Reviews

The Lehman Trilogy

Lyttelton, National Theatre, London ****

© Mark Douet, Henry, Emanuel and Mayer Lehman - the three Lehman Brothers: Simon Russell Beale, Ben Miles and Adam Godley

© Mark Douet, Henry, Emanuel and Mayer Lehman – the three Lehman Brothers: Simon Russell Beale, Ben Miles and Adam Godley

The cast would be worth the ticket alone, Simon Russell Beale, Ben Miles and Adam Godley. They could read the old-fashioned telephone directory and still make it sound significant. Continue reading

The Wooster Group – The Town Hall Affair

Barbican Theatre, London ****

© Hervé  Veronese, Scott  Shepherd,  Ari  Fliakos  as the two Normal Mailers and  Greg  Mehrten as Diana Trilling,

© Hervé Veronese, Scott Shepherd, Ari Fliakos as the two Normal Mailers and Greg Mehrten as Diana Trilling, and behind them, the Pennebaker and Hegedus documentary showing Greer, Mailer and Trilling

To say The Wooster Group are iconic is a bit like saying in the summer, the sun shines. It’s a given. The Wooster Group have been at the forefront of experimental theatre-making for nearly half a century. Continue reading

Notes From the Field

Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, London *****

© Joan Marcus, Anna Deavere Smith

© Joan Marcus, Anna Deavere Smith

Sometimes you just know you’ve seen the experience of a lifetime.

Twenty five years ago, Anna Deavere Smith came to London with a heart-felt, revealing portrait of New York tensions between the Jewish and Afro-American communities. She was a force to be reckoned with then, pioneering a form of theatre based in verbatim reports but energised by performance. Continue reading

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Donmar Warehouse, London ****

© Manuel Harlan, Lia Williams as Jean Brodie with her girls, the Brodie set...

© Manuel Harlan, Lia Williams as Jean Brodie with her girls, the Brodie set…

It’s interesting how Maggie Smith’s iconic 1969 performance as Edinburg teacher Jean Brodie has so stuck in people’s minds. Definitive in many ways, it was therefore brave of Josie Rourke to programme a revival.

Polly Findlay’s fine production, in David Harrower’s new adaptation, certainly justifies her decision. Continue reading

Machinal

Almeida Theatre, London ****

© Johan Persson, Jonathan Livinstone (Jones, the boss), Emily Berrington (young woman) and cast beating out a rhythm at the office...

© Johan Persson, Jonathan Livinstone (Jones, the boss), Emily Berrington (young woman) and cast beating out a rhythm at the office…

Rupert Goold’s tenure hardly puts a foot wrong these days.

True I’ve missed a couple of events the past few months – including Ella Hickson’s The Writer which divided everyone apparently. But here’s another cracker from the Goold stable. And nobody could accuse Goold of ignoring 50% of the population in his choices. After Mike Bartlett’s Albion last year with its central female protagonist, and Hickson’s feminist oriented writer, here is Natalie Abrahami’s terrific revival of Sophie Treadwell’s 1928 humdinger of a `masterpiece’ (is there another word?!).  Continue reading

Shirleymander

The Playground Theatre, London  ****

© Simon Bohrsmann, Jessica Martin as Dame Shirley Porter

© Simon Bohrsmann, Jessica Martin as Dame Shirley Porter

Within a stone’s throw of Grenfell Tower, Gregory Evans’  tale of greed, ambition and plain heartlessness, Shirleymander tells the darkest of stories with a very light touch. Continue reading