All stories by Michael Billington on BroadwayStars

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Price review – David Suchet glows in Arthur Miller revival by Michael Billington

Theatre Royal, BathMiller’s 50-year-old play emerges as one of his best, as two estranged brothers learn the cost of dividing the family spoilsOn its Broadway debut in 1968, Arthur Miller…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:36AM
Thursday, August 16, 2018

Emilia review – speculative history of Shakespeare's lover brims with wit and rage by Michael Billington

Shakespeare’s Globe, LondonThe supposed dark lady of the sonnets is transformed into a convincing symbol of exploited women through the agesWhat do we know of Emilia Bassano? That she live…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:33AM
Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Merry Wives of Windsor review – Essex is not the only way by Michael Billington

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-AvonFiona Laird’s production provides wheelie-bins, estuary accents, physical comedy and a first-rate Falstaff, but loses the sense of small-town …

Linked From The Guardian at 07:32AM
Friday, August 10, 2018

Aristocrats review – Brian Friel's striking portrait of a family in decline by Michael Billington

Donmar Warehouse, LondonOverly abstract production lifted by first-rate performances in an engrossing tale of decaying culture and rocky relationships As Translations closes at the National,…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:54AM
Thursday, August 9, 2018

Switzerland review – Patricia Highsmith plots a playful murder by Michael Billington

Ustinov Studio, BathThe writer gets a mystery visitor in Joanna Murray-Smith’s smartly self-referential salute to her riveting crime tales‘The most important crime novelist in practice,…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:42PM
Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Bring It On review – Lin-Manuel Miranda songs bring cheer to hit-and-miss musical by Michael Billington

Southwark Playhouse, LondonWith numbers co-written by the award-winning Hamilton creator, the real gem is the show’s scoreBetween creating In the Heights and Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda c…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:06AM
Friday, August 3, 2018

The Importance of Being Earnest review – Wilde's comic masterpiece lost in shouty frenzy by Michael Billington

Vaudeville theatre, LondonMichael Fentiman’s coarse production robs Wilde of his decorum, swapping subtleties and satire for screaming and sexThis is one of those occasions when, in the wo…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:32AM
Thursday, August 2, 2018

Othello review – Mark Rylance and André Holland get to heart of the play by Michael Billington

Shakespeare’s Globe, LondonRylance is a fascinating and nihilistic Iago and André Holland exudes majestic dignity as Othello in Clare van Kampen’s lively and unsettling productionAny pr…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:06AM
Thursday, July 26, 2018

Theatre review: King Lear / Courtyard, Stratford-upon-Avon by Michael Billington

Courtyard, Stratford-upon-AvonIt is no exaggeration to say that this King Lear is long-awaited. Critics, in fact, have been waiting impatiently for nine weeks to get a glimpse of a productio…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:54PM

Exit the King review – Rhys Ifans’s dying despot is majestic by Michael Billington

Olivier, LondonIfans’ performance shows he’s ready for the big Shakespeare roles, though Ionesco’s absurdist drama is considerably less compellingFor its first foray into the world of …

Linked From The Guardian at 08:36AM
Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Spamilton review – a Hamilton parody by numbers by Michael Billington

Menier Chocolate Factory, London This fast-moving spoof of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical seems torn between admiration and scepticismFor the past 36 years, Gerard Alessandrini has been …

Linked From The Guardian at 06:24AM
Friday, July 20, 2018

The Meeting review – quiet Quaker rebellion provokes crisis of faith by Michael Billington

Minerva, ChichesterCharlotte Jones’s drama pitches a non-violent religious community on to the Napoleonic wars’ spiritual frontlineCharlotte Jones is an unpredictable dramatist. In her m…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:18AM
Thursday, July 19, 2018

Pity review – absurdist comic strip misses its target by Michael Billington

Royal Court, LondonRory Mullarkey’s unfocused drama of a Britain collapsing in apocalyptic chaos is not helped by the production’s aural and visual overkillI guess this new play by Rory …

Linked From The Guardian at 08:06PM
Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Allelujah! review – Alan Bennett's hospital drama is full of quiet anger by Michael Billington

The Bridge theatre, LondonPatients’ singalongs and Bennett’s stinging wit light up a state-of-the-nation play set on a geriatric ward Hospitals make good theatre. Shortly after Alan Benn…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:04PM

Theatre review: Mother Clap's Molly House by Michael Billington

Mother Clap's Molly HouseNational Theatre, London Rating: ****Mark Ravenhill clearly likes to have it both ways. In this wonderfully exuberant new musical play at the Lyttelton, he celebrat…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:24AM

