Comedy

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…

Egyptian novelist Alaa Al-Aswany (Photo: Getty)

An Egyptian comedy of errors

16 January 2016 9:00 am

The Yacoubian Building, the first novel of the Egyptian writer Alaa Al Aswany, sold well over a million copies in…

Stanley Tucci as Captain Hook with the crew of the Jolly Roger

Dreams don’t have to make sense - but TV dramas do: Peter & Wendy reviewed

2 January 2016 9:00 am

On the face of it, ITV’s Peter & Wendy sounded like a perfect family offering for Boxing Day: an adaptation…

Ben Hur

Tricycle’s Ben Hur is magnificent in its superficiality - a masterpiece of nothing

12 December 2015 9:00 am

It’s the target that makes the satire as well as the satirist. Is the subject powerful, active, relevant and menacing?…

What a performance! Frank Skinner as Champagne Charlie

Victorian music-hall comedy wasn’t funny. Why pretend it was?

5 December 2015 9:00 am

Let’s start this week with a joke: ‘You know Mrs Kelly? Do you know Mrs Kelly? Her husband’s that little…

The War of the Roses (Photo: Mark Douet)

Shakespeare at his freest and most exuberant: The Wars of the Roses reviewed

24 October 2015 9:00 am

The RSC’s The Wars of the Roses solves a peculiar literary problem. Shakespeare’s earliest history plays are entitled Henry VI…

Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in Manhattan

Woody Allen: a life of jazz, laughter, depression —and a few misdemeanours

26 September 2015 8:00 am

Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg), the prolific, Oscar-winning auteur, New Orleans-style jazz clarinettist, doyen of New York delicatessen society,…

Alderman

A gleeful vision of the future from Margaret Atwood

19 September 2015 8:00 am

What could happen in literature to a young couple — or a pair of young couples — who fall off…

Mum’s serves 16 variants of mash, five variants of sausage and three individual types of gravy!

Where comics find their Edinburgh comfort food

5 September 2015 9:00 am

Mum’s, or to use its full title, Mum’s Great Comfort Food, is a restaurant in Edinburgh designed to soothe itinerant…

The Christians, Traverse

Edinburgh Fringe highlights: world-class improv, Bible study and an hour with a gentle genius

29 August 2015 9:00 am

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical offers a brand new song-and-dance spectacular at every performance. It opens with a brilliantly chaotic piece…

Cherrelle Skeete as Katya and Royce Pierreson at Belyaev in ‘Three Days in the Country’

Feels like Chekhov scripted by a Chekhov app: Three Days in the Country at the Lyttleton reviewed

8 August 2015 9:00 am

Chekhov so dominates 19th-century Russian drama that Turgenev doesn’t get much of a look-in. His best known play, A Month…

Imogen Poots and Owen Wilson

She's Funny That Way isn't funny at all

27 June 2015 9:00 am

The writer and director Peter Bogdanovich has made three of my favourite films of all time (The Last Picture Show,…

Freddie (Ian McKellen) and Stuart (Derek Jacobi) ©ITV

Imagine if Are You Being Served? had starred Laurence Olivier: ITV’s Vicious reviewed

6 June 2015 9:00 am

Monday saw the return of possibly the weirdest TV series in living memory. Imagine a parallel universe in which Are…

Jackie Mason at the Hollywood Palace in 1964: ‘A good comedian must tell the truth’

Jackie Mason reveals the secret of stand-up: avoid fried food

16 May 2015 9:00 am

What does it take to be a stand-up comic? Jackie Mason has absolutely no idea

Chris Rock as Andre Allen alongside Rosario Dawson as Chelsea Brown

Top Five reviewed: Chris Rock hits rock bottom

9 May 2015 9:00 am

The oeuvre of Chris Rock may not be fully known in this parish. He was the African-American stand-up who made…

Author Irvine Welsh Photo: Getty

Taxi ride to the dark side: a thrilling blast of full-strength Irvine Welsh

11 April 2015 9:00 am

Irvine Welsh, I think it’s safe to say, is not a writer who’s mellowing with age. His latest book sees…

Miranda July Photo: Getty

Miranda July may be a film director, performance artist, sculptor and designer — but she is no novelist

28 March 2015 9:00 am

Miranda July is a funny and brilliant film director, performance artist, sculptor and smartphone app designer. In 2005, she won…

Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) with his dinner date, Fiona (Gemma Arterton)

The Voices review: a hateful, repellent, empty film

21 March 2015 9:00 am

The Voices is ‘a dark comedy about a serial killer’, which is not an overcrowded genre, and I think we…

Heckler-210215

The Heckler: how funny really was Spitting Image?

21 February 2015 9:00 am

Hold the front page! Spitting Image is back! Well, sort of. A new six-part series, from (some of) the team…

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 9:00 am

New venue. New enticement. In the undercroft of a vast but disregarded Bloomsbury church nestles the Museum of Comedy. The…

Leo Tolstoy

Radio 4’s War and Peace: almost as good as the book

24 January 2015 9:00 am

To have listened to Radio 4’s marathon ten-hour adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace as it was being broadcast on…

Chico, Harpo and Groucho Marx (left to right) enjoy a day at the races

What unites Churchill, Dali and T.S. Eliot? They all worshipped the Marx Brothers

10 January 2015 9:00 am

Ian Thomson celebrates the anarchic genius of Groucho and his brothers

northstar

Fortune tellers, pound shops and Orville: why I love Blackpool

13 December 2014 9:00 am

Fortune tellers, pound shops and Orville: it’s easy to take the piss out of Blackpool, but William Cook loves it

Dapper Laughs Photo: Getty

You shouldn’t watch Dapper Laughs. But you really shouldn’t let the likes of me stop you

15 November 2014 9:00 am

As you’ll know by now, I’m big on thinking the right things. Should a thought strike me that m’colleague Rod…

Heath_killkenny-notebook

The subversive wonders of Kilkenomics – where economics meets stand-up

15 November 2014 9:00 am

‘What is a Minsky moment, anyway?’ asks Gerry Stembridge, an Irish satirist. ‘I’ve been reading about them in the papers…