All stories by Friends on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

YOURS UNFAITHFULLY Jermyn St Theatre SW1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A TIME CAPSULE OF OPEN MARRIAGE   I am pleased to find out about Miles Malleson:  an Edwardian student joker,  WW1 conscientious objector, Bolshevist, founder of Left drama groups and the…

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PATRIOTS Noel Coward Theatre WC1 by Libby Purves and Friends

MOTHER RUSSIA’s WARRING SONS          At the Almeida this shook and delighted us last year:  a fresh history play: confrontational , shocking, classic in its focus on vast flawed cha…

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Friday, June 2, 2023

GYPSY The Mill at Sonning by Libby Purves and Friends

BIG SHOW, BIG HEART, SMALL SPACE        This, I urgently must tell you, is rather wonderful:    an example of the way that  sometimes a big show in a small theatre can be a revelation…

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Wednesday, May 17, 2023

HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING Southwark Playhouse, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

   BACK TO THE OFFICE, EVERYONE!       There is, by chance a bit of a Thing going on in theatre right now:  women playing a particularly alpha type of men, with glee and an unnerving s…

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Thursday, May 11, 2023

THE CIRCLE Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond SW by Libby Purves and Friends

WHEN DIVORCE WAS DISASTER     It’s 1921.    Thirty years ago Lady Kitty ran out on her MP husband Clive and small son with his friend and colleague Hughie,  exploding a public scandal…

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Wednesday, May 10, 2023

OPERATION MINCEMEAT         Fortune Theatre, WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

BORN TO LEAD..       This  is a joy,  quirky and full-hearted, musically adroit and fast-moving and witty.   Moreover, I suspect its self-mocking variety-show humour would be more to t…

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Thursday, May 4, 2023

THE VORTEX Chichester Festival Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

THE ROARING TWENTIES, ROLLING OVER THE EDGE When Noel Coward shocked and enthralled the 1920s with this most bitter and intense of his plays, he was meanwhile hastily finishing the farcical …

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CYMBELINE Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon by Libby Purves and Friends

GATHER ROUND AND HEAR AN OLD, OLD STORY…   Deep breath, concentrate at the back:  there’s this Ancient Briton King, who once banished a chap who vengefully stole his baby sons, leaving…

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Tuesday, May 2, 2023

THE MOTIVE AND THE CUE Lyttelton, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A THEATRICAL ECHO, SEVENTY YEARS AGO    A theatrical tease opens both halves: the voice of Noel Coward singing “There’s a right way and a wrong way, an old way and a new way” for the…

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Sunday, April 30, 2023

TONY! the rock opera Leicester Square theatre & Touring by Libby Purves and Friends

HARRY HILL TAKES ON TONY BLAIR. FIIIIIIIGHHHT!!!!   I couldn’t be more delighted that it’s touring, this splendidly rude show.  We need this kind of merrily offensive burlesque,  in t…

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Thursday, April 27, 2023

RETROGRADE Kiln, NW6 by Libby Purves and Friends

THE POWER OF NO, IN 1950S AMERICA   If we think we suffer from  a paranoid cancel-culture ,  we should  note this reminder of  mid-1950s America – notably Hollywood – in the McCarth…

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Wednesday, April 26, 2023


BLACK, BOYISH, BEAUTIFUL       It’s not all musicals and movie-spinoffs that put bill-paying bums on seats.  The best producers trust their nerve and instinct ,rake through the fringe …

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JULES AND JIM Jermyn St Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

    REDEFINING FEELINGS IN AN AGE OF ANGRY ANGST “We are three people trying to redefine feeling” they say.  They do this between Paris, Munich, Salzburg and Greek islands, and either…

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Thursday, April 20, 2023

THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES Almeida, N1 by Libby Purves and Friends

BLAZING MUSIC HOLDS THE HOUSE TOGETHER        After 1930’s Donegal at the NT the day before,  Dancing at Lughnasa portraying a group of women meeting  stress and poverty with danci…

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Wednesday, April 19, 2023

DANCING AT LUGHNASA Olivier, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A SAD LOST WORLD . A HUMAN BEAUTY There is particular genius in creating a play which doesn’t build to a showy debacle but grips you with the possibility of an unnamed crisis,  and  so f…

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Tuesday, April 18, 2023

THE WAY OLD FRIENDS DO Touring by Libby Purves and Friends

​ABBASOLUTELY A DELIGHT   ​​    ​​      If there is a formula for a cheerful touring play in our frazzled and disputatious times, it would go like this:  warm but a bit rude…

