All stories by Not Exactly Billington on BroadwayStars

Thursday, March 21, 2019

‘Pretty perfect family entertainment’: THE WORST WITCH – Touring by Not Exactly Billington

I’m delighted to say that Emma Reeves’ new stage adaptation loses none of The Worst Witch’s gleeful mayhem and enchantment.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

‘The joy is in meeting the characters’: JESUS HOPPED THE ‘A’ TRAIN – Young Vic Theatre by Not Exactly Billington

The joy of Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train is in meeting his characters: watching them perform to each other; hearing their patois and verbal brio; exude a charisma wh…

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

‘A sure-fire hit’: THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN – Touring by Not Exactly Billington

The Girl on the Train is contemporary, both in its subject and staging. There is a strong balance between a suspenseful whodunit that drives the play and a psychological element about memory…

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Monday, March 4, 2019

#ReadaPlayaWeek: Laura Wade’s Breathing Corpses, Superhoe by Nicôle Lecky & more by Not Exactly Billington

It’s a #ReadaPlayaWeek: featuring Laura Wade’s Breathing Corpses; Adult Child/Dead Child (1987) by Claire Dowie; Thatcher’s Women by Kay Adshead; and Superhoe by Nicôle Lecky.

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Saturday, March 2, 2019

‘Only marginally entertaining’: SHIPWRECK – Almeida Theatre by Not Exactly Billington

Anne Washburn’s latest offering, Shipwreck, is a marathon play at the Almeida Theatre that takes direct aim at the Trump Administration.

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Friday, March 1, 2019

‘I am utterly beguiled’: AMERICAN IDIOT – Touring by Not Exactly Billington

Having seen the ways that people can come together in a crisis in the uplifting Come From Away last week, this week brought a more anarchic and nihilistic view of post-9/11 America from Amer…

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

‘Surely this is the epitome of contemporary theatre’: THE UNRETURNING – Touring by Not Exactly Billington

Frantic Assembly’s production of Anna Jordan’s play The Unreturning about three different men returning from (or amidst) war is a startling delve into the pull and promise of home, and t…

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

‘Raises important issues about modern attitudes to love, sex & gender’: HOME, I’M DARLING – West End by Not Exactly Billington

How far would you go to achieve domestic perfection? What even is domestic perfection? Is our happiness shaped by or confounded by traditional gender roles? These are the questions Laura Wad…

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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

#ReadaPlayaWeek 2019 returns by Not Exactly Billington

For three years, #ReadaPlayaWeek was a, well, weekly feature of our blog. Starting out as a way to familiarise myself more with the canon, long-established and establishment writers were a r…

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

‘Extraordinary study of belief’: OUR LADY OF KIBEHO – Northampton by Not Exactly Billington

Katori Hall teams up once again with director James Dacre to present the extraordinary Our Lady of Kibeho, a study on belief that is at once universal and deeply personal, while also scrutin…

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Saturday, January 5, 2019

‘Anaïs Mitchell has instigated something special’: HADESTOWN – National Theatre by Not Exactly Billington

Anaïs Mitchell has instigated something special, and I hope, and expect, Hadestown to evolve further throughout the years, as each new version creates its own musical and mythological tradi…

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Thursday, December 27, 2018

‘Theatre has been the lodestar’: A Top 10 of Theatre in 2018 by Not Exactly Billington

“The inheritance of wisdom, community and self” – Matthew Lopez. Each year, around March, I think of a brilliant way to start the Best of the Year list. Each year, around December, I f…

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Thursday, December 20, 2018

‘Playful & engaging’: TREASURE ISLAND – Leicester by Not Exactly Billington

This year, after a reported £3.6 million refurbishment at Leicester’s Haymarket Theatre, it has reopened. Sandi Toksvig’s new version of Treasure Island, directed by Matthew Forbes, is …

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

‘I urge, families, friends & theatre-lovers to go’: THE CAT IN THE HAT – Touring by Not Exactly Billington

From catchy tunes and magical turns to a solid moral lesson for kiddies to learn, Suba Das has created a joyous show in The Cat in the Hat, I urge, families, friends and theatre-lovers to go.

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Monday, December 17, 2018

‘A treat for the eyes & ears’: WHITE CHRISTMAS – Leicester by Not Exactly Billington

With White Christmas, Curve has yet again produced a classy production filled with yuletide magic and enough fluffy escapism to warm hearts on these cold winter nights.

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Sunday, November 18, 2018

‘A superlative production’: LES MISÉRABLES – Touring by Not Exactly Billington

Now, Laurence Connor and James Powell’s new production of Les Misérables (seen on Broadway a few years ago) gives Les Mis a fresh look which will assure its longevity.

