All stories by Michael Billington on BroadwayStars

Friday, December 6, 2019

Ravens: Spassky vs Fischer review – game of chess is a cold war thriller by Michael Billington

Hampstead theatre, LondonBoris Spassky and Bobby Fischer’s 1972 match is a proxy war in this intriguing but overcomplicated chess drama There has already been a musical, Chess, inspired by…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:12AM
Thursday, December 5, 2019

Fairview review – a daring challenge to the white gaze by Michael Billington

Young Vic, London Directed by Nadia Latif, this Pulitzer prize-winning play by Jackie Sibblies Drury is definitely one to see – and argue over This play by Jackie Sibblies Drury is tricky …

Linked From The Guardian at 07:06PM
Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The Boy Friend review – an exuberant jaunt to the Riviera by Michael Billington

Menier Chocolate Factory, LondonThis pitch-perfect revival of Sandy Wilson’s 1953 musical is a positive invitation to dance Time has been good to Sandy Wilson’s 1953 musical. Although se…

Linked From The Guardian at 01:54PM

What I've learned from 10,000 nights at the theatre | Michael Billington by Michael Billington

As Michael Billington, the Guardian’s chief theatre critic, prepares to step down, he discusses what has changed – and what hasn’t – in his 48 years as a nightly aisle-squatter Ten o…

Linked From The Guardian at 01:54PM
Friday, November 29, 2019

The Wind of Heaven review – a bewitching tale of faith and guilt by Michael Billington

Finborough, LondonA Welsh teenager is hailed as the second coming in this fascinating revival of Emlyn Williams’ long-forgotten play This enterprising theatre struck gold in 2011 with its …

Linked From The Guardian at 09:48AM
Thursday, November 28, 2019

I saw Jonathan Miller in Beyond the Fringe – and I'm still dazzled by Michael Billington

The Guardian’s theatre critic was at the sketch group’s first show in 1960. It was the beginning of a friendship … and a satire boom that changed the world My first sighting of Jonatha…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:48PM

The Boy in the Dress review – Robbie Williams has a ball with David Walliams by Michael Billington

Royal Shakespeare theatre, Stratford-upon-AvonA resplendent cast sing the praises of self-expression in Mark Ravenhill’s adaptation of the feelgood football novel The boy who defies tribal…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:48PM
Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Candida review – Shaw's comedy of fizzing words and extreme passion by Michael Billington

Orange Tree, Richmond upon ThamesThis production of George Bernard Shaw’s remarkable play about a poet and a priest in love with the same woman induces giddy delight Paul Miller is almost …

Linked From The Guardian at 08:18AM
Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Arrival review – fraternal reunion pits nature against nurture by Michael Billington

Bush theatre, LondonBijan Sheibani’s writing debut about two half-Iranian brothers relies on a puzzling backstory, yet vivid staging and beautiful performances fill it with vitality You ca…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:36PM
Monday, November 25, 2019

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe review – magical escape from the perils of war by Michael Billington

Bridge theatre, LondonAslan is more substitute Churchill than surrogate Christ in Sally Cookson’s brilliantly inventive production of CS Lewis’s wartime fable The popularity of CS Lewis…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:12PM
Thursday, November 21, 2019

Land Without Dreams review – the future gets stuck in the mud by Michael Billington

Gate theatre, LondonDespite Temi Wilkey’s best efforts, including rolling in slime, Tue Biering’s play can’t decide whether it is a critique of utopianism or a message of reassurance …

Linked From The Guardian at 07:12AM
Wednesday, November 20, 2019

& Juliet review – pop mogul Max Martin's bizarre jukebox bonanza by Michael Billington

Shaftesbury theatre, LondonSongs of the prolific Swedish tunesmith are shoehorned into a silly Shakespeare-derived story for this misguided West End musical Romeo and Juliet, the starting po…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:03PM
Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Dear Evan Hansen review – high-school musical captures agonies of youth by Michael Billington

Noël Coward theatre, LondonSam Tutty shines as the lonely student who fabricates a friendship with a dead boy, but this award-winning musical has plot holes This musical arrives from the US…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:12PM
Friday, November 15, 2019

Touching the Void proves anything is possible in the theatre by Michael Billington

David Greig’s survival-story adaptation has clawed its way to the West End – and it is a triumph of resolve and innovation When this adaptation of Joe Simpson’s mountaineering memoir, …

Linked From The Guardian at 07:33AM
Thursday, November 14, 2019

Unknown Rivers review – Odimba is a writer to watch by Michael Billington

Hampstead theatre, LondonChinonyerem Odimba’s subtle play is a celebration of female friendship, given an intimate production by Daniel Bailey There is much to admire in this play by Chin…

Linked From The Guardian at 04:03PM
Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Mary Poppins review – stageful of sugar is a rapturous delight by Michael Billington

