All stories by Friends on BroadwayStars

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

THE FOREST Hampstead Theatre NW3 by Libby Purves and Friends

AN ORDINARY TRIANGLE TWISTS INTO NIGHTMARE        The French novelist-turned-playwright Florian Zeller hit the British theatre scene a few years ago with two comedies: The Lie  and The …

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Friday, February 11, 2022

SPIKE Watermill Theatre, Nr Newbury by Libby Purves and Friends

HOMAGE TO A HEALING CHAOS       If  – like Prince Charles – you grew up with the Goons in the background (“Ying Tong! Bluebottle! He’s fallen in da water!” etc) this will ring …

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Friday, January 14, 2022

FORCE MAJEURE Donmar, WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

MIDDLECLASS MOUNTAIN MISERIES       Inspired programming here.   You’d find a decent overlap in any January Venn diagram of regular Donmar audiences and people who wish they were ski-i…

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Thursday, January 13, 2022

LIFE OF PI Wyndhams WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

Puppets move the heart…       It was a third attempt ( like so many, it has had cancellations and suspensions), and I missed it in Sheffield 2019 through illness. So  I bought any tick…

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Wednesday, January 5, 2022

FOLK Hampstead Theatre, NW3 by Libby Purves and Friends

SONGS FROM THE LAND       There’s a lovely serendipity here.  The main theatre is running PEGGY FOR YOU  (till 29th)  while the little downstairs space has Neil Leyshon’s rather lo…

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Friday, December 31, 2021

THE SECOND PLAGUE YEAR: 2021 REMEMBERED by Libby Purves and Friends

PLAGUE YEAR Part 2  –   2021  Below, if you care to scroll ,  I chronicled the shows that met my return from chemo-then-lockdown in 2020.   An enfeebled theatrical year.   Today a lo…

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Thursday, December 30, 2021

REVIEW OF TWO PLAGUE YEARS,    2020-2021 Part 1 by Libby Purves and Friends

PART 1: THE ONSET     I set out,  in this eerie Twixtmas gap,  to chronicle and celebrate the return of live theatre since May 2021.  And this will follow.  But when I totted up the 20…

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Saturday, December 18, 2021

PEGGY FOR YOU Hampstead Theatre NW3 by Libby Purves and Friends

A SHARP , SERPENTINE, SUPERB PERFORMANCE           Lounging in the small hours on her office couch, under a wall of posters for her many clients’ shows – both famous and forgotten …

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Friday, December 10, 2021

PANTOLAND mk2 Palladium, W1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A PRIMA DONNY JOINS THE FEARLESS FOUR     Last year as a family we came to see the doughty quartet doing this variety show, an adult-joking  non-panto to fill the fearful gap.  It was th…

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Thursday, December 9, 2021

BEST OF ENEMIES Young Vic SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

1968 AND ALL THAT  James Graham’s mission might seem unfashionable: trawling 20c history and public culture, looking not for villains and heroes but for the nuances of human behaviour,  …

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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

THE BOOK OF DUST Bridge, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

PULLING OUT THE STOPS FOR PULLMAN     First things first: this is the most wonderfully evocative, romantic and dramatic bit of set-projection you will see all year. Bob Crowley, video maes…

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Monday, December 6, 2021

THE PLAY WHAT I WROTE Birmingham Rep by Libby Purves and Friends

A REVIVING REVIVAL      Do you need to be of a generation to remember Morecambe and Wise, to which this play is a loving tribute-cum-amiable-ripoff?  Probably not. They are stamped on th…

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Friday, December 3, 2021

THE TEMPEST           Jermyn St Theatre SW1 by Libby Purves and Friends

ISLAND OF WONDER AND UNEASE         One of the interesting, rewarding quirks in Tom Littler’s small-but-perfectly-formed Tempest is that Tam Williams doubles as Ferdinand, the ultra-vi…

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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

FOUR QUARTETS Harold Pinter Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

GLIMPSES OF ETERNITY  (Review first published on D.Mail, in shorter form)        This is wonderful. Sometimes a simple short  performance can shake, rouse, even change you.  So step a…

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Sunday, November 28, 2021

COME FROM AWAY   Phoenix WC1    REPRISE  by Libby Purves and Friends

worth going again I say..  Just thought I should mention to theatrecat readers how wonderful this show it.  Saw it twice before the pandemic, nipped back to a matinee a week or so back.  …

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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

