Theatre

Review: The Hard Problem

By John Nathan, February 5, 2015

Tom Stoppard's long awaited latest play marks the last production that Nicholas Hytner will direct at the National before standing down as surely the most successful artistic director in the institution's half-century of existence.

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Hello, Goodbye Girl

By Naomi Firsht, February 5, 2015

The average shul has seen many a Purimspiel and Chanucah play rehearsed within its walls, but 24-year-old Ilai Szpiezak has upped the ante for Alyth Synagogue by inviting West End performers on to its stage to rehearse his new fringe production in nearby Highgate.

The young musical producer is bringing The Goodbye Girl to Upstairs at the Gatehouse, an intimate 120-seat theatre in Highgate Villa

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Review: Taken at Midnight

By John Nathan, February 5, 2015

There are few sights more inspiring than Penelope Wilton as Irmgard Litten standing up to the Gestapo. With imperious contempt she swats away a Nazi officer's smug justifications for arresting her lawyer son Hans. In 1931, Hans put Hitler on the stand and humiliated the future Führer by exposing him as a witless rabble rouser.

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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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