Prince Edward theatre, LondonZizi Strallen is excellent as the buoyant nanny in Eyre’s chippy and enduring show, which also calls on Julian Fellowes, Matthew Bourne and Petula Clark I was …

Linked From The Guardian at 09:12PM
Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Spiderfly review – a tantalising tale of tangled relationships by Michael Billington

Theatre 503, LondonWriter John Webber shows edgy promise with this story of a woman’s contrasting encounters with two men Like many emerging dramatists, John Webber is an actor. He doesn…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:36AM
Friday, November 8, 2019

What does the Piccadilly ceiling collapse mean for London theatre? by Michael Billington

After two incidents in six years, visitors may need reassurance before they return to the West End “Don’t clap too hard: it’s a very old building,” says Archie Rice in John Osborne…

Linked From The Guardian at 01:54PM
Thursday, November 7, 2019

Reputation review – one woman's words against a Hollywood bully by Michael Billington

The Other Palace, London This new musical by Alick Glass carries its fight against 30s movie plagiarism with pleasant songs, but lacks the showbiz sparkle to land a killer punch This theatre…

Linked From The Guardian at 05:36PM
Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Sydney and the Old Girl review – Miriam Margolyes excels as a mother at war by Michael Billington

Park theatre, LondonDark comedy peeks through the relationship between a malevolent mum and her paranoid middle-aged son in Eugene O’Hare’s Pinteresque play This is the second play by Eu…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:06AM
Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Murder in the Cathedral review – Eliot staged in a sacred space by Michael Billington

Southwark Cathedral, LondonJasper Britton is outstanding as Thomas Becket in Scena Mundi’s revival, but the church acoustics make the rest of the cast hard to hear How do you stage TS Elio…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:18PM
Monday, November 4, 2019

High Fidelity review – Nick Hornby's vinyl nerd back in the groove by Michael Billington

Turbine theatre, LondonA delightfully tuneful adaptation of the Broadway musical returns the unlucky-in-love record-shop owner to his London roots Nick Hornby’s bestselling 1995 novel abou…

Linked From The Guardian at 12:48PM
Friday, November 1, 2019

Mustapha Matura obituary by Michael Billington

Pioneering black British-based playwright who examined the effects of colonialism on his native TrinidadMustapha Matura, who has died aged 79 after a heart attack, was a pioneering black pla…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:36PM

Chemistry review – a warm story of love in the face of mental illness by Michael Billington

Finborough theatre, LondonDepression provides the tough backdrop for an intense affair in Jacob Marx Rice’s smart, flawed and compellingly acted play Depression is a subject the theatre is…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:48AM
Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Antipodes review – Annie Baker searches for the sting in the tale by Michael Billington

Dorfman, National Theatre, LondonBaker probes the relevance of stories in her new play, seemingly set at a strategy meeting, but the concept runs out of steam I was enthralled by Annie Bake…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:33AM
Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Light Falls review – Simon Stephens' guilt-ridden love letter to the north by Michael Billington

Royal Exchange, ManchesterSarah Frankcom says her farewell as the Exchange’s artistic director with this moving testament to the power of family life This has the air of an event. It is th…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:24AM
Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Hard talk: Broadway gets tough on America in crisis by Michael Billington

In an era of uncertainty and anxiety, New York theatre is shunning its obsession with private lives to throw a powerful spotlight on politics It used to be argued that British drama is drive…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:24AM
Monday, October 28, 2019

Joan Plowright at 90: the star who spoke truth to British theatre by Michael Billington

On the actor’s birthday, our critic picks three key performances that illuminate her gift for earthy honesty Joan Plowright, who celebrates her 90th birthday today, is the senior figure in…

Linked From The Guardian at 03:06AM
Monday, October 21, 2019

Vassa review – revolutionary attack on moribund politics by Michael Billington

Almeida, LondonSiobhan Redmond is impressive as a tyrannical mother trying to rescue her debt-ridden family in Tinuke Craig’s strangely rootless production This production of Maxim Gorky…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:48PM
Friday, October 18, 2019

[Blank] review – Alice Birch's build-your-own-play experiment by Michael Billington

Donmar Warehouse, LondonThe playwright throws down the gauntlet to directors, and the result is a show full of ideas but lacking unity Alice Birch’s new play, whose title comes with built-…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:18AM
Tuesday, October 15, 2019

A History of Water in the Middle East review – cheeky political lesson makes waves by Michael Billington

Royal Court, LondonPoet Sabrina Mahfouz uses songs, music and humour to deliver an impassioned assault on British imperialism Passion counts for a lot in the theatre. That is proved by this …

Linked From The Guardian at 08:33AM

All that Chat

Oct 06: Slave Play
Feb 01: The Minutes
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