Theatre

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…

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…

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…

Ron Cook and Celia Imrie – who steals the show in Party Time – in Pinter Six. Photo: Marc Brenner

A facile indulgence: Pinter Six reviewed

26 January 2019 9:00 am

The cast of Party Time includes John Simm, Celia Imrie, Ron Cook, Gary Kemp and other celebrities. They play a…

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…

Rupert Graves and Colin Mcfarlane in Pinter's 'hilarious sketch' Victoria Station. Photo: Marc Brenner

One masterpiece, one dud and one interesting rediscovery: Pinter Five reviewed

19 January 2019 9:00 am

One masterpiece, one dud, and one interesting rediscovery. That’s Pinter Five. Victoria Station is a hilarious sketch which might have…

Pro-Trump propaganda at the Donmar Warehouse by Lynn Nottage. Photo: Johan Persson

A masterpiece of pro-Trump propaganda: Sweat at the Donmar Warehouse reviewed

12 January 2019 9:00 am

Sweat, set in the Pennsylvanian rust belt, looks at a blue-collar community threatened by a factory closure. The script uses…

‘Brexit unleased something monstrous’: James Graham interviewed

5 January 2019 9:00 am

‘I try to interpret the most generous version of somebody’s actions,’ says the dramatist James Graham. This rare ability to…

Writers of some of the best-loved programmes in British television history: Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement

Dick Clement on Porridge, Kirk Douglas and having seven projects on the go

5 January 2019 9:00 am

Given their track record, you might think that Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais would be spared the struggles that…

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…

True stories: Gary Kemp in 1971

Gary Kemp on pop, Pre-Raphaelites, politics and playing Pinter

15 December 2018 9:00 am

The first thing Gary Kemp bought when Spandau Ballet started making money was a chair. He’s very proud of that…

Sensational: the cast of Seussical

I couldn’t wait to escape this opaque, witless horror show: True West reviewed

15 December 2018 9:00 am

Sam Shepard was perhaps the gloomiest playwright ever to spill his guts into a typewriter. The popularity of his work…

David Schwimmer has produced a new film of Alexander Zeldin’s play LOVE for the BBC. [Photo: Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images]

David Schwimmer on his new BBC film

8 December 2018 9:00 am

There is very little art about modern poverty, because who wants to know? It is barely acknowledged, unless there is…

Carl Mullaney as a charismatic Dame in Lyric Hammersmith's Dick Whittington. [Photo: Tristram Kenton]

Lyric Theatre’s Dick Whittington is the opposite of festive garbage

8 December 2018 9:00 am

One of the biggest stars of the 1970s was the professional lard-bucket Mick McManus, who plied his trade as an…

Joanna Murray-Smith as Patricia Highsmith in Switzerland at the Ambassadors Theatre. Photo: Robbie Jack/ Corbis via Getty Images

Intelligent, unfussy, literate – the West End needs more plays like this: Switzerland reviewed

1 December 2018 9:00 am

I know nothing about Patricia Highsmith. The acclaimed American author wrote the kind of Sunday-night crime thrillers that put me…

Court in the act: Simon Paisley Day as Sir Walter Raleigh in Ralegh: The Treason Trial at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Join a Jacobean jury at the Globe. Early modern theatre goes immersive – will it work?

24 November 2018 9:00 am

James I and VI liked to term himself Rex Pacificus. Like most politicians who talk a lot about working for…

Astonishingly powerful: Michelle Terry as Lady Macbeth and Paul Ready as Macbeth

One of the finest productions I’ve seen at the Globe – a triumph of crony casting: Macbeth reviewed

24 November 2018 9:00 am

Michelle Terry, chatelaine of the Globe, wants to put an end to penis-led Shakespeare by casting women in roles intended…

Lee Evans in Pinter Three. Photo: Marc Brenner

Lee Evans’s acrobatic clowning is the best thing about Pinter Three

17 November 2018 9:00 am

Pinter Three appeals to opposite poles of the play-going spectrum. The birdbrains like me will enjoy the music-hall sketches while…