All stories by Michael Billington on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Grönholm Method review – Apprentice-style contest keeps you guessing by Michael Billington

Menier Chocolate Factory, London Four applicants undergo a gruelling selection process while tricks are played on the audience in Jordi Galceran’s dramaSince its Barcelona premiere in 2003…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:32AM
Monday, May 21, 2018

3 Women review – many snappy returns in Katy Brand's barbed drama by Michael Billington

Trafalgar Studios 2, LondonThe comedian’s debut play gives a double portrait of mother-daughter relationships on the eve of a weddingIt comes as a shock to walk into the theatre and be con…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:06AM
Friday, May 18, 2018

Hay Fever – review by Michael Billington

Noel Coward, LondonHoward Davies has a gift for revitalising Coward's comedies. Having put the sexuality back into Private Lives, he now visually redefines Hay Fever and pulls off the daring…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:12PM

Hamlet/As You Like It review – Michelle Terry's double-edged Globe debut by Michael Billington

Shakespeare’s Globe, LondonThe new artistic director’s ensemble give fine performances but this pairing raises questions about staging ShakespeareIn this pairing of two plays performed b…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:06AM
Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Girl on the Train review – is Paula Hawkins's bestseller unadaptable? by Michael Billington

West Yorkshire Playhouse, LeedsJoe Murphy directs an adaptation of the 2015 thriller with Jill Halfpenny playing an amateur sleuth drawn to the case of a missing womanSurveying an elliptical…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:06AM
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The String Quartet's Guide to Sex and Anxiety review – strange and beautiful by Michael Billington

Birmingham RepCalixto Bieito’s intense theatrical collage brings together four first-rate actors and the miraculous Heath QuartetCalixto Bieito, as anyone who has seen his productions of C…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:04AM
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Red review – Alfred Molina's portrait is as layered as a Rothko canvas by Michael Billington

Wyndham’s, LondonMichael Grandage directs a well-judged revival of John Logan’s play about the artist and his assistant ‘Make something new,” the painter Mark Rothko urges his young …

Linked From The Guardian at 05:42PM

Exit the King review – a production with panache by Michael Billington

Ustinov Studio, BathIonesco’s imperfect study of a power-crazed monarch facing death is helped by a powerful performance from Alun ArmstrongIn early plays such as The Bald Prima Donna and …

Linked From The Guardian at 05:33AM
Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Phantom of the Opera, Her Majesty's, London by Michael Billington

Her Majesty's, LondonWe have had some pretty grim experiences in musical theatre in recent years. We have seen people turned into roller-skating ciphers, dwarfed by laser-beams and sententio…

Linked From The Guardian at 05:33PM

Describe the Night review – kaleidoscopic vision of Soviet history by Michael Billington

Hampstead theatre, LondonRajiv Joseph’s ambitious three-hour drama features an outstanding performance from David BirrellIt is tough luck on Rajiv Joseph that his play, first seen in Houst…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:48AM
Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Life and Fate review – a remarkable epic of Soviet horror and heartbreak by Michael Billington

Theatre Royal Haymarket, London Sergey Kuryshev shines as a nuclear scientist stuck in a moral maze in this vivid staging of Vasily Grossman’s sprawling novelConsciously modelled on War an…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:33AM
Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Nightfall review - poignant study of rural decay and desperation by Michael Billington

Bridge theatre, LondonClaire Skinner is outstanding as a bereaved mother trying to save her farm in Barney Norris’s poignant new play, but the venue overwhelms the drama’s delicacy All t…

Linked From The Guardian at 05:12PM
Monday, May 7, 2018

Building the Wall review – Trump imposes martial law and the roundups begin by Michael Billington

Park theatre, LondonThe president’s war on illegal immigrants is taken to its logical conclusion – a heartening sign that dramatists are responding with something stronger than lampoonsH…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:04AM

Lolita | Theatre review by Michael Billington

National, LondonThis is an odd evening: one in which Brian Cox gives us a dramatised reading of Vladimir Nabokov's novel in a potted, two-hour version by Richard Nelson. It prompts two quest…

Linked From The Guardian at 01:42AM
Sunday, May 6, 2018

Red | Theatre review by Michael Billington

Donmar Warehouse, LondonPlays about painters are fraught with difficulty. Either the hero preaches about art without practising it, or the Bohemian lifestyle supersedes the work. But John Lo…

Linked From The Guardian at 05:48AM
Friday, May 4, 2018

An Ideal Husband review – Wilde's dandies and fat cats are played for laughs by Michael Billington

Vaudeville, LondonEdward and Freddie Fox, as a father and son, are the star turn in this stylish revival of Wilde’s send-up of a money-mad societyRailing against fashionable society’s ov…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:42AM
Thursday, May 3, 2018

