All stories by Michael Billington on BroadwayStars

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

An American in Paris five-star review – Minnelli musical becomes theatrical gold by Michael Billington

Dominion, LondonChristopher Wheeldon’s superb show is a riot of colour and movement, with irresistible dance routines and a wealth of Gerhswin classicsA magical transformation has taken pl…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:48PM

Love in Idleness review – Trevor Nunn reveals Rattigan's political divide by Michael Billington

Menier Chocolate Factory, London Eve Best and Helen George star in a production that merges the playwright’s Love in Idleness with its former iteration, Less Than KindBetween August and De…

Linked From The Guardian at 03:12AM
Monday, March 20, 2017

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

To mark the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth we're choosing our favourite versions of his plays. Here's a handful of the finest Hamlets• 45 Hamlets for Shakespeare's 450th birthday…

Linked From The Guardian at 01:06PM

The Frogs review – Nathan Lane's larky update of Sondheim musical by Michael Billington

Jermyn Street theatre, London Funny things happen on the way to Hades in this version of Aristophanes’ civic-minded comedy about the function of artIt is disconcerting to find the creator …

Linked From The Guardian at 08:18AM
Saturday, March 18, 2017

Pinter's The Dwarfs holds the key to his later plays by Michael Billington

With its male rivalry and edgy dialogue about London buses, Pinter's 1950s novel The Dwarfs holds the key to all his later plays, says Michael BillingtonApart from their public prominence an…

Linked From The Guardian at 01:36AM
Friday, March 17, 2017

Filthy Business review – a superbly modern Mother Courage by Michael Billington

Hampstead theatre, LondonSara Kestelman excels as an uncliched Jewish matriarch in Ryan Craig’s punchily acted new play about an East End family firmIf plays survive by creating meaty role…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:36AM
Thursday, March 16, 2017

La Cage aux Folles is proof of theatre's ability to shift sexual attitudes by Michael Billington

Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein’s 1983 musical has been revived once more. The show struck an important, rarely acknowledged blow for equalityWhen it opened in New York in 1983, La Cage …

Linked From The Guardian at 11:54AM
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Seventeen review – veteran actors get teenage kicks in striking portrait of youth by Michael Billington

Lyric Hammersmith, LondonAdults play confused adolescents in Matthew Whittet’s playground drama, adding an extra layer of hope and sadness to their characters Related: Seventeen going on 7…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:32AM
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My Brilliant Friend review – triumphant staging of Elena Ferrante's quartet by Michael Billington

Rose theatre, KingstonApril De Angelis’s inventive and fluid five-and-a-half-hour production spans 50 years in its characters’ lives, and makes clear the books’ feminist messageI am no…

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

The Miser review – Griff Rhys Jones presides over a relentless gag-fest by Michael Billington

Garrick theatre, London The audience is clobbered into submission by an anything-for-a-laugh Molière adaptation that casts Lee Mack – in his theatre debut – as the sane oneI guess, sinc…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:12PM

My Country: A Work in Progress review – Carol Ann Duffy visits Brexit by Michael Billington

National Theatre, London Britannia is shown to be fractious and divided in this bold but fragmented piece – built from interviews with UK voters – that does not tell us anything newTom S…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:12AM
Saturday, March 11, 2017

From Brecht to Lorca, the playwrights who became theatre's freedom fighters by Michael Billington

It’s wrong to characterise 1930s theatre as escapist or frivolous. In Europe and America, many plays were alerting audiences to the dangers of fascism – led by the German fugitive Bertol…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:54AM
Thursday, March 9, 2017

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? review – Staunton ignites Albee's marital battle by Michael Billington

Harold Pinter theatre, London Imelda Staunton and Conleth Hill are both superb as they trade insults and toy vindictively with their guests in a first-rate revival of an astonishing playThis…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:36PM

Limehouse review – timely account of Labour's 1981 split is beautifully acted by Michael Billington

Donmar Warehouse, LondonRoger Allam is astonishing as Roy Jenkins in this drama about how the ‘gang of four’ left Labour to form the SDPSteve Waters likes to peep behind closed doors. In…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:48AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Privacy review – Taut drama short-circuits the crucial debate by Michael Billington

Donmar Warehouse, LondonJames Graham's new play under the direction of Josie Rourke is rich and adrenaline-fuelled but lacks a real intellectual tussle• Ewan MacAskill: Fear, then relief, …

Linked From The Guardian at 04:06AM
Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead review – Daniel Radcliffe returns in Stoppard classic by Michael Billington

