wed 01/02/2023

new writing

The Unfriend, Criterion Theatre review - dark comedy is (largely) audience-unfriendly

We all have that friend. The person you met on holiday and couldn’t shake off. You added each other on Facebook, but they posted so much you’ve quietly unfollowed them. You can’t quite bring yourself to unfriend them, though. In The Unfriend, a new...

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Hakawatis: Women of the Arabian Nights, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse review - magical stories by candlelight

Do you remember how the 1001 Nights ends? You know how it starts: Scheherazade has been married to a king who kills his brides the day after he marries them. She tells him a story so good that he simply has to know what happens next, and she...

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Sons of the Prophet, Hampstead Theatre review - perfect mix of pain and comedy

Pain is, at one and the same time, something to avoid, and also something you can use. Kahlil Gibran, the Lebanese-American mystical author of the 1923 best-seller The Prophet, concludes that, despite suffering, “all is well”, but how true is that?...

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Best of Enemies, Noel Coward Theatre review - opposites attract, sort of

Opposition (and history) are the apparent mainstays of the ceaselessly busy James Graham, and he conjoins the two to riveting effect in Best of Enemies.Telling of the televised 1968 debates between William F Buckley and Gore Vidal during that year's...

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Dinner with Groucho, Arcola Theatre review - often opaque

The set at the Arcola for Frank McGuinness’s Dinner with Groucho naturally features a table with two place settings and a backdrop of clouds in a blue sky. Overhead are pendant globe lights that will transform into stars. But the floor is a key...

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Here, Southwark Playhouse review - award-winning kitchen sink drama goes down the drain

The kitchen sink drama has been a standby of English theatre for 70 years or more, but not always with an actual sink on stage. But there it is, in an everyday home that harbours a secret or two in Clive Judd’s debut play, the winner of the 2022...

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Super High Resolution, Soho Theatre review - the NHS at breaking point

Every day there is bad news about the NHS — junior doctors are exhausted, nurses need foodbanks and the stats are hitting all-time lows. So a new play about a junior doctor facing the stresses of the job is certainly timely.In fact, Nathan Ellis was...

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Something in the Air, Jermyn Street Theatre review - evocative London mood music

As its title suggests, Peter Gill’s Something in the Air is an elusive piece – it’s about catching at instinct, responding to intuition, bringing together overlapping hints of present and past lives. From these different stories, spun out of lived...

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The Boy with Two Hearts, National Theatre review - poignant yet humorous story of family forced to flee Afghanistan

It’s particularly poignant to watch this story in the knowledge that a little over a year after US-led troops withdrew from Afghanistan, women and girls are enduring a renewed repression of their rights under the Taliban. The real-life story of The...

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Eureka Day, Old Vic review - fun if not entirely fulfilling

Can a play peak too soon? That's the quandary that attends the Old Vic airing of Eureka Day, Jonathan Spector's on-point if overextended comedy that was written prior to the pandemic but has absolutely come into its own just now. A skewering of...

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Clutch, Bush Theatre review - new comedy-drama passes its test

Max is big and black and Tyler is slight and (very) white, an odd couple trapped in a dual-control car as Max barks out his instructions and Tyler prepares for his driving test. If their relationship is to get started, like the clutch of the...

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Bright Half Life, Kings Head Theatre review - ups and downs of a tender lesbian love affair

A tender love story has arrived at the Kings Head theatre from the US, where its author, Tanya Barfield, is an award-winning playwright for both television and theatre. The plot is simple: two women — one white, one Black — meet in an office where...

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