All stories by Michael Billington on BroadwayStars

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Treatment review – Martin Crimp's movie biz satire is more potent than ever by Michael Billington

Almeida, London Lyndsey Turner’s immaculate, neon-lit revival of Crimp’s 1993 play lays bare the ways reality is exploited and distorted by the mediaThere’s a rich ambiguity to the tit…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:18AM
Friday, April 28, 2017

Romeo and Juliet review – the Globe's perverse show vandalises Shakespeare by Michael Billington

Shakespeare’s Globe, LondonThis risible production butchers the language, turns Juliet into a squawking, pampered princess and makes everyone dance to the Village PeopleDaniel Kramer, dire…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:02AM
Thursday, April 27, 2017

Forty Years On review – Richard Wilson returns in Bennett's satirical school play by Michael Billington

Chichester Festival theatreDaniel Evans directs a patchy and slightly chaotic revival of Alan Bennett’s comedy about a Britain torn between tradition and progressDaniel Evans made such a s…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:12AM
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Obsession review – Jude Law is artfully romantic but remake lacks power by Michael Billington

Barbican, LondonJude Law stars in Ivo van Hove’s classy stage adaptation of Luchino Visconti’s 1942 film that just falls short of original’s atmospheric detailJude Law is the big draw …

Linked From The Guardian at 08:42PM

All the President's Men? review – Trump's allies squirm under the Senate spotlight by Michael Billington

Vaudeville, LondonPhil Davis and Sinéad Cusack star in Nicolas Kent’s verbatim staging of the US Senate’s confirmation hearings of four of Donald Trump’s political appointeesOne of th…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:48AM
Sunday, April 23, 2017

Nuclear War review – bizarre scenes of a woman alone in the city by Michael Billington

Royal Court, LondonSimon Stephens’ experimental new piece about grief and urban alienation is intentionally ‘fluid and contradictory’ – but also baffling and obscureSimon Stephens is…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:02AM
Saturday, April 22, 2017

Michael Billington: A greasepaint glossary by Michael Billington

The Old Vic, we read, is "going dark" for the summer: a far more expressive phrase than being "shut", since it implies the temporary extinction of light. But it's also a potent reminder that…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:31PM

Joan Bakewell responds to Pinter's Betrayal with her take on their affair by Michael Billington

The broadcaster’s play Keeping in Touch, aired on Radio 4, is a reply to the classic 1978 drama about the pair’s clandestine seven-year relationship“Truth in drama is forever elusive,…

Linked From The Guardian at 02:48PM
Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Philanthropist review – Lily Cole and Matt Berry star in smart college comedy by Michael Billington

Trafalgar Studios, LondonSimon Callow directs a starry young cast in a revival of Christopher Hampton’s astonishing 70s play about academic havocChristopher Hampton’s comedy of academic …

Linked From The Guardian at 06:54PM
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

London's new Bridge theatre should encourage playwrights to think big by Michael Billington

The West End is becoming a Broadway-like shop window for musicals and spectaculars. Hytner and Starr’s theatre devoted to new plays is to be welcomedWhat is instantly striking about the in…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:42AM
Monday, April 17, 2017

The Plague review – ingenious update of Camus' chilling fable by Michael Billington

Arcola, LondonNeil Bartlett asks what this 1947 allegory of Nazi occupation means today in a striking production as focused on optimism as on despairAlbert Camus’ novel La Peste was publis…

Linked From The Guardian at 03:12AM
Sunday, April 16, 2017

Best Shakespeare productions: what's your favourite Cymbeline? by Michael Billington

The 2001 staging at Shakespeare's Globe, with Mark Rylance tackling a trio of roles, gave clarity to this convoluted playNot a play for rationalists. Dr Johnson wrote of its "unresisting imb…

Linked From The Guardian at 01:02AM
Friday, April 14, 2017

The Mentor review – F Murray Abraham skewers writerly ego in a prickly comedy by Michael Billington

Ustinov studio, BathThe Homeland actor plays a tetchy older author clashing with a younger dramatist in Daniel Kehlmann’s compelling study of creative anxietyThis show has the aura of an e…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:18AM

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying review – sprightly revival scales the corporate ladder by Michael Billington

Wilton’s Music Hall, LondonDerived from a mocking tome on how to lie and cheat your way to the top, this musical brings a welcome note of satire amid a daft plot with beguiling songsMusica…

Linked From The Guardian at 05:02AM
Thursday, April 13, 2017

Guards at the Taj review – bloody tale probes the price of beauty by Michael Billington

Bush, LondonHuman curiosity and the capriciousness of power are central to this story of two footmen forbidden to look on the splendour of the Taj Mahal in 1648 Related: Bush Theatre boss Ma…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:12AM

