Culture

Culture

The good, the bad and the ugly in books, exhibitions, cinema, TV, dance, music, podcasts and theatre.

Lloyd Evans

Donmar Warehouse declares war on Shakespeare

Theatre

Many of today’s theatre directors seem to believe that Shakespeare’s work was a huge mistake which they have a duty to correct. According to Max Webster, the director of Macbeth at the Donmar, Shakespeare’s error was to write scripts for the stage which would work better as radio plays. His amended version is set in

Lloyd Evans

Do we really need this unsubtle and irrelevant play about Covid?

Theatre

Pandemonium is a new satire about the Covid nightmare that uses the quaint style of the Elizabethan masque. Armando Iannucci’s play opens with Paul Chahidi as Shakespeare introducing a troupe of players who all speak in rhyming couplets. A golden wig descends like a signal from on high and Shakespeare transforms himself into the ‘World

Hannah Tomes

Comedy of the blackest kind: Boy Parts, at Soho Theatre, reviewed

Theatre

There’s something mesmerising about watching a good mimic. And Aimée Kelly, who plays fetish photographer Irina Sturges in Soho Theatre’s Boy Parts, is a very good mimic. Across the 80 minutes of this one-woman performance, she inhabits the bodies of dozens of characters, each a carbon copy of the worst kind of person: oleaginous city

Lloyd Evans

If only Caryl Churchill’s plays were as thrillingly macabre as her debut

Theatre

The first play by the pioneering feminist Caryl Churchill has been revived at the Jermyn Street Theatre. Owners, originally staged in 1972, feels very different from Churchill’s later work and it recalls the apprentice efforts of Brecht who started out writing middle-class comedies tinged with satirical anger. Churchill sets her play in the cut-throat London

Lloyd Evans

Cheesy skit: A Mirror, at the Almeida Theatre, reviewed

Theatre

The playwright Sam Holcroft likes to toy with dramatic conventions and to tease her audiences by withholding key information about the characters. This tinkering seems to scare the critics into praising her scripts even though they feel like clumsily written thrillers or botched sci-fi yarns where the rules keep changing. Her technique appeals to high-minded

Lloyd Evans

Two very long hours: The Effect, at the Lyttelton Theatre, reviewed

Theatre

Lucy Prebble belongs to the posse of scribblers responsible for the HBO hit, Succession. Perhaps in honour of this distinction, her 2012 play, The Effect, has been revived at the National by master-director Jamie Lloyd. The show is a sitcom set in Britain’s most dysfunctional drug-testing facility where two sexy young volunteers, Tristan and Connie,

Lloyd Evans

Finally an entertaining play at the Royal Court: Cuckoo reviewed

Theatre

The boss of the Royal Court, Vicky Featherstone, will soon step down and she’s using her final spell in charge to try an unusual experiment. Can she entertain the punters and make them feel happy rather than forcing them to confront various forms of gloom, misery and despair? The answer is yes. Featherstone can tickle

Lloyd Evans

Forgettable stuff: The Crown Jewels, at the Garrick, reviewed

Theatre

In the 1990s, the BBC had a popular flat-share comedy, Men Behaving Badly, about a pair of giggling bachelors who were scolded and dominated by their mummy-substitute girl-friends. The author, Simon Nye, has written a historical crime caper about the theft of the crown jewels in 1671, as Charles II prepared to celebrate his tenth