Mood Music review – Joe Penhall's clash of the hitmakers by Michael Billington

Old Vic, London A row over intellectual property is at the heart of a fascinating and topical drama starring Ben Chaplin and Seána KerslakeJoe Penhall is very good at showing how a crisis c…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:42AM
Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Romeo and Juliet review – RSC's gender-fluid tragedy of youth by Michael Billington

Royal Shakespeare theatre, Stratford-upon-AvonThere are strong performances in Eric Whyman’s swift production but it doesn’t solve the problems of the playIn 1845, the American Charlotte…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:48AM
Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Nine Night review – joy and grief as generations collide at Jamaican wake by Michael Billington

Dorfman, LondonNatasha Gordon’s impressive debut about living between two cultures gains extra resonance in the light of the Windrush scandalThere’s a key moment in Natasha Gordon’s hi…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:48AM
Friday, April 27, 2018

Judi, Maggie, Joan and Eileen: all hail British theatre's great dames | Michael Billington by Michael Billington

Roger Michell’s film Nothing Like a Dame brings four legends together – and evokes decades of brilliant performancesSometimes the best ideas are the simplest. The wheeze of bringing toge…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:06AM

Present Laughter review – vulgar Coward revival is an orgy of exaggeration by Michael Billington

Chichester festival theatrePlayed as a broad farce, Sean Foley’s revival starring Rufus Hound ignores Noël Coward’s faultless verbal stylingsRufus Hound, whose recent roles include Mr T…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:54AM
Thursday, April 26, 2018

Absolute Hell review – postwar Soho gets a Weimar makeover by Michael Billington

Lyttelton, LondonJoe Hill-Gibbins gives Rodney Ackland’s drama the full expressionist works in a production full of visual bravuraAt the curtain call for this revival of Rodney Ackland’s…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:36AM
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Writer review – Romola Garai blazes into the battlefield of desire by Michael Billington

Almeida, LondonElla Hickson’s riveting play about a writer exploring the sexual revolution boasts a shining performance from Romola GaraiElla Hickson struck gold with her last play, Oil (2…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:36AM
Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Strictly Ballroom the Musical review – Baz Luhrmann's dancefloor disaster by Michael Billington

Piccadilly, LondonWill Young entertains in a sequined catsuit but this laborious version of the charming film is a step in the wrong directionI don’t know if it’s been spotted already, b…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:33PM

Aristocrats, National, London by Michael Billington

National, LondonThe easy word to describe Brian Friel's Aristocrats is "Chekhovian". The decay of a great Georgian house, the decline of a once-powerful Catholic family, the eventual expulsi…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:54AM
Friday, April 20, 2018

Little Eyolf review – exhilarating Ibsen from Norway's National Theatre by Michael Billington

Print Room at the Coronet, LondonThis shattering revival draws out the playwright’s sexual candour and grim humour – and deserves a far longer runIt is the fashion these days to strip Ib…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:54AM
Thursday, April 19, 2018

Much Ado About Nothing review – Mel Giedroyc blazes through Great Sicilian Bake Off by Michael Billington

Rose theatre, KingstonThe star plays Beatrice opposite John Hopkins as Benedick in a lively production set in a luxury Sicilian spa full of mafiosiThe Rose theatre marks its 10th anniversary…

Linked From The Guardian at 12:12PM
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tina review – whirlwind Turner tribute leaves you breathless by Michael Billington

Aldwych theatre, LondonPhyllida Lloyd’s musical is a heady celebration of triumph over adversity, with an astonishing turn by Adrienne WarrenThis terrific show is billed as the “untold…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:06PM
Sunday, April 15, 2018

Instructions for Correct Assembly review – Bonnar and Horrocks star in clever sci-fi satire by Michael Billington

Royal Court, LondonBonnar and Horrocks are excellent as parents attempting to replace their dead son with another straight from the box in Thomas Eccleshare’s quirky dystopian dramaThomas …

Linked From The Guardian at 06:21AM
Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Moderate Soprano review – David Hare's Glyndebourne play hits the high notes by Michael Billington

Duke of Yorks, LondonThis is a rich, funny, touching play about the opera house and the extraordinary marriage of its co-founders, John Christie and Audrey MildmayIt has taken two and a half…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:00PM
Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Chicago review – Cuba Gooding Jr stars but hit has lost razzle-dazzle by Michael Billington

Phoenix theatre, LondonKander and Ebb’s show about crime and celebrity is faithfully recreated but is beginning to resemble an animated corpseIf this Kander and Ebb musical feels as if it …

Linked From The Guardian at 06:00PM

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