Theatre

To be or not to be a critic...

By John Nathan, September 3, 2015

Do you care about the opinion expressed in this newspaper's theatre column? If you do, there is a growing body of opinion that says you are in a shrinking minority. Social media is where opinion increasingly counts.

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Review: Benedict Cumberbatch's Hamlet

By John Nathan, August 31, 2015

To be or not to be - that is the question. Whether, as initially reported, Shakespeare's most famous speech had been diminished by opening the play - or, by showing Benedict Cumberbatch's Hamlet to be a tormented soul for whom suicide has long been a hovering possibility - Lyndsey Turner's hugely anticipated production had found a new way to explore the Danish prince's state of mind.

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Sister act: how Delia and Nora Ephron wrote their movie and stage hits

By John Nathan, August 30, 2015

Delia Ephron is wearing black. Black trousers and a black T-shirt. "I was probably wearing the same yesterday," she says. Like the other Ephrons in her family, including her late, famous older sister Nora, the creator of When Harry Met Sally, Delia is a writer.

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Review: Grand Hotel

By John Nathan, August 22, 2015

It is 1928 Berlin. Fascism is a mere glimmer in Germany's eye and the mood in the Weimar Republic is one of decadence and decay. No, this musical is not Cabaret, but a 1989 Broadway show set in one of Berlin's finest resting houses. Everyone who stays here is rich.

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Paying tribute to the Jewish composers who created the musical

By John Nathan, August 20, 2015

In the Tel Aviv Museum of Art concert hall, a show is being honed before it arrives in London for its West End premiere. It is provocatively called You Won't Succeed On Broadway If You Don't Have Any Jews, a title many will recognise from one of the more outrageous songs in Monty Python's Spamalot musical. Some Israelis didn't get the joke.

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Interview: Julia Pascal

By John Nathan, August 6, 2015

In recent times, plays featuring Israel and Jews have tended to come in clusters and usually in the wake of conflict in Gaza. Some of them are Palestinian, as in the case of The Siege, recently seen at Battersea Arts Centre, others are authored by English playwrights. None is Israeli.

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Review: 5 Kilo Sugar

By John Nathan, August 6, 2015

Today is the first performance of this year's only Israeli play at the Edinburgh Fringe. It's an hour-long comical whimsy directed with a skilful, light touch by Ariella Eshed whose Tik-sho-ret theatre company nobly exists to stage Israeli plays in the UK. This can't be easy in a country whose arts establishment often sees Israel as the "anti" cause of choice.

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Interview: Patrick Marber

By John Nathan, July 30, 2015

Although we can't see it from where we are standing, the National Theatre's huge electronic display has Patrick Marber's name up in lights.

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Three Days in the Country

By John Nathan, July 30, 2015

You can see why writer and director Patrick Marber, an expert in what he calls the comedy of pain, was drawn to Turgenev's 1855 play, A Month in the Country.

The setting is a Russian country estate where almost everyone is in love with someone.

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Review: What's It All About?

By John Nathan, July 23, 2015

I'm a peace-loving soul but whoever invented the musical medley should be forced to wear padlocked headphones through which a never ending silage of song snippets should be fed until they are, well, dead. Perhaps that's a bit strong.

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