All stories by Michael Billington on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Albion review – Mike Bartlett captures nation’s neurotic divisions by Michael Billington

Almeida theatre, LondonVictoria Hamilton is on breathtaking form as a grieving mother in the Doctor Foster writer’s richly layered play inspired by Chekhov’s The Cherry OrchardGardens of…

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Top Girls – review by Michael Billington

Minerva, ChichesterIt would be nice to think that Caryl Churchill's 1982 play, written during the rise of Thatcherism, now looks dated. In fact, it seems terrifyingly topical in its portrait…

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Woman of No Importance review – Eve Best takes a feminist grip on Wilde's melodrama by Michael Billington

Vaudeville, LondonBest brings fierce emotional intensity, Eleanor Bron is a velvet-voiced aristo and Anne Reid delivers Victorian ballads in Dominic Dromgoole’s fine revivalA West End Osca…

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From Olivier's dance of death to Picasso's Quixote: the National Theatre's poster power by Michael Billington

An exhibition of highlights from the NT’s archive triggers memories of striking productions and shows how the poster imprints a play on the public’s imaginationTheatre posters are by def…

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Beginning review – sozzled loners seek a connection in the tech age by Michael Billington

National Theatre, London David Eldridge’s new play is a poignant real-time examination of relationships with two damaged people reaching out at the end of a partyTwo lonely, damaged people…

Linked From The Guardian at 12:18PM
Thursday, October 12, 2017

Saint George and the Dragon review – national hero on a quest through time by Michael Billington

Olivier theatre, London Rory Mullarkey pits the knight of folklore against the tyrannies facing Britain in three eras of history – and finds today’s foe is the hardest to pin downThe Nat…

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Just Jim Dale review – Carry On star had me weeping with laughter by Michael Billington

Vaudeville, LondonThe unfairly talented actor recalls a career that has taken him from Olivier’s National to British film comedies and Broadway in this exuberant solo showCan it be true? T…

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One Man, Two Guvnors - review by Michael Billington

Lyttelton, LondonIn 1746, Carlo Goldoni wrote a classic comedy normally translated as The Servant of Two Masters. Richard Bean has used it for a riotous farce combining the original's struct…

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Young Frankenstein review – glorious gags as Mel Brooks bolts together a monster hit by Michael Billington

Garrick theatre, London The horror-movie spoof is gleefully reanimated for the stage with even more jokes, superb set-pieces and barnstorming parody songs that stick a pitchfork into good ta…

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle review – romance and science collide for Cranham and Duff by Michael Billington

Wyndham’s, LondonAnne-Marie Duff and Kenneth Cranham are excellent in an immaculately designed production of Simon Stephens’ fable about love and physics This production has an impressiv…

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Monday, October 9, 2017

Victory Condition review – pizza and the apocalypse in baffling two-hander by Michael Billington

Royal Court, LondonSharon Duncan-Brewster and Jonjo O’Neill star in Chris Thorpe’s play which offers a bleak view of the world as a desolate wasteland This apocalyptic piece by Chris Tho…

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The Lie review – Florian Zeller tells the uncomfortable truth about a marriage by Michael Billington

Menier Chocolate Factory, LondonReal-life couple Samantha Bond and Alexander Hanson star in this shrewd companion piece to The Truth, as a pair whose marriage is a labyrinth of deceit Floria…

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Look Back in Anger: how John Osborne liberated theatrical language by Michael Billington

Jimmy Porter takes on class, religion, politics and the press in Osborne’s classic 1956 play – but its real revolution lay in its thrilling linguistic exuberanceIn the summer of 1955 an …

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Friday, October 6, 2017

Macbeth review – Ninagawa's samurai Shakespeare is a weeping wonder by Michael Billington

Barbican, LondonA revival of the Japanese director’s 1985 production, filled with cherry blossom, poetically explores the obsession for power – and its emptinessThis production by Yukio …

Linked From The Guardian at 06:54AM
Thursday, October 5, 2017

My Name Is Rachel Corrie review – vivid testimony of a hyperactive activist by Michael Billington

Young Vic, LondonErin Doherty emerges as one of the year’s great discoveries with a stunning performance as the young American desperate to rectify the world’s injusticesTime changes thi…

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Norman Conquests review – Ayckbourn's weekenders get lost in longing by Michael Billington