MANOR Lyttelton, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

2021 BRITAIN IN A STATELY STORMY NUTSHELL    Just what we needed, I thought!  A good old state-of-the-nation black comedy with a semi-derelict Manor in a howling storm,  the sea wall abo…

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Thursday, November 18, 2021

THE WIFE OF WILLESDEN Kiln, NW6 by Libby Purves and Friends

SIX CENTURIES ON,  IT’S GEOFFREY CHAUCER’S ROUND        Zadie Smith humbly refers to her first play as more like “homework” than the novelist’s usual dread of a blank page. Ch…

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VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE     Charing X Theatre, WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

A CHEKHQUERED RESPONSE          Vanya and Sonia are siblings – though she is adopted – and have led dull dutiful lives in a remote country house surrounded by cherry trees and an or…

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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

LA CLIQUE Leicester Square Spiegeltent by Libby Purves and Friends

       ROLL UP! IT’S BACK! Ah, Christmastime!   There’s nothing like a buff chap in spike-heeled patent thigh-boots somersaulting in the air to make you feel festive. Unless it…

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STRAIGHT WHITE MEN.       Southwark Playhouse, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A HUMAN ZOO OF ALPHA MEN There are good plays to be written about white male privilege, and about modern capitalism and its relentless expectation of self-promotion and constant advancement …

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Sunday, November 14, 2021

PRIVATE LIVES Touring, Chichester next by Libby Purves and Friends

THEY DO NOT GROW OLD AS WE IN THE STALLS GROW OLD       May as well tell you,  last week I had the ultimate pensioner experience, and it was a blast.   A midweek, senior-price matinee i…

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Friday, November 12, 2021

BOBBY AND AMY               Seagull Lowestoft, touring on by Libby Purves and Friends

TWENTY YEARS AGO, ANOTHER HEALTH CRISIS CHANGED LIVES    Just before the pandemic closed everything down, Emily Jenkins’ deft two-hander  won a top Edinburgh Fringe award and many plaud…

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Thursday, November 11, 2021

TOP HAT The Mill at Sonning by Libby Purves and Friends

FACE THE MUSIC, AND DANCE!        This was a new outing for me.    I have long loved the Watermill some miles west,  but I hadn’t really registered the Mill at Sonning with it’s e…

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Wednesday, November 10, 2021

SIX Vaudeville, WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

Reprise: they’re still at it, as good as ever      If I were a PR for the Society of London Theatres,  I would get these six performers together for a photocall with the five from Prid…

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Monday, November 8, 2021

THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE    Duke of York’s Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

  THE MYTH AND  TERROR THAT CHILDREN KNOW          Sometimes a violent rip occurs in the thin veil of materialism ,commonsense, morality and law.    Children know this: a bereaveme…

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Thursday, November 4, 2021

INDECENT PROPOSAL Southwark Playhouse, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

COULD YOU? WOULD YOU? FOR A MILLION BUCKS? Here’s a struggling young couple (well, not that young,  both on second marriages and he has a daughter going to college). Along comes a billion…

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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (SORT OF) Criterion, WC1 by Libby Purves and Friends

UNIVERSALLY ACKNOWLEDGED TO BE A HOOT          It had to happen: someone had to notice that in the comfortable upper-middle and aristocratic worlds of Jane Austen’s novel,  nothing c…

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Saturday, October 23, 2021

TONY! A rock opera newborn at the Park Theatre N4 by Libby Purves and Friends

NOT  A REVIEW BUT SOME JOLLY NEWS Not a review,  because this was the first performance of a modest weekend testing the water:  a script-in-hand, moustaches-falling-off,  fresh-outta-wor…

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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

GET UP, STAND UP! Lyric Theatre, WC1 by Libby Purves and Friends

  THE  HEART STILL FEELS THE BEAT         Everything Bob Marley sings lifts the heart,  instructing it to rise and triumph and unite in joy:  lively-up yourself!   Let’s get toget…

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GRENFELL – VALUE ENGINEERING Tabernacle Theatre, W11 by Libby Purves and Friends

THE DEVIL IN THE DETAIL: scenes from the Grenfell Inquiry    There was a spate of criticism when Richard Norton Taylor’s dramatisation of the Grenfell Inquiry was announced, despite it b…

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Saturday, October 16, 2021

WHITE NOISE Bridge Theatre, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

 THE RACE WHERE NOBODY WINS       This feels like a howl of baffled frustration, from a millennial generation ( writer and director, and all four characters) unable to deal with the emo…

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