fri 28/01/2022

National Theatre

Trouble in Mind, National Theatre review - race, rage and relevance

The National Theatre has a good record in staging classic American drama by black playwrights. James Baldwin's The Amen Corner, August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs have all had terrific new stagings. Now it’s...

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Stephen Sondheim in memoriam - he gave us more to see

It seemed impossible and yet, the other evening, while idly flicking through emails, I learned the unimaginable: Stephen Sondheim, age 91, had passed away. And very quickly by all accounts, given that he was reported to have enjoyed a Thanksgiving...

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Manor, National Theatre review – ambitious, but unconvincing

After all the tides of monologue plays have ebbed, British new writing is now paddling in the pools of state-of-the-nation drama. At the Royal Court, there is Al Smith’s Rare Earth Mettle, while the National Theatre is staging Moira Buffini’s Manor...

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Death of England: Face to Face, National Theatre at Home review - anti-racist trilogy ends with a bang

One of the absolute highpoints of new writing in the past couple of years has been the Death of England trilogy. Written by Roy Williams and Clint Dyer, these three brilliant monologues have not only explored vital questions of race and racism,...

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Duke of York's Theatre review - pure theatrical magic

This show has been a long time coming. Neil Gaiman had the first inklings of The Ocean at the End of the Lane when he was seven years old and living near a farm recorded in the Domesday Book. Several decades later, he wrote a short story for his...

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The Normal Heart, National Theatre review - Ben Daniels triumphant

Hypocrisy. Is this the right word? I don’t mean the play, but the audience. Of course, in the middle of the current COVID 19 crisis, there’s bound to be a certain amount of discomfort when watching Larry Kramer’s 1985 modern activist classic about...

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Rockets and Blue Lights, National Theatre review - strong, but inconclusive

For more than three decades, playwright Winsome Pinnock has been at the forefront of new writing, often experimenting with form as well as documenting the lives of black Britons. Her new play’s original opening at the Royal Exchange Theatre in...

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Paradise, National Theatre review - war, woe, and a glimmer of hope

Philoctetes, Odysseus, Neoptolemus: the men’s names in Sophocles’ Philoctetes are all unnecessarily long and weighed down by expectations. Poet Kae Tempest’s lyrical new adaptation for the National Theatre focuses on the chorus, spinning out the...

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Under Milk Wood, National Theatre review - Michael Sheen at his most magnetic

There's commanding, and then there's Michael Sheen, who sweeps on to the Olivier stage 15 minutes or so into the new National Theatre revival of Under Milk Wood and scoops up the entire production with it. Inheriting a role made to order for this...

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After Life, National Theatre review - thanks for the memories

Limbo, in Jack Thorne’s latest play, is a room lined ceiling-high with drawers, a sort of morgue rebooted as a vast filing system. It apparently provides comfy accommodation for the souls waiting to pass over, and its activities are run in tight...

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Romeo and Juliet, National Theatre online review - a triumphant hybrid

Shakespeare's enduring tale of star-crossed lovers is especially pertinent in a pandemic. The fatal plot twist depends on failed communication during an outbreak of pestilence, and one of the most famous lines is Mercutio's heartfelt, "A plague on...

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Dick Whittington, National Theatre at Home review - colourful and amiable entertainment

In a much-depleted and truncated pantomime season that withered on the vine, the National Theatre's debut production of Dick Whittington lasted only four performances before the show was cancelled; it has now released this recording, which will be...

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