Theatre

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…

Watching Stephen Fry was like being in the presence of a god

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Stephen Fry lies prone on an empty stage. A red ball rolls in from the wings and bashes him in…

Tony Slattery is still a miraculously gifted comedian

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Some of the marketing efforts by amateur impresarios up in Edinburgh are extraordinary. I was handed a leaflet for a…

Lap-dancing with ISIS, the real Monica Lewinsky and one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen: Edinburgh Fringe roundup

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Clive Anderson’s show about Macbeth, ‘the greatest drama ever written’, offers us an hour of polished comedy loosely themed around…

Games for Lovers perfectly captures the world of lovesick millennials. Image: Geraint Lewis

These obscure Tennessee Williams scripts are classics of the future: Southern Belles reviewed

3 August 2019 9:00 am

Games for Lovers feels like a smart, sexy TV comedy. Martha is still in love with her old flame Logan…

Ira Mandela Siobhan as the horse Nugget, and Ethan Kai as Alan

The play’s dated badly – but the horse is exquisite: Equus at Trafalgar Studios reviewed

27 July 2019 9:00 am

Equus is a psychological thriller from 1973 which opens with a revolting discovery. An unbalanced stable-lad, Alan, spends his evenings…

Letters: Melissa Kite saved my life – twice

20 July 2019 9:00 am

Leave we must Sir: It is interesting that as the Brexit process drags, people become more distanced from what was…

He’s everywhere and nowhere: Jim Broadbent

‘It could be a disaster’: Jim Broadbent talks to Stuart Jeffries about his latest role

13 July 2019 9:00 am

‘I live completely anonymously,’ whispers Jim Broadbent down the phone from Lincolnshire. Nonsense, I counter. You’re one of the most…

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…

Do Greek plays really need a ‘modern twist’?

6 July 2019 9:00 am

Rufus Norris, the National Theatre’s artistic director, has revealed that all those tedious ancient plays will from now on be…

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…

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,…

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…

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…