A show for politicians: John Gabriel Borkman, at the Bridge Theatre, reviewed

Clunk, clunk, clunk. John Gabriel Borkman opens with the obsessive footfalls of a disgraced banker as he prowls the attic of a shabby townhouse. On a beaten-up sofa lies Gunhild, his estranged wife, who guzzles Coke and watches TV game shows. The whole place stinks of stagnation and failure. The reclusive Borkman was once the country’s best-known banker until envious colleagues accused him of embezzlement and got him sent to jail for five years. After his release, he began a life of self-destructive solitude. The family are more riven with feuds than the royals. Gunhild loathes her twin sister, Ella, while Borkman blames both women for his downfall. His one

Skilful and riveting: The Poltergeist at the Southwark Playhouse reviewed

Sasha is angry. He’s a gay artist on his way to his niece’s birthday party and he keeps popping codeine pills to get him through the dull ceremony ahead. His devoted boyfriend, Chet, hasn’t realised that Sasha’s drug habit is a full-blown addiction but Sasha is highly secretive. He shows us two sides of his nature at once. Outside, he’s a friendly smiling uncle who dutifully attends family celebrations. Inside he’s spitting with rage at his brother’s cosy life and its trite domestic rituals. When he greets his pregnant sister-in-law he grins politely while fuming to himself: ‘There’s a billion family photos here. If I spat anywhere I’d hit one.’