Thursday, September 16, 2021

THE LODGER Coronet, W11 by Libby Purves and Friends

A SHAGGY-DOG TALE IN CRUMBLING SPLENDOUR        Sometimes the building upstages the play. I had not explored the late-Victorian, half-restored  glory of the Coronet before,  and my fir…

SOURCE: at 09:15AM
Friday, April 8, 2016

INVINCIBLE Guildford, then Touring by Libby Purves

THE STATE OF ENGLAND:  FUNNY, BEAUTIFUL, SAD      AND TOURING!    Some issues do best as satirical or farcical comedies: English class division, illicit sex, misunderstanding. Othe…

SOURCE: at 04:40AM
Wednesday, April 6, 2016

THE CARETAKER Old Vic SE1 by Libby Purves

SPALL, SQUALOR, AND 1960     I do not routinely worship at the shrine of Harold Pinter. I can study, appreciate and accept the menace, the unspoken, the rhythmic near-poetry of dialogu…

SOURCE: at 06:31PM
Tuesday, April 5, 2016

X Royal Court, SW1 by Libby Purves

TO BOLDLY GO OFF YOUR HEAD, IN SPACE We are in the melamine mess-room of a space pod on the dead, black planet Pluto, with a crew of five. Unless one of them is a delusion of the nervy seco…

SOURCE: at 05:23PM
Thursday, March 31, 2016

HOW THE OTHER HALF LOVES Theatre Royal, Haymarket SW1 by Libby Purves

THE CLASSIC COMEDY OF CLASS AND CONFUSION       We’re back in the 1960’s, and how! Beyond the jolly geometric curtain a bygone world revives. Shiny pink plastic boots, a rid…

SOURCE: at 06:16PM
Tuesday, March 29, 2016

RIGHT NOW Bush, W12 by Libby Purves

A CREEPY BRILLIANCE  FROM QUEBEC   What’s going on? Who are the people in the next flat, why are they so friendly and yet so odd? Are they commonplace swingers, murderers, or a delus…

SOURCE: at 06:14PM
Monday, March 28, 2016

SHADOWLANDS Touring by Libby Purves

HEAD, HEART, AND HOPEFULNESS   “God” says Christopher Riley, donnishly, “has a severely limited intellect”. Jack Lewis, his Magdalen colleague, demurs with affectionate impatien…

SOURCE: at 01:33PM
Thursday, March 24, 2016

REASONS TO BE HAPPY Hampstead Theatre, NW3 by Libby Purves

REASONS TO BE UNREASONABLE…   I had almost forgotten seeing the first in this Neil laBute trilogy – Reasons to be Pretty – until the looming, hapless figure of Tom Bur…

SOURCE: at 08:16PM
Thursday, March 17, 2016

THE PAINKILLER Garrick, SW1 by Libby Purves

BRANAGH AND BRYDON GO BANG   Well, you’ll never see our Kenneth Branagh more exuberantly violent, nor tumbling into more compromising positions; nor so crazedly drugged, veering f…

SOURCE: at 07:50PM
Wednesday, March 16, 2016

THE TRUTH Menier, SE1 by Libby Purves

THE TRUTH GAME. OR NOT.  Its’ a while since so many shrieks, barks and snorts of laughter shook the seats around me: don’t take your drink in, you’ll risk doing the nose trick in …

SOURCE: at 08:21PM

NOTMOSES Arts Theatre, WC2 by Libby Purves

NOTAHIT   On the banks of the Nile, the princess of Egypt lifts a Jewish baby from the Nile waters, but changes her mind, chucks him back and chooses a prettier one. The reject survives…

SOURCE: at 09:42AM

COSI FAN TUTTE /COSI Kings Head Theatre, N1 by Libby Purves

GUEST REVIEWER CHARLOTTE VALORI WATCHES MOZART WIPE THE FLOOR WITH THE COMPETITION – AS USUAL Pairing a copper-bottomed opera classic (Mozart’s Così fan tutte) with an imported Aus…

SOURCE: at 07:19AM
Monday, March 14, 2016

MISS ATOMIC BOMB St James’, SW1 by Libby Purves

PLENTY OF ACTIVITY, NOT QUITE ENOUGH RADIANCE This theatre is certainly fearless about potentially tasteless names – Bad Jews, Urinetown, now Miss Atomic Bomb: the first two of those, …

SOURCE: at 07:10PM
Sunday, March 13, 2016

SOMEWHERE IN ENGLAND Eastern Angles, touring by Libby Purves

“OVERPAID, OVERSEXED, OVER HERE”…AND NOT AT EASE... In 1942 the Americans came to rural Britain: the US Eighth Air Force, its members often outnumbering local villagers 50 …

SOURCE: at 04:33PM
Thursday, March 10, 2016

LOOK BACK IN ANGER / JINNY Derby Theatre by Libby Purves

THE ANGRY YOUNG MAN RANTS AGAIN,  THEN CHANGES SEX   This is a sharp bit of work by Derby, marking 60 years since John Osborne’s splenetic debut blew the lid – so theatre legen…

