Theatre

Andrea Hart, James Bolam, Anne Reid & Freddie Meredith in Fracked! (Photo: Catherine Ashmore)

This fracking ‘satire’ can frack off

23 July 2016 9:00 am

Fracking is a British tradition. Since 1969 more than 200 sites have used hydraulic fracturing ‘without environmental catastrophes’ according to…

Richard Pyros (Carl) and Matt Smith (Maxim) in Unreachable (Photo: Matt Humphrey)

A new role any actor will kill to play: Unreachable reviewed

16 July 2016 9:00 am

Anthony Neilson is an Arts Council favourite known for trivial but impenetrable plays with off-putting names like The Wonderful World…

Bugsy Malone (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

Brian Friel’s miserable snapshot of Ireland is libellous blarney: Faith Healer reviewed

9 July 2016 9:00 am

Does anyone believe Brian Friel’s libellous blarney? He portrays Ireland in the 20th century as an economic basket case where…

More Dane than Thane: Ray Fearon as Macbeth

A spy thriller by a writer with no knowledge of spying or thrilling: Hampstead Theatre’s Wild reviewed

2 July 2016 9:00 am

Mike Bartlett’s curious blank-verse drama Charles III became an international hit. His new effort examines the cut-throat world of dark-web…

All meat-cleaver and calculation: Ralph Fiennes as Richard, Duke of Gloucester, in ‘Richard III’

Worth catching for Vanessa Redgrave's scary-witch routine alone: Almeida's Richard III reviewed

25 June 2016 8:00 am

When Richard III’s bones were unearthed in a Leicester car park, Frankie Boyle suggested the headline ‘Bent royal found at…

Aladdin, Prince Edward Theatre (Photo: Deen Van Meer, Disney)

The dancers are so attractive they should be arrested – & where Aladdin is set they would be

18 June 2016 9:00 am

Gauche, perhaps, to complain about Aladdin but it slightly deserves it. The terrific Genie opens the show and then disappears…

We’re all going on a summer holiday: the cast of ‘Sunset at the Villa Thalia’

Brecht’s work won’t survive the 21st century: The Threepenny Opera reviewed

11 June 2016 9:00 am

Bertolt Brecht took The Threepenny Opera  from an 18th-century script by John Gay and relocated it to Victorian London. This…

Lily James as Juliet and Richard Madden as Romeo

Derek Jacobi as Mercutio is half-genius, half-prank: Romeo and Juliet at the Garrick reviewed

4 June 2016 9:00 am

Out come the stars in Kenneth Branagh’s Romeo and Juliet. He musters a well-drilled, celebrity-ridden crew but they can’t quite…

Daniel Kaluuya (Christopher) and Luke Norris (Bruce) in Blue Orange at the Young Vic (Photo: Johan Persson)

I came out feeling euphoric and disorientated: Young Vic’s Blue/Orange reviewed

28 May 2016 9:00 am

Blue/Orange by Joe Penhall enjoys the dubious status of a modern classic. A black mental-health patient, Christopher, is about to…

A weird, druggy, space-age Bollywood mash-up: Emma Rice’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

What an extraordinary debut for Emma Rice: Globe's Midsummer Night's Dream reviewed

21 May 2016 9:00 am

The Globe’s new chatelaine, Emma Rice, has certainly shaken the old place up. It’s almost unrecognisable. Huge white plastic orbs…

Elegy's Lorna played by Zoe Wanamaker (Photo: Johan Persson)

Wasn’t Lawrence of Arabia more annoying than this new play suggests?