Old Vic, LondonActor perfectly matched in nimble high-wire act that is still spritely – but gains heft from its awareness of death The play’s the thing. Fifty years after its professiona…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:24PM

a profoundly affectionate ... review – couples' rows are painful to watch by Michael Billington

Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, LondonMeera Syal stars in debbie tucker green’s play about intimate relationships which is given a perverse staging that leaves you with a crick in the neckAs…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:32AM
Monday, March 6, 2017

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead – review by Michael Billington

Chichester Festival TheatreTrevor Nunn's fine production of Tom Stoppard's 1966 play begins with a striking image: the two heroes seen against the stark background of a leafless tree. The Be…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:32AM

Imelda Staunton is right: eating in your seat is a crime against theatre by Michael Billington

Audiences have been asked not to consume food at a new show. Theatre is a collective act of concentration – it’s spoiled by constant chomping and slurpingHallelujah! Imelda Staunton has …

Linked From The Guardian at 06:12AM
Saturday, March 4, 2017

Snow in Midsummer review – restless spirit seeks revenge in Chinese classic by Michael Billington

Swan, Stratford-upon-AvonThe ghost of a wronged widow hovers over a modern industrial town in the RSC’s intriguing update of a 13th-century playThis is a genuine curiosity. As part of its …

Linked From The Guardian at 07:32AM
Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Hypocrite review – Richard Bean's raucous comedy does Hull proud by Michael Billington

Hull Truck theatre, HullStaged for Hull’s year as UK City of Culture, this One Man, Two Guvnors-style farce is a merry take on local historyThe road to Hull, they say, is paved with good i…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:24AM
Wednesday, March 1, 2017

La Strada review – Fellini's ragtag circus comes to the stage by Michael Billington

Richmond theatre, LondonSally Cookson directs a fine ensemble in a witty and inventive high-wire production with a modern edgeThe last attempt to stage Fellini’s Oscar-winning 1954 movie h…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:12AM
Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hamlet review – Andrew Scott is a charming prince in a chic yet dotty show by Michael Billington

Almeida, LondonRobert Icke’s staging of Shakespeare’s tragedy has fine performances and highly intelligent touches but some of its ideas are eccentrically wrong-headedBy a strange irony …

Linked From The Guardian at 08:06PM
Sunday, February 26, 2017

Speech and Debate review – tech-savvy kids battle with a phoney adult world by Michael Billington

Trafalgar Studios, LondonPatsy Ferran shines in Stephen Karam’s shapeshifting off-Broadway hit about teenage dilemmas and predatory adults set around a school rhetoric contestFirst seen of…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:12AM
Friday, February 24, 2017

A Midsummer Night's Dream review – a nightmare of rage and chaos by Michael Billington

Young Vic, London Simmering hatred, lust and violence are never far away in a disturbing production that delves deep into the collective unconsciousRomantic Victorian versions of Shakespeare…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:36AM
Thursday, February 23, 2017

Twelfth Night review – Tamsin Greig is brilliant in a show full of fun by Michael Billington

Olivier, LondonSimon Godwin’s inventive gender-fluid production of Shakespeare’s most perfect comedy has a vital elan and some great performancesThe casting of Tamsin Greig as Malvolia i…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:03AM

The Cherry Orchard review – Chekhov revival sows seeds of revolution by Michael Billington

Arcola, London Trevor Griffiths’ version of the masterpiece is staged in London for the first time in a modern-dress production implying we too are on the brink of changeThis enterprising …

Linked From The Guardian at 02:36AM
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Girls review – Gary Barlow gives Calendar Girls a classy musical makeover by Michael Billington

Phoenix theatre, London The Take That star and Tim Firth have collaborated seamlessly on a show that is far superior to its predecessors on stage and screenIt might be fair to assume that th…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:03PM

The Wild Party review – big, blowsy revival you won't want an invite to by Michael Billington

The Other Palace, LondonThis musical adaptation, based on Joseph Moncure March’s racy 1928 poem, is so frenzied it leaves you exhausted Andrew Lloyd Webber acquired what used to be the St …

Linked From The Guardian at 09:12AM
Sunday, February 19, 2017

New Nigerians review – robust satire proves there's power in political outrage by Michael Billington

Arcola, LondonOladipo Agboluaje hits close to home as he shows the darkly comic side of the fight for revolutionary changeDriving home after the play, I caught an item on Radio 4’s The Wor…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:54AM
Friday, February 17, 2017

Why has Thomas Ostermeier stripped his Richard III of politics? | Michael Billington by Michael Billington

Shedding his clothes and seducing the audience, Lars Eidinger’s Gloucester is the classic charming narcissist – but why soften the play’s political bite at such a crucial time?I have a…

Linked From The Guardian at 01:18PM

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