fri 28/01/2022

new writing

Folk, Hampstead Downstairs review - thoughtful play about folklorist Cecil Sharp

Cecil Sharp, heritage hero or imperialist appropriator? If you attended school in the first half of the 20th century, you would have sung from his collections of English folk songs, and probably gritted your teeth and performed the country dances he...

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Best of 2021: Theatre

There was no live theatre at the start of 2021, just a return to the world of virtual performance and streaming to which we had become well accustomed, and very quickly, too. So imagine the collective surprise come the start of this month as show...

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The Wife of Willesden, Kiln Theatre review - a saucy ode to Brent

Zadie Smith might not be the only writer who can rhyme "tandem" with "galdem", but she’s the only one who can do it in an adaptation of Chaucer. In The Wife of Willesden, her debut play, a modern version of one of the Canterbury Tales, Smith’s...

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The Seven Pomegranate Seeds, Rose Theatre, Kingston review - misogynist Euripides stands corrected

The resurrection of female voices from ancient Greek myth is so common now that one might imagine a grand panjandrum behind the scenes had set down a long-range mission – rather as they do in the fashion industry – which makers and producers...

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Milk and Gall, Theatre 503 review - motherhood in the age of Trump

Tuesday, 8 November 2016. Vera is in a New York hospital room giving birth to a son. On anxiously checked phones, the votes are piling up for Hillary, but the states are piling up for Trump. Vera’s world will never be the same again.Mathilde Dratwa’...

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Pioro, BBC Philharmonic, Schwarz, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review - an eco-concerto?

Who will write the world’s first eco-concerto? Tom Coult, with his major debut piece for the BBC Philharmonic since becoming its Composer in Association, a violin concerto titled Pleasure Garden, has made his bid.Perhaps Vivaldi got there before him...

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Ruth Ozeki: The Book of Form and Emptiness review - where the objects speak

“Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.” Ruth Ozeki’s latest novel takes its name from a Buddhist heart sutra that meditates on reality and questions of human existence. It’s a big question for a big book. A Zen priest as well as a teacher, writer,...

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Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of), Criterion Theatre review - bursting with wit, verve, and love

“We haven’t started yet!” Hannah-Jarrett Scott, dressed in Doc Martens under a 19th-century shift, reassures us as she attempts to dislodge a yellow rubber glove from a chandelier in the middle of the set of Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of)....

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Old Bridge, Bush Theatre review - powerful, poetic and profound

Is the Bosnian conflict of 1992–95 the war that Europe forgot? Maybe, although most fans of new writing for the British stage will remember its massacres as the inciting incident for Sarah Kane’s 1995 modern classic, Blasted. Certainly, this...

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Brian and Roger: A Highly Offensive Play, Menier Chocolate Factory review - not for the squeamish

What counts as offensive in these days of cancel culture? Ham-fisted pronoun usage? Culturally appropriated hairstyles? To remind us that other options are still available, the Menier’s new space, the Mixing Room, is staging a world premiere of a...

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The Magician's Elephant, Royal Shakespeare Theatre review - family musical doesn't fully deliver

Trigger warnings have become commonplace in theatres these days, but few chill the blood like the description "a new musical" on a playbill. There are so many things to go wrong, so few ways to get things right and, never far away, the dissenters...

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albatross., Playground Theatre review - interconnected intimacies

"You need to get better at communicating", says one character to another in Isley Lynn’s albatross. Indeed, the same advice would fare well with many of those in the Anglo-American Lynn’s new play, where miscommunication plagues a range of...

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