Royal court theatre

Newcomers will need to read the play in advance: Julius Caesar, at the Globe, reviewed

Some things are done well in the Globe’s new Julius Caesar. The assassination is a thrilling spectacle. Ketchup pouches concealed inside Caesar’s costume explode bloodily with each dagger blow and the conspirators are doused in dripping scarlet gore. During the assault, Caesar fights back and very nearly survives. Highly realistic. Afterwards, his statue is toppled and rolled off the stage in a subtle echo of Colston’s ducking in Bristol docks. The crowd relished every minute of this pacy, high-energy show even though the visuals are wildly confusing. Brutus (Anna Crichlow) is a lesbian who sports a beige pashmina, a white T-shirt and a fetching gold turban. She looks like the

Is this the worst production of all time? Royal Court’s The Glow reviewed

It’s getting silly now. London’s subsidised theatres aren’t just competing to put on the worst play of the year but to create the worst production of all time. The Young Vic’s new effort, Conundrum, is an impenetrable rant which even the Guardian criticised. The Royal Court enters the fray with Alistair McDowall’s The Glow, directed by Vicky Featherstone. Act One is a flatshare sitcom set in the 19th century and features a pompous spiritualist, Mrs Lyall, who forces her chippy son, Mason, to live with a lunatic called Sadie. Mrs Lyall purchased Sadie from an asylum and together they conjure up a host of ancient spirits including an angry Jesus

Guilt-free hilarity: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Charing Cross Theatre reviewed

World-class sex bomb Janie Dee stars in a fabulously silly revival of the American comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. She plays a movie diva, Masha, who loves to flaunt her wealth in front of her mousy sister and bookish brother. Striding into the family home with her long hair flying and her scarlet lips curling, she narrows her eyes and flings shafts of desire in all directions. Then she arches her neck and tosses back her head to give her bust an extra half-inch of uplift. A stunning display. The show is about three middle-aged siblings whose over-intellectual parents named them after characters in Chekhov plays. Vanya

Like Alan Bennett but less funny: ‘night, Mother at Hampstead Theatre reviewed

’night, Mother is a two-hander that opens like a comedy sketch. ‘I’m going to kill myself, Mama,’ says Jessie. She’s cleaning a pistol and loading it with bullets. ‘I’ll shoot myself in a couple of hours.’ The pair live together in a lonely farmhouse, and Jessie wants to make sure her mother will be able to cope after her death. She tours the kitchen explaining where the fuses and the cleaning materials are kept. Mama, who doesn’t seem unduly alarmed, offers to phone her son and get him to thwart the suicide attempt. ‘I’ll just have to do it before he gets here,’ says Jessie. This is an intensely dramatic

Remembering David Storey, giant of postwar English culture

There is a famous story about David Storey. It is set in 1976 at the Royal Court where, for ten years, his plays had first been seen before heading away to the West End and Broadway. That same week he had won the Booker Prize with his novel Saville. With unrivalled success across fiction, theatre and cinema, Storey was a giant of postwar English culture. He was also, compared with most writers, an actual giant. This Sporting Life, his novel made into a groundbreaking film, grew out of his experience of playing rugby league for Leeds. Unlike Saville, his new play Mother’s Day was greeted by a raspberry fanfare after

A mesmerising piece of theatre: On Blueberry Hill reviewed

On Blueberry Hill sounds like a musical but it’s a sombre prison drama set in Ireland. Two bunkbeds. Above, an older man, Christy. Below, his younger companion, PJ. They take turns to talk, and gradually they reveal how their lives are interwoven. These are men of unusual intelligence and articulacy, and both are so profoundly in love with life’s simplest joys that their incarceration seems barely credible. Each might be a professor of literature or philosophy. During his boyhood, PJ tells us, he once worked as a golf caddy for a movie actor who shot a perfect round. It made him more happy than anything he had ever done. He