Laurence Olivier

Vivien Leigh in a publicity still for Waterloo Bridge, 1940

Vivien Leigh: the brilliant star that fast burned out

15 December 2018 9:00 am

‘Dark Star’ is a suitable enough title in itself, but the definition makes it a brilliant one: ‘A Dark Star’,…

Helen Mirren in the title role of Phèdre, in the 2009 production at the National directed by Nicholas Hytner. ‘I was honoured to be involved in the very first NT Live broadcast,’ she writes in her foreword to Dramatic Exchanges. ‘Suddenly we were performing to many thousands of people’

Rows backstage at the National Theatre

1 December 2018 9:00 am

It is, proclaimed Charles Wyndham in 1908, ‘an institution alien to the spirit of our nation’. The alien having long…

On tap: Kenneth Branagh as Archie Rice in ‘The Entertainer’

John Osborne’s The Entertainer is a big, fat, boring slice of prime-time chitchat

10 September 2016 9:00 am

Kenneth Branagh’s obsession with Larry Olivier’s career is becoming such a bizarre act of theatrical necromancy that it deserves to…

Volpone and his coterie of misfits, L–R from the back: Julian Hoult (Castrone), Ankur Bahl (Androgyno), Henry Goodman (Volpone) and Jonathan Key (Nano)

Trevor Nunn’s Volpone reviewed: Henry Goodman bewitches the audience by doing nothing wittily

18 July 2015 9:00 am

Easy playwright to get on with, Ben Jonson. His world is simple, his tastes endearing. He likes golden-hearted swindlers and…

Italy’s highest-paid heart-throb, Mastroianni as Guido Anselmi, a film director in ‘creative limbo’

How Fellini made his modernist masterpiece

11 April 2015 9:00 am

Ian Thomson on the creative limbo that spawned Fellini’s modernist masterpiece, 8½

The National Theatre Story by Daniel Rosenthal - review

11 January 2014 9:00 am

In 1976, as the National Theatre moved into its new home on London’s South Bank, its literary manager Kenneth Tynan…

As Luck Would Have It, by Derek Jacobi - review

28 September 2013 9:00 am

Alan Bennett once overheard an old lady say, ‘I think a knighthood was wasted on Derek Jacobi,’ and I know…

Stage Blood, by Michael Blakemore - review

21 September 2013 9:00 am

Stage Blood, as its title suggests, is as full of vitriol, back-stabbing and conspiracy as any Jacobean tragedy. In this…

Olivier, by Philip Ziegler - review

7 September 2013 9:00 am

Philip Ziegler is best known for his biographies, often official, of politicians, royalty  and soldiers. They include Harold Wilson, Edward…