All stories by Tom Birchenough on BroadwayStars

Monday, June 27, 2022

Mad House, Ambassadors Theatre review - David Harbour is magnificent in Theresa Rebeck's family drama by Tom Birchenough

While bravado support from Bill Pullman practically steals the show For sheer extremes of family dysfunction Theresa Rebeck’s Mad House must be aiming to set new records in American drama.…

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Saturday, June 18, 2022

Jitney, Old Vic review - a directorial delight by Tom Birchenough

The first in his 'Century Cycle' catches the fabric of life that August Wilson made his own It’s great to see August Wilson’s early play – the first of his “Century Cycle”, that re…

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Friday, April 22, 2022

Lava, Soho Theatre review - silences, secrets and lies by Tom Birchenough

James Fritz’s play explores the spoken and unspoken ripples of grief with fine naturalism The title of James Fritz’s play is allusive, oblique even. I assume it refers to how, in the af…

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Monday, April 11, 2022

'Daddy' A Melodrama, Almeida Theatre review - production exuberance carries a new play of promise by Tom Birchenough

Jeremy O Harris's scintillating drama poses questions about possession, in life and art Danya Taymor’s production of “Daddy” A Melodrama has a huge exuberance: a tour de force in itsel…

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Wednesday, April 6, 2022

The Fever Syndrome, Hampstead Theatre review - ambitious family drama falls short by Tom Birchenough

Alexis Zegerman’s new play feels less than the sum of its parts The Fever Syndrome has an ambition that places itself firmly in the tradition of the great American family drama (comparison…

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Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Peggy For You, Hampstead Theatre review - comedic gold, and a splinter of ice, from Tamsin Greig by Tom Birchenough

Agent supreme Peggy Ramsay returns to the stage in accomplished Alan Plater revival Was Peggy Ramsay a “woman out of time”? The legendary London literary agent, who nurtured the talents…

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Monday, December 6, 2021

Measure for Measure, Sam Wanamaker Theatre review - this problem play is a delight by Tom Birchenough

Blanche McIntyre regenders the Duke and relishes the London low-life Measure for Measure may be the quintessential Shakespearean “problem” play, but just what has earned it that epithet…

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Thursday, November 18, 2021

A Merchant of Venice, Playground Theatre review - Shylock supreme in a pared-down production by Tom Birchenough

The intensity of studio theatre only fitful in Bill Alexander's updated adaptation What’s in an article? Director Bill Alexander has titled his new production A Merchant of Venice, leaving…

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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

'Night Mother, Hampstead Theatre review - despair in sotto-voce by Tom Birchenough

Stockard Channing explores the essentials in Marsha Norman revival ‘Night Mother remains a play of piercing pessimism, something that’s not necessarily the same as tragedy, though the tw…

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Sunday, April 25, 2021

The Winter's Tale, RSC, BBC Four review - post-war poise colours a solid production by Tom Birchenough

Overcoming lockdown challenges, a broadcast first for RSC It has been a hard coming for this RSC Winter’s Tale but, mirroring the action of the play itself, considerable travail has brough…

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Monday, April 19, 2021

A Splinter of Ice, Original Theatre Company online review - Graham Greene and Kim Philby are friends reunited by Tom Birchenough

Affectionate aplomb from Oliver Ford Davies and Stephen Boxer in Ben Brown's new play There’s such a genial feel to the pairing of Oliver Ford Davies and Stephen Boxer in Ben Brown’s ne…

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Thursday, April 1, 2021

A Midsummer Night's Dream, SHAKE Festival livestream review - a star turn from Luisa Omielan makes this 'Bottom's Dream' by Tom Birchenough

Jenny Caron Hall's production, with sister Rebecca starring, offers 'mechanical' treats Just what the Zoom era has brought to theatre – to performers and audiences alike – is something w…

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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Barnes' People, Original Theatre Company online review - intriguing quartet of monologues revived by Tom Birchenough

Jemma Redgrave and Adrian Scarborough excel in Peter Barnes radio solos brought to screen The four monologues that make up Barnes’ People were filmed in the grand surroundings of the Theat…

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Friday, February 19, 2021

Hymn, Almeida Theatre online review - highs and lows of a soulful brother bonding by Tom Birchenough

Adrian Lester and Danny Sapani in their skins in Lolita Chakrabarti’s new play Contact without touch: among the many readjustments that the pandemic has brought to theatre, its demands th…

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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Tiger Country, Hampstead Theatre online review - a taut drama of NHS pressure and pain by Tom Birchenough

