Theatre

Review: The Valley of Astonishment

By John Nathan, June 26, 2014

A new Peter Brook play is always keenly awaited. This one, which the 89-year-old director has co-written and co-directed with his long-time collaborator Marie-Helene Estienne, is the latest in a series of plays on neurology. It explores synaesthesia - enhanced responses to the world's stimuli.

In some people, it results in an incredible ability to retain facts and sequences of numbers.

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Review: Hotel

By John Nathan, June 19, 2014

There is swagger to this thriller by Polly Stenham, the playwright who in 2007 at the age of 20 burst on to the stage with her debut play That Face.

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Review: Mr Burns

By John Nathan, June 19, 2014

No theatre is showcasing smarter work at the moment than Rupert Goold's Almeida. Whether this astoundingly esoteric show follows the venue's American Psycho and Charles III into the West End is hard to say.

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Review: Clarence Darrow

By John Nathan, June 16, 2014

The American human-rights lawyer Clarence Darrow is one of liberal America's poster boys. David W Rintel's one-man biographical play of 1974 has been performed by Henry Fonda. But now that I've seen Kevin Spacey in the role, I don't much feel the need to see anyone else, not even the man from Twelve Angry Men.

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Review: Fathers and Sons

By John Nathan, June 16, 2014

Before Chekhov gave the world Russian estates populated by melancholics, sufferers of unrequited love and noble families on the cusp of huge social change, there was Ivan Turgenev.

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Review: Antony and Cleopatra

By John Nathan, June 6, 2014

With Clive Wood and Eve Best as two of the ancient world's most passionate lovers, Jonathan Munby's production reclassifies Shakespeare's tragedy as a fizzing comedy. Which is not to say that the business of Antony's army joining forces with Cleopatra's navy to fight his fellow Romans is not an act of deadly seriousness.

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Review: Bakersfield Mist

By John Nathan, June 2, 2014

The Los Angeleno writer and director Stephen Sachs has written a play about authenticity. And yet it lacks any, even though it is based on a true incident. Quite how or why it attracted the infinitely watchable Kathleen Turner back to the London stage is hard to say.

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Review: Miss Saigon

By John Nathan, June 2, 2014

It's been 15 years since Miss Saigon was last on the London stage. In the months leading up to last week's opening night, I overhead several conversations in which lovers of Nicholas Hytner's original production declared their barely contained excitement. They presumably contributed to the record-breaking advance bookings of £4.4 million.

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Review: Opus No 7

By John Nathan, May 16, 2014

If you are looking for a tangible link between the two captivating halves of this Russian show devised and directed by Dmitry Krymov, it might be that Shostakovich was inspired to write his 13th symphony by the slaughter of thousands of Jews by Nazis in a ravine near Kiev. Not that you need such a link.

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Review: The Testament of Mary

By John Nathan, May 16, 2014

A curious on-stage installation which the audience is invited to wander around provides an unexpected way into this adaptation of Colm Toíbín's novel about Jesus's mother. Those with a better grasp of the New Testament than I may know the significance of all the artefacts on view - the relevance of the huge iron nails is obvious.

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