Theatre

It’s sweet, but maybe a little too sugary

By John Nathan, June 27, 2013

The return of Sam Mendes — and Roald Dahl — to the London stage is a technical triumph. There are scenes of astounding complexity in this new stage adaptation of Dahl’s 1964 children’s fantasy.

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Review: The cripple of Inishmaan

By John Nathan, June 21, 2013

Not since the crablike stalk of Kevin Spacey’s Richard III has the star of a show had to adopt such painful-looking posture. In the title role of Martin McDonagh’s 1997 play, set on the island of Inishmaan in 1934, Daniel Radcliffe as the orphan Cripple Billy hoists one hip above the other.

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Review: Sweet Birth of Youth

By John Nathan, June 21, 2013

With Eugene O’Neill’s peculiar Strange Interlude at the National, this revival of Tennessee Williams’s rarely staged late play is the second utterly involving offering in London by a great pillar of American drama.

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Review: The Amen Corner

By John Nathan, June 17, 2013

The first of two plays written by the novelist and essayist James Baldwin — revived here by director Rufus Norris in a version gorgeously saturated with gospel music — was penned in the knowledge that religion was a refuge for his fellow African Americans. For them, opportunities to be anything other than an unskilled labourer were practically non-existent.

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Review: Mission Drift

By John Nathan, June 17, 2013

Brooklyn-based theatre company The Team exists to reflect the experience of living in America today.

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Review: These Shining Lives

By John Nathan, May 24, 2013

North London’s newest theatre, just a stone’s throw from Finsbury Park tube, is already being hailed as a miracle — and no wonder. The £2.5m build costs have been met without a penny of subsidy.

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Review: Relatively Speaking

By John Nathan, May 24, 2013

The conversation based on a misunderstanding is a well-used comedy device. You know the kind of thing, one person is talking about their dog while the other thinks he is talking about his wife. The genius of Alan Ayckbourn’s 1967 West End hit (his first) was that he managed to sustain this kind of gag for almost an entire play.

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Review: The Weir

By John Nathan, May 13, 2013

Best watched with a pint in the hand, there is no more convivial and captivating evening at the theatre than Josie Rourke’s faultless revival of Conor McPherson’s perfect play.

Tom Scutt’s design evokes exactly the run-down charm of a rural County Leitrim boozer and Rourke’s production shows the solitude of men who drink within.

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Review: The Tempest

By John Nathan, May 13, 2013

There’s a world-weary naturalism to Roger Allam’s likeable Prospero. Other actors lay on thick the other-worldly wisdom which the deposed Duke of Milan has adopted ever since he was cast adrift in a sieve-like boat with his baby daughter, Miranda. But not Allam. The Thick of It star brings a shrugging, almost Tony Hancock-style comic fatalism to his Prospero.

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Review: Passion Play

By John Nathan, May 13, 2013

Like Pinter’s Betrayal, Peter Nichols’s 1981 play about marital infidelity turns theatrical convention on its head. Pinter’s work (written in 1978) tells his story in reverse while the big idea in Nichols’s play hinges on married couple Eleanor and James (Zoe Wanamaker and Owen Teale) sharing the stage with their alter egos (Samantha Bond and Oliver Cotton).

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