Theatre

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,…

The dangers of taking a blind friend to see Fifty Shades of Grey

24 February 2018 9:00 am

Audio description, or AD, as it is fondly called, is coming of age. Once consigned to the utility room of…

The 1958 world première of Pinter’s The Birthday Party at the Lyric Hammersmith: John Stratton as McCann, John Slater as Goldberg and Richard Pearson as Stanley

The last survivor of The Birthday Party’s 1958 première remembers the traumatic first night

17 February 2018 9:00 am

Critics love The Birthday Party now. But that wasn’t always the case, says Jasper Rees

Why do critics claim to adore the waffle-fest that is Long Day’s Journey into Night?

17 February 2018 9:00 am

It’s considered the great masterpiece of 20th-century American drama. Oh, come off it. Long Day’s Journey into Night is a…

David Calder as Caesar in Nicholas Hytner’s Julius Caesar

Bold, in its way, but Ben Whishaw is ill-suited to Shakespeare: Julius Caesar reviewed

10 February 2018 9:00 am

Nicholas Hytner’s new show is a modern-dress Julius Caesar, heavily cut and played in the round. It runs for two…

June Watson as Genevieve and Marylouise Burke as Mertis in John

There are many scenes in this overlong play that consist, literally, of drivel: John reviewed

3 February 2018 9:00 am

The NT’s new production, John, is by a youngish American playwright, Annie Baker. We Brits tend to assume that ‘john’…

A monument of blithering stupidity: Zoë Wanamaker works wonders with Meg in The Birthday Party

Unlike most Pinter plays, this one doesn’t bore or baffle: The Birthday Party reviewed

27 January 2018 9:00 am

The Birthday Party is among Pinter’s earliest and strangest works. It deconstructs the conventions of a repertory thriller but doesn’t…

Americans in Paris: Imogen Poots as Abby and James Norton as Zack in Belleville

Another American playwright felled by her own trophy collection: Belleville reviewed

20 January 2018 9:00 am

A pattern emerges. A hot American playwright, dripping with prestigious awards, is honoured in London with a transfer of their…

Missing in action: Cosmo Jarvis and Oliver Alvin-Wilson in The Twilight Zone at the Almeida

The latest astonishing achievement from the creators of War Horse

13 January 2018 9:00 am

The Twilight Zone, an American TV show from the early 1960s, reinvented the ghost story for the age of space…

Sarah Vine: Why Jeremy Corbyn is the new Oliver Cromwell

6 January 2018 9:00 am

Owing to the spectacular uselessness of Ticketmaster, my son missed out on his birthday treat, seats for Hamilton at the…

As a musical, it’s overwhelming – politically, it’s an outrage: Hamilton reviewed

6 January 2018 9:00 am

It’s all about the rhythm. Hamilton is a musical that tells the story of America’s foundation through the medium of…

Tiny Tim by Harold Copping

Time to update our notions of disability and quit with the pity – and Tiny Tim

16 December 2017 9:00 am

It’s time to update our notions of disability, says Selina Mills, and quit with the pity

Lifelong friends: P.T. Barnum and General Tom Thumb

Showman, con man, family man: P.T. Barnum’s many faces

16 December 2017 9:00 am

Con man, showman, family man. Laura Freeman on the many faces of P.T. Barnum

Parliament Square at the Bush is theatre that believes it knows politics better than professional politicians

16 December 2017 9:00 am

A new play at the Bush with a catchy political title. Parliament Square introduces us to Kat, a young Scots…