Theatre

Why our ‘Holocaust’ musical is not offensive

By John Nathan, November 6, 2008

The headlines are calling it a Holocaust musical, a phrase so loaded with bad taste that it immediately conjures images of Springtime For Hitler, the show in Mel Brooks' The Producers created to guarantee Broadway failure.

But headlines can be misleading. Imagine This, which began previewing at the New London Theatre this week, is a musical. And true, its story, which takes place in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942, is, of course, set against the background of the Holocaust.

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Review: La Cage Aux Folles

November 6, 2008

Playhouse Theatre, London WC2

VWhile DV8 delivers its serious message about gay rights at the National, this revival of Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein's musical handles the same theme with a much lighter touch. It is yet another transfer from the Menier Chocolate Factory, the tiny South London powerhouse that scooped the Olivier awards with its revival of Sunday in the Park With George.

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Review: To Be Straight With You

By John Nathan, November 6, 2008

Lyttelton, National Theatre, London SE1

DV8's dance piece makes a strong case to refine an old adage - that a society should be judged by how it treats its minorities.

Eighty-five people living in the UK were asked about their attitudes towards religion and homosexuality. It is these voices, many of them homophobic, some of them belonging to the victims of homophobia, that with varying degrees of success DV8's dancers translate into movement.

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Review: Lucky Seven

By John Nathan, November 6, 2008

Hampstead Theatre, London NW3

There is a powerful poignancy in watching a child's hope morph into an adult's disappointment. But poignancy is a quality conspicuously absent from Alexis Zegerman's comedy.

Inspired by Seven Up!, the television series that famously documented the lives of several people from their childhood, this cleverly constructed play leaps back and forth between its characters' early adulthood and middle-age.

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Review: Rue Magique

By John Nathan, October 30, 2008

Kings Head, London N1

There is no such thing as an unsuitable subject for a musical - whether it is the Holocaust (which is the background to the forthcoming Imagine This) or child prostitution, the subject of Brett Kahr's debut musical.

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Review: Faces in the Crowd

By John Nathan, October 30, 2008

Royal Court Upstairs, London SW1

It happened with 9/11, now its happening with the credit crunch. In the wake of world shattering events, every other play in relatively closeted theatre-land suddenly seems informed by crisis. So is Leo Butler's raw two-hander the first credit-crunch play?

It reunites Dave (Con O'Neill) with his wife, Joanne (Amanda Drew), 10 years after he abandoned her and their debt-ridden, materialistic existence in Sheffield.

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Review: Love’s Labour’s Lost

By John Nathan, October 30, 2008

The Rose Theatre, Kingston, Surrey

First things first. Peter Hall's production is Kingston's Rose Theatre's first home-grown offering since it opened last January; Love's Labour's Lost was the first play to be directed by Hall as the RSC's first artistic director; and Shakespeare's comedy is thought by many to be his first play.

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Review: Laughing In The Dark

By John Nathan, October 23, 2008

New End Theatre, London NW3

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Review: In The Red And Brown Water

By John Nathan, October 23, 2008

The Young Vic, London SE1

Last year young American Tarell Alvin McCraney made an astounding Young Vic debut with The Brothers Size, his lyrical sibling play set in Louisiana.

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Review: Oedipus

By John Nathan, October 23, 2008

Olivier, National Theatre, London SE1

As Ralph Fiennes's Oedpius tries to calm the fearful people of Thebes, you could be forgiven for mistaking him for a more modern, though equally emotionally remote leader attempting to rescue his people in a crisis.

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