Theatre

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.

More..

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".

More..

Review: Eating Ice-Cream On Gaza Beach

By John Nathan, August 28, 2008

Soho Theatre, London W1

 

More..

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.

More..

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."

More..

Review: Timon Of Athens

By John Nathan, August 14, 2008

Globe Theatre, London SE1
★★★✩✩

More..

Review: Some Trace Of Her

By John Nathan, August 14, 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.

More..

Culture in the dock

By John Nathan, August 7, 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.

More..

Review: Halpern And Johnson

By John Nathan, August 7, 2008


New End Theatre, London NW3

Two elderly men meet for the first time at the funeral of the woman they loved. Halpern (Bernard Kay) is the Jewish man she married. Johnson (Ian Barritt), her gentile first love. They have a lot of talking to do.

More..

Review: They're Playing Our Song

By John Nathan, August 7, 2008


Menier Chocolate Factory, London SE1

This 1978 New York musical was written by and about the Oscar-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch and lyricist Carole Bayer Sager, with a wise-cracking book by Neil Simon.

Connie Fisher plays eccentric lyricist Sonia (based on Sager) opposite Alistair McGowan's egocentric composer Vernon (based on Hamlisch, though looking remarkably like Jason Robert Brown).

More..