Theatre

Review: Noises Off

By John Nathan, December 22, 2011

Imagine a comedy so definitively comic that there seemed no point in ever writing another. That, with only a little exaggeration, is what Michael Frayn did to the genre of farce when he wrote Noises Off in 1982.

Actually, Frayn gives us two comedies for the price of one.

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Opera: Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg

By Stephen Pollard, December 22, 2011

For the ROH's Christmas treat, a six hour midsummer opera. Perverse you might think, until you hear Antonio Pappano's wondrous conducting of perhaps the most beautiful of all opera scores.

He brings an Italianate delicacy, never remotely ponderous, and is easily the best thing about this otherwise pleasant but hardly compelling revival.

The main problem is Wolfgang Koch's Sachs.

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Review: Haunted Child

By John Nathan, December 22, 2011

Julie (Sophie Okonedo) has been abandoned by her husband Douglas (Ben Daniels). Out of the blue, he turns up looking like he has been abducted by aliens. In a way, he has. He has fallen in with a religious group that believes in, among other things, celibacy, the discouragement of music, and reincarnation.

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Review: The Ladykillers

By John Nathan, December 15, 2011

If it is comfort fare you are after in these recession-hit times, Ealing comedy is the apple crumble of showbiz.

This reworking of the classic 1956 caper miscasts Peter Capaldi as criminal mastermind Professor Marcus, leader of a gang planning a robbery.

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Review: The Comedy of Errors

By John Nathan, December 8, 2011

Shakespeare teaches us that it does not much matter how ridiculous a plot is as long as the emotions are true.

You can have identical twins (here played by Lenny Henry and Chris Jarman) who each have identical twin servants (Lucian Msamati and Daniel Poyser), and then concoct a cockamamy story about siblings being separated as children by a great storm, and then unknowingly brought back togethe

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Review: Richard II

December 8, 2011

Probably best not to draw any parallels between this being the final production of Michael Grandage's stunning reign at the Donmar, and the fact that the play the director has chosen for his swan-song is about a king's fall from divine grace.

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Review: Goodbye Barcelona

By John Nathan, December 2, 2011

From the Jewish East End, where the battle cry was "they shall not pass", to the Spanish Civil War, where it was "No pasarán!", this rousing new musical pays tribute to the International Brigade that fought against the fascist forces in Spain.

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Review: Matilda the Musical

By John Nathan, December 2, 2011

If Tim Minchin's witty lyrics serve Roald Dahl's much-loved story better than his less inventive melodies, this hurricane-force RSC production never gives you time to dwell on the fact. Every scene is a tour de force in Matthew Warchus's stunning production.

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How Nicholas Hytner made the National a Jewish theatre

By John Nathan, December 1, 2011

It has been eight years since Nicholas Hytner took on the most important theatre job in the world. When he steps down he will be only the second artistic director to have run the National Theatre in London for more than 10 years (Sir Peter Hall did it for 15). And when that day comes the arts world will go into overdrive.

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Review: Reasons to be Pretty

By John Nathan, November 28, 2011

The nicest guy in Neil LaBute's play says that his girlfriend is ugly. Imagine what the nastiest guy is like.

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