Lloyd Evans rss

Zoë Wanamaker as Stevie Smith

Shrapnel at the Arcola works for the slayers, not the slain

28 March 2015
Stevie Hampstead Theatre
Shrapnel: 34 Fragments of a Massacre Arcola

Quite a hit factory these days, the Hampstead Theatre. The latest candidate for West End glory is Hugh Whitemore’s bio-drama about Stevie Smith. Not an obvious choice. The script, from… Read more

The Cutting of the Cloth, Southwark Playhouse

Radiant Vermin at the Soho Theatre reviewed: a barmy little sketch posing as a revolutionary satire

21 March 2015
Radiant Vermin Soho Theatre
The Cutting of the Cloth Southwark Playhouse

Philip Ridley is best known as the screenwriter of The Krays, in which Gary and Martin Kemp played Ronnie and Reggie as a pair of tanned and lisping choirboys. Ridley… Read more

heckler_21marchv2

The Heckler: Why I’m allergic to Stephen Sondheim

21 March 2015

I came out in a rash when I heard that Emma Thompson was to star in Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd at the Coliseum. Sondheim has that effect on me. And… Read more

Simon Darwen as Peter and Siubhan Harrison as Eloise in ‘The Armour’

The Armour at Langham Hotel reviewed: three new playlets that never get going

14 March 2015
The Armour Langham Hotel
The Rise and Shine of Comrade Fiasco Gate Theatre

One of last year’s unexpected treasures was a novelty show by Defibrillator that took three neglected Tennessee Williams plays, all set in hotel rooms, and staged them in suites at… Read more

Class act: Nancy Carroll in Patrick Marber’s ‘Closer’ at the Donmar Warehouse. Photo: Johan Persson

Why George Bernard Shaw was an overrated babbler

7 March 2015
Man and Superman Lyttelton
Closer Donmar Warehouse

When I was a kid, I was taught by a kindly old Jesuit whose youth had been beguiled by George Bernard Shaw. The provocative ironies of ‘GBS’ were quoted everywhere… Read more

How I Learned to Drive at Southwark Playhouse

Muswell Hill reviewed: a guide on how to sock it to London trendies

28 February 2015
Muswell Hill Park Theatre
How I Learned to Drive Southwark Playhouse

Torben Betts is much admired by his near-namesake Quentin Letts for socking it to London trendies. Letts is one of the few individuals who enjoys the twin blessings of a… Read more

How to Hold Your Breath: Maxine Peake and Christine Bottomley Photo: Manuel Harlan

How to Hold Your Breath, Royal Court, review: yet more state-funded misanthropy

21 February 2015
How to Hold Your Breath Royal Court
The Domestic Extremists The Space

‘We hate the system and we want the system to pay us to say we hate the system.’ The oratorio of subsidised theatre rises, in triumphant blast, at the Royal… Read more

The Separation Photo: Ed Clark

A tatty new theatre offers up a comic gem that’s sure to be snapped up by the BBC

14 February 2015
Goodbye, The [After] Life of Cook & Moore Museum of Comedy
The Separation Theatre503

New venue. New enticement. In the undercroft of a vast but disregarded Bloomsbury church nestles the Museum of Comedy. The below-stairs space wears the heavy oaken lineaments of Victorian piety… Read more

Intelligent design: Olivia Vinall as Hilary in ‘The Hard Problem’

Tom Stoppard’s The Hard Problem review: too clever by half

7 February 2015
The Hard Problem Dorfman
Taken at Midnight Haymarket

Big event. A new play from Sir Tom. And he tackles one of philosophy’s oldest and crunchiest issues, which varsity thinkers call ‘the hard problem’. How is it that a… Read more

My Night With Reg Photo: Johan Persson

My Night With Reg at the Apollo Theatre reviewed: a great play that will go under without an interval

31 January 2015
My Night With Reg Apollo Theatre
Islands Bush Theatre

Gay plays crowd the theatrical canon. There are the necessary enigmas of Noël Coward, like The Vortex or Design For Living, which are slyly aimed at an audience of knowing… Read more

Bull Photo: Simon Annand

Young Vic’s Bull, review: a new Mike Bartlett play to bore you into catalepsy

24 January 2015
Bull Young Vic, until 14 February
Contact.com Park Theatre, until 14 February

A knockout show at the Young Vic. Literally. The stage has been reconfigured as a boxing ring to make Mike Bartlett’s play, Bull, feel like a sporting fixture. This is… Read more

Tree, The Old Vic Illustration: Lizzie Stewart

Old Vic’s Tree: Beckett plus Seinfeld - plus swearing

17 January 2015
Tree Old Vic
Donkey Heart Trafalgar Studios

‘Fucking hell. You twat. Fuck off. Fuck. Fuck.’ These dispiriting words are the opening line of Tree, a newish play by the lugubrious comic Daniel Kitson, whose stand-up show once… Read more

Paul Barritt’s stunning design for ‘The Golem’ resembles ‘a ketchup-splattered bumble bee’

