Theatre

Joan Rivers: A Work In Progress By A Life In Progress

By John Nathan, September 4, 2008


Leicester Square Theatre, London WC2

You have got to have a particular brand of chutzpah to get your revenge on someone by falsely accusing them of antisemitism and then celebrating the fact by dancing the horah while singing Hava Nagilah - on stage - in front of people, some of them gentiles.

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A bitter flavour of ice-cream

By John Nathan, September 4, 2008

Three new plays over as many months will soon be looking at the Middle East conflict from very different perspectives.

In September, London's Arcola Theatre will host Welcome To Ramallah, by Sonja Linden and Adah Kay, about a Jewish woman who visits her sister's home in the city.

In October, Birmingham Rep will be the first port of call in a touring production of At the Gates of Gaza by Juliet Gilkes Romero, which looks at the territory from the point of view of West Indian soldiers fighting for the British Empire during the Great War.

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Review: The Garden

By John Nathan, August 28, 2008

Little Wormwood Scrubs, London W10

 

Rachel Grunwald had to move her production from a communal garden in a council estate to its current outdoor location because of missiles lobbed by local kids.

It is unlikely this was a comment on Helen Thompson's bleak, post-apocalyptic play, but anything as unremittingly worthy as The Garden deserves a few brickbats, if not bricks.

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Review: Her Naked Skin

By John Nathan, August 28, 2008

Olivier, National Theatre, London SE1

It is hard to believe, but the first play by a woman to reach the Olivier stage is Rebecca Lenkiewicz's latest work about suffragettes - or, as one of the Edwardian politicians in her play call them, a "lunatic fringe of lonely, frigid women who crave attention".

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Review: Eating Ice-Cream On Gaza Beach

By John Nathan, August 28, 2008

Soho Theatre, London W1

 

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Review: Piaf

By John Nathan, August 22, 2008

Donmar

When the Argentine performer Elena Roger made her West End debut in Evita, I said she had something of Edith Piaf about her. Now here she is as the great Parisian chanteuse.

For this revival of Pam Gems's biographical play, it is as if Jamie Lloyd's whirlwind production has been plugged into the mains. There are moments when the tiny Roger is flung around the stage like a rag doll as she and the play career through the highlights and lowlights of Piaf's alcohol- and drug-fuelled life.

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Review: Gigi

By John Nathan, August 22, 2008
Open Air Theatre, Regents Park

 

"Do you think I would cheat?" asks fun-loving ingenue Gigi as she plays cards with bored Parisian playboy Gaston (Thomas Borchert). "You're a woman," he answers.

"Women!" declares Gaston's uncle, Honoré. "The last invention of God after an exhausting week."

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Review: Timon Of Athens

By John Nathan, August 15, 2008

Globe Theatre, London SE1
★★★✩✩

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Review: Some Trace Of Her

By John Nathan, August 15, 2008

Cottesloe, National Theatre, London SE1
★★★★✩

The National Theatre's one-woman avant-garde department, director Katie Mitchell, has done for Dostoevsky's 1868 novel The Idiot what she did for Virginia Woolf's The Waves.

A giant video screen overlooks an area that serves as both stage and TV studio. The cast, led by Ben Whishaw as the guileless hero Prince Myshkin, double as technicians, setting up scene after scene with video cameras, props and incredibly well-drilled timing.

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Culture in the dock

By John Nathan, August 8, 2008

Taking Sides

Collaboration


Minerva Theatre, Chichester

Ronald Harwood's career as a playwright and Oscar-winning screenwriter has always drawn on his fascination for music, antisemitism and Nazis. All three figure in this cross-cast pairing of a new and revived play at the Chichester Theatre Festival.

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