Julie

Julie

A face and its value. A book and its cover. A gifthorse and its mouth. Sit any of these ‘couples’ together in the audience at The National and you’re risking a repeat of the fight that took place during a preview for this modernised version of Strindberg’s Julie - missing the ‘Miss’ must mean modern... 

Translations

Translations

It can’t be easy creating a programme that justifies the term National given to the theatres on London’s South Bank, when you know that your most frequent visitors of critics and ‘season ticket holders’ will be harsh and loud and hold you personally to account... 

Nine Night

Nine Night

There’s little to evoke more anxiety and dread than the phrase ‘Traditional Family Christmas’. Three words that used individually may suggest happiness, take on a whole new meaning with the memories that come when strung together... 

The Prudes

The Prudes

About five minutes in to the therapy session cum comedy gig cum This Morning Celeb Interview that tonally is The Prudes, late 30s couple Jess and Jimmy inform the audience as their ‘Confessor’ (to be all three it makes us a cardigan wearing, lager drinking, silver fox) that they are not actually called Mr and Mrs Prude as that would be ridiculous... 

Instructions for Correct Assembly

Instructions for Correct Assembly

If The Royal Court’s reputation for producing work that’s a little ahem, “arty” has put you off making a visit recently for fear of Death by Pretension, then the enjoyable and easily accessible Instructions For Correct Assembly may be the show to help you brush those fears aside... 

Macbeth

Macbeth

There’s a moral sense of the inevitable in Macbeth. Man is greedy. Greedy is bad. Murder is badder. Bad men – especially the badder ones – die. Brushing aside accusations of over-simplification, any fan of the Channel 5 Afternoon Movie could predict from the start that things won’t end well for this eponymous antihero, despite the power and fame that the witches predict for him... 

John

John

UK theatregoers may be playing catch-up when it comes to playwright Annie Baker. Whilst her first major work, Body Awareness, premiered off-Broadway at the David Mamet and William H Macy founded Atlantic Theatre Company almost a decade ago, it was only 2016's The Flick here at The National's Dorfman that seemed to get most of us talking... 

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone

Welcome to another theatrical dimension, beyond which there may be no clear sense of purpose. A dimension that at times is just a fun, semi-respectful staging of a TV Classic, but at others takes itself too seriously to unnecessarily attempt making some other point... 

Grimly Handsome

Grimly Handsome

At times I question The Royal Court for programming plays aimed solely are the pretentious and the seasoned theatre critic. There are times it almost seems not to care about any other audience "not smart enough" to get how clever it is, and there is a sense of it behaving like an exclusive club which holds the key to understanding complex wordplay and bizarre visual metaphor that are becoming so common to its output as to veer towards self-parody... 

Bad Roads

Bad Roads

Ukrainian playwright, Natal’ya Vorozhbit may be one of the few global voices for a conflict many of us seem to have ‘forgotten’, as though the Russian intervention happened way before 2014... 

Network

Network

Here we have a play, based on a film, about television, with heavy use of video (live, recorded and even outside broadcasting), incorporating social media, onstage DJs and audience members cooked and served dinner live in the restaurant situated stage left... 

Saint George and the Dragon

Saint George and the Dragon

For those who don’t know much about mid-20th century Russian literature – I’m sure there must be one or two – satirical playwright Evgeny Schwartz’s 1943 play, Drakon (The Dragon) is the inspiration for this Saint George and The Dragon, now at The Olivier... 

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre

The year for the National Theatre so far has been beset by the dramas over the dramas on its programme – depending on your viewpoint, it either doesn't contain enough classics or it has far too many revivals; it's too risk averse or it includes too much theatrical pretension for a venue with inclusivity at its heart... 

Oslo

Oslo

The challenge with any dramatisation of an historic moment is in trying to appeal to the people for whom the event just ‘rings a bell’ right up to those whose lives were directly impacted by it ... 

Road

Road

Bad times make for good drama. Good drama makes people think. Great theatre can have the power to educate and change opinion, and can take its own place in history for which it is rightly remembered and celebrated... 

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes

Let’s get something out of the way - Olivia Colman is darn good at this acting malarkey isn't she? It might actually even be illegal to use her name without the prefix ‘Nation’s Favourite’... 

Anatomy of a Suicide

Anatomy of a Suicide

First things first: if you've ever worried about how a history of depression or suicide in your family could affect you or your children, DO NOT go and watch Anatomy of a Suicide... 

