Review: The City

By John Nathan, May 2, 2008

Royal Court, London SW1

Martin Crimp’s enigmatic portrait of a dysfunctional relationship leaves you sorting the real from the imagined. And although The City is an elusive puzzle of a play, the sense persists that the answers to the questions it poses — why are Clair (Hattie Morahan) and Chris (Benedict Cumberbatch) so unhappy? How much of what they tell each other is true? What is the nature of the trauma they are suffering? — are tantalisingly close.


Review: Harper Regan

By John Nathan, May 1, 2008

Cottesloe, National Theatre, London SE1

This is the second time this season that the National has staged a play featuring a woman in mid-life crisis. But whereas Lucinda Coxon’s comedy Happy Now? asked whether the middle-class idyll of children, affluence and career adds up to happiness, Simon Stephens’s heroine is pushed to the brink by a far less comfortable condition.


Review: Gone With The Wind

By John Nathan, April 25, 2008

New London Theatre, London WC2


Review: Richard II, Henry IV Parts I & I, Henry V

By John Nathan, April 24, 2008


Roundhouse, London NW1

For those who grab this rare chance to see all of Shakespeare’s history plays in chronological order, the three-week gap between the first and second half of the RSC’s eight-play marathon will come as an unwelcome distraction.


Review: Fram

By John Nathan, April 24, 2008

Oliver, National Theatre, London SE1

If anyone can make a gripping drama out of three hours of rhyming couplets, poet-playwright Tony Harrison can.

But in his heavily symbolic biographical drama about Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen (Jasper Britton), Harrison and fellow co-director Bob Crowley take no chances.


Review: War And Peace

By John Nathan, April 18, 2008


Hampstead Theatre, London NW3

This is a week for epic theatre. As the RSC brings Shakespeare’s history plays to North London’s Roundhouse (to be reviewed next week), down the road the Hampstead is hosting Shared Experience’s hugely ambitious and deeply rewarding stage version of Tolstoy’s great Russian novel.


Review: Testing The Echo

By John Nathan, April 17, 2008

Tricycle Theatre, London NW6

David Edgar’s zeitgeist play about British citizenship would have benefited from having fewer points of view. But then, to discriminate against one point of view in favour of another would, according to English teacher Emma, be very un-British. Her job is to help a diverse group of immigrants pass their British citizenship test. Their reward — a mayor’s handshake and the rights of a British citizen.


Review: The Black And White Ball

By John Nathan, April 17, 2008

The King’s Head, London N1

Having, for the first time, announced a full season of new work, there is a welcome burst of energy at the much-loved King’s Head. Kicking off with a new musical by Cole Porter sounds like a winner. But, of course, it is not Porter’s songs that are new here but Warner Brown’s book.


Review: Visiting Mr Green

By John Nathan, April 11, 2008

Trafalgar Studios, London SW1


Review: The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot

By John Nathan, April 10, 2008


Almeida Theatre, London N1

Stephen Adly Guirgis is a New York writer whose track record is more Hell’s Kitchen than hell.

No surprise, then, that although his trial play, which tests the guilt of Judas Iscariot, takes place in downtown Purgatory, in Rupert Goold’s exhilarating Headlong production, the place looks a lot like seedy, modern-day New York.