All stories by Libby Purves on BroadwayStars

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

GUYS AND DOLLS …reprise & birthday! by Libby Purves and Friends

A FRESH CAST, ONE YEAR ON  Can it really be a whole year since, with theatre still gallantly recovering from Covid, Nicholas Hytner rolled the dice and opted to offer us some razzle dazzle?…

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Friday, March 8, 2024

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS New Wolsey, Ipswich & touring by Libby Purves and Friends

PLANT FOOD PEOPLE FROM THE PAST        I missed this first time round, due to the babysitting years, so it was grand to catch up. It’s a 1980’s  revival,  a spoof on  1960’s sci…

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Thursday, March 7, 2024

NYE Olivier, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A MAVERICK MINISTER         There’s another play to be written about Aneurin Bevan,  stubborn founder of the National Health Service: perhaps a more contentious one, or a fantasy in w…

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Wednesday, March 6, 2024

TURNING THE SCREW Kings Head, Islington by Libby Purves and Friends

ONCE BRITTEN TWICE SHY?    The late David Hemmings, one of Britten’s mentored, worshipped boy sopranos, was unforgettable aged 12  as the original MIles in the composer’s  terrifying…

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THE LONELY LONDONERS.  Jermyn St Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

THE WINDRUSH WARRIORS       Moses’  crowded bedsit  is where the new ones turn up off the boat train, wanting to know how to do London;  he can tell them names like Clapham -“not C…

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Monday, March 4, 2024

The Magic Flute Coliseum, WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

GUEST REVIEWER AND OPERABUFF DEAN THOMPSON LOVES ENO’S LATEST Ingenious – Dazzling – Hilarious! If you haven’t seen The Magic Flute before, then this is the one to see; if you have…

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Friday, March 1, 2024

BEN AND IMO Swan, Stratford upon Avon by Libby Purves and Friends

CORONATION, COMMISSION, COLLABORATION            You need not be a selfish pig to be an artist of genius,  but there’s no question that it often helps.  Occurs, anyway.  In Mark R…

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Thursday, February 29, 2024

NACHTLAND. Young Vic SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

AN ATTIC WARNING      Fasten your seat belts for a bracingly odd German play by Marius von Mayenburg; hold on tight as it veers  in a switchback weirdness, which  I for one ended up tho…

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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

CABLE STREET Southwark Playhouse SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

THEY SHALL NOT PASS    Given the current swell of antisemitism there was a heartstopping moment from Jez Unwin as Yitzhak Scheinberg,  patriarch of a hardworking East End Jewish family wh…

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THE HUMAN BODY Donmar, WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

1948 AND ALL THAT    Right now, the birth of the NHS in 1948 is more than appropriate to write about (there’s another play about Nye Bevan next week).  For as the most jaded doctor pred…

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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

DOUBLE FEATURE.     Hampstead Theatre  by Libby Purves and Friends

WANNA BE IN MOVIES? REALLY? BRRRR! We open in a chilly Suffolk cottage in the rain (I  am tonight probably the only person here to have come direct from a chilly Suffolk cottage, in rain. C…

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Friday, February 16, 2024

DEAR OCTOPUS.      Lyttelton, SE1  by Libby Purves and Friends

TENTACLES  STRETCHING INTO PAST AND FUTURE     Electricity is coming to the village but the elderly Randolphs wont bother, preferring the paraffin lamplight of their forebears.  Their ho…

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Thursday, February 15, 2024

JUST FOR ONE DAY.  Old vic. SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

WHEN THE BOOMERS WERE ROCKIN’ ALL OVER THE WORLD...     “We were there!” cry the cast of John O’Farrell’s jukebox tribute to the 1985 Live Aid concert. Memories undimmed nearly f…

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REVIEW: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Royal Shaklespeare Theatre ✭✭✭✭ by Libby Purves

By Libby Purves Our very own theatreCat Libby Purves reviews A Midsummer Night's Dream presented by the RSC at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford Upon Avon. This post REVIEW: A Midsumm…

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Wednesday, February 14, 2024

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM.       Royal Shakespeare Theatre Stratford upon Avon by Libby Purves and Friends

FAIRYTALE AS FESTIVAL      “The lunatic, the lover and the poet”  are all served in any Midsummer Night’s dream.   Here the first two get most traction,  the poetry least (until …

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Monday, February 12, 2024

THE BARBER OF SEVILLE Coliseum, WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

    LYRICAL, FARCICAL, PERFECT Figaro, rascally wigmaker and foam-flinging wet-shaver, is  basically the first rapper, isnt he? Staccato eloquence at speed, braggart confidence in breech…

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Wednesday, February 7, 2024

THE HILLS OF CALIFORNIA Harold Pinter Theatre, SW1 by Libby Purves and Friends

 AMERICAN DREAMS IN FADING BLACKPOOL     Suddenly within a fortnight come two very classy new plays,  funny and thoughtful and moving beyond the ordinary. Moreover, in a tiny revolution …