Common

Common

Within the first five or so minutes of Common, a large chorus of people wearing shrubs, trees and animal heads over their faces chant menacingly, a woman in her fineries introduces herself to the audience as a whore, liar, thief and cunt, and a young boy talks to the robotic crow on his arm that is his dead father... 

Killology

Killology

Killology (by Gary Owen, writer of last year's award-winning play, Iphigenia in Splott) follows in a similar ilk to the likes of recent pieces Upstairs at The Royal Court, Yen and Wish List - focussing on the emotional turmoil suffered primarily by the younger generation in our society today... 

Salome

Salome

"There is no language for what happened that night," states Salome in narration as her older self shortly after beginning this new, happily more feminist, retelling of the myth surrounding the woman who we think of as having lasciviously danced the dance of the seven veils before demanding the head of John the Baptist to be served to her on a silver plate... 

Angels in America Part 1 & 2

Angels in America Part 1 & 2

There's no doubt that when Tony Kushner's "Gay Fantasia on National Themes" first came to the stage in the early nineties, it was like little that had been seen before – both in terms of showing that people dealing with the disease weren't always heroes or activists, and with the fantastical, almost operatic use of angels and surreal confusing dreamlike sequences it put before us... 

The Ferryman

The Ferryman

If populism breeds cynicism, then there's a high quota of cheap shots that could be made towards the Royal Court's latest offering. The desire for the Chelsea chattering theatregoers to have a Jez Butterworth experience under their belt to discuss, the results of the return of Sam Mendes to his theatrical homeland – one of the few directors' names your Mum may actually know, since his foray into Bond – the well-worn subject matter of the passions of the Irish during the height of the Troubles both towards the cause and to the family... 

Consent

Consent

Decouple any romantic notion of sex as being the physical demonstration of love and what is it other than just an act to satiate a desire for power, ownership, closeness, or to make babies? And if the parties involved are expecting different things from the outset, does that make either better or worse? In Nina Raine’s new play Consent, now at the National’s Dorfman, such emotionally cold intellectualism of something we pretend to be all about emotion creates a tennis game of debate – not only on what defines consent to the act itself but also consent and agreement to its role and impact... 

Ugly Lies the Bone

Ugly Lies the Bone

It's great to see new writing being performed at one of the National's bigger spaces and there are big themes at play here in writer Lindsey Ferrentino's National Theatre and UK debut... 

Hamlet

Hamlet

What's real, what's imagined and what's the cause - or effect - of madness are the questions most of us know to be raised but rarely consistently answered in Shakespeare's most (accidentally) quoted, widely adapted, bum-achingly longest of plays... 

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night

It's said that one first eats with one's eyes. Applying that idea then, if the prospect of spending three hours watching a typically bawdy Shakespeare comedy filled with gender confusion-based misunderstanding turns your stomach, there is much on offer here to tickle your olfactory tastebuds in this – ultimately traditional – Twelfth Night at the National Theatre's Olivier... 

Travesties

Travesties

I have an inherent discomfort with theatre that requires a certain knowledge or level of intelligence in order to appreciate it (reference my ongoing debate with the current Royal Court policy)... 

Wish List

Wish List

God life can be a depressing old thing can't it? When, through no fault of your own, you find yourself struggling to just exist from one long unfulfilling day to the next – knowing that struggle just leads you to more of the same emptiness... 

Simon Smith's Adventures In Theatreland 2016

Simon Smith's Adventures In Theatreland 2016

Broadway Baby's Senior Critic Simon Smith looks back over 2016, a year in which we took what we've learned for more than a decade as the biggest reviewer on the Fringe and turned our attention on the West End. 

The Children

The Children

If the purpose of life is to continue its perpetuity, the implication is that those of us who spawn children are naturally superior to those who don't. But does that remove the focus from what we can all do to impact and improve the world which they are going to inherit? Why bring children into a world of problems – to solve and resolve the issues we created? Don't we owe it to future generations to fix our mistakes first?There are no children on stage in The Children, Lucy Kirkwood's slow and subtly written look at three 60-somethings as they attempt to live, matter and have purpose, rather than simply exist... 

Peter Pan

Peter Pan

There must be little more that can raise the spirits of young or old than the idea of flying free through the skies. And this production of Peter Pan brings that magic to life with aerobatic feats that are indeed a joy to behold... 

This House

This House

Taking place over the five years in the seventies that turned out to be the last Labour Government for nearly 20 years and that led to the Thatcher era, the politics being managed in This House will resonate more for those with a knowledge of not too distant political history... 

