All stories by Friends on BroadwayStars

Monday, October 10, 2022

THE DOCTOR. Duke of York’s WC1 by Libby Purves and Friends

RETURN OF A WILD AND QUESTIONING PLAY      This is the return of Robert Icke’s modern version of Schnitzler’s 1912 play – details below, as laid out in part of my original Almeida r…

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Friday, October 7, 2022

THE CRUCIBLE Olivier, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A WARNING FOR ALL TIMES     This is the big one.  It’s the National Theatre at its strongest:   unapologetic, classic,  unsparing, gripping, impassioned.    Here’s  the heavy art…

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Thursday, October 6, 2022

RAVENSCOURT Hampstead Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

THERAPISTS AS HUMANS  Georgina Burns  is a trained and experienced NHS therapist,  now with Hampstead support a playwright.  So, unlike most other writers tempted by the theatricality of…

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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

JEWS IN THEIR OWN WORDS. Royal Court SW1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A MODEST AND REMORSEFUL SELF-REBUKE        There’s  a curious outbreak of reparations going on. The Old Vic, which binned Into the Woods in outrage at Terry Gilliam’s reportedly inc…

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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

THE RAVEN. Touring East by Libby Purves and Friends

A GOTHIC SORROW IN OLD BOSTON When you say you’re off to a Suffolk village hall to see a tiny company –  best known for its mini-pantos – doing a dramatised tribute to Edgar Allan Po…

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Friday, September 30, 2022

JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN. Bridge Theatre, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

AMBITION , DISGRACE, RUIN, WOMEN Heavy footfalls pace overhead, enervating, raising anxiety. Anna Fleischle’s  galleried grey set is half Scandi-minimo-chic, half penitentiary. Downstairs…

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Thursday, September 29, 2022

NOISES OFF. Theatre Royal Bath, and touring by Libby Purves and Friends

GLORIOUS AS EVER         Millions know it by now, but in case like my enthralled companions last night you aren’t among them,   grant me a moment or skip the the penultimate paragraph…

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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

WOMAN IN MIND.        Chichester Festival Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

WISHFUL DELUSIONS IN A MIDDLE AGED DOLDRUM Susan finds herself in mid-life with a dull clerical husband (Nigel Lindsay  really enjoying it) , obsessed with his dreary parish history pamphle…

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Friday, September 23, 2022

EUREKA DAY. Old Vic, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

LORD, WHAT FOOLS WE LIBERALS BE…      In a beanbagged, bright-coloured primary school in Berkeley, California,  its executive committee of five seek consensus over reclassifying the dr…

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DISTINGUISHED VILLA.      Finborough Theatre SW10 by Libby Purves and Friends

REFINED AND FEATHER-DUSTED: CRUELTY IN THE SUBURBS We are in a suburban drawing-room in 1926,  which some characters will still call  the “parlour”.  Near the front, close enough to t…

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Thursday, September 15, 2022

ROSE Park Theatre, N4 by Libby Purves and Friends

A CENTURY SURVIVED    It is no bad week to be contemplating the Jewish custom of sitting shiva:  spending seven days on a hard wooden bench when “you laugh, you cry, you argue” in tri…

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Wednesday, September 14, 2022

THE SNAIL HOUSE. Hampstead Theatre, NW1 by Libby Purves and Friends

EVEN A SNAIL WILL REACH ITS HOME          That’s a Nigerian saying, apparently.   But shiny though the shell is,   Richard Eyre’s play becomes a frustrating stew of ideas, attitud…

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Tuesday, September 13, 2022

LOVE ALL. Jermyn St Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

SAYERS, SAYING IT FOR WORKING WOMEN   Here’s a treat:  first half in Venice (with a glorious Canaletto backdrop) and the second, after some elegant Jermyn set-changing, in a London playw…

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Saturday, September 3, 2022

PENELOPE: SEVEN WAYS TO WAIT Arcola, E8 by Libby Purves and Friends

GUEST REVIEWER CHARLOTTE VALORI FINDS SOME INTERESTING THREADS SLIGHTLY UNRAVELLED AT GRIMEBORN Fringe opera festivals sometimes give us a chance to see new work in progress – i.e. unfinis…

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Wednesday, August 24, 2022

INTO THE WOODS Theatre Royal, Bath by Libby Purves and Friends

A SPIKY AND SPECTACULAR DELIGHT              Humanity in every century has needed to plunge into the dark forests, questing or fleeing,  finding wonders or wolves:    it’s in Dan…

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Thursday, August 18, 2022

GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY – TOUR (Marlowe,Canterbury & onwards) by Libby Purves and Friends