SOURCE: at 02:55PM
Wednesday, March 9, 2016

BERYL Rose, Kingston by Libby Purves

A TWO-WHEELED CHARIOT OF FIRE   I suppose there must be some lazy, vacillating, unfocused Yorkshirewomen, but I’ve not met one yet.  And of that tribe of gritty, unselfpitying, f…

SOURCE: at 06:42PM
Tuesday, March 8, 2016

MOTOWN Shaftesbury Theatre, WC2 by Libby Purves

IT GLITTERS!  IT SINGS! IT MAKES SENSE. EVEN IN MAD TROUSERS!     I expected a big splashy jukebox musical, a-glitter with tearful Broadway sentiment and popster pizzazz. And indeed …

SOURCE: at 06:39PM
Friday, March 4, 2016

THE CAUSE Jermyn St Theatre, WC1 by Libby Purves

THE DAWN OF WAR,  1914   World War I and its aftermath are being well served by theatre (my last year’s reflections, But Jeremy James’ play is the firs…

SOURCE: at 05:11PM
Tuesday, March 1, 2016


LONG ISLAND, THE WIGS AND THE WARDROBE…   The Jean Anouilh plays I devoured as a neurotic sixth-former always had Antigone, Joan of Arc or Thomas a Becket heroically refusing comp…

SOURCE: at 05:43PM
Monday, February 29, 2016


GETTING THEM OFF FOR VICTORY, UP WEST   I loved this show at the Theatre Royal, Bath, and – especially given a couple of rather snotty lukewarm reviews – thought I should ch…

SOURCE: at 12:07PM
Sunday, February 28, 2016

THE RINSE CYCLE Charing Cross Theatre, WC2 by Libby Purves

  GUEST REVIEWER CHARLOTTE VALORI GETS UNEXPECTEDLY CASUAL ABOUT HIGH CULTURE Some people get terribly, passionately serious about Wagner. This shouldn’t be a problem: truly great mus…

SOURCE: at 03:16PM
Friday, February 26, 2016

THE PATRIOTIC TRAITOR Park Theatre, by Libby Purves

BANG THE DRUM FOR THIS ONE:  AN INTIMATE EPIC OF WAR AND FRIENDSHIP   This premiere for the Park is a cracker: a serious, grownup, constantly entertaining light on history with fine-dr…

SOURCE: at 02:17PM
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

THE TEMPEST Wanamaker at Shakespeare’s Globe, SE1 by Libby Purves

A FAREWELL TEMPEST, RICH AND STRANGE   For a departing artistic director, especially here, Shakespeare’s last plays are a natural choice: great poetic anthems of reconciliation and re…

SOURCE: at 07:34PM
Thursday, February 18, 2016

NELL GWYNN Apollo, W1 by Libby Purves

A RESTORATION OF HIGH SPIRITS.. Looking back at this play’s first outing – in the outdoor, summery, rackety pleasure that is Shakespeare’s Globe – I remember actually liking …

SOURCE: at 12:33PM
Wednesday, February 17, 2016

WAR OF THE WORLDS Dominion , W1 by Libby Purves

THEY CAME, THEY CONQUERED   Call me a patsy and a soft touch, but you won’t find me sneezing at anything which – within twenty minutes of a deafening, blinding opening – o…

SOURCE: at 06:53PM
Tuesday, February 16, 2016

THE ENCOUNTER Barbican and touring by Libby Purves

McBURNEY ON, AND IN, THE BRAIN If there is any theatre artist reliably able to draw you into a world of disorientation, time-slip, near-death and a sense of licking hallucinogenic frogs in a…

SOURCE: at 06:21PM

UNCLE VANYA Almeida, N1 by Libby Purves

GUEST REVIEWER CHARLOTTE VALORI DISCOVERS SOMETHING GREEN AND FRESH BEHIND A LOT OF DEAD WOOD Robert Icke’s new adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya is best summarised as an update – an…

SOURCE: at 04:30AM
Monday, February 15, 2016

HAND TO GOD Vaudeville Theatre, SW1 by Libby Purves

AND THEY CALL IT PUPPET LOVE….   “Avenue Q meets The Exorcist” claim posters for Robert Askins’ Broadway hit, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel. Or “The Muppets play The …

SOURCE: at 06:11PM
Thursday, February 11, 2016

THE END OF LONGING Playhouse, SW1 by Libby Purves

IN THE END, AN HONOURABLE PLAY   Its fame rolls before it: a debut play, premiered in London by Matthew Perry. To a generation of young adults (and to many far younger, thanks to ceasel…

SOURCE: at 06:48PM
Wednesday, February 10, 2016

THE HERBAL BED Royal, Northampton then touring by Libby Purves

SHAKESPEARE’S TOWN LAID BEFORE US   The year 1613: somewhere offstage old Shakespeare is dying, and in her husband’s physic-garden, competent and dignified, his daughter Susanna…

SOURCE: at 05:11AM
Saturday, February 6, 2016

RABBIT HOLE Hampstead Theatre NW3 by Libby Purves

THE DEEPEST GRIEF OBSERVED   Pretty much everyone agreed – here and on its West End transfer- that the American David Lindsay-Abaire’s GOOD PEOPLE was a masterpiece, with its de…

SOURCE: at 05:39AM

All that Chat