Half a Sixpence

Half a Sixpence

Whilst this latest in a long line of Chichester transfers may be a new reworking of the classic Tommy Steele vehicle – with new songs, music and deeper characterisation added – it remains a pure, unadulterated, unchallenging, cheese slice of musical theatre... 

School of Rock

School of Rock

The opening minute or so of School of Rock immediately sets the stall for what to expect and what to accept in order to enjoy the rollicking fun show ahead. A voiceover announces that "everyone asks if the children are playing their own instruments – they are", before metal band No Vacancy (all leather, bare torsos and hair) screech (in a good way) rock-ballad, I'm Too Hot for You – and if this appreciation of talent in such youngsters, along with self-aware, grown-up comedy (and the rock score) is your bag, then you can't help but be swept away by the infectious happy energy billowing off the stage and around the auditorium... 

Amadeus

Amadeus

"Why is Opera important? Because it's real-er than any play". So says the wildly frenetic Mozart early in Peter Shaffer's "play with music" (and famed 1984 film) Amadeus. And that could well sum up this production at the Olivier - a truly cinematic, energetic and passion filled piece that intertwines the music and musicians as backdrop, set and settings in tableaux that create a theatrical bubble to envelop you with visual simplicity and audible beauty by the (mostly) on stage orchestra... 

A Pacifist's Guide to the War on Cancer

A Pacifist's Guide to the War on Cancer

When the voice of Bryony Kimmings - writer and director of this piece and "performance artist by trade" - asks at the start "how could you make a show about illness and death without risking no one coming?", the cynical answer may be "easily, it's a worthy idea that's been done all over the Edinburgh Fringe for starters"... 

The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice

The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice

It's not just the eponymous seldom heard, often bullied, fragile young girl LV who struggles to be heard in Jim Cartwright's classic tragicomedy The Rise and Fall – finding her voice only when disappearing into (and becoming) the songs of the classic diva records left to her by her late father... 

Under My Thumb

Under My Thumb

Much can be understood by words that aren't spoken. Indeed many unspoken words make up the rules that form what is said to be acceptable societal behaviour. The prevalence of the unspoken is key in CultureClash Theatre's Under My Thumb – directed by Artistic Director James Haddrell in the first play in Greenwich Theatre's new studio space – and also in the power of the space itself; set in a world where women only survive by 'being quiet' and adhering to men's rules, in a venue where stillness is much more powerful than noise... 

Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)

Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)

There are a number of uses for the word 'epic' and this production of Suzan-Lori Parks' highly stylised play clearly sets out to be defined by them all. It deals with epic themes of slavery, identity, inherent racism and the unending desire for freedom marred by the fear of how that freedom redefines us... 

They Drink It In The Congo

They Drink It In The Congo

There's a very British way of how we process learning about atrocities going on in the world that many of us know little about - first humour, then guilt, a desire to somehow "fix it", a need to know more but with the lack of headspace and time to really learn about it... 

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour

Combining the bawdy naughtiness of St Trinian's, the desire to escape sobriety, language and depiction of true Scottishness of Trainspotting, with beautiful choral harmonies and ELO-heavy rock performances, Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour may not be your expected National Theatre mixture but is an energy-filled show that likes to shake you out of your seat from the start... 

Young Chekhov: Three-play day

Young Chekhov: Three-play day

Spending a full day (11 hours from first curtain up to last curtain call) watching three of Chekhov's early plays (hence the 'Young' of the title) may not sound like the most fun day out in London – his themes covering hopelessness, lack of personal fulfilment, depression and of course, tragically necessary death, often at one's own hands... 

The Plough and the Stars

The Plough and the Stars

Sean O'Casey may not himself have fought during the infamous Easter Rising of 1916 but, nonetheless, his play is still borne of personal knowledge and first-hand involvement. Written only 10 years later, still in the midst of passionate belief and violence from both sides, The Plough and the Stars was seen as such a comment on the politics of the time that it created both popularity and riots... 

Into The Woods

Into The Woods

With Into The Woods – possibly one of Sondheim's most accessible musicals – known fairy tales are twisted into an allegory for today's times; stripping away Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and other tales from childhood and then teasing at the reality lying underneath them... 

The Deep Blue Sea

The Deep Blue Sea

With its clipped accents, simmering tension, undulating music and themes of mental anguish and sexual tension, Terence Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea is quintessentially old-school British Theatre... 