46 Beacon review – smooth study of sexual awakening by Michael Billington

Trafalgar Studios, LondonThis bedroom drama about a man who steers a gauche student towards sex misses its chance to explore the problems of nostalgia for a pre-Aids pastBill Rosenfield, a L…

Linked From The Guardian at 02:42AM
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Carousel review – Jenkins and Boe are a joy in Rodgers and Hammerstein classic by Michael Billington

Coliseum, LondonENO’s semi-staged production, with a 42-piece orchestra conducted by David Charles Abell, is a memorable reminder of this show’s adventurousnessAfter Sweeney Todd with Br…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:02AM

Carousel – review by Michael Billington

Barbican, LondonI've always thought there's a dodgy brilliance to Carousel. Musically it is far and away the most sophisticated of the Rodgers and Hammerstein operettas, yet lyrically it com…

Linked From The Guardian at 03:36AM
Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Christopher Morahan obituary | Michael Billington by Michael Billington

Director and producer whose 60-year career spanned television, theatre and film – from The Jewel in the Crown to Pinter playsIn an age when it is fashionable for directors to be regarded a…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:48AM
Monday, April 10, 2017

The Hard Problem review – Tom Stoppard tackles momentous ideas by Michael Billington

Dorfman Theatre, LondonPlaywright explores consciousness, morality and human behaviour in stimulating work that occasionally suffers from information overloadTom Stoppard famously uses drama…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:54PM
Friday, April 7, 2017

King Charles III – a flawed premise but royally entertaining by Michael Billington

Almeida theatre, LondonMike Bartlett has written a speculative play about the future of the monarchy that has the courage to ask serious questionsMike Bartlett has written a speculative play…

Linked From The Guardian at 02:42PM
Thursday, April 6, 2017

Caste review – Victorian class-clash comedy with pin-sharp performances by Michael Billington

Finborough theatre, London Paul Bradley as a hopeless boozehound, Susan Penhaligon as a haughty mother and Rebecca Collingwood as a sparky sister light up TW Robertson’s 1867 playIt is 150…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:06AM
Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? review – Damian Lewis shines in Albee's bestial classic by Michael Billington

Theatre Royal Haymarket, LondonLewis plays an architect in love with a goat in Edward Albee’s tragedy about uncontrollable sexuality – with Sophie Okonedo equally riveting as his wifeAs …

Linked From The Guardian at 07:06PM

The Lottery of Love review – sex and sadism in a class-hopping comedy of manners by Michael Billington

Orange Tree, Richmond Servants and employers swap places with a great deal of amorous confusion in a sparkling revival of Marivaux’s classicIn the past, we’ve seen Marivaux’s classic c…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:02AM

Consent review – love and justice on trial in fierce courtroom drama by Michael Billington

Dorfman, London The audience become judge and jury in Nina Raine’s intelligent play about a rape case full of opposing narratives, starring Anna Maxwell Martin and Ben ChaplinAside from Jo…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:54AM
Tuesday, April 4, 2017

42nd Street review – dancing and dazzle distract from jarringly sexist lyrics by Michael Billington

Theatre Royal Drury Lane, LondonSheena Easton brings poise and star quality to an energetic revival that suffers from its bloodless and out of date source materialIf you like musicals staged…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:48PM
Monday, April 3, 2017

Echo's End review – everyday lives shattered by war's contradictions by Michael Billington

Salisbury PlayhouseA rural Wiltshire community during the first world war is depicted with quiet poetry in Barney Norris’s play on childhood friendship and adult expectationBarney Norris i…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:31AM
Thursday, March 30, 2017

Top 10 ecstatic musical showstoppers by Michael Billington

From West Side Story to Sweeney Todd, here are nine of my favourite musical moments. There’s one space left – for a classic selected by youAll great musicals need a moment of ecstasy tha…

Linked From The Guardian at 03:02AM
Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Life review – New York's sleazy underbelly gets a musical sparkle by Michael Billington

Southwark Playhouse, London This show about 42nd Street in the 1980s is imaginatively staged with the ever-magnificent Sharon D Clarke but it’s a tough sellThe low-life musical has a long …

Linked From The Guardian at 07:12PM
Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Don Juan in Soho review – David Tennant dazzles as a desolate hedonist by Michael Billington

Wyndhams theatre, LondonTennant brings a beguiling, fleet-footed charm to Molière’s libertine, reinvented as DJ in Patrick Marber’s subversive updateDavid Tennant stars as the rutting r…

Linked From The Guardian at 05:12PM

The Wipers Times review – Ian Hislop salutes satirical wartime newspaper by Michael Billington

Arts theatre, LondonHislop and Nick Newman’s play explores the extraordinary real-life story of how a Punch-style publication was set up by troops during the first world warIan Hislop and …

Linked From The Guardian at 07:48AM

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