Theatre

How refreshing to see a show about prejudice that barely mentions white people

21 September 2019 9:00 am

Lynette Linton opens her stewardship of the Bush with a drama about racial and sexual bigotry. Four British women decide…

Is it time to give up on the Ibsen adaptations?

21 September 2019 9:00 am

Pub quiz question: what do John Osborne, Brian Friel and Patrick Marber have in common? The answer is they’ve all…

Funny, short and cheap to stage, Hansard is an excellent bet for a transfer

14 September 2019 9:00 am

Hansard is the debut play by actor Simon Woods, who enjoys a deep knowledge of his subject. The characters are…

A decorative pageant that would appeal to civic grandees: The Secret River reviewed

7 September 2019 9:00 am

The Secret River opens in a fertile corner of New South Wales in the early 1800s. William, a cockney pauper…

Watching Stephen Fry was like being in the presence of a god

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Stephen Fry lies prone on an empty stage. A red ball rolls in from the wings and bashes him in…

Tony Slattery is still a miraculously gifted comedian

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Some of the marketing efforts by amateur impresarios up in Edinburgh are extraordinary. I was handed a leaflet for a…

Lap-dancing with ISIS, the real Monica Lewinsky and one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen: Edinburgh Fringe roundup

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Clive Anderson’s show about Macbeth, ‘the greatest drama ever written’, offers us an hour of polished comedy loosely themed around…

Games for Lovers perfectly captures the world of lovesick millennials. Image: Geraint Lewis

These obscure Tennessee Williams scripts are classics of the future: Southern Belles reviewed

3 August 2019 9:00 am

Games for Lovers feels like a smart, sexy TV comedy. Martha is still in love with her old flame Logan…

Ira Mandela Siobhan as the horse Nugget, and Ethan Kai as Alan

The play’s dated badly – but the horse is exquisite: Equus at Trafalgar Studios reviewed

27 July 2019 9:00 am

Equus is a psychological thriller from 1973 which opens with a revolting discovery. An unbalanced stable-lad, Alan, spends his evenings…

The greatest actor in the world couldn’t salvage David Hare’s batty adaptation: Peer Gynt reviewed

20 July 2019 9:00 am

The National Theatre’s boss, Rufus Norris, has confessed that he ‘took his eye off the ball’ when it came to…

A cartoonish look at migration: Europe at the Donmar reviewed

13 July 2019 9:00 am

Europe. Big word. Big theme. It was used by David Greig as the title of his 1994 play about frontiers…

Enclosure act: Es Devlin’s terrific set for The Hunt at the Almeida

A crowd-pleasing pantomime: Present Laughter at the Old Vic reviewed

6 July 2019 9:00 am

Present Laughter introduces us to a chic, louche and highly successful theatrical globetrotter, Garry Essendine, whose riotous social life is…

Doon Mackichan as Sondra and John Malkovich as Barney Fein in David Mamet’s Bitter Wheat

A captivating freak-show: Bitter Wheat reviewed

29 June 2019 9:00 am

Bitter Wheat, David Mamet’s latest play, features a loathsome Hollywood hotshot, Barney Fein, who offers to turn an actress into…

Oodles of fun – but unfair on climate sceptics: Kill Climate Deniers reviewed

22 June 2019 9:00 am

Kill Climate Deniers is a provocative satire by Australian theatre-activist David Finnigan. The title sounds misanthropic and faintly deranged but…

Angry, cold, self-centred, opaque, disconnected and brutalising: Bronx Gothic reviewed

15 June 2019 9:00 am

Sometimes it’s hard to describe a play without appearing to defame the writer, the performer and the theatre responsible for…

Poetic and profound: The Starry Messenger reviewed

8 June 2019 9:00 am

Kenneth Lonergan, who wrote the movie Manchester by the Sea, shapes his work from loss, disillusionment, small-mindedness, hesitation and superficiality,…

Bog-standard spy mystery with a gimmicky appeal: Anna at the Dorfman Theatre reviewed

1 June 2019 9:00 am

Arts Council England takes money from almost all of us and spends it on culture for almost none of us.…

Eerily accurate: Will Barton as Boris Johnson in The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson. Image: Pamela Raith

This Boris play only gets it half-right

25 May 2019 9:00 am

The opening of Jonathan Maitland’s new play about Boris purports to be based on real events. Just before the referendum,…

Sharon D. Clarke and Wendell Pierce in Death of a Salesman at the Young Vic Credit: © Brinkhoff Mogenburg

Willy Loman would have been fine if he’d worked in a laundry: Death of a Salesman reviewed

18 May 2019 9:00 am

Colour-blind casting is a denial of history. The Young Vic’s all-black version of Death of a Salesman asks us to…

Leah Harvey as Hortense and C.J. Beckford as Michael Roberts in Small Island at the National Theatre Credit: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

A magnificent work of art (but don’t worry if you miss the first half-hour): Small Island reviewed

11 May 2019 9:00 am

Small Island, based on Andrea Levy’s novel about Jamaican migrants in Britain, feels like the world’s longest book review. We…

One of the great whodunnits: Old Vic’s All My Sons reviewed

4 May 2019 9:00 am

It starts on a beautiful summer’s morning in the suburbs of America. A prosperous middle-aged dad is chatting with his…

Maggie Smith is miraculous as the ageing Nazi, Brunhilde Pomsel. Image: © Helen Maybanks

One of the most astonishing things I’ve ever seen in the theatre: A German Life reviewed

27 April 2019 9:00 am

It starts at a secretarial college. The stage is occupied by a dignified elderly lady who recalls her pleasure at…

A gratifying evocation of 1960s sweets – but I wanted more: Toast reviewed

20 April 2019 9:00 am

Nigel Slater is popular because he’s an exceptionally meek cook. Not for him the sprawling restaurant empire or the transatlantic…

Enjoyable but over-rated and elitist: Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls reviewed

13 April 2019 9:00 am

Caryl Churchill’s best-known play, Top Girls, owes a large debt to 1970s TV comedy. It opens with a Pythonesque dinner…

Star quality: Jade Anouka, right, as Bea in Ella Road’s The Phlebotomist

An exceptional dystopia that’s made for TV: The Phlebotomist reviewed

6 April 2019 9:00 am

The Phlebotomist by Ella Road explores the future of genetics. Suppose a simple blood test were able to tell us…