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

‘Hall’s text is a creeping force of nature’: THE MOUNTAINTOP – Touring by Not Exactly Billington

The night before Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination on the balcony outside of his Memphis motel room, Katori Hall’s play The Mountaintop takes us inside Room 306 where he was stayi…

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Friday, November 16, 2018

‘Less grime, more glitter’: ROCK OF AGES – Touring by Not Exactly Billington

Having come to Rock of Ages with no prior reference other than the 2012 film version (mostly memorable for featuring a surprisingly entertaining performance from Tom Cruise) I was, let’s s…

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

‘Displays none of McDonagh’s trademark pitch-black farce’: A VERY VERY VERY DARK MATTER – Bridge Theatre by Not Exactly Billington

A Very Very Very Dark Matter lacks the coherence and pleasing culmination of the playwright’s other works. Despite the ‘upbeat ending’, this play displays none of Martin McDonagh’s t…

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Saturday, November 10, 2018

‘Mark Gatiss gives a remarkably touching performance’: THE MADNESS OF GEORGE III – Touring by Not Exactly Billington

The Madness of George III offers a great part for an actor, one which Mark Gatiss relishes. His vocal and physical tics are memorable, while never reducing mental illness to a series of quir…

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Thursday, October 18, 2018

‘Crowd-pleasing, rousing & fun evening’: CALENDAR GIRLS THE MUSICAL – Touring by Not Exactly Billington

To say Calendar Girls The Musical is celebratory seems cliché, yet there’s no better description; Calendar Girls is an unashamed celebration of love, life, and community (and cake!).

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Friday, October 12, 2018

‘Watchable & well-produced’: CILLA THE MUSICAL – Touring by Not Exactly Billington

Overall, Cilla the Musical is a watchable and well-produced show. On the other hand, I think there’s possibly a more interesting story in there.

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Friday, October 5, 2018

‘Veritable cornucopia of delights’: MATTHEW BOURNE’S SWAN LAKE – Touring by Not Exactly Billington

Bourne’s Swan Lake is timeless, this production as fresh as ever, while a company that embodies a tireless amount verve, ingenuity, precision and emotion ensure this is a revival to be uni…

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

‘Celebrates the need for humour in difficult times’: THE WIPERS TIMES – Touring by Not Exactly Billington

Despite a lack of connection, The Wipers Times celebrates a great, previously untold story, about war, journalism, tenacity, and the need for humour in difficult times.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

‘One of the best plays I’ve seen this year’: THE LOVELY BONES – Touring by Not Exactly Billington

The Lovely Bones is one of the best plays I’ve seen this year. In fact, Melly Still’s vital production is the best page to stage adaptation I’ve seen since Curious Incident.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

‘Buckhurst has a sure-fire hit on his hands’: SWEET CHARITY – Nottingham by Not Exactly Billington

In Bill Buckhurst’s production of Sweet Charity we benefit from the delicate balance between the seediness of the New York backstreets with the technicolor of Charity’s blithe daydreams.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

‘What most excites me here is McDonagh’s capacity to entertain’: THE LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE – West End by Not Exactly Billington

Whatever criticisms people may have of McDonagh, his neat plotting and big jokes are enough to entice people not usually interested in theatre. It may be Aidan Turner drawing the crowds in, …

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

’Its musings on death are emotionally affecting’: EXIT THE KING – National Theatre by Not Exactly Billington

Exit the King’s interest in the crumbling of a kingdom is relevant, and I found its musings on death – and Anthony Ward’s visual representation of this – emotionally affecting.

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Friday, August 24, 2018

‘By turns cynical, touching & with a rogue twinkle in its eye’: ALLELUJAH! – Bridge Theatre by Not Exactly Billington

By turns cynical, touching and with a rogue twinkle in its eye, Allelujah! doesn’t set the stage alight, and as both a black comedy and state-of-the-nation play it feels underpowered, but …

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

‘Generously places the focus firmly on plot and character’: OTHELLO – Shakespeare’s Globe by Not Exactly Billington

Claire van Kampen’s decision to eschew gimmick/concept is a bold statement in a production of Othello that generously places the focus firmly on plot and character, and pays dividends for …

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

‘Lacking its own definite sense of identity’: THE LEHMAN TRILOGY – National Theatre by Not Exactly Billington

Like America promises so much to Henry Lehman when he stands on the dock side, The Lehman Trilogy at the National Theatre promised so much as well.

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