Review: Niobe, Regina Di Tebe

By Stephen Pollard, September 28, 2010

One of the most alluring of artistic myths is that of the lost masterpiece. With paintings it is sometimes true; there have even been great novels that have laid undiscovered for decades.

Niobe, Regina di Tebe is an opera by the obscure Italian composer, Agostino Steffani, which was first performed in Munich in 1688. It circulated around Europe for a few years and was then never heard again, until a revival in Germany in 2008.


Review: Yes, Prime Minister

By John Nathan, September 28, 2010

Two of our finest comedy actors unite for the stage version of one our funniest sitcoms. Henry Goodman as Sir Humphrey and David Haig as Jim Hacker make the roles their own - no mean feat with the memories of their late predecessors very much alive.


Review: Passion

By John Nathan, September 28, 2010

Passion is no one's favourite Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine musical. Set in 19th-century Italy, its lesson - that love overcomes all barriers, even between the beautiful and the plain - seems for much of Jamie Lloyd's production to be replaced by the message that emotional blackmail works if you fancy someone enough.

Elena Roger is the dying obsessive who stalks her way into the life, then the heart, of David Thaxton's dashing soldier Giorgio.

Sentimental it may be, but you cannot deny the emotions, the mesmerising Argentine Roger, nor even Sondheim's circular, hypnotic score.


I helped Miller piece together his Jewish play

September 28, 2010

Arthur Miller was well into his seventies when he decided to write a play that focused on antisemitism. It turned out to be the first work that sprung from the core of his Jewishness. True, his canon already included Incident at Vichy, a sideways look at European antisemitism. There was also his only novel, Focus. Published after the war, the book dealt with the American brand of Jew-hatred. But it was not until the 1990s, with a play that was first called The Man in Black, then Gellburg and finally Broken Glass that Miller confronted the subject head on.


Review: Dr Faustus

By John Jeffay, September 21, 2010

A 400-year–old play about a pact with the devil may sound like nobody's idea of fun. But miss it at your peril - it is very likely the most remarkable theatrical event you will see this year.

I suspect director Toby Frow, Patrick O'Kane, who plays the heroic/villainous doctor, and the rest of the cast and crew may have followed in Dr Faustus's own footsteps and traded their own souls with Lucifer to create such a spectacle.


Review: Cosi Fan Tutte

By Stephen Pollard, September 21, 2010

The eighth revival of Jonathan Miller's Royal Opera House production of Mozart's Così Fan Tutte is, if anything, even finer now than when it was first performed in 1995, when most of the interest seemed to be generated by the Giorgio Armani costumes. They have long since been dumped, and have been replaced by "normal-looking" modern dress for this run.


Review: House of Games

By John Nathan, September 21, 2010

Richard Bean's adaptation of David Mamet's 1987 film is the latest attempt to revive the stage thriller. Lindsay Posner's production delivers all the guilty pleasures of the genre. Though why the pleasure of watching

con artists and cardsharps ply their trade should induce guilt is beyond me. Something has gone wrong if theatre is not first a form of entertainment. Tick that box, then by all means offer a moral.


Review: Design for Living

By John Nathan, September 21, 2010

Noël Coward wrote his 1933 comedy as a star vehicle for himself and the glamorous acting couple Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt.

Three acts, three lovers, three cities - Paris, London and New York, the essence of each captured by designer Lez Brotherston's interiors - adds up to an irresistibly satisfying construction. In Anthony Page's production, Tom Burke, Andrew Scott and Lisa Dillon sparkle as the three points in a love triangle. But the performances would have more brightly had Page darkened the mood.


Review: Evita

By John Jeffay, September 16, 2010

It was almost a triumph. Some of the audience - a couple of dozen of Evita die-hards maybe - rose to their feet at the end. But it did not quite qualify as a standing ovation. Most of the applause was polite, enthusiastic… and seated.


Review: Tiny Kushner

By John Nathan, September 16, 2010

These small but perfectly formed one-act pieces by Tony Kushner provide an insight into what preoccupies the very clever, very Jewish, very political and often very funny mind of one of America's finest playwrights. Two focus on psychiatry, one on a tax fraud, while another sees a guilt-ridden Laura Bush, wife of George W, read Dostoyevsky to dead Iraqi children. This last is as hard hitting a play as any I've seen on American foreign policy.

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