14 May 2016 9:00 am

T.E. Lawrence is like the gap-year student from hell. He visits a country full of exotic barbarians and after a…

Talk of the Devil: Kit Harington in ‘Doctor Faustus’

A literary lap dance: Doctor Faustus reviewed

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Great excitement for play-goers as a rare version of a theological masterpiece arrives in the West End. Doctor Faustus stars…

My Mother Said I Never Should (Photo: Savannah Photographic)

Down and Out in Paris and London is a chav safari

30 April 2016 9:00 am

Down and Out in Paris and London is a brilliant specimen from a disreputable branch of writing: the chav safari,…

Martin Neely as Jeremy Corbyn and Natasha Lewis as Diane Abbott

The time when Putin seduced Corbyn in an East Berlin nightclub

23 April 2016 9:00 am

Corbyn the Musical feels like it comes from the heart. Did the writers live through the 1970s when the hard-left…

Les Blancs (Photo: Johan Persson)

Les Blancs at the Olivier is good-ish, but it won't be a classic

16 April 2016 9:00 am

Les Blancs had a troubled birth. In 1965 several unfinished drafts of the play were entrusted by its dying author,…

Glenn Close as Norma Desmond in ‘Sunset Boulevard’

I didn’t enjoy it but I couldn’t help loving it: Sunset Boulevard reviewed

9 April 2016 9:00 am

Sunset Boulevard is a tale of fractured glory with Homeric dimensions. The movie presents Hollywood as a never-ending Trojan War…

Leading the party, two brilliant showmen: Kenneth Branagh (Ralph) and Rob Brydon (Brian) in ‘The Painkillers’

Slapstick enthusiasts will love this Branagh and Brydon farce: The Painkillers reviewed

2 April 2016 9:00 am

Sir Ken’s excellent West End residency continues with a sugar-rich confection. Sean Foley has adapted and updated an elderly French farce…

Catherine Tate as Myrna Ranapapadophilou in Miss Atomic Bomb. Photo: Tristram Kenton

Catherine Tate’s talents are wasted on this meandering musical about nuclear fallout

26 March 2016 9:00 am

Miss Atomic Bomb celebrates the sub-culture that grew up around nuclear tests in 1950s America. The citizens of Nevada would…

Sister act: Zawe Ashton and Uzo Aduba in Jean Genet’s ‘The Maids’

Jean Genet’s fascinating play, The Maids, is botched at Trafalgar Studios

19 March 2016 9:00 am

The Maids is a fascinating document. Written in 1947, Jean Genet’s drama portrays a pair of serving girls who enact…

L - R Harry Melling (Jason) and Tyrone (2)

Patriotic Traitor finds dramatic gold in France’s interwar history

12 March 2016 9:00 am

Jonathan Lynn, co-author of Yes Minister, has excavated the history of France during the two world wars and discovered dramatic…

Intelligent design: Alex Eales’s set for ‘Cleansed’ is the star of the show at the Dorfman

Sarah Kane's Cleansed is a thin, vicious pantomime

5 March 2016 9:00 am

Big fuss about Cleansed at the Dorfman. Talk of nauseous punters rushing for the gangways may have perversely delighted the…

Uncle Vanya, The Almeida

Kit-car Chekhov: Uncle Vanya at the Almeida reviewed

27 February 2016 9:00 am

Director Robert Icke has this to say of Chekhov’s greatest masterpiece: ‘Let the electricity of now flow into the old…

The End of Longing (Photo: Helen Maybanks)

The critics have it all wrong — Matthew Perry’s debut play is smart, stylish and sexy

20 February 2016 9:00 am

Here’s how to set yourself up for a fall. You stage the world première of your debut play in the…

Sarah Snook as Hilde Wangel and Ralph Fiennes as Halvard Solness in ‘The Master Builder’

A great, weird play to rival Shakespeare: Old Vic's The Master Builder reviewed

13 February 2016 9:00 am

The Master Builder, if done properly, can be one of those theatrical experiences that make you wonder if the Greeks…

Woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown: Gina McKee as The Mother

The Mother is meaningless - I predict great things for it

6 February 2016 9:00 am

Florian Zeller has been reading Pinter. And Pinter started out in repertory thrillers where suspense was created by delaying revelations…