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Sunday, February 4, 2024

REVIEW: Bronco Billy, Charing Cross Theatre ✭✭✭ by Libby Purves

By Libby Purves Our very own theatreCat Libby Purves reviews Bronco Billy, a new musical at the Charing Cross Theatre. This post REVIEW: Bronco Billy, Charing Cross Theatre ✭✭✭ first a…

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Friday, February 2, 2024

BRONCO BILLY Charing Cross Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

THAT OL’TIME WESTERN DREAM OF 1979 I have a weakness for this  little theatre under the arches and its Players’ Bar.  Honouring a music-hall history, and with some of the cheapest stal…

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Thursday, February 1, 2024

TILL THE STARS COME DOWN Dorfman, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

SMALL PEOPLE,  BIG PLAY          A hot summer wedding-day.  The bride Sylvia is a bag of nerves, big sister Hazel competently combing and marshalling her  teenage and smaller daught…

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Thursday, January 25, 2024

THE FROGS. Royal and Derngate, Northampton by Libby Purves and Friends

UNFROGGETTABLE MOMENTS IN THE UNDERWORLD    Aitor Basauri does not need to be framed in a 20ft-high giant puppet frog in order to be funny,  but blissful overkill is part of the pleasure …

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Wednesday, January 24, 2024

NORTHANGER ABBEY Orange Tree, Richmond by Libby Purves and Friends

A DANCE AROUND AUSTEN’S LEGACY The book is known and loved enough: Jane Austen’s first full novel,  written with satirical youthful wit but long laid aside unpublished. It gleefully sho…

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Tuesday, January 23, 2024

THE MOST PRECIOUS OF GOODS Marylebone Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

LEST ANYONE FORGET..    Storytime!  Before a tangled treescape  Samantha Spiro sits with a book on her lap.   Across the simple stage a few notes from Gemma Rosefield’s ‘cello settl…

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Wednesday, January 17, 2024

KIN Lyttelton, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

BORDERS AND BRUTALITIES, Maybe I shouldnt review what is essentially physical-theatre. I have no dance-cred, and I was pleased to be warned years ago by the great Benedict Nightingale, when …

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Tuesday, January 16, 2024

DON’T DESTROY ME Arcola, Dalston by Libby Purves and Friends

WAR’S LONG SHADOW            I have a taste for  “Forgotten” plays of  well-made realism, illustrating  how it actually felt to live in Britain through now-distant decades.  …

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Friday, January 12, 2024

THE GOOD JOHN PROCTOR Jermyn St Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

BEFORE THE SALEM TERROR       This week, to little acclaim,  the Ambassadors opened Tbe Enfield Haunting,  a play centred on the spooky hysteria of troubled teenage girls.. The followi…

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Wednesday, January 10, 2024

THE ENFIELD HAUNTING Ambassadors, WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

GRIEF, CLASS, AND THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT           Press night having moved about and gone incommunicado, this is from when I bought a preview ticket at Richmond..same cast an…

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Thursday, December 21, 2023

PACIFIC OVERTURES. Menier, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

JAPAN MEETS THE NOISY WEST        This is exquisite, and not only in Paul Farnsworth’s dreamy set and Ayako Maeda’s costumes, from peasant fishermen to Shogun magnificence.  The Men…

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Wednesday, December 20, 2023

THIS MUCH I KNOW Hampstead, N1 by Libby Purves and Friends

BRAINS AND HOW TO MAKE THEM USEFUL      Clearly it is the mission of Hampstead Downstairs to broaden our education,  no bad ambition.  Not long ago I learned a lot about the life and em…

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Wednesday, December 13, 2023

ROCK ’N ROLL           Hampstead Theatre, NW1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A BLAST FROM THE PAST TO INSPIRE OR IRRITATE       By the interval I was mournfully unconvinced that there was any point at all in reviving Tom Stoppard’s 17-year-old play , about Commu…

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Tuesday, December 12, 2023

RED RIDING HOOD AND THE BIG BAD PIG JW3, London by Libby Purves and Friends

  CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SPIRIT      Can this really be the first Jewish pantomime?  Oy vay, surely this culture with its musical genius,  ironic jokes , family warmth,   tall tales and…

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All that Chat

May 30, 2023: Grey House - Lyceum Theatre
Jun 26, 2023: Just For Us - Hudson Theatre
Jul 24, 2023: The Cottage - Hayes Theater
Nov 16, 2023: Spamalot - St. James Theatre
Dec 18, 2023: Appropriate - Hayes Theater
Mar 07, 2024: Doubt - Todd Haimes Theatre
Apr 14, 2024: Lempicka - Longacre Theatre
Apr 17, 2024: The Wiz - Marquis Theatre
Apr 18, 2024: Suffs - Music Box Theatre
Apr 25, 2024: Mother Play - Hayes Theater
Jun 10, 2024: The Drama Desk Awards