All stories by Clare Brennan on BroadwayStars

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Kathy & Stella Solve a Murder! review – podcast sleuths are cracking fun by Clare Brennan

Home, ManchesterThe hit Edinburgh fringe musical about two friends on the trail of a killer has been awkwardly expanded but is still a delight The storyline of this 2022 musical centr…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:25AM
Sunday, October 8, 2023

The Real & Imagined History of the Elephant Man – a tale for the age of sameness by Clare Brennan

Nottingham PlayhouseThis ‘theatre poem’ by the Australian dramatist Tom Wright lacks drama under Stephen Bailey’s direction An electric-guitar wielding narrator, dressed in black leath…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:55AM
Sunday, October 1, 2023

Group Portrait in a Summer Landscape review – Chekhovian take on the Scottish referendum by Clare Brennan

Pitlochry Festival theatreAn impressive ensemble makes the most of Peter Arnott’s new country house play, set during Scotland’s 2014 independence vote Adaptations of the plays of the pre…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:55AM
Sunday, September 24, 2023

Every Brilliant Thing review – reasons to be cheerful by Clare Brennan

Theatre by the Lake, KeswickThe audience takes on a supporting role to Andrew Turner’s solo turn in this moving paean to what makes life worth living This is not a play, but it is playful;…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:25AM
Sunday, September 17, 2023

Dracula: Mina’s Reckoning review – Hammer horror meets Victorian melodrama by Clare Brennan

His Majesty’s theatre, AberdeenStrong performances are the lifeblood of Morna Pearson’s new adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic tale for the National Theatre of Scotland and Aberdeen P…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:07AM
Sunday, July 30, 2023

DruidO’Casey review – Seán O’Casey’s Dublin trilogy in a day is a revelation by Clare Brennan

Town Hall theatre, GalwayO’Casey’s three plays of working-class Dublin life encompass conflict, grief and the human spirit in Garry Hynes’s fine production A highlight of this year’s…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:07AM
Sunday, July 16, 2023

In Dreams review – Roy Orbison jukebox musical is smart and sweet by Clare Brennan

Leeds PlayhouseThe songs of the big O are used in crafty ways in David West Read’s moving, celebratory story about getting a band back together David West Read (writer) and Luke Sheppard (…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:43AM
Sunday, July 2, 2023

Mom, How Did You Meet the Beatles? review – moving account of a Black female playwright in 60s London by Clare Brennan

Minerva, ChichesterRakie Ayola excels as Adrienne Kennedy, whose John Lennon play was taken up by Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre while she was sidelined, in this crystal-clear product…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:33AM
Sunday, June 25, 2023

Blonde Bombshells of 1943 review – boogie-woogie bugle girls reporting for duty by Clare Brennan

Octagon theatre, BoltonA group of hastily recruited ‘sisters’ achieve harmony in Alan Plater’s charming play about music and laughter as a relief from war “It’s a day-in-the-life p…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:43AM
Sunday, June 11, 2023

I, Daniel Blake review – moving stage adaptation by the star of the film by Clare Brennan

Northern Stage, Newcastle; and touringDave Johns, who played Daniel Blake in the Ken Loach film, brings this chilling drama of life on benefits to new audiences “It is a work of fiction……

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:43AM
Sunday, June 4, 2023

The Card review – a sparkling adaptation of Arnold Bennett’s rags-to-riches comic novel by Clare Brennan

New Vic theatre, Newcastle-under-LymeConrad Nelson’s fast-flowing production, which races through time and space, exemplifies the ingenuity of regional theatre In a recent article for the …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:36AM
Sunday, May 28, 2023

No Pay? No Way! review – a bubblegum drama of despair by Clare Brennan

Royal Exchange, ManchesterDario Fo and Franca Rama’s bitterly comic 1974 satire is a timely fit for today’s cost of living crisis, here impeded by a cartoonishly bright set An everyday s…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:06AM
Sunday, May 21, 2023

Welcome to the Family review – Alan Ayckbourn’s ingenious 88th play promises more than it delivers by Clare Brennan

Old Laundry theatre, Bowness-on WindermereThe playwright’s latest comedy boasts some fine acting, and touches on big themes, but fails to engage emotionally Alan Ayckbourn is a consummate …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:54AM
Sunday, May 14, 2023

Around the World in 80 Days review – a stately adventure by Clare Brennan

Hull Truck theatreThis engaging production makes the most of a small cast and minimal staging, but needs more urgency early on The plot of Jules Verne’s 1872 novel is well known. Phileas …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:02AM
Sunday, May 7, 2023

Wuthering Heights review – chaotic Brontë adaptation by Clare Brennan

Royal & Derngate, Northampton, and touringThe classic novel reimagined as a sort of police procedural becomes a storm of ideas struggling to find definition A barrage of sound mixes rain…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:36AM
Sunday, April 30, 2023

The Killing of Sister George review – lots of jokes but something’s missing by Clare Brennan

