Dr Angelus

Finborough Theatre, London (****)

© Lidia Crisafulli, Alex Bhat as naïve young doctor, George Johnson, Lesley Harcourt as his admiring patient, Mrs Irene Corcoran

© Lidia Crisafulli, Alex Bhat as naïve young doctor, George Johnson, Lesley Harcourt as his admiring patient, Mrs Irene Corcoran

What a titan was James Bridie aka Osborne Henry Mavor, doctor and writer, co-founder of Glasgow Citz and prime mover in the launch of the Edinburgh Festival as well as a driving force in the establishment of the Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Continue reading

Buried Child

Trafalgar Studios, London (****)

© Johan Persson, Ed Harris as Dodge, in the dying throes of...

© Johan Persson, Ed Harris as Dodge, in the dying throes of…

There are some classic lines in Sam Shepard’s brilliant 1978 Pulitzer prize winner, Buried Child. `We can’t not believe in something – we just end up dying if we stop. Just end up dead’. Continue reading

The Children

Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs (****)

&copy' Johan Persson, Deborah Findlay as domestic `goddess', Hazel...

&copy’ Johan Persson, Deborah Findlay as domestic `goddess’, Hazel…

Dystopian scenarios are becoming ever more frequent. And for good reason. Writers and artists are often the ones who can see further ahead than the rest of us, who can predict the coming storms. Continue reading

The Tempest

Donmar Warehouse at King’s Cross, London (****)

© Helen Maybanks, Harriet Walter as Prospero

© Helen Maybanks, Harriet Walter as Prospero

It’s hard to over-estimate the impact of Phyllida Lloyd’s Shakespeare Trilogy in its environmentally immersive aluminium shed by King’s Cross. As the programme notes eloquently point out, because of the place Shakespeare holds in our culture, we’ve been lulled into a false perspective of our society, given the disparity in the overall number of roles for women the plays reflect. Continue reading

Swan Lake/Loch na hEala

Sadler’s Wells, London (****)

© Colm Hogan, schoolgirl/swans, one of whom goes missing..

© Colm Hogan, schoolgirl/swans, one of whom goes missing..

Anybody going to see Michael Keegan-Dolan’s Swan Lake expecting business as usual is going to be in for a big surprise. But then, few would go unprepared. Keegan-Dolan has been around for a while, one of the wunderkinds of Irish dance-theatre. Previously under the name of Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre, Swan Lake/Loch na hEala represents the first flowering – or, to continue the zoological metaphor – the birth of a new entity to be known as Teac Damsa: house of dance. Continue reading

The Sewing Group

Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, (***)

© Fiona Glascott (left), Jane Hazlegrove , John Mackay (background), Sarah Niles (right)

© Fiona Glascott (left), Jane Hazlegrove , John Mackay (background), Sarah Niles (right)

Maybe one should always beware plays with letters as cast members. It never bodes well. E V Crowe has been steadily building a reputation as a writer of taut, stringent control since her debut, Kin (2010) followed by the positively garrulous  (by her standards) but impressive Hero (2012) with Daniel Mays. Last year, Brenda, a study in mystery and abuse, premiered at the High Tide festival and certainly took no prisoners. Nor does her latest, The Sewing Group.

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