His Dark Materials, National Theatre, London by Michael Billington

National Theatre, London· Picture gallery: images from the productionNothing is more tempting than the apparently impossible. But, although director Nicholas Hytner and his creative team di…

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Alan Bennett's new play is not just about history - it makes history by Michael Billington

Alan Bennett’s new play is not just about history - it makes history. Michael Billington hails a masterpieceSchool shapes our ends - almost literally so in the case of the more sexually pr…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:18AM
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A Monster Calls review – adolescent reality meets fairytale fantasy with wit and charm by Michael Billington

Old Vic, LondonSally Cookson delivers an exhilarating production of Patrick Ness’s story about a lonely boy coping with grief, bullying and a monster in a yew treeSometimes it is good to g…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:54PM
Saturday, July 14, 2018

Made in Dagenham review – brassy Gemma Arterton musical lacks passion by Michael Billington

Adelphi, LondonDirected by Rupert Goold, this stage version of the film suffers from its caricatures, relentless jokiness and functional score • Ford fiesta: Made in Dagenham musical opens…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:18AM
Friday, July 13, 2018

Paul, National, London by Michael Billington

National, London"Only an artist can understand religion." So says the emperor Nero at the end of Howard Brenton's new play about Saint Paul.But, even if Nero's point is debatable, Brenton's …

Linked From The Guardian at 11:32AM

The Lehman Trilogy review – Mendes is on the money with astonishing saga by Michael Billington

Lyttelton, LondonThis engrossing play about the banking family provides a history of western capitalism and an acting masterclass from Simon Russell Beale, Ben Miles and Adam GodleyWhat an a…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:12AM
Thursday, July 12, 2018

As You Like It review – captures love's exhilarating madness by Michael Billington

Open Air theatre, Regent’s Park, LondonOlivia Vinall and Edward Hogg light up a production whose pleasures outweigh its preachinessMax Webster’s production of Shakespeare’s comedy sets…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:06AM
Wednesday, July 11, 2018

It Happened in Key West review – necrophilia musical leaves you cold by Michael Billington

Charing Cross theatre, LondonThere are jaunty tunes and fine performances but this musical about mummification starts to decompose halfway throughThey seem to have a penchant for musicals ab…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:06AM
Friday, July 6, 2018

The Jungle review – vital drama of hope and despair at the Calais camp by Michael Billington

Playhouse theatre, LondonThis vivid recreation of life in the sprawling refugee camp is a priceless piece of theatre that enlarges our understanding while appealing to our emotionsThis is th…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:36AM
Thursday, July 5, 2018

Foxfinder – review by Michael Billington

Finborough, LondonIn a wan year for new writing, Dawn King's play shines out like a beacon. Winner of the Papatango playwriting competition, it may display the influence of Arthur Miller's T…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:24AM
Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Lieutenant of Inishmore review – Aidan Turner is terrific in shocking comedy by Michael Billington

Noël Coward theatre, LondonThe Poldark star gives an excellent performance in a first-rate revival of Martin McDonagh’s brutally funny playPoldark fans turning up to see Aidan Turner in M…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:12PM

Posh by Michael Billington

Royal Court, LondonLaura Wade's new play is highly topical: it is about the sense of entitlement to power of a privileged, wealthy, public school and Oxbridge elite. But while I'm glad to se…

Linked From The Guardian at 12:32PM

Miss Littlewood review – the seven ages of a theatrical revolutionary by Michael Billington

The Swan, Stratford-upon-AvonClare Burt passes on the trademark cap to six other actors who all share the role of the pioneering director in Sam Kenyon’s engaging musical tributeAs a nomad…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:18AM
Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The King and I review – spirited revival of a problematic classic by Michael Billington

London PalladiumThe Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical comes to the West End with fine acting, handsome staging and inescapable overtones of western imperialismThis 1951…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:24PM
Monday, July 2, 2018

Gillian Lynne: the trailblazer who made British musicals move by Michael Billington

The choreographer brought her classical training, dramatic eye and vitality to bear on hits such as Cats, Phantom of the Opera and Chitty Chitty Bang BangGillian Lynne, who has died aged 92,…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:36AM
Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Play About My Dad review – a father in the eye of the storm by Michael Billington

Jermyn Street theatre, London Boo Killebrew cleverly evokes the havoc of Hurricane Katrina through her doctor father’s memories of the disaster and the imperilled characters they recallHow…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:48AM