The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

Donmar Warehouse, London (****)

© Helen Maybanks, Lenny Henry as Arturo Ui

© Helen Maybanks, Lenny Henry as Arturo Ui

Well, to start at the end, I can’t remember a more personally `engaged’ ending than Simon Evans manufactures for the climax of Brecht’s 1940s political satire on the rise of Hitler in an American gangland setting. Continue reading

Dogs Don’t Do Ballet

Little Angel Theatre, London (***)

Dog and prima ballerina

© Lynette Shanbury, Little Angel puppets by Keith Frederick, Biff and Anna

There can be so many ways to get young children interested in ballet. The oldest and sometimes the most archaic of dance art forms, it still has an allure and glitter that rubs off on the youngest. Little Angel’s Dogs Don’t Do Ballet for the tinies (2-7 year olds) would seem to hit all the right buttons: tutus, bits of famous ballet music and to top it all, a dog who thinks he’s a ballerina. Continue reading

While We’re Here

Bush Theatre Studio, London (****)

© Mark Douet, Andrew French (Eddie) and Tessa Peake-Jones (Carol)

© Mark Douet, Andrew French (Eddie) and Tessa Peake-Jones (Carol)

Walking back from the Bush the other evening, I glanced back at the Green and remembered the years when the one-room `Bush’ hovered above a far from welcoming pub, up some uncomfortable and cranky stairs. For years and years. Continue reading

City of Glass

Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, London (***/*)

© Jonathan Keenan, L-R-Mark-Edel-Hunt-Daniel-Quinn-and-Jack-Tarlton-Stillman-

© Jonathan Keenan, L-R-Mark-Edel-Hunt-Daniel-Quinn-and-Jack-Tarlton-Stillman-

Well, this is a piece of work and for once, I truly don’t know where to start. First off, Paul Auster – shame on me – is not on my check list of much loved authors or cultural icons. That says more about me than him, a best-selling author with novels translated into 40 languages. Where have I been all my life – a rhetorical/metaphysical question that Auster’s own characters such as Paul Auster/Quinn, of City of Glass and his New York Trilogy would no doubt understand and appreciate! Continue reading

Obsession

Barbican Theatre, London (****)

© Jan Versweyveld, Halina Reijn (Hanna), Jude Law (Gino)

© Jan Versweyveld, Halina Reijn (Hanna), Jude Law (Gino)

Ivo van Hove is simply everywhere at present, the wunderkind of international theatre and opera. It’s understandable why he is so much in demand. He has a way of envisioning that is either truly spectacular or passionately intimate, as was the case with his award-winning production of A View from the Bridge for the Young Vic. Continue reading

Nuclear War

Royal Court Jerwood Theatre, Upstairs, London (****)

© Chloe Lamford, Maureen Beattie

© Chloe Lamford, Maureen Beattie

There’s something refreshingly anarchic about Simon Stephens. In his very long preface to the printed text of Nuclear War, Stephens talks at length about the process of writing this play and how the origination of it came from his interest in writing a piece of text for movement/dance after director Ramin Gray brought in choreographer Hofesh Schechter to work on his 2006 play, Motortown. Continue reading