Theatre

Review: Look Back In Anger

By John Nathan, July 11, 2008


Jermyn Street Theatre, London SW1

This is a good time to see John Osborne’s revolutionary play. In 1956 it opened at the Royal Court a month after Enid Bagnold’s The Chalk Garden  opened at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, the two dramas offering completely opposing views of 1950s Britain.

The Chalk Garden is currently triumphantly revived at the Donmar Warehouse in London, and if it is revealed as the more accomplished work, Look Back in Anger is still the better state-of-the-nation play.

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Review: On The Rocks

By John Nathan, July 4, 2008


Hampstead Theatre NW3

Before even a word is spoken, Amy Rosenthal’s new comedy is almost fatally handicapped.

Set in the Cornish village of Zennor in 1916, Rosenthal’s play is populated by two literary couples — DH Lawrence and his German wife Frieda, and their friends Katherine Mansfield and John Middleton Murry, who are persuaded to move into the stone cottage next door.

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Review: Torn

By John Nathan, July 4, 2008


Arcola Theatre, London E8

This production has been overshadowed by the murder last weekend in North London of Ben Kinsella, whose sister, Brooke, is in the cast.

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Review: Twelfth Night

By John Nathan, July 4, 2008


Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, London NW1

“With a hey, ho, the wind and the rain,” sings Clive Rowe’s sweet-voiced Feste as the rain lashed the stage of the Open Air Theatre.

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Review: Mother/Son

By John Nathan, June 20, 2008


Theatre 503, London SW11

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Review: Dov And Ali

By John Nathan, June 20, 2008


Theatre 503, London SW11

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Review: The Chalk Garden

By John Nathan, June 20, 2008


Donmar Theatre, London WC2

It was not enough for Enid Bagnold that Hollywood turned her horsey novel National Velvet into the movie that introduced Elizabeth Taylor to the world. She wanted to write a thoroughbred play too. In 1956 she did — The Chalk Garden, in which a mysterious governess saves a girl from a household as sterile as its eponymous garden.

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Review: Many Roads To Paradise

By John Nathan, June 20, 2008


Finborough Theatre, London SW10

Stewart Permutt is a dramatist who writes with compassion but without the baggage of sentimentality. The people who populate his plays are more likely to reveal disappointment than hope. Yet they win you over, not by appealing to your sympathy but by revealing their humanity.

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Review: Afterlife

By John Nathan, June 13, 2008


Lyttelton, National Theatre, London SE1

Michael Frayn’s new play is stalked by mortality. It comes in the form of Death, the character in the morality play-within-a-play staged by Frayn’s hero, Jewish impresario Max Reinhardt, creator of the Salzburg Festival. And mortality is also present in the form of Muller, the Austrian Everyman, a sinister presence as Reinhardt’s success is matched by that of the Nazis.

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Review: Golda's Balcony

By John Nathan, June 13, 2008


Shaw Theatre, London NW1

It is not hard to see why Tovah Feldshuh received a Tony nomination on Broadway.

It is the Yom Kippur War and Feldshuh’s croaky-voiced Golda Meir cuts a lonely figure puffing on endless cigarettes and grappling with military and moral dilemmas.

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