Theatre

Piffle: The Lieutenant of Inishmore reviewed

14 July 2018 9:00 am

The Lieutenant of Inishmore is a knockabout farce set during the Troubles. Like Monty Python’s dead parrot sketch it uses…

Contains at least 15 laugh-out-loud moments: Genesis Inc. reviewed

7 July 2018 9:00 am

Listen to the crowd. I often delay passing judgment on a show until the audience delivers its verdict. This is…

Ken Nwosu and Alistair Toovey in An Octoroon at the National Theatre

So bad I wanted to escape: An Octoroon reviewed

30 June 2018 9:00 am

Intriguing word, ‘octoroon’. Does it mean an eight-sided almond-flavoured cakelet? No, it’s a person whose ancestry is one eighth black.…

Vanessa Kirby as Julie and Eric Kofi Abrefa as Jean in Julie at the National Theatre. Photo: Richard H Smith

This adaptation of Miss Julie is a textbook lesson in how to kill a classic

23 June 2018 9:00 am

Polly Stenham starts her overhaul of Strindberg’s Miss Julie with the title. She gives the ‘Miss’ a miss and calls…

Why has the National given over its largest stage to one of the nation's smallest talents?

16 June 2018 9:00 am

The National has made its largest stage available to one of the nation’s smallest talents. If Brian Friel had been…

Gripping piece of comic-horror nonsense: Killer Joe at Trafalgar Studios reviewed

9 June 2018 9:00 am

Tracy Letts begins his trailer-trash comedy Killer Joe with the corniest of platitudes. A runaway druggie named Chris Smith needs…

How to cope with unsold tickets and empty halls: my advice to Owen Jones

9 June 2018 9:00 am

My heart goes out to Owen Jones. The left-wing journalist is one of the headliners at a Labour party fund-raiser…

Roger Allam as John Christie in David Hare’s The Moderate Soprano

A champion actor and fully paid-up member of the human race: Roger Allam interviewed

26 May 2018 9:00 am

On stage Roger Allam has covered pretty much everything in his four decades as an actor. Off it, he is a fully paid-up member of the human race, as Michael Henderson discovers

Large chunks felt lifted from The Archers: Nightfall reviewed

26 May 2018 9:00 am

The Bridge’s big summer show is Nightfall by prize-winning newcomer Barney Norris. Widowed Jenny wants her grown-up kids, Lou and…

Rarely have I sat through such a chaotic and whimsical script: Describe the Night reviewed

19 May 2018 9:00 am

Describe the Night opens in Poland in 1920 where two Russian soldiers, Isaac and Nikolai, discuss truth and falsehood. Next…

Cecilia Noble as Aunt Maggie in Nine Night at the National Theatre

Flawed but often hilarious new play: Nine Night at the Dorfman Theatre reviewed

12 May 2018 9:00 am

Nine Night refers to a Jamaican custom that obliges bereaved families to party non-stop for more than a week following…

A dated and remote two-hour polemic basking in #MeToo topicality: The Writer reviewed

5 May 2018 9:00 am

Ella Hickson’s last play at the Almeida was a sketch show about oil. Her new effort uses the same episodic…

Flop of the year? Royal Court's Instructions for Correct Assembly reviewed

28 April 2018 9:00 am

‘Hunt the Flop’, the Royal Court’s bizarre quest for dud plays, has found a candidate for this year’s overall prize.…

Racism and the RSC: why I was a sitting duck for the arts mob

21 April 2018 9:00 am

Our ducks are back. Two wild mallard have spent the last five springs on the brook which gurgles past us…

Haydn Gwynne gallantly plays the ageing sexpot Lady Wishfort in The Way of the World at the Donmar Warehouse

Some fairly rich people rip off some very rich people. Who are we rooting for? Quiz reviewed

21 April 2018 9:00 am

Quiz by James Graham looks at the failed attempt in 2001 to swindle a million quid from an ITV game…

A gripping new play with a Michael Fish-y narrative: Pressure reviewed

14 April 2018 9:00 am

David Haig’s play Pressure looks at the Scottish meteorologist, James Stagg, who advised Eisenhower about the weather in the week…

Flouncy, tasteless and unsubtle – I loved it: Ruthless! The Musical reviewed

7 April 2018 9:00 am

Ruthless! The Musical is a camp extravaganza about ambitious actors stranded in small-town America. Sylvia St Croix, a pushy agent,…

The Plough and the Stars at the Lyric Hammersmith shows Sean O’Casey is one of the greats

31 March 2018 9:00 am

The Plough and the Stars by Sean O’Casey looks at the Irish nationalist movement during the events of Easter 1916.…

The black art of acting

31 March 2018 9:00 am

I go to the theatre but rarely because I am overpowered by even mediocre acting and find it exhausting. Theatre…

A beautiful but bizarre show, beset by ‘great ideas’: Summer and Smoke reviewed

24 March 2018 9:00 am

Summer and Smoke by Tennessee Williams dates from the late 1940s. He hadn’t quite reached the peaks of sentimental delicacy…

Anne-Marie Duff as Lady Macbeth in Macbeth at the National Theatre

Rory Kinnear is less Macbeth, more a tetchy manager of an Amazon warehouse

17 March 2018 9:00 am

The Best Man by Gore Vidal is set during a fictional American election in 1960. Two gifted candidates seek their…

Shall we dance: the cast of Fanny & Alexander at the Old Vic

There's much to adore about the Old Vic's Fanny and Alexander

10 March 2018 9:00 am

Fanny & Alexander opens like a Chekhov comedy and turns into an Ibsen tragedy. Ingmar Bergman’s movie script, adapted by…

If you wanted to cast someone as Spooner, the literary vagrant in Pinter’s No Man’s Land, you’d struggle to find a closer match: director Michael Boyd

The former head of the RSC finds cause for optimism in the Arts Council cuts

10 March 2018 9:00 am

The director Michael Boyd may be drawn to nightmarish and morbid themes but Lloyd Evans finds him surprisingly cheerful

If I were a detective looking for serial killers I’d stake out Frozen

3 March 2018 9:00 am

Frozen starts with a shrink having a panic attack. She hyperventilates into her hand-bag and then gets drunk on an…

Monica Dolan as Tessa in The B*easts. Photo: Alan Harris

The York Realist feels like it’s been written by a newcomer at a creative writing weekend

24 February 2018 9:00 am

The Donmar’s new show, The York Realist, dates from 2001. The programme notes tell us that the playwright, Peter Gill,…