Theatre

Making drama out of a crisis

By Alex Kasriel, November 5, 2009

In a backroom at north London’s Tricycle Theatre, eight people are rehearsing a piece of theatre called The Committee. The writing playfully looks at what happens in an imaginary student union when representatives from different religious societies organise a multicultural day.

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Review: What Fatima Did…

By John Nathan, October 28, 2009

The Hampstead Theatre is fizzing with an energy all too rarely seen at this venue in recent times. The reason? Twenty-one-year-old Atiha Sen Gupta, the youngest playwright to make a debut on the Hampstead’s stage.

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Review: Twelfth Night

By John Nathan, October 28, 2009

So Richard Wilson, known to millions as curmudgeonly pensioner Victor Meldrew, is making his RSC debut as Shakespeare’s party pooper, the curmudgeonly steward Malvolio.

Just as he did with Hamlet and David Tennant, director Gregory Doran has again brought together the perfect marriage of actor and character — or so it seems.

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Review: Endgame

By John Nathan, October 22, 2009

It was going to be Richard Briers and Adrian Scarborough. Fine actors though they are, it is, I suspect, our good fortune that Mark Rylance and director Simon McBurney have taken on the roles of the chair-bound Hamm and the slave Clov in Samuel Beckett’s desolate play.

McBurney has saddled himself with a reputation for devising mind-expanding shows with a revelatory brilliance. But here the text is the thing and his production stays loyal to both Beckett’s dialogue and stage direction.

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Review: Comedians

By John Nathan, October 22, 2009

Trevor Griffiths’s terrific 1975 play centres on six hopeful Mancunian comedians — one Jewish, two Irish, one English double act and one that is downright weird.

They all go to a comedy class run by Matthew Kelly’s one-time stand-up Eddie, who lost his sense of humour while serving as a British soldier, but gained a perspective on what is funny and why.

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Review: Yasser

By John Nathan, October 15, 2009

It is hard to think of a metaphor that more powerfully illustrates that Jew and Arab are divided by a common history than the one offered by this one-man play.

Written by Moroccan-born Dutch writer Abdelkader Benali, its hero is a young Palestinian actor called Yasser, a name that for generations will be synonymous with the fight for freedom on one side of the Middle East conflict, and terrorism on the other.

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Review: Money

By John Nathan, October 15, 2009

There is nothing else even close to this on the London theatre landscape.

This hallucinogenic offering from the Shunt collective takes place within a huge, specially built iron edifice, representing goodness knows what, but possibly Victorian capitalism.

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Review: The Power of Yes

By John Nathan, October 15, 2009

David Hare’s financial crisis play is inevitably to be compared with the brilliant Enron, Lucy Prebble’s recent corporate disaster play.

Both dramas are brimful of facts and bewildering figures. But while Prebble’s play scores by delivering a tale about the people behind a meltdown, Hare’s fails to humanise his economic lesson.

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Review: Inherit the Wind

By John Nathan, October 8, 2009

If you believe in the separation of Church (or synagogue) and state and accept Darwin’s view of our origins — as opposed to the Bible’s — there is no more heart-warming play than Jerome Lawrence’s and Robert E Lee’s 1955 courtroom drama based on the famous “Monkey Trial” of 1925, in which a Tennessee teacher was tried for teaching the theory of evolution.

It is no surprise that this play rarely gets a staging in Britain — Trevor Nunn’s expert production needs a cast of 29 (30 if you include the real monkey).

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Review: Speaking in Tongues

By John Nathan, October 8, 2009

It will not matter much to Andrew Bovell that his thriller works better on the cinema screen (as Lantana) than on stage. He wrote both versions.

Toby Frow’s production is over-stylised but grounded by excellent performances, particularly from Kerry Fox and Ian Hart as one of two reluctantly adulterous couples.

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