Theatre

Review: The Ruling Class

By John Nathan, January 29, 2015

Perhaps it was the late Peter Barnes's Jewishness that allowed him to look with such wry askance at Britain's class system.

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Review: Bad Jews

By John Nathan, January 29, 2015

This rather brilliant New York play by Joshua Harmon is given an added massive dose of poignancy by coincidentally opening in the anniversary week of Auschwitz's liberation. In this unintended context there is something particularly remarkable about the way Harmon explores how post-Holocaust Jewish generations live with the legacy of the Shoah.

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Opera: Andrea Chénier

By Jessica Duchen, January 29, 2015

By Umberto Giordano

Nobody at Covent Garden could have guessed that shortly before Andrea Chénier's opening, vast protests for freedom of speech would occur in Paris. In Giordano's French Revolution blockbuster the eponymous poet is condemned to death for using his pen as "a weapon against hypocrisy". Among the opera's weaknesses, though, is that we never learn what he said.

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Am I a bad Jew for giving my play an 'offensive' title?

By John Nathan, January 22, 2015

Of all the posters advertising plays, there is one that sticks out more than any other. It's a picture of two young men and a woman beating the hell out of each other. Above them, in bold, unmissable lettering is the play's title: "Bad Jews".

"Nobody suggested I change it," says 31-year-old New York playwright Joshua Harmon. "But I was afraid they were going to.

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Review: Bull

By John Nathan, January 22, 2015

Mike Bartlett burst on to the theatre scene in 2007 with a short, sharp drama about a family ripped asunder by bitter parents. He has gone on to write much bigger stuff, the best of which is King Charles III, still in the West End, a modern history play that imagines what might happen if the next monarch meddles in politics.

Bull sees his return to close-combat theatre.

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Could I ever really be happy if I marry out?

By Daniella Isaacs, January 15, 2015

To reach the ripe old age of 102 years is no mean feat. But to reach it without a partner at your side must be even more of a challenge. Around a year ago, I asked my wonderfully eccentric great aunt if she had any regrets as she entered her second century. With a melancholic smile, she uttered: "I wish I had a family".

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Review: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

By John Nathan, January 15, 2015

The colourful, Spanish brand of kitsch that made Pedro Almodovar's film so vivid has an energising effect on director Bartlett Sher's London version of this musical.

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Henry IV Parts I and II

By John Nathan, January 8, 2015

The differences could not have been starker. Before coming to this production, with a brilliant Antony Sher as the old rogue Falstaff, the previous version I saw of Shakespeare's two-parter was the Donmar Warehouse's. Phyllida Lloyd's all-woman production compressed the plays into two uninterrupted hours and set the action in a modern female prison.

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Interview: Olivia Jacobs and Jon Fiber

By John Nathan, December 18, 2014

Who are the most successful collaborations in theatre? Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber? Rodgers and Hammerstein? Well, you can, with only a little exaggeration add husband-and-wife team Olivia Jacobs and Jon Fiber who are responsible for - count 'em - five shows running simultaneously over the festive holidays.

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Review: The Merchant of Venice

By John Nathan, December 18, 2014

This RSC production's original Shylock in 2011 was played by Patrick Stewart who, before cutting his pound of flesh, covered his head with a tallit and intoned a prayer. Ah yes, that would presumably be the little-known Jewish prayer recited before killing a Christian.

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