Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Birthday Party, Harold Pinter Theatre review - starry cast create a stunning masterpiece by Aleks.sierz

Toby Jones, Zoë Wanamaker and co breathe vibrant new life into classic Pinter comedy of menaceIs modernism dead and buried? Anyone considering the long haul of Harold Pinter’s The Birthda…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 06:33PM

All's Well That Ends Well, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse review - feisty, prickly and topical, as well by Matt.wolf

Shakespeare problem play gets a spirited reading that chimes with our #metoo timesIt's the people who are problematic, not the play. That's one take-away sentiment afforded by Caroline Byrne…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 06:33AM
Saturday, January 13, 2018

Rita, Sue and Bob Too, Royal Court review - iconic 1980s title makes a welcome return by Matt.wolf

Andrea Dunbar's Thatcher-era classic is invigorated afresh The revival that almost didn't make it into town has got the Royal Court's 2018 mainstage offerings off to a rousing start. Fo…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 10:04AM
Thursday, January 11, 2018

Girl from the North Country, Noël Coward Theatre review - Bob Dylan fuels a dreamlike drama by Marianka Swain

Conor McPherson's latest play is blowin' in the windThe rolling stone is now at home in the West End, as Conor McPherson’s inimitable dramatic take on Bob Dylan transfers from th…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 08:04PM

Cirque du Soleil - OVO, Royal Albert Hall review - fantastical creatures, heart-in-mouth thrills by Katie Colombus

Athleticism, daring feats, grace and visual poetry in Cirque's animal world exravaganzaFor their eighth debut at the Royal Albert Hall, mesmerising French-Canadian performance art compa…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 07:48AM

My Mum's a Twat, Royal Court, review - Patsy Ferran shines in a solo play that looks back in anger by Matt.wolf

Autobiographical debut play is sprightly but sketchy, tooThat ages-old dictum "write what you know" has given rise to the intriguingly titled My Mum's a Twat, in which the Royal Court's deli…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 06:48AM
Saturday, December 30, 2017

Best of 2017: Theatre by Matt.wolf

Sondheim and Alexander Hamilton sang out, as did a bracing array of new plays Year-end wrap-ups function as both remembrances of things past and time capsules, attempts to preserve an experi…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 05:33AM
Saturday, December 23, 2017

Hamilton, Victoria Palace review - rich, radical and ridiculously exciting by Sam Marlowe

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hugely anticipated hit musical is a massive achievement“Are you aware that we’re making history?” demands Alexander Hamilton in the show that has finally made th…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 04:54AM
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Titus Andronicus, RSC, Barbican review - blood will out by James.woodall

A slick and youthful rendering of Shakespeare's goriest drama Live theatre, eh? It had to happen. On press night a sound of what seemed to be snoring (the production’s really not dull…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 04:36AM
Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Grinning Man, Trafalgar Studios review - cool puppets but too convoluted by half by Matt.wolf

Visually alluring Victor Hugo rewrite needs to go back to the storyboardThese are challenging times for new British musicals. Following quickly on from a Pinocchio that ought to be way more …

Linked From The Arts Desk at 05:54AM
Sunday, December 17, 2017

Aladdin, Richmond Theatre review - great Dame, weak script by Veronica.lee

Christopher Biggins is back in gorgeous frocksIt's always good news when Christopher Biggins announces he's going to don false bosoms again to play a panto Dame, and Aladdin offers lots of f…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 08:18PM
Friday, December 15, 2017

The Jungle, Young Vic review - physically and emotionally challenging by Aleks.sierz

New play about refugee camp life in Calais is a grueling docu-dramaRefugees, it is said, have no nationality – they are all individuals. This new docu-drama, deftly put together by theatre…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 08:12PM

Belleville, Donmar Warehouse review - prickly and unnerving by Matt.wolf

Imogen Poots and James Norton in terrific form as American expats living on the edge The city of love provides a backdrop for marital discord and worse in Belleville, Amy Herzog's celebrated…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 08:12AM

Pinocchio, National Theatre review - boy puppet lifts off, eventually by David Benedict

Look no strings: long-nosed cartoon character is humanised by a magical stagingFrom Nicholas Hytner and Alan Bennett’s wonderfully nostalgic version of The Wind in the Willows through Cora…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 04:54AM
Thursday, December 14, 2017

Jack and the Beanstalk, New Wimbledon Theatre review - Al Murray's panto debut by Veronica.lee

Less than the sum of its partsIt raised some eyebrows when Al Murray announced he was to make his pantomime debut – top comics rarely make that crossover these days – but, considering hi…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 10:18PM
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Misalliance, Orange Tree Theatre review - smashing Edwardian comedy is a festive treat by Jenny Gilbert