Unreachable

Unreachable

Whilst always a welcome promoter of new writing and new experiments in theatre, more recently The Royal Court's choice of programme has been called divisive at best and pretentious at worst – the need to be shown to 'get it or get out' has made many think that it's in danger of closing its audience net far too tightly to survive... 

Sunset at the Villa Thalia

Sunset at the Villa Thalia

Calling the run-down Greek shack that acts as the entire setting of this play a 'Villa' and then naming it after Thalia (representing comedy as the Greek Goddess of Festivity), American Government Agent Harvey tells his new friend - British playwright Theo - that it should be his muse to "write something provocative, satirical and funny"... 

The Threepenny Opera

The Threepenny Opera

A common preconception of Brecht's work is that his political views, his 'anti-theatre' style and the didactic tag that precedes any conversation about it, creates theatre that screams "worthy" and "intellectual" but offers little enjoyment for the average theatregoer... 

1984

1984

George Orwell's 1984 still resonates today because for all the disturbingly dark ways that the events of the story unfold, his key themes of conspiracy, class and governmental and media control of the public still continue to be debated... 

Minefield

Minefield

As I've said before, whilst important times in history demand to be explored in theatre and film – and often bring raw emotion with them the more recent the history is – subject matter alone shouldn’t get in the way of our judgment on how good a production is in itself... 

Weekend Rockstars

Weekend Rockstars

It's not that unusual to see something that sweeps you up, makes you believe in the characters and feel their emotional pain, throws energy at you with hard guitar riffs and makes you leave feeling energised with the shout of "thank you and good night" as guitars are almost smashed on stage - but what is rare is when what you have seen defies any labels and feels excitingly fresh and new as a piece of theatre... 

Fable

Fable

Another week, another example of storytelling to be seen at Greenwich Theatre, with The Flanagan Collective's gently soporific tale of the strive for idealism in today's frenetic, corporate and Internet driven world... 

James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant Peach

The fantastical, magical stories created by Roald Dahl have proven themselves to have the potential to inspire family shows that enthral rather than patronise with the award-winning Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda still running in the West End... 

Funny Girl

Funny Girl

Fanny Brice's prowess and fame were arguably due to her impeccable comic timing and clown-like performances, combined with a powerful singing voice that could both move you with a Torch Song (her version of My Man is heartbreaking) and punctuate the words to make you laugh in a skit... 

The Flick

The Flick

Over three hours into Annie Baker's Pulitzer Prize-winning comment on the everyday existence of the everyman, The Flick, one of the characters says that (his) “life may be depressing but there's some really good stuff in it”... 

The Suicide

The Suicide

Russian playwright Nikolai Erdman's original script for The Suicide was seen as such a strong satirical attack on the Communist Russian Government that it was branded ‘dangerous’ and ‘anti-Soviet’, banned and led to Erdman’s arrest and the murder of its director, Meyerhold... 

Boy

Boy

For all we may use the platitude that “life is too short”, the harsh reality is that for most of us, it is anything but – and we fill the many minutes, hours and days bemoaning the structure enforced upon us by school, work and law, without realising we are lucky to have something to do to get through it all... 

Sherlock Holmes: A Working Hypothesis

Sherlock Holmes: A Working Hypothesis

You don't need to have read any of the Arthur Conan Doyle novels in order to feel that you know a great deal about Sherlock Holmes. The fictional detective and his famous character traits are such a fabric of British history and have been portrayed at times as comic, brooding and darkly serious - as well as being on display in the museum of his 'real' home on Baker Street - that it's hardly surprising some believe him to have really existed, and this 'reality' is a starting point for the set-up to the piece here... 

Cyprus Avenue

Cyprus Avenue

It's difficult for many people today – and not just those whose lives weren't directly impacted – to really understand the common sense background to what my Mum (and the BBC) used to refer to as "the troubles" in Northern Ireland... 

The Wonderful Discovery of Witches in the County of Lancaster

The Wonderful Discovery of Witches in the County of Lancaster

For some strange and unknown reason, the idea of witches and witchcraft tends not to carry the darkness or horror that other (possibly) mythical demons do – even though there were times in history when the thoughts of, and belief in, their existence caused genuine widespread fear and panic... 

X

X

If someone was to lose their grip on the concept of time as being linear, then the accepted psychological structure of how things happen, when, where and with whom, may break down into all manner of fantastical or surreal snapshots – pieces of a puzzle that should fit but can't quite match... 