New Vic, Newcastle-under-LymeFrank Marcus’s 60s black comedy, about a radio soap star whose character has been axed, suffers from a rather two-dimensional makeover “It’s BBC policy to …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:24AM
Sunday, April 16, 2023

Kidnapped review – tantalising glimpses of Robert Louis Stevenson’s wife by Clare Brennan

Royal Lyceum theatre, Edinburgh, and touringOlder, American and previously divorced, Frances Stevenson frames the National Theatre of Scotland’s pantomime-inspired recasting of the novelis…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:54AM
Sunday, April 9, 2023

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof review – giving Tennessee Williams new scope by Clare Brennan

Royal Exchange, ManchesterA mainly black cast and modern setting inject this new production with a dose of symbolic power Two sides of a family battle over land in Tennessee Williams’s 195…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:02AM

Beyond Belief: The Life and Mission of John Hume review – profoundly affecting by Clare Brennan

Guildhall, DerryThis musical drama about the lives of Northern Ireland peacemakers gives a familiar story a new dimension Beyond Belief, written by Damian Gorman and composed by Brian O’Do…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:03AM
Sunday, March 19, 2023

Run, Rebel review – issues-led adaptation of Manjeet Mann’s YA novel by Clare Brennan

York Theatre Royal, and touringJessica Kaur captivates as a talented teenage runner trying to escape her father’s expectations and violence in a vivid, if overlong production Run, Rebel is…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:30AM
Sunday, March 12, 2023

The Comedy of Errors (more or less) review – funny, frenetic reimagining by Clare Brennan

Shakespeare North Playhouse, PrescotPrescot is pitted against Scarborough – and women get their fair share of the limelight – in this engaging rewrite of Shakespeare’s comedy When this…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:30AM
Sunday, March 5, 2023

Macbeth review – the lady vanishes in filmic gangland hybrid by Clare Brennan

Harrogate theatre, and touringImitating the Dog’s exciting live action-video fusion, which sets the Scottish play in a modern-day crime syndicate, leaves Lady Macbeth out in the cold In tu…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:30AM
Sunday, February 19, 2023

Macbeth (An Undoing) review – sound and fury signifying nothing by Clare Brennan

Royal Lyceum, EdinburghThe concept is promising, and it’s acted with panache, yet Zinnie Harris’s Shakespeare adaptation falls flat An essay accompanying the programme of Zinnie Harris�…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:30AM
Sunday, February 12, 2023

The Beekeeper of Aleppo review – principled but patchy Syrian refugee drama by Clare Brennan

Nottingham Playhouse, and touringAn at times arresting production of Christy Lefteri’s bestseller is let down by its didactic structure Nuri is the beekeeper of Aleppo, or he was, until hi…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:30AM
Sunday, February 5, 2023

Head Over Heels review – Elizabethan romance meets Go-Go’s jukebox musical by Clare Brennan

Hope Mill theatre, ManchesterThis improbable mashup of Philip Sidney’s Arcadia and the pioneering LA rock band has plenty of rhythm but little dramatic jeopardy Sir Philip Sidney’s 1590 …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:30AM
Thursday, January 26, 2023

The Brides review – overblown antics from David Glass and co, and for LIMF the end of an era by Clare Brennan

Jacksons Lane, London Glass’s latest collaboration cites female power but suggests the opposite, and comes as London’s influential mime festival prepares to disperse After 47 appearances…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:30AM
Sunday, January 22, 2023

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? review – Elizabeth McGovern cracks the whip by Clare Brennan

Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal BathThe Hollywood star is on top form opposite Dougray Scott in Edward Albee’s classic tale of a marriage gone sour Edward Albee’s first short play, The Zoo…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:30AM
Sunday, December 18, 2022

Betty! A Sort of Musical review – fitfully funny take on the life of Betty Boothroyd by Clare Brennan

Royal Exchange, ManchesterCo-writer Maxine Peake stars as an am-dram actor playing the former Commons speaker in Sarah Frankcom’s end-of-the-pier-style production “But this isn’t histo…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:42AM
Sunday, December 11, 2022

Alice in Wonderland review – spectacular class-flipped adaptation by Clare Brennan

New Vic, Newcastle-under-LymeAn underprivileged Alice fights for the wonder of book-learning in Theresa Heskin’s transformative take on Carroll’s classic tale A stubby barge manoeuvres t…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:48AM
Sunday, December 4, 2022

The Nutcracker review – modernised magic by Clare Brennan

Bristol Old VicThe final production from outgoing artistic director Tom Morris draws fresh weirdness from ETA Hoffmann’s source story Tom Morris takes his last bow as the Bristol Old Vic�…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:06AM
Sunday, November 13, 2022

Richard the Second review – an unfinished but promising production by Clare Brennan

Taunton Brewhouse, and touringTangle Theatre’s dynamic five-actor staging features a dazzling debut from Daniel Rock Founded in 2009, Tangle Theatre Company’s aim is to champion African …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:06AM

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