2018

The Inheritance

Young Vic Theatre, London ****

© Simon Annand, Kyle Soller and Andrew Burnap as the two early lovers, Eric and Toby

© Simon Annand, Kyle Soller and Andrew Burnap as the two early lovers, Eric and Toby

First, the inevitable name check: Angels in America, Tony Kushner. Well, how can it be avoided when you are dealing with a play that runs for over six hours, in two three-hour parts, that includes a hefty slab about the Aids epidemic and the decimation it caused amongst gay men in the 1980s. Continue reading

The Great Wave

Dorfman, National Theatre ****

© Mark Douet, Rosalind Chao, as the mother of abductee, Hanako and Tom Piper's set of screens and video projections of the coastal environment...

© Mark Douet, Rosalind Chao, as the mother of abductee, Hanako and Tom Piper’s set of screens and video projections of the coastal environment…

The great Yukio Ninagawa apart, South East and North East Asia have not figured greatly on our main stages. So Francis Turnly’s Korean/Japanese political/family drama comes as something of a shock. Indeed, it is a shocking tale, carrying with it intimations of past histories and global spheres of influence about which we, in the West, are quite literally shockingly ignorant. Continue reading

Picnic at Hanging Rock

Barbican Theatre, London ***

© Pia Johnson, Harriet Gordon-Anderson, Nikki Shiels and Elizabeth Nabben...the returned schoolgirls trying to find out what has happened and setting upon one of their teachers...

© Pia Johnson, Harriet Gordon-Anderson, Nikki Shiels and Elizabeth Nabben…the returned schoolgirls trying to find out what has happened and setting upon one of their teachers…

Somehow both the original novel by Joan Lindsay and the subsequent cult film by Peter Weir (1975) of the Australian `ghost’ story, Picnic at Hanging Rock escaped me. Continue reading

Girls & Boys

Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, London ****

© Marc Brenner, Carey Mulligan coolly describing terrible things...

© Marc Brenner, Carey Mulligan, sensational as raconteur, coolly describing terrible things…

The thing about Dennis Kelly is he likes to leave audiences with a moral question mark. Not for him easy platitudes. Or neat little conclusions. No wonder you’ll find him listed, amongst his credits, as author of the `book’ for Matilda the musical and the tv thriller, Utopia (also the comedy series, Pulling, on Netflix). Continue reading

Napoleon Disrobed

Arcola Theatre, London (****)

Paul Hunter as Napoleon

© Manuel Harlan, Paul Hunter as Napoleon

Who writes history? History is never permanent though the victors always like to think their version will be the one that survives into the millennia. Continue reading

The York Realist

Donmar Warehouse, London ****

© Johan Persson, Ben Batt as George, not so easy in his soul after all...

© Johan Persson, Ben Batt as George, not so easy in his soul after all…

Despite the fact that time has overtaken The York Realist to render it as almost as a parody of D H Lawrence, the writer Peter Gill himself championed and films such as the recent trail-blazer, God’s Own Country have made it seem almost too familiar, The York Realist still quietly insinuates its way into your heart. Continue reading