People, Places and Things

People, Places and Things

Addiction and theatre may seem good bedfellows as they have often made for a spectacular combination. From Long Day's Journey Into Night in the 50s, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest in the 60s to the 90s' Trainspotting (amongst numerous others), many have been awarded both literally and with a place in theatrical history that has inspired companies today... 

The Truth

The Truth

Everybody lies; small lies, big lies, white lies and lies about Weapons of Mass Destruction in order to start what some may say is an illegal war. Without lies we would potentially live in an everlasting state of argument and there would be few relationships – either friendships or those of a more intimate nature – that could last if they were carried out in a world of constant, unasked for truth... 

Run

Run

With the current societal hatred for bankers and their sky high bonuses, we may put aside any thought for the young individuals who throw away any chance for a personal life, with interpersonal support and relationships, in order to live and breath the industry - fighting each other and their own sense of self in order to be 'compensated' by the money they can earn in lieu of anything we would call a life... 

I See You

I See You

What happens to your sense of identity when the world in which that self was created dramatically changes? If you lived to fight, what if the outcome of that fight wasn't what you believed you were fighting for? This is the epic nature of the situation in Mongiwekhaya's I See You – the latest piece to be staged at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs as part of The Big Idea (a strand of new plays that offer radical thinking) – where the identity is heritage generally and race specifically, and the fight was for the end of Apartheid in South Africa... 

Three Generations of Women

Three Generations of Women

Families eh? You can't live with them, you can't legally murder them for feeling that you have no more in common than a bloodline. It's a sad truism that for all the Government's (and Peggy Mitchell's) focus on the importance of "family" above all else, there is an equal amount of Jeremy Kyle-esque tabloid tales of family breakdowns, of blame and of lies that often result from little more than a lack of communication and a misunderstanding of the personal issues family members may have faced at their own particular time of life... 

The Father

The Father

I'm lucky that I've had no first hand experience of the impact of the disease looked at in The Father so my knowledge is only general rather than personal. However, I hope it's fair to say that I think Alzheimer's affects not only the one suffering but also – as the world around them gets more confused, frustrating and seems to slowly break down into a jumble of jigsaw pieces rather than the whole picture it once was – rolls into the day to day existence of those who surround them... 

Beyond The Fence

Beyond The Fence

Seemingly wanting to be judged as the output of an experiment rather than a ‘proper show’, Beyond The Fence is the result of Sky Arts TV documentary Computer Says Show, which sets out to ask whether, in today's data-heavy world – where we flip between the convenience and the paranoia created by a plethora of loyalty schemes, spyware, and the likes of Google and Apple owning all our data in an attempt to 'own' us – can computers use data to evaluate the successes and failures of 1,700 previous shows to finally find the formula to a great musical? Judging by this painfully cliché-ridden show, Lloyd Webber, Sondheim and the like can sleep easy for the answer is a resolute no... 

The War Of The Worlds

The War Of The Worlds

Those of a certain age (likely to be over 40) who took Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds double LP record to their hearts - and those who found it on one of its many re-releases and re-mastered adaptations in the following years - tend to love it with a passion that makes them impenetrable to any and all criticism... 

Tim FitzHigham: The Gambler

Tim FitzHigham: The Gambler

Tim FitzHigham has spent many years investigating – and replaying – the bizarre pastime of making bets for the sake of making bets. This one-man show is his way of sharing the stories of the madness of the history and of the bets themselves... 

Hand To God

Hand To God

A story of how the roots of religion generally – and Deep South American Christianity specifically – may be preached, but is little more than a series of made-up stories and rules to which notions of right and wrong can be assigned and evil can be blamed, whilst removing personal responsibility for our own actions by blaming a "creature with horns"... 

The Girl Who Fell in Love with the Moon

The Girl Who Fell in Love with the Moon

A mixed troupe of lost souls find comfort in each other in the enjoyment of telling "silly little stories about silly little things" that are extensions and exaggerations of their own personal dreams... 

Yen

Yen

When your life is borne of problems, pain and lies, the longer you don't – or can't – do anything to improve it, the more you may take an almost masochistic solace (from the outside point of view) in accepting that at least your world is yours alone and then only share it with other players involved in the same pain; as often seen in the behaviour of addicts, criminals and the generally dispossessed... 

