couple on a tandem trip to Europe Although it dominates our lives, Brexit has so far m…

Linked From The Guardian at 02:30PM
Thursday, April 4, 2019

Top Girls review – Churchill's study of bourgeois feminism gets an epic makeover by Michael Billington

Lyttelton, LondonWith a boosted cast of 18, Lyndsey Turner’s revival of Caryl Churchill’s classic sometimes feels like three separate plays What started as an economic necessity in 1982 …

Linked From The Guardian at 06:52AM
Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Kunene and the King review – poignant two-hander illuminates post-apartheid South Africa by Michael Billington

The Swan, Stratford-upon-AvonJohn Kani beautifully captures the complex divides of race, class and politics in a remarkable and moving new play How do you put a nation’s history on stage? …

Linked From The Guardian at 06:30PM
Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Little Miss Sunshine review – feuding family hits the road to a new tune by Michael Billington

Arcola, LondonThis lively musical take on the 2006 film satirising child beauty pageants is likable but lacks bite I missed the 2006 film that is the source for this musical with songs by Wi…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:50AM
Sunday, March 31, 2019

Maggie May review – Lionel Bart's musical knows how to show you a good time by Michael Billington

Finborough, LondonBart and Alun Owen’s 1964 musical about a Liverpudlian dockside prostitute and her sailor beau gets a foot-stamping first professional revival The working-class British m…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:01AM
Friday, March 29, 2019

Grief Is the Thing With Feathers review – Cillian Murphy is a wonder by Michael Billington

Barbican, LondonMurphy has an astonishing athleticism playing both man and crow in an adaptation of Max Porter’s story of grief Cillian Murphy and Enda Walsh have teamed up to bring Max Po…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:24AM
Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Wolfie review – Sisters Grimm weave a fairytale with a social conscience by Michael Billington

Theatre 503, LondonRoss Willis’s surreal debut is driven by a concern for vulnerable children, but will be remembered for its two remarkable actors Ross Willis’s debut play is subtitled …

Linked From The Guardian at 09:48AM
Friday, March 22, 2019

Edmond de Bergerac review – France's hectic answer to Shakespeare in Love by Michael Billington

Birmingham RepThis slapstick look at the classic play about Cyrano the long-nosed poet has been given a witty, kaleidoscopic staging It is not hard to see why Alexis Michalik’s play has cl…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:03AM
Thursday, March 21, 2019

Downstate review – big-question drama on how we live with child abusers by Michael Billington

Dorfman, LondonFour sex offenders are confronted by one of their victims in Bruce Norris’s viscerally acted drama about punishment Bruce Norris likes to live dangerously. In Clybourne Park…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:18AM
Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Bay at Nice review – David Hare's battle of duty and desire by Michael Billington

Menier Chocolate Factory, LondonPenelope Wilton gives a fine turn as an understated heroine in this revival of Hare’s play about a one-time pupil of Matisse David Hare’s 1986 play was or…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:03AM
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Taming of the Shrew review – RSC's battle of reversed sexes by Michael Billington

Royal Shakespeare theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon Gender-swapped roles turn this courtship power game into a strange puzzle – although the trick plays dividends with its gleeful subplots You…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:48PM
Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Betrayal review – a haunting reminder of deception's impact by Michael Billington

Harold Pinter Theatre, LondonTom Hiddleston is the big draw and is superb in conveying unhealed emotional wounds After a brilliant season of Pinter’s short plays we now get his full-length…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:26PM

Admissions review – a harsh lesson for white liberals by Michael Billington

Trafalgar Studios, London When positive discrimination appears to rob a boy of his college place, the racial pieties of America’s left are exposed in Joshua Harmon’s drama Joshua Harmon …

Linked From The Guardian at 12:22PM
Monday, March 11, 2019

Strike Up the Band review – cheese-war satire roasts the American whey by Michael Billington

Upstairs at the Gatehouse, LondonThe Gershwins’ upbeat music sits uneasily with a cheerily absurd script in this revival of George S Kaufman’s comedy Satire, George S Kaufman said, is wh…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:24AM
Thursday, March 7, 2019

Waitress review – guilty passions served up with warmth by Michael Billington

Adelphi, LondonBased on Adrienne Shelly’s film and scored by Sara Bareilles, the New York hit arrives in London in a lively production Billed as the first Broadway musical with an all-fema…

Linked From The Guardian at 05:45PM

Richard II review – women of colour's blazing show reflects our current chaos by Michael Billington

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, LondonAdjoa Andoh is extraordinarily expressive in a production with politics to the fore that makes one see the play afresh By casting an iconic English history pl…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:37AM
Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Alys, Always review – stylish staging of Harriet Lane's thriller by Michael Billington

Bridge theatre, LondonJoanne Froggatt plays a lowly journalist who ascends into elite literary circles in Nicholas Hytner’s smooth production Journalists enjoy seeing themselves depicted o…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:22AM
Thursday, February 28, 2019

Counting Sheep review – feverish show recreates Kiev uprising by Michael Billington

The Vaults, LondonThis viscerally powerful piece about the 2014 revolution divides the audience into protesters and observers Originally conceived by Mark and Marichka Marczyk, this piece of…

Linked From The Guardian at 05:39AM
Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Son review – Florian Zeller's frightening tale of teen depression by Michael Billington

Kiln, London Fear and fleeting joy punctuate an exploration of family dynamics, charting the upheaval of divorce and adolescence Florian Zeller’s remarkable play completes a trilogy that v…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:44AM
Sunday, February 24, 2019

Equus review – Peter Shaffer's homoerotic classic is exhilarating by Michael Billington

Theatre Royal Stratford East, LondonNed Bennett brilliantly directs the landmark 1973 play about a teenager who has blinded horses I’ve often complained about the move towards a directors…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:05PM
Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Bodies review – deft revival for adultery neurosis comedy drama by Michael Billington

Southwark Playhouse, LondonJames Saunders’ impeccably performed 70s piece takes on big issues as two couples swap partners and explore the poetry of painDedicated to retrieving forgotten p…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:32AM
Monday, February 18, 2019

Come From Away review – relentless niceness in tale of post-9/11 Canadian kindness by Michael Billington

Phoenix theatre, LondonThis musical about plane passengers diverted to Newfoundland on 11 September has plenty of heart but not enough biteThis musical by the Canadian married team of Irene …

Linked From The Guardian at 05:54PM

All that Chat