The Seven Streams of the River Ota

The Seven Streams of the River Ota

In 1996, Robert Lepage's initial production of The Seven Streams was far from critic-pleasing. 

The Visit

The Visit

Though we aren’t given the choice that may be implied by the inclusion of the subtitle in The Visit or The Old Lady Who Comes to Call, it is a play that uses juxtaposition as it … 

My Brilliant Friend

My Brilliant Friend

The challenge in attempting to adapt Elena Ferrante's 10 million-selling quadrilogy, The Neapolitan Novels lies not in finding the time to read through the 1,600 pages of sourc… 

Hansard

Hansard

If, unlike me, you include politics, the public-school system or pub quizzing in your CV’s ‘Other Interests’ section, you’ll already know that Hansard is the name given to … 

Peter Gynt

Peter Gynt

There was a time not long ago – when Facebook and Google weren’t even words – where we watched TV and learned from it, absorbing any new knowledge we discovered as fact. 

Rutherford and Son

Rutherford and Son

A brief language lesson: According to the “part-banter, part-racist” English idiom, the North, is somewhere it is said to be Grim Up. 

Follies

Follies

Picture the scene. 

When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other

When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other

It was only towards the very end of last year that it was announced – or rather whispered, hidden away as it was somewhere in the list of actors always included in the National T… 

Hadestown

Hadestown

It’s an odd checklist. 

Stories

Stories

“Racist comments don’t belong in a play about mothers and shit. 

I'm Not Running

I'm Not Running

You know you’re guaranteed to learn something watching David Hare. 

The Lover / The Collection

The Lover / The Collection

Alongside Pinter One – nine individual texts that together create something that is as exciting as it is dark – is the altogether different, though not surprisingly named Pinte… 

Antony & Cleopatra

Antony & Cleopatra

Shakespeare will always be Theatre Marmite. 

The Prisoner

The Prisoner

Full disclosure. 

Home, I'm Darling

Home, I'm Darling

An exquisitely detailed design of a picture box façade-free house. 

Exit the King

Exit the King

For those who pertain to be students of the Theatre of the Absurd movement prevalent in the 1950s and 60s, there is nothing of value to you in this review. 

Pity

Pity

Statistics show that last year the most common reason cited in UK divorce papers was "irreconcilable bathroom habits”. 

The Lehman Trilogy

The Lehman Trilogy

One of the early factors that contributed to the massive success of the Lehman Brothers – the power they had in the US, their huge business growth and its eventual demise – was… 

Julie

Julie

A face and its value. 

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 a… 

Nine Night

Nine Night

There’s little to evoke more anxiety and dread than the phrase ‘Traditional Family Christmas’. 

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… 

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 … 

Macbeth

Macbeth

There’s a moral sense of the inevitable in Macbeth. 

John

John

UK theatregoers may be playing catch-up when it comes to playwright Annie Baker. 

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone

Welcome to another theatrical dimension, beyond which there may be no clear sense of purpose. 

Grimly Handsome

Grimly Handsome

At times I question The Royal Court for programming plays aimed solely are the pretentious and the seasoned theatre critic. 

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… 

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 audie… 

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 … 

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 o… 

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 dire… 

Road

Road

Bad times make for good drama. 

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 ‘Natio… 

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 Suicid… 

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 introduc… 

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 an… 

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 s… 

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 i… 

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. 

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 m… 

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 … 

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 (… 

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night

It’s said that one first eats with one’s eyes. 

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 … 

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 – kno… 

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 o... 

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. 

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. 

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 manage… 

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 … 

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. 

Amadeus

Amadeus

“Why is Opera important? Because it’s real-er than any play”. 

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 wit… 

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 he… 

Under My Thumb

Under My Thumb

Much can be understood by words that aren’t spoken. 

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. 

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 “fi… 

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 … 

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… 

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. 

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, … 

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… 

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 pretentio… 

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), A… 

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 s… 

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 an… 

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 – subj… 

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 make… 

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… 

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-winn… 

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 … 

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 depr… 

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 ‘dangero… 

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 bemoa… 

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. 

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… 

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 w… 

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 dow… 

People, Places and Things

People, Places and Things

Addiction and theatre may seem good bedfellows as they have often made for a spectacular combination. 

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. 

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, wit… 

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 yo… 

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. 

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. 

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… 

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… 

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. 

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 … 

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 the… 

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 … 

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 shou… 

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 … 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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 challengi… 

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. 

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 w… 

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… 

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 (o… 

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 op… 

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby

Even if you don’t know the whole story of F. 

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 … 

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.