Chichester Festival theatre Blanche McIntyre’s mordantly comic revival of the 1973 trilogy spotlights the plays’ sadnesses along with their orgiastic frenzies Related: Blanche McIntyre: …

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Review | Theatre | Earthquakes in London | Cottesloe | Michael Billington by Michael Billington

Cottesloe, LondonWith plays such as My Child and Contractions, Mike Bartlett has established a reputation as a theatrical miniaturist. Now he has written a big, epic, expansive play about cl…

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Labour of Love review – James Graham's witty take on party's thorny past by Michael Billington

Noël Coward theatre, London Martin Freeman and Tamsin Greig give sparkling performances as a reforming MP and his constituency agent fighting through Labour’s fluctuating fortunes James G…

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Monday, October 2, 2017

B review – Guillermo Calderón unmasks the motives behind political protest by Michael Billington

Royal Court, LondonThe Chilean dramatist’s new show about urban violence explores the tensions between two young anarchists and a veteran bomb-makerThe Royal Court’s international progra…

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Peter Brook: 'To give way to despair is the ultimate cop-out' by Michael Billington

At 92, the visionary director refuses to slow down. He talks about how to silence audiences, the trouble with doing Shakespeare in French, the difference between Olivier and Gielgud, and why…

Linked From The Guardian at 02:12PM
Sunday, October 1, 2017

King Lear - review by Michael Billington

Olivier, LondonSimon Russell Beale is magnetic and unorthodox in an exceptional production that mixes the epic and the intimateAnother day, another Lear. But, although this is the third prod…

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King Lear review – Ian McKellen delivers a profound portrait of a soul in torment by Michael Billington

Minerva, ChichesterJonathan Munby’s smart, lucid production features plenty of pomp and circumstance, and a superbly detailed performance by McKellenIan McKellen knows his way round Lear. …

Linked From The Guardian at 08:06AM
Thursday, September 28, 2017

After the Rehearsal/Persona review – Bergman double bill storms on to stage by Michael Billington

Barbican, LondonThe Swedish auteur’s tales of actors are directed by Ivo van Hove at his most lucid and ostentatious, featuring fine performances and a pulsating tempest****/***‘Can you …

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Kwame Kwei-Armah: multi-talented dynamo is perfect fit for the Young Vic by Michael Billington

The surefire playwright, director and actor is an inspired choice as the Young Vic’s new artistic director – he has proved himself time and againThe appointment of Kwame Kwei-Armah as th…

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Le Grand Mort – Julian Clary slices and dices through tale of death, sex and veg by Michael Billington

Trafalgar Studios, LondonStephen Clark’s puzzling drama about a man planning to either seduce or murder his dinner guest comes across as both morbid and exploitativeSex and death are the t…

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Ramona Tells Jim review – hapless romance among the hermit crabs by Michael Billington

Bush theatre, LondonThe Scottish coast is the setting for Sophie Wu’s witty play about crustacean-loving Jim, his girlfriend and his kooky exLike many actors who turn to writing, Sophie Wu…

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Coriolanus/Dido, Queen of Carthage review – Shakespeare and Marlowe do battle by Michael Billington

Royal Shakespeare theatre/The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon This well-matched pair of tragedies in the RSC’s Rome season give us strong images, unforgettable lines, probing psychology – and …

Linked From The Guardian at 06:54AM
Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ben Hur Live | theatre review | by Michael Billington

O2 Arena, LondonThe statistics alone for this show are mind-boggling. It requires 620 tonnes of sand, involves a cast and crew of 400 and a total of 46 horses, donkeys and ponies. But specta…

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Wings review – Juliet Stevenson soars in stroke recovery tale by Michael Billington

Young Vic, London Performing 360-degree loops, pummelled by voices and piecing together her shattered speech, Stevenson goes bravely to the limit in this high-concept showJuliet Stevenson mu…

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

For Love or Money review – Northern Broadsides strike comedy gold by Michael Billington

Viaduct, Halifax Blake Morrison transposes a corrupt, covetous 18th-century Paris to 1920s Yorkshire in a lively satire directed by and starring Barrie RutterNorthern Broadsides have made a …

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Love Never Dies | Theatre review by Michael Billington

Adelphi, LondonThere is much to enjoy in Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical. The score is one of the composer's most seductive. Bob Crowley's design and Jack O'Brien's direction have a beauti…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:12PM