Theatre

Not even a genius could make Much Ado About Nothing funny

11 July 2020 9:00 am

The RSC’s 2014 version of Much Ado is breathtaking to look at. Sets, lighting and costumes are exquisitely done, even…

Chaotic, if good-natured, muddle: Hytner’s Midsummer Night’s Dream reviewed

4 July 2020 9:00 am

Nicholas Hytner’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream opens in a world of puritanical austerity. The cast wear sombre black costumes and…

Paapa Essiedu is a dazzling, all-encompassing prince: RSC’s Hamlet reviewed

27 June 2020 9:00 am

The Beeb has released Simon Godwin’s Hamlet staged by the RSC in 2016. The director makes one major change and…

The Madness of George III is much easier to like than King Lear

20 June 2020 9:00 am

The longest interval in theatre history continues. Last week the National Theatre livestreamed a 2018 version of The Madness of…

As a lyricist, Ian Dury had few equals in the 20th century

13 June 2020 9:00 am

The National Theatre’s programme of livestreamed shows continues with the Donmar’s 2014 production of Coriolanus starring Tom Hiddleston. The play…

So good and so raw that avoiding it might be the wisest course: Sea Wall reviewed

6 June 2020 9:00 am

Sea Wall, by Simon Stephens, is a half-hour monologue about grief performed by Andrew Scott. The YouTube clip has been…

Like a project the BBC might have considered 30 years ago and turned down: The Understudy reviewed

30 May 2020 9:00 am

Hats off to the Lawrence Batley Theatre for producing a brand-new full-length show on-line. Stephen Fry, with avuncular fruitiness, narrates…

The best Macbeths to watch online

23 May 2020 9:00 am

The world’s greatest playwright ought to be dynamite at the movies. But it’s notoriously hard to turn a profit from…

The National Theatre’s live-streaming policy is bizarre

16 May 2020 9:00 am

The National’s bizarre livestreaming service continues. On 7 May, for one week only, it released a modern-dress version of Antony…

How Tom Stoppard foretold what we’re living through

9 May 2020 9:00 am

A TV play by Tom Stoppard, A Separate Peace, was broadcast live on Zoom last Saturday. I watched as my…

Worth watching for the comments thread alone: NT's Twelfth Night livestream reviewed

2 May 2020 9:00 am

‘Enjoy world-class theatre online for free,’ announces the National Theatre. Every Thursday at 7 p.m. a play from the archive…

The best theatre of the 21st century

25 April 2020 9:00 am

Not looking great, is it? Until we all get jabbed, theatres may have to stay closed. And even the optimists…

Reflections on isolation: the first lockdown dramas reviewed

18 April 2020 9:00 am

High Tide got there first. The East Anglian theatre company has produced a series of lockdown mini-dramas, Love in the…

Absorbing and meticulously researched play about Partition: Drawing the Line reviewed

11 April 2020 9:00 am

Theatres have taken to the internet like never before. Recorded performances are being made available over the web, many for…

A mesmerising piece of theatre: On Blueberry Hill reviewed

21 March 2020 9:00 am

On Blueberry Hill sounds like a musical but it’s a sombre prison drama set in Ireland. Two bunkbeds. Above, an…

Corpse! really is as good as everyone says it is

14 March 2020 9:00 am

Here’s the problem. Much communication is done online, especially by youngsters, and much drama focuses on communication. So how do…

Unimpressive: The Prince of Egypt reviewed

7 March 2020 9:00 am

The Prince of Egypt is a musical adapted from a 1998 Dreamworks cartoon based on the Book of Exodus. So…

Comedy gold: The Upstart Crow at the Gielgud Theatre reviewed

29 February 2020 9:00 am

A Moorish princess shipwrecked on the English coast disguises herself as a boy to protect her virtue. Arriving in London,…

Why foreign-language series will always have the edge over American ones

21 February 2020 10:00 pm

An office worker stands on the ledge of an open window about to leap. Two colleagues enter, ignoring him completely.…

A brilliant, unrevivable undertaking: Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt reviewed

15 February 2020 9:00 am

History will record Leopoldstadt as Tom Stoppard’s Schindler’s List. His brilliant tragic-comic play opens in the Jewish quarter of Vienna…

This is how theatre should work post-Brexit: Blood Wedding reviewed

15 February 2020 9:00 am

Blood Wedding, by the Spanish dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca, is one of those heavyweight tragedies that risks looking a bit…

A terrific two-hander that belongs at the National: RSC's Kunene and the King reviewed

7 February 2020 10:00 pm

The Gift is three plays in one. It opens in a blindingly white Victorian parlour where a posh lady, Sarah,…

Strong performances in a slightly wonky production: Uncle Vanya reviewed

1 February 2020 9:00 am

Uncle Vanya opens with a puzzle. Is the action set in the early 20th century or right now? The furnishings…

Sweeping, sod-you comedy – irresistible: Billionaire Boy reviewed

24 January 2020 10:00 pm

Falling In Love Again features two of the 20th century’s best-known sex athletes. Ron Elisha’s drama covers a long drunken…

People expecting punishment won’t be disappointed: Almeida’s Duchess of Malfi reviewed

18 January 2020 9:00 am

The Duchess of Malfi is one of those classics that everyone knows by name but not many have witnessed on…