Lloyd Evans

Lloyd Evans

Lloyd Evans is The Spectator's sketch-writer and theatre critic

Player Kings proves that Shakespeare can be funny

Play-goers, beware. Director Robert Icke is back in town, and that means a turgid four-hour revival of a heavyweight classic with every actor screaming, bawling, weeping, howling and generally overdoing it. But here’s a surprise. Player Kings, Icke’s new version of Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, is a dazzling piece of entertainment and the

Lloyd Evans

My (surprisingly) decent proposal

‘Like being chained to a lunatic.’ That’s how a man feels in relation to his libido. And the lunatic latches on to anything, irrationally, and without warning. In Cambridge recently I dropped into a lecture given by a beautiful historian, Lea Ypi, from Albania, whose discourse included this observation about revolutionaries: ‘Once they attain power

Rishi gets witty at PMQs

Keir Starmer came to Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) with a spring in his step. He announced that he owned ‘a rare unsigned copy’ of Liz Truss’s memoirs. ‘The only unsigned copy,’ he added with a chortle. Then he asked Rishi Sunak to justify the calamities of Truss’s premiership.  ‘He should spend less time reading that

Exhilarating: MJ the Musical reviewed

If you’ve heard good reports about MJ the Musical, believe them all and multiply everything by a hundred. As a music-and-dance spectacular, the show is as exhilarating as any Jackson produced while he was alive. The sets, the costumes, the choreography and the live band deliver an amazing collective punch. When he removes his black

If you hate the Irish, you’ll adore this play

Faith Healer is a classic Oirish wrist-slasher about three sponging half-wits caught in a downward spiral of penury, booze, squalor, sexual repression, bad healthcare, murderous violence and non-stop drizzle. The mood of grinding despair never lets up for a second as the healer, Frank Hardy, along with his moaning wife and their Cockney sidekick, motors

Dazzling: Harry Clarke, at the Ambassadors Theatre, reviewed

Sheridan Smith’s new show is more a mystery than a musical. Opening Night is based on a 1977 film by John Cassavetes that failed to attract a major US distributor. After opening briefly in LA, it vanished without trace. It’s a backstage drama about a tattooed drunk, Myrtle, who accepts the lead role in a

Lloyd Evans

Directors shouldn’t meddle with Shakespeare

A strip club, a prison, a mental asylum, a Great War field hospital, an addiction clinic, a Napoleonic palace. These are the typical locations for a modern production of Shakespeare, whose interpreters seem to agree that any setting is better than the one chosen by the playwright. The assumption today is that the Bard needs

PMQs is getting sadder and sadder

At PMQs we saw the next year of politics condensed into a few seconds. Sir Keir Starmer asked the PM why he declined to call an election. ‘My working assumption is that the election will be in the second half of the year,’ said Rishi. So there it is. A date in October rather than

The price we’ll pay for citizens’ assemblies

Citizens’ assemblies will transform Britain. That’s the promise made by activists from groups like Extinction Rebellion. Labour has also mooted introducing the assemblies if it wins power, even if it did later backtrack on the plans. In Waltham Forest, north-east London, the revolution has already begun: a citizens’ assembly is underway there that will determine

Lloyd Evans

Why I’m selling my vote to my son

‘How are you going to pay me back?’ This is the eternal question of the hard-pressed dad as he hands £10 to a teenage son with an urgent appointment at the snooker club. ‘My Saturday job,’ says Isaac satirically. He hasn’t got a Saturday job and that’s my fault, apparently. His friends all have immensely

Rishi came under attack from all sides at PMQs

The plot to shoot Diane Abbot dominated PMQs. The Tory donor, Frank Hester, reportedly said that the MP for Hackney North inspired violent thoughts in him, and made him want to ‘hate all black women.’ Sir Keir Starmer asked if Rishi Sunak was happy to be bankrolled by someone who harboured fantasies about gunshots and

Did we really need Warsi and Baddiel’s podcast?

Podcast fever continues to dominate the political airwaves. The rewards for success are enormous and popular podcasters are able to fill concert halls around the county by delivering a couple of hours of chitchat to willing punters. Since the running costs are minimal, the profits are vast. This explains the gold-rush of media darlings and

Who’s more embarrassing: Corbyn or Truss?

Sir Keir Starmer’s advisers have very short memories. At PMQs, the Labour leader mocked Liz Truss for visiting America to ‘flog a new book in search of fame and wealth’. He jeered at her suggestion that ‘the deep state’ had sabotaged her career, and he put it to Rishi Sunak that the Tories have become

Parliament’s Gaza vote won’t help anyone

The big issue at PMQs today was the motion calling for an end to hostilities in Gaza. In itself this is extraordinary, bordering on the outright barmy. The British mandate in Palestine expired in 1948 but many MPs seem to imagine that this troubled corner of the Middle East is part of their constituencies. The