Reviews

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

As You Like It

Shakespeare’s Globe, London ****

© Tristram Kenton, the Globe Ensemble in As You Like It.

Democratic, open, inclusive seem to be the key words for Michelle Terry’s approach to her inaugural season. New artistic director; new directions. A Globe Ensemble performing two plays, As You Like It and Hamlet, rehearsing together and breathing the same rehearsal air in a process designed to free up the plays to fresh interpretation. Continue reading

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