Bernard Shaw curio gets its first major London revival in 30 yearsIf this play really were “A Debate in One Sitting” as its author called it in 1909, it would have sunk without trace. …

Linked From The Arts Desk at 10:12PM

Julius Caesar, RSC, Barbican review - Roman bromance plays straight by William.ward

Angus Jackson's traditional staging opens the the Rome MMXVII season Even more than some of Shakespeare’s other histories, Julius Caesar inevitably offers itself to “topical interpr…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 06:54PM

Antony and Cleopatra, RSC, Barbican review - rising grandeur by Tom.birchenough

Coquetry and tragic command not quite balanced, but this steady RSC production reaches gloryIs there a key to “infinite variety”? The challenge of Cleopatra is to convey the sheer fullne…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 10:06AM

The Twilight Zone, Almeida Theatre review - from hokum to humanity by David.nice

Perfectly modulated ensemble and production vary the strains of a classic TV seriesDirector Richard Jones watched all 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone as research for this Almeida productio…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 04:36AM
Monday, December 11, 2017

Cell Mates, Hampstead Theatre review - intriguing yet opaque by Matt.wolf

Simon Gray play is better served by its cast this time round The play that famously got away when one of its stars (quite literally) jumped ship is back. In 1995, Stephen Fry abandoned the W…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 06:24AM
Sunday, December 10, 2017

Jack and the Beanstalk, Lyric Hammersmith review - great fun for all ages by Veronica.lee

A fresh and inventive reworkingPantomime may be a very old art form, but the Lyric Hammersmith has been injecting some freshness into it each year since 2009, and this year's production, wri…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 08:33PM
Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Box of Delights, Wilton's Music Hall review - children's classic novel transferred to stage by Saskia Baron

Matthew Kelly and Josefina Gabrielle provide double the value in John Masefield classicTheatreland is currently awash with pantomimes and rehashes of A Christmas Carol, so all credit to this…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 06:12AM
Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Melting Pot, Finborough Theatre review - entertaining morals by Katherine Waters

New York refugee drama confronts anti-semitism with humour and heartIsrael Zangwill’s 1908 play The Melting Pot characterises Europe as an old and worn-out continent racked by violence an…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 05:04AM

La Soirée, Aldwych Theatre review - flickers of brilliance in a patchy evening by Laura De Lisle

The West End run of the cabaret variety show has everything but variety La Soirée is on the up-and-up. Beginning life as an after-hours show at the fringes of the Fringe in 2004, it won an …

Linked From The Arts Desk at 04:06AM
Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Barnum, Menier Chocolate Factory review - a big, blousy spectacle by Veronica.lee

Energetic retelling of the showman's storyYou have to hand it to Menier Chocolate Factory, a venue that doesn't let size matter as it stages an all-singing, all-dancing new production o…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 08:04PM

Parliament Square, Bush Theatre, review – uncomfortable blaze of anger by Aleks.sierz

New drama about political extremism is brilliantly written – mostlyThe political story of our time is the upsurge in support for Jeremy Corbyn, leftwing leader of the Labour Party, mainly …

Linked From The Arts Desk at 06:54PM
Monday, December 4, 2017

Dear Brutus, Southwark Playhouse review – a judicious mix of comedy and sadness by Heather Neill

Barrie’s grown-up fantasy gets a welcome centenary revivalConfused people, some of whom may have made the wrong choices in life and love, find themselves in an enchanted wood at Midsummer.…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 10:18PM

The Passing of the Third Floor Back, Finborough Theatre review - the better nature of Jerome K Jerome by Tom.birchenough

Edwardian rediscovery verges towards the sentimental, but satisfyingly soEven by the standards of theatrical archaeology that the Finborough has made its own, The Passing of the Third Floor …

Linked From The Arts Desk at 07:04AM
Friday, December 1, 2017

Goats, Royal Court review - unfocused and muddled by Aleks.sierz

New play about Syria is upstaged by its animal performersThe civil war in Syria spawns image after image of hell on earth. Staging the stories of that conflict presents a challenge to playwr…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 08:42PM
Thursday, November 30, 2017

A Christmas Carol, Old Vic review - Rhys Ifans takes on Scrooge, triumphantly by Saskia Baron

Superb staging resurrects Dickens' morality tale Fresh from the success of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Jack Thorne now gives us his exuberant adaptation of another much-loved tex…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 06:54AM
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Inside Pussy Riot, Saatchi Gallery review - an immersive misfire by Will Rathbone

Promenade piece makes hyperactive theatrical weather of some important themes You say you want a revolution? Good luck locating one amidst the tonally muddled Inside Pussy Riot, the immersiv…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 03:36AM

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