thu 30/05/2024

National Theatre

Boys from the Blackstuff, National Theatre review - a lyrical, funny, affecting variation on a television classic

Prolific playwright James Graham was born in 1982, the year Alan Bleasdale's unforgettable series was televised. From Nottingham rather than Liverpool, Graham recognised in his own surroundings the predicaments of the main characters, the bonds...

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London Tide, National Theatre review - haunting moody river blues

“He do the police in different voices.” If ever one phrase summed up a work of fiction, and the art of its writer, then surely it is this description, by Charles Dickens in his 1865 novel, Our Mutual Friend, of his character Sloppy’s ability to read...

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Standing at the Sky's Edge, Gillian Lynne Theatre review - heartwarming Sheffield musical arrives in the West End

Can there be anyone from Sheffield who has not seen Standing at the Sky’s Edge, possibly several times? This is the once local show, opening at the Sheffield Crucible in 2019, playing at the National Theatre's Olivier in 2023, and now bringing a...

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Hadestown, Lyric Theatre review - soul-stirring musical gloriously revamps classical myths

Doom and gloom, we are told, may have abounded in the classical underworld, but Hadestown suggests otherwise. Returning to London five years after its run at the National Theatre, this time with a slew of Tony Awards, this bracing musical...

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Dear Octopus, National Theatre - period rarity is a real pleasure

Sisters are doing it for themselves, just as families as a whole are, too, on the London stage these days. Dear Octopus follows Till the Stars Come Down and The Hills of California as the third domestic drama I've seen in the last 10 days and...

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Till the Stars Come Down, National Theatre review - exuberant comedy with a dark edge

The National Theatre is meant to represent the whole nation – and not just the metropolitan middle classes. So it’s really good to see that Beth Steel – who comes from an East Midlands working-class background and was once writer in...

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Kin, National Theatre review - heartfelt show makes its demands, but yields its rewards

Waiting in the National Theatre’s foyer on press night, a space teeming with people speaking different languages, boasting different heritages – London in other words – news came through that leading members of the government had resigned because...

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The Motive and the Cue, Noel Coward Theatre - National Theatre transfer excels in the West End

Plays about the theatre tend to go down well with audiences. Why wouldn’t they? The danger is that they become too cosy as actors and audience smugly agree on the transcendence of the artform. Jack Thorne’s The Motive and the Cue comes perilously...

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Infinite Life, National Theatre review - beguiling new comedy about a world of pain

A sun deck with seven pale-green padded loungers is the latest setting for the latest National Theatre premiere from American playwright Annie Baker to people in her inimitable way. In her hands this banal space is as dramatically charged as...

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The House of Bernarda Alba, Lyttelton Theatre review - dazzling darkness

Rebecca Frecknall opened 2023 with a youthful, visceral, and brutal Streetcar Named Desire at the Almeida; she ends it with another startlingly vigorous adaptation, again of a play in which women are abused by men both physically and...

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The Witches, National Theatre review - fun and lively but where's the heart?

The National Theatre these days seems to be going from hit-to-hit, with transfers aplenty and full houses at home. And there's every reason to expect that this fizzy adaptation of Roald Dahl's 1983 creep-out, The Witches, has the West End and...

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The Confessions, National Theatre review - rich mix of the personal and the epic

How to describe Alexander Zeldin’s latest, The Confessions? It is almost a kitchen-sink drama, but also a picaresque trawl through the life of an Australian woman that’s verging on epic, spanning most of her 80 years. And it’s stirring stuff,...

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