Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mr Gillie, Finborough Theatre by Jenny Gilbert

Goodbye Mr Chips, hello theatrical buried treasureLabels have their uses but they can also be a blight. The works of the Scottish playwright James Bridie – with their regional accents and …

Linked From The Arts Desk at 09:36PM
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

10 Questions for George Stiles and Anthony Drewe: 'we are optimistic people' by Jasper.rees

The makers of quintessentially English musicals on heading back to the Edwardian era for The Wind in the Willows at the PalladiumGeorge Stiles and Anthony Drewe – Stiles and Drewe, as the …

Linked From The Arts Desk at 09:06PM

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, Wyndham's Theatre review – searing stuff by Matt.wolf

Audra McDonald's long-awaited West End debut deserves to take the town Broadway so frequently fetes its visiting Brits that it's nice when the honour is repaid.

Linked From The Arts Desk at 09:06PM

Ink, Almeida Theatre review - Sun rises while show sinks by Aleks.sierz

Rupert Murdoch saga by ‘This House’ playwright is too detailed and overblownThe recent general election result proves that the power of rightwing press has diminished considerably in the…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 08:04PM
Friday, June 23, 2017

Gloria, Hampstead Theatre review – pretty glorious by Matt.wolf

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins's Off Broadway hit makes a vibrant crossing to London starring Colin MorganAs with life, so it is in art: in the same way that one can't predict the curve balls t…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 05:48AM
Thursday, June 22, 2017

Terror, Lyric Hammersmith, review – more gimmick than drama by Aleks.sierz

Audience participation cannot save a trial that suffocates in abstractionCan the theatre be a courtroom? A good public place to debate morality and to arrive at profound decisions. You could…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 06:33PM
Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bat Out of Hell, Coliseum review - Jim Steinman's rockin' dystopia hits the stage by Adam.sweeting

It's opera, but not as we know itOpera-lovers coming to St Martins Lane may feel confused to be confronted by an unrecognisable Coliseum, which now has huge girder-like structures adorn…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 05:42AM
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Hir, Bush Theatre, review – transgender home is sub-prime by Aleks.sierz

New American satire about families only rarely hits the markDonald Trump’s electoral success was, we have been told, fueled by the anger of the American working class. But how do you show …

Linked From The Arts Desk at 06:12PM

Kiss Me, Trafalgar Studios review - Richard Bean two-hander is affecting if slight by Will Rathbone

Onetime National Theatre hit-maker offers a decided change-of-pace Hampstead Theatre Downstairs' habit of sending shows southward to Trafalgar Studios continues with Richard Bean's Kiss Me. …

Linked From The Arts Desk at 05:33AM
Saturday, June 17, 2017

Hamlet, Harold Pinter Theatre review - dislocatingly fresh makeover by Alexandra.coghlan

Robert Icke finds new truths in old words in this captivating productionMidway through Hamlet a troupe of actors arrives at Elsinore. Coaching them for his own ends, the prince turns directo…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 05:48AM
Friday, June 16, 2017

Tristan & Yseult by Jenny Gilbert

Emma Rice bows out in riotous style – Shakespeare would have cheered herThis show feels like an end-of-the-exams party, and in a way that’s exactly what it is. If the fruits of Emma Rice…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 04:18AM
Sunday, June 11, 2017

Anatomy of a Suicide, Royal Court review - devastatingly brilliant by Aleks.sierz

Katie Mitchell returns with a powerful account of depression and despairDorothy Parker’s take on suicide is called “Resumé”: it goes, “Razors pain you; Rivers are damp; Acids stain …

Linked From The Arts Desk at 07:33PM
Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Barber Shop Chronicles, National Theatre, review - Inua Ellams’s new play is foot-stompingly pleasurable by Aleks.sierz

New play about fatherhood and masculinity has an enjoyably global reachThe strapline for this joyful show is: “One day; six cities; a thousand stories”. Allowing for hyperbole, this is j…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 07:18PM
Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Common, National Theatre review - Anne-Marie Duff fails to ignite by Aleks.sierz

Epic new play about the Enclosures gets bogged down in obscurityHistory is a tricky harlot. She is bought and sold, fought for and thrown over, seduced and betrayed – and always at the mer…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 06:48PM

h.Club 100 Awards: Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester by The Arts Desk

Joseph Houston and William Whelton found a storage space on Gumtree and turned it into a musical theatre. Here's howThe Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester is an irresistible example of the…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 11:33AM

Annie review - a 12-year-old star is born by Matt.wolf

A cautious Miranda Hart cedes centre-stage to an enchanting young newcomer Forty years after Annie swept on to Broadway, brimming with shining-faced optimism amidst wearying times, along com…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 04:42AM
Thursday, June 1, 2017

