National Theatre

Tsunami of piffle: Rockets and Blue Lights at the Dorfman Theatre reviewed

11 September 2021 9:00 am

Deep breath. Here goes. Winsome Pinnock’s new play about Turner opens with one of the most confusing and illogical scenes…

Captures the rapturous gaiety of the original: Globe's Twelfth Night reviewed

28 August 2021 9:00 am

The new Lily Allen vehicle opens in a spruced-up terrace in the East End. Allen plays a self-satisfied yuppie, Jenny,…

Homeric levels of misery: Paradise, at the Olivier Theatre, reviewed

21 August 2021 9:00 am

The National Theatre has given Sophocles’s Philoctetes a makeover and a new title, Paradise. This must be ironic because the…

Enjoyable in spite of the National's best efforts: Under Milk Wood reviewed

3 July 2021 9:00 am

Before the National Theatre produced Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood they had to make a decision. How could they stuff…

Theatre's final taboo: fun

17 April 2021 9:00 am

The stage has become a pleasure-free zone in which snarling dramatists fight over their pet political causes, says Lloyd Evans

Racists will love it: National Theatre's Death of England – Delroy reviewed

14 November 2020 9:00 am

Death of England: Delroy is a companion piece to Death of England, which ran in February at the NT and…

Defund theatres – and give the money to gardeners and bingo halls

5 September 2020 9:00 am

Why does the state fund theatres and not gardening and bingo, asks Lloyd Evans

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…

Privatisation is the best option for the South Bank Centre

6 June 2020 9:00 am

I must have written about this subject 100 times in 30 years and I’m still having to restate the bloody…

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…

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…

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…

The script’s a dud: Antipodes at the Dorfman Theatre reviewed

16 November 2019 9:00 am

The Antipodes, by the acclaimed dramatist Annie Baker, is set in a Hollywood writers’ room. Seven hired scribblers are brainstorming…

A 90-minute slog up to a dazzling peak: ‘Master Harold’… and the boys reviewed

26 October 2019 9:00 am

Athol Fugard likes to dump his characters in settings with no dramatic thrust or tension. A prison yard is a…

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…

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…

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,…

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…

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…

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…

Gary Raymond and Richard Burton in Tony Richardson’s 1959 film version of Look Back in Anger

What a relief we can finally admit Jimmy Porter was a pain in the neck

19 January 2019 9:00 am

Gary Raymond must have been wondering if it was the end of a promising career — curtains. He was starring…

A horror show that appeals to the intellect but not the gut: The Tell-Tale Heart reviewed

5 January 2019 9:00 am

The Tell-Tale Heart is based on a teeny-weeny short story by Edgar Allan Poe. The full text appears in the…