Theatre

Review: Three More Sleepless Nights

By John Nathan, August 6, 2009

Caryl Churchill’s 1980 work falls into that category of painful-to-watch relationship plays. Let us call it the “domestic”. They are usually set entirely within the home and the audience are cast as living room or (as is the case here) bedroom voyeurs. These are the kind of plays which, if while watching you recognise your own relationship, you are probably in deep trouble.

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Review: suddenlossofdignity.com

By John Nathan, August 6, 2009

More a sketch show than a play, this is a collection of humiliations sent in to the creators by members of the public and dramatised for our entertainment.

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A date with Hamlisch

August 6, 2009

The legendary stage and screen composer Marvin Hamlisch is making a rare appearance in London next week. The three-time Oscar winner will be performing on August 10 and 11 at the Pizza Express in Soho, joined by special guest Maria Friedman.

In a glittering 45-year career, Hamlisch has composed the scores for over 40 films, and won a Pulitzer Prize for drama for his show A Chorus Line.

To book tickets at £30, call 08456 027 017 or visit www.pizzaexpresslive.co.uk

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Review: A Streetcar Named Desire

By John Nathan, July 30, 2009

It has been only a few years since Rachel Weisz’s previous outing on the London stage, when she played a breathtakingly cruel young art student in Neil La Bute’s The Shape of Things. And now here she is playing an iconic 20th century role, Southern belle Blanche Dubois, who declares how she hates cruelty and is so old she cannot bare to reveal her age.

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Review: Dreamboats and Petticoats

By John Nathan, July 30, 2009

It would be all too easy to give this musical, part cast with daytime TV actors, a kicking for being the latest show in a line of jukebox nostalgia-fests. So here goes.

It is inspired by the compilation album after which the show is named. These records surprisingly sold shed-loads and returned the likes of Roy Orbison, The Platters, The Everley Brothers and Bobbies Vee and Darin back to the charts.

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Review: The Black Album

By John Nathan, July 23, 2009

Well you cannot accuse Nicholas Hytner’s National Theatre of ignoring the deepest fissures in British society.

As Richard Bean’s England People Very Nice — with its hilarious ethnic stereotypes of oy veying Chasids, agricultural Irish, bone-headed English and militant Islamists — nears the end of its run, up pops Hanif Kureishi’s adaptation of his 1993 novel.

As with Bean’s play, this too is an East End tale. Its hero is Shahid, a well-spoken British Asian student from Kent who arrives in London to do an HND in post-colonial literature.

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Review: Jordy Pordy

By John Nathan, July 23, 2009

Jordan Herskowitz was born and raised in Texas and spent a good deal of his late teens as Bruno the bull, the mascot for a baseball team. It allows for a neat metaphor about identity for his rights-of-passage autobiographical solo show.

But there is scant detail here about why being a Jew in the lone star state is a big or difficult deal.

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Review: Jerusalem

By John Nathan, July 23, 2009

Jez Butterworth’s return to the Royal Court is a full-bloodied, joyous celebration and lament for a diminishing rural England whose wild pagan past is increasingly shackled by health and safety-obsessed councils and developers who tear down magical forests to put up bland estates.
It is set in a Wiltshire glade where Mark Rylance’s delicious dissolute Rooster is a pied-piper drug dealer who supplies the local kids with cocaine, hash and more protection than any pub peddling Bacardi Breezers ever could.

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Review: The Importance Of Being Earnest

By John Nathan, July 16, 2009

No matter who the author, familiarity can breed contempt. Wilde’s tart comedy has suffered from over-exposure almost as much that other classic, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But if there is one thing that has marked out Timothy Sheader’s two-year-old regime as artistic director of the Open Air it is the determination to renew familiar works.

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Review: Forbidden Broadway

By John Nathan, July 9, 2009

The Menier Chocolate Factory does not do things by halves, which is why the return to these shores of Gerard Alessandrini’s naughty New York satirical revue has been revamped for London audiences.

True, anyone going to a lot of musicals over here will get most of the jokes about shows over there, such is the crossover between the West End and Broadway.

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