Theatre

Review: the Sound of Music

By John Nathan, August 12, 2013

There is nothing like the sight of a swastika to haul a show away from sentimentality. During the 2006 London revival of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s musical, huge Nazi flags unfurled down the length of the Palladium’s walls.

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Review: Josephine and I

By John Nathan, August 5, 2013

Though there is only one woman on stage, there are two people about whom we know an awful lot by the end of this show. The first is the Josephine of the title — Josephine Baker that is, the African American dancing dynamo who became a ground-breaking sex symbol on stage and screen. The second is actor and author of this show Cush Jumbo.

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Review: Address Unknown

By John Nathan, July 15, 2013

There are two adaptations of Kathrine Kressmann Taylor’s 1938 epistolary novella at the Soho. One French — the language in which the book was originally adapted for the stage — the other English.

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Review: Private Lives

By John Nathan, July 15, 2013

Noel Coward’s eloquent knockabout comedy about a relationship defined by mutual abuse is a regularly revived classic that is beautifully written.

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Prolific writer has a Plan for the West End

By John Nathan, July 7, 2013

‘I’m not a good traveller,” says the Tony-winning, New York playwright Richard Greenberg, on the line from his Manhattan apartment. “I’m talking to you from a swivel chair which makes me feel kind of global,” he adds self-mockingly.

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Review: Fences

By John Nathan, July 7, 2013

We will never know if Troy, the flawed hero in August Wilson’s 1987 play, never played major league baseball because he was too old or, in a white-dominated sport, because he was too black.

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It’s sweet, but maybe a little too sugary

By John Nathan, June 27, 2013

The return of Sam Mendes — and Roald Dahl — to the London stage is a technical triumph. There are scenes of astounding complexity in this new stage adaptation of Dahl’s 1964 children’s fantasy.

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Review: The cripple of Inishmaan

By John Nathan, June 21, 2013

Not since the crablike stalk of Kevin Spacey’s Richard III has the star of a show had to adopt such painful-looking posture. In the title role of Martin McDonagh’s 1997 play, set on the island of Inishmaan in 1934, Daniel Radcliffe as the orphan Cripple Billy hoists one hip above the other.

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Review: Sweet Birth of Youth

By John Nathan, June 21, 2013

With Eugene O’Neill’s peculiar Strange Interlude at the National, this revival of Tennessee Williams’s rarely staged late play is the second utterly involving offering in London by a great pillar of American drama.

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Review: The Amen Corner

By John Nathan, June 17, 2013

The first of two plays written by the novelist and essayist James Baldwin — revived here by director Rufus Norris in a version gorgeously saturated with gospel music — was penned in the knowledge that religion was a refuge for his fellow African Americans. For them, opportunities to be anything other than an unskilled labourer were practically non-existent.

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