Richard bean

An entertaining display, clearly destined for Netflix: Patriots, at Almeida Theatre, reviewed

Patriots, by Peter Morgan, is a drama documentary about recent Russian history. And though it’s a topical show it’s not entirely up to date. The central character, Boris Berezovsky (1946-2013), was a schoolboy maths wizard who went into academia and published 16 books before entering politics. His Jewish background excluded him from the leadership of Russia so he became king-maker to Boris Yeltsin. An early contact, the deputy mayor of St Petersburg, asked for Berezovsky’s help. The rising youngster seemed to be harmless, malleable, and rather needy so Berezovsky installed him as a tame prime minister. Thus Vladimir Putin’s career began. Berezovsky owned a TV station that criticised the handling

The best theatre of the 21st century

Not looking great, is it? Until we all get jabbed, theatres may have to stay closed. And even the optimists say a reliable vaccine is unlikely to arrive before Christmas. As the darkness persists, here’s a round-up of my leading experiences over nearly two decades as a reviewer. There’s been a surge of output. More theatres have opened, especially on the London fringe, and several have created annexes for experimental work. Musicals have proliferated. The rise of the box-set has been excellent for the West End. Global hits such as Game of Thrones have created a host of British stars with enough clout to sell out a three-month run in