All stories by David Nice on BroadwayStars

Monday, April 25, 2016

Kings of War, Toneelgroep Amsterdam, Barbican by David Nice

Banished from the Barbican are the hollow kings of the mediocre RSC Henrys IV and V. In their place comes a whole new procession of living, breathing monarchs in a vision that's light years …

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 05:09AM
Monday, April 4, 2016

Sunset Boulevard, London Coliseum by David Nice

Could the fascination of Glenn Close's Norma Desmond transcend the frequent bathos of Lloyd Webber? Would they have sorted out the miking which wrecked last year's first choice of semi-ENO m…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 07:30PM
Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Master Builder, Old Vic by David Nice

Demons, trolls and dead souls have a habit of latching on to Ibsen's bourgeois Norwegians. Surely the best way for actors to handle them is to keep it natural, make them part of the furnitur…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 05:02AM
Friday, December 18, 2015

Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Donmar Warehouse by David Nice

The last time I saw Janet McTeer, she was doing her best with the slightly underwritten role of sister to Glenn Close’s lethal Patty Hewes in Damages, the ultimate TV series about the disc…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 06:55AM
Friday, November 27, 2015

Little Eyolf, Almeida Theatre by David Nice

Greek family smashups at the Almeida now yield to northern agony sagas, less bloody but potentially just as harrowing. In Little Eyolf the 66-year-old Ibsen dissected a failed marriage as ru…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 06:15AM
Friday, October 30, 2015

The Hairy Ape, Old Vic by David Nice

Never use one word when you can get away with two: that seems to have been the maxim of Eugene O’Neill even in one of his shorter plays. After all, when is an ape not hairy, and why does s…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 06:19AM
Friday, October 2, 2015

Medea, Almeida Theatre by David Nice

With her strong, often fierce features and her convincing simulations of rage, Kate Fleetwood might have been born to play Medea. Unfortunately this isn’t Euripides’ Medea but Rachel Cus…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 06:22AM
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Farinelli and the King, Duke of York's Theatre by David Nice

No doubt this sophisticated bagatelle worked like a charm in the intimate space and woody resonance of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. The Duke of York's Theatre is one of the West End’s smal…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 04:31AM
Friday, September 18, 2015

Don Juan, Lesya Ukrainka Theatre, St James's Theatre by David Nice

Whose Don Juan – progenitor Tirso de Molina’s, Molière’s or Pushkin’s? None of the above. Unless you have a decent knowledge of Ukrainian culture, you won’t have heard of Lesya Uk…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 06:04AM
Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Iliad, British Museum /Almeida Theatre by David Nice

You don’t know Homer’s Iliad until you’ve heard it read aloud, all 24 books – well, very nearly all - and 16 hours of it, as the oral tradition would have kept it alive at least unti…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 06:25PM
Friday, July 31, 2015

Bakkhai, Almeida Theatre by David Nice

This is the real Greek, bloody-fantastical thing. After the fascinating but flawed attempt to bring Aeschylus’s Oresteia into the 21st century, the Almeida has turned to a more tradition-c…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 04:27AM
Sunday, July 26, 2015

Prom 10: Fiddler on the Roof, Grange Park Opera by David Nice

Stop miking Bryn Terfel. Stop over-miking musicals; the show voices in a hybrid cast don’t need much. Too much ruined English National Opera’s recent Sweeney Todd, and in this Proms adap…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 06:49AM
Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Trial, Young Vic by David Nice

Kafka and Jones, the names above this little shop of horrors, would be a marriage made in off-kilter theatreland if the Czech genius had written any plays. He didn’t, so Nick Gill has made…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 05:57AM
Saturday, June 6, 2015

Oresteia, Almeida Theatre by David Nice

There are two fundamental ways to fillet the untranslatable poetry and ritual of Aeschylus, most remote of the three ancient Greek tragedians, for a contemporary audience. One is to find a p…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 05:38AM
Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Trial by Jury / The Zoo, King's Head Theatre by David Nice

Judge Judy meets The Only Way is Essex: this endlessly resourceful production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s first (mini) masterpiece Trial by Jury is one that cries out to appear on the telly.…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 04:30AM
Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Pirates of Penzance, Touring by David Nice

