Theatre

Monica Dolan as Tessa in The B*easts. Photo: Alan Harris

The York Realist feels like it’s been written by a newcomer at a creative writing weekend

24 February 2018 9:00 am

The Donmar’s new show, The York Realist, dates from 2001. The programme notes tell us that the playwright, Peter Gill,…

Why do critics claim to adore the waffle-fest that is Long Day’s Journey into Night?

17 February 2018 9:00 am

It’s considered the great masterpiece of 20th-century American drama. Oh, come off it. Long Day’s Journey into Night is a…

David Calder as Caesar in Nicholas Hytner’s Julius Caesar

Bold, in its way, but Ben Whishaw is ill-suited to Shakespeare: Julius Caesar reviewed

10 February 2018 9:00 am

Nicholas Hytner’s new show is a modern-dress Julius Caesar, heavily cut and played in the round. It runs for two…

June Watson as Genevieve and Marylouise Burke as Mertis in John

There are many scenes in this overlong play that consist, literally, of drivel: John reviewed

3 February 2018 9:00 am

The NT’s new production, John, is by a youngish American playwright, Annie Baker. We Brits tend to assume that ‘john’…

A monument of blithering stupidity: Zoë Wanamaker works wonders with Meg in The Birthday Party

Unlike most Pinter plays, this one doesn’t bore or baffle: The Birthday Party reviewed

27 January 2018 9:00 am

The Birthday Party is among Pinter’s earliest and strangest works. It deconstructs the conventions of a repertory thriller but doesn’t…

Americans in Paris: Imogen Poots as Abby and James Norton as Zack in Belleville

Another American playwright felled by her own trophy collection: Belleville reviewed

20 January 2018 9:00 am

A pattern emerges. A hot American playwright, dripping with prestigious awards, is honoured in London with a transfer of their…

Missing in action: Cosmo Jarvis and Oliver Alvin-Wilson in The Twilight Zone at the Almeida

The latest astonishing achievement from the creators of War Horse

13 January 2018 9:00 am

The Twilight Zone, an American TV show from the early 1960s, reinvented the ghost story for the age of space…

As a musical, it’s overwhelming – politically, it’s an outrage: Hamilton reviewed

6 January 2018 9:00 am

It’s all about the rhythm. Hamilton is a musical that tells the story of America’s foundation through the medium of…

Parliament Square at the Bush is theatre that believes it knows politics better than professional politicians

16 December 2017 9:00 am

A new play at the Bush with a catchy political title. Parliament Square introduces us to Kat, a young Scots…

Togas, sandals, breastplates, ketchup and daggers, not guns: Julius Caesar at the Barbican

It’s impossible to muff the role of Scrooge – yet Rhys Ifans manages: A Christmas Carol reviewed

9 December 2017 9:00 am

Maximum Victoriana at the Old Vic for Matthew Warchus’s A Christmas Carol. Even before we reach our seats we’re accosted…

Huge audiences, gongs galore and Broadway awaits Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

2 December 2017 9:00 am

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie opened at the Sheffield Crucible in February for a standard three-week run. The show is based…

On the edge: Bryan Cranston as Howard Beale in Network

An overrated news satire directed by an inexplicably popular director: Network reviewed

25 November 2017 9:00 am

The inexplicable popularity of Ivo Van Hove continues. The director’s latest visit to the fairies involves an updated version of…

Christian Slater is mesmerising: Glengarry Glen Ross reviewed

18 November 2017 9:00 am

David Mamet’s plays are tough to pull off because his dialogue lacks the predictable shapeliness of traditional dramatic speech. He…

Rarely has the West End seen such a draining and nasty experience: The Exorcist reviewed

11 November 2017 9:00 am

The Exorcist opened in 1973 accompanied by much hoo-ha in the press. Scenes of panic, nausea and fainting were recorded…

One to savour: Nikki Amuka-Bird as Ellida in The Lady from the Sea

Why has the Bridge Theatre opened with this lightweight new play? Young Marx reviewed

4 November 2017 9:00 am

Bang! A brand new theatre has opened on the South Bank managed by the two Nicks, Hytner and Starr, who…

Family planning

28 October 2017 9:00 am

Beginning starts at the end. A Crouch End party has just finished and the sitting room is a waste tip…

Saint George and the Dragon (image: NT)

The bad sex award

21 October 2017 9:00 am

Simon Stephens gives his plays misleading titles. Nuclear War, Pornography and Punk Rock contained little trace of their advertised ingredients.…

Perishable goods

14 October 2017 9:00 am

  Labour of Love is the new play by James Graham, the poet laureate of politics. We’re in a derelict…

Verbal diarrhoea

5 October 2017 2:00 pm

In Beckett’s Happy Days a prattling Irish granny is buried waist-deep, and later neck-deep, in a refuse tip whose detritus…

Killer queen: Gina McKee as Boudica. (Photo: Steve Tanner)

Bloody minded

30 September 2017 9:00 am

Tristan Bernays loves Hollywood blockbusters. His new play, Boudica, is an attempt to put the blood-and-guts vibe of the action…

Robert Lindsay as Jack Cardiff in Prism

Speech therapy

23 September 2017 9:00 am

Oslo opened in the spring of 2016 at a modest venue in New York. It moved to Broadway and this…

Bring on the dancing-girls: Follies at the Oliver

Age concern

16 September 2017 9:00 am

Stephen Sondheim’s Follies takes a huge leap into the past. It’s 1971 and we meet two middle-aged couples who knew…

Worse for wear: Kevin McNally as Lear and Burt Caesar as Gloucester in King Lear

Keeping it in the family

9 September 2017 9:00 am

A new orthodoxy governs the casting process in Hollywood. An actor’s ethnicity must match the character’s. If you extend this…

Animal or vegetable?

2 September 2017 9:00 am

Against by Christopher Shinn sets out to unlock the secrets of America’s spiritual malaise. Two main settings represent the wealthy…

The many sides of satire

19 August 2017 9:00 am

Brexit the Musical is a peppy satire written by Chris Bryant (not the MP, he’s a lawyer). Musically the show…