Young Vic's Golem: its status as a cult hit fills me with troubled wonder

10 January 2015
Golem Young Vic
The Dragon Southwark Playhouse

The Young Vic produces shows that please many but rarely me. Its big hit of 2014, A Streetcar Named Desire, won virtually every prize going apart from the one it… Read more

3 Winters  Photo: Ellie Kurttz

National Theatre’s 3 Winters: a hideous Balkans ballyhoo

3 January 2015
3 Winters Lyttelton
Hope Royal Court

A masterpiece at the National. A masterpiece of persuasion and bewitchment. Croatian word-athlete Tena Stivicic has miraculously convinced director Howard Davies that she can write epic historical theatre. And Davies… Read more

Slick, handsome and richly costumed: ‘Mother Goose’ at the Hackney Empire

Panto season has arrived - and even the kids are turning their nose up at it

13 December 2014
Mother Goose Hackney Empire, until 4 January
Sleeping Booty! Leicester Square Theatre, until 17 January

‘What is a panto?’ I asked my companion at the Hackney Empire’s Saturday matinee. ‘It’s basically a really bad play,’ said Coco, aged five and three quarters. She was there… Read more

‘Do you come here often?’ A theatre bar goes on stage in a revue from 1933

A critic’s guide to theatre bars

6 December 2014

Head upstairs. That’s my tip for thirsty play-goers during the interval. Most West End theatres are sunken affairs built in scooped-out craters, and this quirk of their design places the… Read more

Adam Brown in Saxon Court by Daniel Andersen. Photo: Richard Lakos

A workplace revenge comedy from the Ricky Gervais school of humour

6 December 2014
Saxon Court Southwark Playhouse
Too High, Too Far, Too Soon Tristan Bates Theatre

When to launch? For impresarios, this is the eternal dilemma. Autumn is so crowded with press nights that producers are heard to sigh, ‘The market’s full. There’s no room.’ When… Read more

Poverty ogling: Stephanie Street and Meera Syal in ‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers’

The National’s latest attempt to cheer us up: three hours of poverty porn

29 November 2014
Behind the Beautiful Forevers Olivier
The Realness Hackney Downs Studios

Bombay is now called Mumbai by everyone bar its residents, whose historic name (from the Portuguese for ‘beautiful cove’) has been discarded for them by their betters. Near the airport… Read more

Soloman and Marion

Norman Mailer’s wife comes out of the shadows

22 November 2014
Go See King’s Head Theatre
Solomon and Marion Print Room at the Coronet

‘It’s not as bad as I thought it would be,’ said Norman Mailer to his wife, Norris Church, after reading the first chapters of a novel she wrote in the… Read more

Gemma Arterton leads the way in Made in Dagenham Photo: Alex James

Yanks buy stacks of tickets in the West End. Why is Made in Dagenham so rude to them?

15 November 2014
Made in Dagenham: the Musical Adelphi Theatre
‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Go slow at Dagenham. The musical based on the film about a pay dispute in the 1960s starts as a sluggish mire of twee simplicities. We’re in Essex. Grumbling Cockney… Read more

Jonah and Otto Photo: Jack Sain

An inept dud penetrates the Park Theatre’s dross-filters - and I blame Beckett

8 November 2014
Jonah and Otto Park Theatre
Coolatully Finborough Theatre

Jonah and Otto is a lost-soul melodrama that keeps its audience guessing. Where are we? The Channel coast somewhere. Indoors or out? Not sure. Near a church maybe? Violence barges… Read more

Oppressed by the set in ‘Neville’s Island’

Neville's Island: a play from the era of Men Behaving Badly - when women were seen as exotic excrescences

1 November 2014
Neville’s Island Duke of York’s Theatre
Spine Soho Theatre

Start with a joke. Neville’s Island. Get it? Laughing yet? Are your ribs splitting into pieces? It’s a cracker, isn’t it? Well it’s a pun, at least, on Devil’s Island.… Read more

Jane Horrocks as the slovenly matriarch still fond of her bullying husband George (‘East is East’ playwright Ayub Khan Din, left)

Is London's West End Jewish enough for David Baddiel’s musical The Infidel?

25 October 2014
The Infidel — The Musical Theatre Royal Stratford East
East is East Trafalgar Studios

David Baddiel has turned his movie, The Infidel, into a musical. The set-up is so contrived and clumsy that it has a sweetness all its own. A golden-hearted London cabbie,… Read more

Harriet Walter as King Henry

Donmar's Henry IV: Phyllida Lloyd has nothing but contempt for her audience

18 October 2014
Henry IV Donmar Warehouse
Notes from Underground Print Room

The age of ‘ladies first’ is back. Phyllida Lloyd reserves all the roles for the weaker sex, as I imagine she thinks of them, in this hybrid play assembled from… Read more

Stage rage: Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra

Were the cast of the Old Vic’s Electra clothed by Oxfam?

11 October 2014
Electra Old Vic
Next Fall Southwark Playhouse

First, a bit of background. Conquering Agamemnon slew his daughter, Iphigenia, in return for a fair wind to Troy. This rather miffed his wife, Clytemnestra, who bashed his head in… Read more