Waste

Waste

We find the notion of the waste of anything in life shameful, if not sinful – removing, as it does, any idea of success or achievement by focusing instead on what could or should have been fulfilled had we not fallen short of expectations... 

Escaped Alone

Escaped Alone

Caryl Churchill rarely does interviews and never discusses the meanings behind her plays (even her stage directions are scant) - so I would be building myself up for a fall if I were to try and interpret Escaped Alone in a way that wouldn't, inevitably, cause arguments... 

Jeepers Creepers

Jeepers Creepers

Marty Feldman's style of comedy - and indeed his story - is of a very specific time in the annals of British entertainment. With elements of slapstick, surrealism, buffoonery and double entendre - along with a wonky eye that did more to harm his ego than his success or memorability - his work and his life aren't that dissimilar to his peers that we call great comedy masters today: such as Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Peter Cook and, of course, The Monty Python team... 

Goodstock

Goodstock

When faced with the knowledge that one has a high risk of a potentially terminal illness such as cancer, there are many different ways of dealing with the news. A nurse friend of mine broadly divides these into three categories; the 'Denier', who tells no one and tries to put it to the back of their mind until an onset of symptoms: the 'Acceptor', who does what they have to do to but tries to incorporate the knowledge into their existing day to day life: and the 'Definer', who overhauls their life pre this knowledge and wears the diagnosis as a badge, letting it run every thought, conversation and action they then take... 

wonder.land

wonder.land

Everyone knows Alice in Wonderland from their childhood at some level - but not everyone agrees what the story is really about. Whilst seemingly a fantastical, yet moralistic, adventure of a child, it is often assumed the tale has deeper hidden meanings... 

Hangmen

Hangmen

"Gallows humour" probably lives in the same area as sarcasm, self-deprecation and the "stiff upper lip" as stereotypically British ways of how to deal with difficult or challenging emotional situations... 

Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood

Panto is the season for daytime TV stars and sportsmen past their fighting prime to don outrageous costumes and deliver hackneyed dialogue. Because you can get away with stunt casting when the material is so guileless, right? Well, yet again, Greenwich Theatre proves that you don’t need the dazzling white smile of a B-list celebrity on your poster to turn out a top-class Christmas show, and – if anything – casting aptitude over notability is proof enough that pantomime can produce a great show rather than just a 'colour-by-numbers' format and chance to see your favourite has-been on the stage... 

Dawn French: 30 Million Minutes

Dawn French: 30 Million Minutes

It's impossible to dislike the persona we think of when we think of Dawn French - her clownlike, down-to-earth warmth and sense of approachable 'ordinariness' make us feel that we actually know her... 

Teddy Ferrara

Teddy Ferrara

Walking into the Donmar with the seating closed in, the stage set with a circle of wooden school chairs and the colour drained from a metallic coloured set and cold lighting, you get the sense that what you're about to see is an "issue" play, such is the atmosphere created... 

Boris & Sergey's Astonishing Freakatorium

Boris & Sergey's Astonishing Freakatorium

With stage musicals being turned into movies, books into plays, and singers' back catalogues into flimsy show storylines, it's becoming rare these days to see a piece of theatre (outside of a Fringe festival) that can ONLY exist as live performance and reminds you just how exciting, inclusive and powerful the medium can be... 

Othello

Othello

It's a somewhat hackneyed saying - favoured by many a High School teacher of English Literature - that if Shakespeare were alive today then he would likely be writing for soap operas; such was his predilection for taking high drama with tragic or comedic themes of the zeitgeist and packaging them in a way that was attainable for the mass market audience of his day... 

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby

Even if you don't know the whole story of F. Scott's Fitzgerald's classic 1925 American novel, the chances are you'll still be aware that it's an homage to the decadent, glamorous party lifestyle of post-WWI America – oozing with sexuality and debauchery in its comment on the importance society assigned to status at that time (arguably not that different to the showbiz world we see in our tabloids today)... 

Tommy

Tommy

The publicity for this new revival of Tommy at Greenwich Theatre talks a lot about it marking 40 years since the original film was released of The Who's 1969 concept album - and almost 20 years since the last (and only) somewhat short-lived West End production, which made a West End star of Paul Keating in the eponymous role... 

Let The Right One In

Let The Right One In

Take a 2004 Swedish vampire novel that was made into a subtitled horror film as your starting point. Adapt for theatre beginning with a noiseless preshow of individual characters walking frenetically across the stage and then splicing expressionistic movement pieces right in between slightly heightened naturalistic conversational scenes...