Sand in the Sandwiches, Theatre Royal, Haymarket review - delightful but sanitised by Matthew Wright

Hugh Whitemore's skillful highlights reel over-eggs a complex poet's charmBard of Metroland and scourge of Slough, John Betjeman is, alongside Philip Larkin on parenthood, still on…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 05:18AM

La Strada, The Other Palace review - Fellini's tragicomedy becomes a noisy romp by David.nice

Lively song and movement, but the special pathos of the film is smotheredHitting the essence of a Fellini masterpiece in a different medium is no easy task. Try and reproduce his elusive bra…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 03:54AM
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

On the Town review - triple threat Danny Mac and co are unmissable by David Benedict

Glorious reimagining of Broadway rarity at Regent's Park Open Air TheatreOn 8 April 1952, screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green were chatting to Charlie Chaplin at a party when he…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 07:24PM
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Killology, Royal Court review – both disturbing and life-affirming by Aleks.sierz

Three monologues brilliantly summon up a punchy world of pain and violenceThe monologue is a terrific theatre form. Using this narrative device, you can cover huge amounts of storytelling te…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 06:24PM
Monday, May 29, 2017

Jam review – obsession and resentment in the classroom by Jenny Gilbert

Debut play about teaching and the unteachable hits a nerveWhen TV drama tackles Britain’s class divide, the go-to working-class type is the northerner: gritty, blunt of vowel and partial t…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 05:48AM
Saturday, May 27, 2017

An Octoroon review - slavery reprised as melodrama in a vibrantly theatrical show by Tom.birchenough

A major work of new American drama receives its European premiere at Richmond’s Orange Tree TheatreMake no mistake about it, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is a playwright to watch. London receive…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 04:36AM
Friday, May 26, 2017

Deposit, Hampstead Theatre Downstairs review- capital's housing crisis lands centre-stage by Will Rathbone

Hampstead studio space downstairs unveils a quiet corker Matt Hartley's personal take on London's housing crisis returns to the Hampstead Theatre's studio space downstairs and is sure to hit…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 04:48AM
Thursday, May 25, 2017

Twelfth Night, Shakespeare's Globe review - Emma Rice goes out with a bang by Alexandra.coghlan

Shakespeare's cross-dressing comedy gets the high-seas treatment, but loses the poetryThe Globe’s artistic director Emma Rice has made no secret of her desire to go out with a bang, i…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 07:33AM

The Mikado review - Sasha Regan's all-male operetta formula hits a reef by David.nice

Familiar company faces can't quite compensate for an odd choice of settingMen playing boys playing girls, women and men, all female parts convincingly falsettoed and high musical standa…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 06:12AM
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tristan & Yseult, Brighton Festival review - playful and inventive storytelling by Veronica.lee

Emma Rice's revival is a wonderful synthesis of artformsTristan & Yseult has become something of a calling card for Kneehigh, which was founded in 1980 and is now the unofficial Nat…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 03:18AM
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Woyzeck, Old Vic review - John Boyega’s thrillingly powerful triumph by Aleks.sierz

Finn from Star Wars dominates a radical rewrite of Georg Büchner classicWelcome back John Boyega. Less than a decade ago, he was an unknown budding British stage actor, then he took off as …

Linked From The Arts Desk at 06:24PM

The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family, Brighton Festival review - epically intimate, hilarious drama in the shadow of Trump by Nick.hasted

A sprawling, Chekhovian saga, unknowingly written in yet sensing the year of the DonaldThe subtitle of Richard Nelson’s new trilogy suggests an anti-Trump polemic. Instead, its miraculous,…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 09:05AM
Monday, May 22, 2017

Meow Meow's Souvenir, Brighton Festival review – subversive but evocative new song-cycle by Bella.todd

Post-modern cabaret star plays mischief with the ghosts of Brighton’s historic Theatre Royal Dream palace, cesspit and church; celebrated, mopped (by Marlene Dietrich, no less) and fucked:…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 03:36AM
Friday, May 19, 2017

Richard III, Arcola by Jenny Gilbert

Greg Hicks' arch machinator lifts an otherwise under-nuanced productionThere may never have been a time when Shakespeare’s Richard III did not have contemporary relevance, but surely …

Linked From The Arts Desk at 08:36PM

No Dogs, No Indians, Brighton Festival review – poor production shoulders too big a task by Bella.todd

World premiere of Siddhartha Bose's new play empties seats by packing too much inA whacking great story has gone largely untold in British theatre: the legacy of colonialism in India, i…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 06:42AM