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Friday, April 14, 2023

PRIVATE LIVES Donmar, WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

NEVER FLAT, COWARD There ’s always a slight frisson when Noel Coward’s rueful, dark-streaked romantic comedy  is revived in our censorious age.  We are nine decades on from the night i…

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Thursday, April 13, 2023

HAMNET Swan, Stratford upon Avon by Libby Purves and Friends

LOVE, DEATH, GRIEF       It’s  a joy to have the intimate Swan auditorium open again, refurbished after going dark in the first sudden Covid closure, and to see once again a strong, ni…

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Wednesday, April 5, 2023

SEA CREATURES Hampstead, NW3 by Libby Purves and Friends

SEA FRET        I’ll give it one thing: over an hour into this infuriating two- hour play there’s a brief but wonderful part for the veteran June Watson. She stumps in with octogenar…

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Tuesday, April 4, 2023

FARM HALL      Jermyn st Theatre WC1 (then Bath) by Libby Purves and Friends

  BEAUTIFUL SCIENCE. UGLY WORLD        Unexpectedly enthralled, I spent an hour and a half eavesdropping on six nuclear physicists, and couldn’t be more glad to have caught up on thi…

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Sunday, March 26, 2023

HAY FEVER The Mill at Sonning by Libby Purves and Friends

BLISS WITH THE BLISSES I don’t always make it through the Oxfordshire lanes to the gorgeous, eccentric, water-wheeled Mill, but the thought of Issy van Randwyck as Judith Bliss lured me . …

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Sunday, March 19, 2023

MARJORIE PRIME Menier, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

FUTURE IMPERFECT      Artificial intelligence and robotics have long been a boon to us ethical-scifi buffs,  films like AI and I, Robot mercifully saving us from rocket ships and aliens …

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Wednesday, March 15, 2023

GUYS AND DOLLS Bridge, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

HYTNER ROLLS ANOTHER WINNING DICE     Daniel Mays has played a lot of tough-guy roles but has by nature a rather innocent and worried-looking face.  It is this quality that Nick Hytner sp…

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Tuesday, March 14, 2023

BRILLIANT JERKS Southwark, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

RIDE A WILD APP    In  a week when tech firms shuddered at the shock demise of their favourite bank, how better to spend 90  minutes  withJoseph Charlton’s exhilarating, fast moving 3…

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Sunday, March 12, 2023

THE CHILDREN Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds by Libby Purves and Friends

A RADIATING RESPONSIBILITY          Since I watched Sizewell A going up as a child,  live close to Sizewell B and dwell amid a forest of local posters furiously condemning Sizewell C, …

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Tuesday, March 7, 2023

THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF MUSICAL Noel Coward Theatre WC1 by Libby Purves and Friends

SUGAR RUSH  I can never resist scribbling down rhymes in new musicals, whether in a spirit appalled or admiring.    Take a bow Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary – writers of this extreme ca…

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Sunday, March 5, 2023

THE TIME MACHINE          touring  by Libby Purves and Friends

AN UN-SOLEMN WARNING FROM THE FUTURE    H.G.Wells is the inspiration,  with a larkily extrovert Dave Hearn from Mischief Theatre pretending to be his great-grandson, heir, and owner of th…

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Friday, March 3, 2023

GRENFELL: SYSTEM FAILURE. Tabernacle & Marylebone by Libby Purves and Friends

MORE DETAILS, MORE  DEVILRY          An Afghan army officer flees the Taleban and finds safety on the 23rd floor of Grenfell Tower.  His local nickhame is  “Sabar”, meaning “pa…

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Tuesday, February 14, 2023

STANDING AT THE SKY’S EDGE. Olivier, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

 HIGH ABOVE THE BRUTAL AND BELOVED CITY       It’s an architectural moment. Within the stark brutalist NT is a set in homage to a brutalist landmark:  the early 1960’s Park Hill Fl…

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Friday, February 10, 2023

PHAEDRA. Lyttelton, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

COUGAR CHAOS     The Greeks just go on giving.  Writer-director Simon Stone’s play,  set today amid the upper-middle classes of Holland Park and second-home Suffolk,  credits itself m…

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Thursday, February 9, 2023

THE LEHMAN TRILOGY. Gillian Lynne Theatre WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

A MONETARY MORALITY PLAY         Three hour-long plays, two intervals, three men in black frock-coats explain some financial history in a revolving glass box in front of a projected , m…

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