Theatre

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…

Francis Guinan (Fred) and K. Todd Freeman (Dee) in Downstate. Photo: Michael Brosilow

Has Bruce Norris bitten off more than he can chew?

30 March 2019 9:00 am

Bruce Norris is a firefighter among dramatists. He runs towards danger while others sprint in the other direction. His Pulitzer-winning…

Tom Hiddleston in Betrayal at the Harold Pinter Theatre. Photo: Marc Brenner

Watch Tom Hiddleston ruin Pinter’s finest play

23 March 2019 9:00 am

No menace, no Venice. This new production of Pinter’s Betrayal is set on a bare stage with scant regard for…

Slow-moving tale with a strong echo of Brideshead: Alys, Always at the Bridge reviewed

16 March 2019 9:00 am

Nicholas Hytner’s new show, Alys, Always, is based on a Harriet Lane novel that carries a strong echo of Brideshead.…

Deserves its classic status: Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train at the Young Vic reviewed

9 March 2019 9:00 am

Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train by Stephen Adly Guirgis deserves its classic status. This wordy and highly cerebral play pulls…

A torpid seminar on why Trump is the Antichrist: Shipwreck reviewed

2 March 2019 9:00 am

When reviewers call a work ‘important’ they mean ‘boring’ and ‘earnest’. And in those terms Shipwreck is one of the…

The worst Arthur Miller play I’ve ever seen

23 February 2019 9:00 am

All About Eve is Cinderella steeped in acid rather than sugar. Eve, or Cinders, is a wannabe star who uses…

Martin Freeman as Gus and Danny Dyer as Ben in Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter

Danny Dyer is not so much an actor as a fairground attraction: Pinter Seven reviewed

16 February 2019 9:00 am

The Dumb Waiter is a one-act play from 1957 that retains an extraordinary hold over the minds of theatre-goers. It’s…

Cost of Living at Hampstead Theatre isn’t a bad show – and it contains a star in the making

9 February 2019 9:00 am

Hampstead has become quite a hit-factory since Ed Hall took over. His foreign policy is admirably simple. He scours New…

Cate Blanchett in When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other

A winning hoax: When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other reviewed

2 February 2019 9:00 am

The NT’s new play is an update of Pamela, a sexploitation novel by Samuel Richardson. It opens with Stephen Dillane…