Theatre

Review: Small Change

By John Nathan, May 8, 2008

Donmar Warehouse, London WC2

Four chairs and four actors are the main ingredients in Peter Gill’s beautifully acted revival of his own 1976 play. Gill’s protagonists are two working-class Cardiff boys (Matt Ryan and Luke Evans) and their mothers (Sue Johnston and Lindsay Coulson).

The picture painted is one of a post-war community where fathers are absent and mothers live in unfulfilled terrace-housed loneliness with their children.

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Acts of unity in a war zone

By John Nathan, May 2, 2008

Theatre director Ofira Henig tells John Nathan why her work with Palestinians could restore a lost sense of perspective to her country

In Spitting Distance, by Palestinian Taher Najib, is described as a funny and disturbing play about international travel in a post-9/11 world. Directed by Israeli Ofira Henig, it stars Khalifa Natour, who plays a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, and arrives next week at the Barbican on London, where it will be performed in Arabic with English surtitles. Although, as Henig explains, it was originally written by Najib in Hebrew.

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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.

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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.

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Review: Gone With The Wind

By John Nathan, April 25, 2008

New London Theatre, London WC2

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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