IT’S BACK:  A NEW DIRECTION HOME    This humbly immense, uniquely created show threw me for a loop five summers ago. It’s back on tour,  via Oliviers and Broadway awards,   with its…

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THE MAGIC FLUTE. Grimeborn, Arcola Theatre E8 by Libby Purves and Friends

GUEST REVIEWER CHARLOTTE VALORI GETS SWEPT UP IN THE MAGIC, THE MUSIC AND THE META Opera Alegria’s vivacious foray into Mozart’s Magic Flute for Grimeborn takes its inspiration from the …

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Thursday, August 11, 2022

TWO UKRAINIAN PLAYS.   Finborough Theatre SW10 by Libby Purves and Friends

VOICES FROM THE GRAVE AND THE CELLAR, UNIGNORABLE        Timely, enterprising, emotionally shattering, politically shaming.   These two plays were both  both first born at the time of …

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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

CULT FIGURE. Jermyn St Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

CARRY ON. OR, TO PUT IT ANOTHER WAY, KEEP MESSIN’ ABOUT…     My first concern was, will they dare give us the sadness? Kenneth Williams was a comic marvel self-created, a versatile act…

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Wednesday, August 3, 2022

DAZZLING DIVAS. Jermyn St Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

GLITTER AND HARD GRAFT        A basement hung with glitter strings, a small moody band with earthy bass,  a bar: few better places to revel in torch songs, deep-dug anthems and memory o…

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MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Lyttelton, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.       Lyttelton, SE1 SHAKESPEARE IN THE SWING AGE      A star danced, and under it was Simon Godwin’s joyful, 1930s Riviera production born.  Quite apart fro…

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IDENTICAL Nottingham Playhouse by Libby Purves and Friends

 STARRY SISTERHOOD IN OLD VIENNA      Identical twin girls, separated at birth in their parents divorce, meet at summer camp and resolve to swop places.   Remember  “The Parent Trap�…

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Saturday, July 30, 2022

MACBETH Theatre in the forest, Sutton Hoo by Libby Purves and Friends

THE SCOTTISH PLAY ON ANCIENT TURF     “This castle hath a pleasant seat..”   Indeed it does:  Red Rose Chain’s traditional outdoor show now lives alongside the mysterious mounds wh…

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Wednesday, July 27, 2022

101 DALMATIANS       Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park NW1 by Libby Purves and Friends

101 DALMATIANS       Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park NW1 BARKING IN THE PARK        Wooof!    The OAT’s new show,  bounding and cavorting along  under the direction of that am…

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Tuesday, July 26, 2022

CRAZY FOR YOU Chichester Festival Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

CHARLIE IS , ONCE AGAIN, OUR DANCING DARLING…        Foiled by heatwave and trains,  I made it six days later to the summer’s highlight, the glorious absurdity of this wickedly succ…

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Saturday, July 23, 2022

CHAMBER OPERAS ON TOUR caught at Thorington, Suffolk by Libby Purves and Friends

     Twice lately, under tall oaks and pines on what is becoming known as Suffolk’s mini-Minack,  I have encountered touring opera companies doing wonderfully, relaxedly, professionall…

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Thursday, July 14, 2022

JACK ABSOLUTE FLIES AGAIN Olivier, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

SCRAMBLE!   CHOCKS AWAY!    Who knew that Caroline Quentin could achieve (almost) the splits, while strumming a ukulele?  Or that that Richard Bean and Chris Oliver – who a decade ago…

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ANYTHING GOES Barbican EC1 by Libby Purves and Friends

DECK-LICIOUS, DELOVELY,  SAILING BACK IN STYLE A year on, and after a partly recast tour, SS America drops anchor back in the Barbican and in style. Actually feels even better than before. …

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Tuesday, July 12, 2022

PATRIOTS Almeida, N1 by Libby Purves and Friends

  MOTHER RUSSIA AND ITS MEN     Here’s a fresh history play: confrontational , shocking, classic in its focus on vast flawed characters and pretty close to documented  – and very re…

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Friday, July 8, 2022

EVELYN Southwark Playhouse SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

MOB JUSTICE, NO JUSTICE      There are women who, seeing a friend in an almost-good outfit, cannot help reaching out: adjusting a belt , removing  an ill-judged frill, suggesting a hat.�…

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Thursday, July 7, 2022

BAREFOOT IN THE PARK Mill at Sonning, Berks by Libby Purves and Friends

STEP BACK TO THE SIXTIES SIMPLICITIES…   Once again , off to this most enticing dinner-theatre embedded in a historic treasure,  its big real watermill whirling away in the bar and the …

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