When does a Gilbert and Sullivan chorus make you laugh, cry and cheer as much as any of the famous set pieces? In this case when Major-General Stanley’s daughters “climbing over rocky mo…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 04:00AM
Friday, April 17, 2015

Measure for Measure, Cheek by Jowl/Pushkin Theatre, Barbican by David Nice

Russia isn’t the only country where violations of personal freedoms and censorship seem to be mounting by the day, but it’s surely the most confused: ask any of the persecutors what they…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 05:56AM
Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Gypsy, Savoy Theatre by David Nice

Vaudeville is alive and well in the Lilliputian gilded cave which might have been made for it (not that Victorian Savoyards could have had any inkling). If you find yourself, like last night…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 07:49PM
Tuesday, April 14, 2015

King Size, Theater Basel, Linbury Studio Theatre by David Nice

A journey into dreams through songs from Dowland to The Kinks; a Swiss director who, Covent Garden’s Director of Opera Kasper Holten assures us, is “one of the most important European th…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 07:01PM
Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sweeney Todd, London Coliseum by David Nice

Still they keep coming, 35 years on from the London premiere: Sweeneys above pubs, in pie shops, concert halls and theatres of all sizes, on the big screen, Sweeneys with symphony orchestras…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 07:06PM
Friday, March 27, 2015

Princess Ida, Finborough Theatre by David Nice

All Savoyards, whether conservative or liberal towards productions, have been grievously practised upon. They told us to expect the first professional London grappling with Gilbert and Sulli…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 03:53AM
Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Ruddigore, Charles Court Opera, King's Head Theatre by David Nice

How can a feisty village dame duetting “lackaday”s with the mounted head of a long-lost, nay, long-dead love be so deuced affecting? Ascribe it partly to the carefully-applied sentiment …

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 03:31AM
Thursday, February 5, 2015

Six Characters in Search of an Author, Théâtre de la Ville-Paris, Barbican by David Nice

"The fantastical should come so close to the real that you must almost believe it", declared Dostoyevsky on Pushkin’s masterly ghost story The Queen of Spades. Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota and hi…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 07:55AM
Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Changeling, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse by David Nice

Ever been stuck in a claustrophobic space with a group of really unpleasant people? Add mayhem, murder and a razor-sharp wit to be found in only a very few of the nastiest individuals, and y…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 03:39AM
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Merchant of Venice, Almeida Theatre by David Nice

All that glisters is not gold in the casino and television game-show world of Rupert Goold’s American Shakespeare. Nor are all the accents, though working on them only seems to have made a…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 03:52AM
Sunday, December 14, 2014

Henry IV Parts One and Two, RSC, Barbican by David Nice

Heritage Shakespeare for the home counties and the tourists is just about alive but not very well at the Royal Shakespeare Company. If that sounds condescending, both audiences deserve bette…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 05:10AM
Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cinderella, New Wimbledon Theatre by David Nice

Strange world, isn’t it. Yesterday morning, buoyed up by the Royal Opera’s impressive Tristan und Isolde, I was listening on CD to Linda Esther Gray, a Wagnerian soprano for the ages, si…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 06:10AM
Sunday, December 7, 2014

theartsdesk in Oslo: Two Peer Gynts and a Hamlet by David Nice

Not so much a national hero, more a national disgrace. That seems to be the current consensus as Norway moves forward from canonizing the loose-cannon wanderer of Ibsen's early epic Peer Gyn…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 06:42AM
Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Midsummer Night's Dream (As You Like It), Dmitry Krymov Lab, Barbican by David Nice

Earlier this year two giant puppets, plus a bottom (lower case, human) on wheels, dominated Shakespeare’s dream play at the Barbican. Replace the bottom with an ever-present little dog and…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 03:32AM
Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Wild Duck, Belvoir Sydney, Barbican Theatre by David Nice

Ibsen cast a cruel eye on the characters of his most relentlessly symbolic play, wild ducks wounded or domesticated by fate or character. They speak or act unsympathetically, for the most pa…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 04:14AM
Saturday, October 11, 2014

Peer Gynt, Théâtre National de Nice, Barbican Theatre by David Nice

Like Ibsen’s titanic character in search of a self, the Barbican’s theatre programme globetrots to find the richest and rarest. Yet it certainly doesn’t reach the conclusion of Peer Gy…

SOURCE: The Arts Desk at 03:27AM

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