Theatre

Review: Reasons To Be Happy

By John Nathan, March 31, 2016

Anyone who saw Neil LaBute's Reasons To Be Pretty at the Almeida theatre is going get a big dose of deja vu when they see his latest, Reasons to Be Happy. It has the same characters, the same director (Michael Attenborough) and even one of the cast - Tom Burke - is the same. Oh, and it also has the same narrative structure.

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'Jewish' does not equal 'Good'

By John Nathan, March 31, 2016

As the unfunny jokes in NotMoses, the new not funny comedy by Leon The Pig Farmer creator Gary Sinyor, bombed like a lead balloon at the play's opening night recently, I began to get flashbacks to a time when bad plays about, and written by, Jews were a regular fixture on the British theatrical landscape.

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Review: The Painkiller

By John Nathan, March 31, 2016

In the world of this tedious, hotel-set farce starring Kenneth Branagh as a hitman and Rob Brydon as a suicidal jilted husband, use of the Spanish word cajones - meaning "courage" or "balls" - elicits the response "bless you". So my question is, is this hoary old gag funny now?

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Review: Bar Mitzvah Boy

By John Nathan, March 23, 2016

I suspect Jack Rosenthal would have approved. This endearing, revamped version of what has to be the most Jewish musical since Fiddler On The Roof may be closer to the show Rosenthal envisaged when he turned his popular 1976 TV play into a less popular 1978 musical. It didn't do well in the West End. And then it didn't do well in New York.

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Review: The Truth

By John Nathan, March 23, 2016

If there is a message behind French writer Florian Zeller's utterly absorbing black comedy it might be that no relationship can survive the complete truth. The set-up is very familiar. Michel is having an affair. Less predictably, the affair is with his best friend's wife.

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Review: Not Moses

By John Nathan, March 17, 2016

Whether it is the work of a vengeful God I wouldn't presume to say, But a plague of "'nots" descends on NotMoses, an embarrassingly overreaching new biblical comedy by Leon the Pig Farmer creator Gary Sinyor.

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Review: Motown The Musical

By John Nathan, March 10, 2016

It was not until the end of the glitzy press night, that this Broadway import delivered a genuinely moving moment.

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Review: The Patriotic Traitor

By John Nathan, March 3, 2016

There is something funny about Jonathan Lynn's serious play. It is set against a giant map of wartime France that, with a few advancing swastikas, could be used for the opening credits of Dad's Army.

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Review: Cleansed

By John Nathan, March 3, 2016

It is almost impossible to recommend the late Sarah Kane's brutal play. To do so would be to condemn someone to an evening of the most disturbing depravity that contains scene after scene of torture and atrocity. The setting is a place described in Kane's 1998 script as a university, though in Katie Mitchell's minutely detailed and unflinching production it could be any decaying institution.

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This show is a tribute to all who saved lives like mine

By John Nathan, February 25, 2016

When concert pianist Lisa Jura taught her young daughter Mona to play the piano, she used to say to always think of story when playing music. She could never have known that the story that Mona now most often thinks of when playing the piano is of her mother Lisa, the brilliant Viennese musician whose ticket to life and safety on the Kindertransport was won by her tailor father in a poker game.

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