Nina Raine’s urgent story of hospital stress rings truer than ever today If ever there was a “play for today”, it’s surely this.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Collapsible, Bush Theatre review - a high-wire solo engagement by Tom Birchenough

Breffni Holahan’s bravura performance controls a monologue of mental malaise There’s such remarkable symbiosis between material and performance in Irish dramatist Margaret Perry’s Coll…

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Kunene and the King, Ambassadors Theatre review - a Shakespearean voyage through the legacy of apartheid by Tom Birchenough

A strange meeting across the boundary of race: John Kani co-stars in his two-hander with Antony Sher John Kani’s Kunene and the King is history in microcosm. Its premiere at the RSC last y…

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Uncle Vanya, Harold Pinter Theatre review - a superlative company achievement by Tom Birchenough

Ian Rickson’s exemplary production relishes the nuances of Conor McPherson's adaptation Uncle Vanya must surely be the closest, the most essential of Chekhov’s plays, its cast – just f…

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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Three Sisters, National Theatre review - Chekhov in time of war by Tom Birchenough

Relocation from the Russian provinces to Sixties Biafra brings insight and immediacy Inua Ellams’ Three Sisters plays Chekhov in the shadow of war, specifically the Nigerian-Biafran seces…

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Monday, December 9, 2019

Fairview, Young Vic review - questioning the assumptions of race by Tom Birchenough

New American drama directs a rapier wit at black stereotypes Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Fairview comes to the Young Vic with the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama under its belt, and a reputatio…

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Solaris, Lyric Hammersmith review - moving and finely cerebral by Tom Birchenough

David Greig’s dream-drama of cosmic loneliness is sci-fi at its most philosophical David Greig’s reimagining of Stanisław Lem’s 1961 novel has brought a masterpiece of intellectual sc…

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Mephisto [A Rhapsody], Gate Theatre review - the callowness of history by Tom Birchenough

More manner than message in adaptation of Klaus Mann's 1930s novel You wonder about the title of French dramatist Sam Gallet’s Mephisto [A Rhapsody], an adaptation for our days of Klaus Ma…

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Friday, October 4, 2019

Our Lady of Kibeho, Theatre Royal Stratford East review - heaven and hell in Rwandan visions by Tom Birchenough

Questions of faith in Katori Hall’s luminous meditation on belief, doubt and miracles The American dramatist Katori Hall has created a work of rare accomplishment in Our Lady of Kibeho, a …

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Monday, September 30, 2019

Macbeth, Chichester Festival Theatre review - cosmic yet closely crafted by Tom Birchenough

John Simm is a strikingly intelligent Thane in a broadly theatrical production There’s a fine balance between the cosmic and the closely crafted in director Paul Miller’s Macbeth, his fi…

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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Youth Without God, Coronet Theatre review - the chill control of nascent Nazism by Tom Birchenough

Christopher Hampton adapts von Horváth's novel about the mindset of totalitarianism The only novel by the Hungarian dramatist Ödön von Horváth, Youth Without God was written in exile aft…

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Friday, September 20, 2019

Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, Wilton's Music Hall review - klezmer revue is moving and inventive by Tom Birchenough

An original piece of theatre-making finds joyous exuberance, as well as sorrow, in the immigrant experience Canadian playwright Hannah Moscovitch’s “refugee musical” – now there’s …

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Faith, Hope & Charity, National Theatre review - a grim compassion by Tom Birchenough

Rich in empathy, dramatically raw, Alexander Zeldin's bleak study of society on the edge Alexander Zeldin continues his devastating analysis of modern Britain in this culminating play of a…

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Monday, September 9, 2019

Torch Song, Turbine Theatre review - impressive return for Harvey Fierstein's seminal gay drama by Tom Birchenough

Matthew Needham in lithe drag queen form opens new London venue London’s latest theatre opening brings a stirring revival of Harvey Fierstein’s vital gay drama, which premiered as Torch …

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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Son, Duke of York's Theatre review - a piercing drama of depression by Tom Birchenough

Florian Zeller’s play of family anguish receives a much-deserved West End transfer A tale of teenage depression and its family resonances, Florian Zeller’s The Son has a devastating simp…

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Friday, August 23, 2019

Appropriate, Donmar Warehouse review - fraught family reunion blisteringly told by Tom Birchenough

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s 2013 play is tensely dark, as well as very funny You can’t fail to feel the ghosts in Appropriate: they are there in the very timbers of the ancient Southern pl…

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Monday, July 29, 2019

Peter Pan, Troubadour White City review - off to a flying start by Tom Birchenough

New West London venue opens with a zestful spectacular to suit all ages London’s Troubadour White City theatre has got off to a, literally, flying start.

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