Theatre

They gave us Les Mis. Next up: Vichy France

By John Nathan, May 9, 2008

The new West End musical Marguerite takes a 160-year-old love story and updates it to wartime France. John Nathan asks its creators: will it be a hit?


The men behind the musical: co-writers Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg,
and lyricist Herbert Ketzmer

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Review: The Year Of Unmagical Thinking

By John Nathan, May 9, 2008

 

Lyttelton, National Theatre, London SE1

The ingredients promise something unforgettable. An extraordinary memoir about the nature of grief, written and adapted for the stage by one of America’s great prose writers, directed by one of Britain’s greatest playwrights, and performed by one of the country’s finest actresses.

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Review: An Eligible Man

By John Nathan, May 8, 2008

 

New End Theatre, London NW3

“I’ve become a death bore,” laments widower Judge Christopher Osgood in Rosemary Friedman’s play. Poor Osgood (Graham Seed) is left to grapple with the lonely reality of life without his dear departed wife. Well, not that departed. Her ashes and urn take pride of place on the writing bureau in his living room.

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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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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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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: 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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