All stories by Friends on BroadwayStars

Saturday, August 1, 2020

TWELFTH NIGHT Red Rose Chain by Libby Purves and Friends

A SINGING, SEASIDE,  STRIKING DEFIANCE OF THE NEW SEPARATION   Theatrecat remains dark,  as it has been since December when chemotherapy began and then ran seamlessly, in March, into loc…

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Thursday, March 19, 2020

AS THE VIRUS SAFETY CURTAIN FALLS… by Libby Purves and Friends


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Friday, December 6, 2019

THEATRECAT IS UNDER THE VET… by Libby Purves and Friends

A MESSAGE FOR THOSE KIND ENOUGH TO DROP INTO THIS SITE… Theatrecat followers: a bit of news below, in detail for your information or in case any of you are undergoing the parallel thing. …

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE        Bridge Theatre, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

 MONSTROUS AND MAJESTIC ,  A NARNIA FOR NOW      How to interpret an old favourite?  A Christian fantasy allegory, the world of Narnia,  the first of C.S.Lewis’ immortal children’…

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Thursday, November 21, 2019

DEAR EVAN HANSEN Noel Coward Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

BEN DOWELL REVIEWS: A bright, socially withdrawn teenager called Evan is desperately lonely, taking comfort in the internet and not much else. He has a crush on a girl from his school, but c…

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Friday, November 15, 2019

MARY POPPINS. Prince Edward Theatre. w1 by Libby Purves and Friends

BEN DOWELL AND DAUGHTER POP WITH PLEASURE AT ITS PEP.. It has floated in one the chilly autumn breeze like a much-needed blast of summer sunshine. Yes, this Mary Poppins is as supercalifragi…

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

THE SEASON Wolsey, Ipswich & then Northampton by Libby Purves and Friends

A BIG APPLE ROMANCE WITH CRUNCH        How romantic New York is to the British heart!  From Superman to Friends we seem to know it,  from Elf and 34th Street (not to mention the Pogues…

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

LIGHT FALLS             Royal Exchange, Manchester by Libby Purves and Friends

NORTHERN GUEST REVIEWER HELEN GASKELL TIRES OF THE RELENTLESS GRIT…   A family of five, scattered across the North of England, are brought together by tragedy.  The play shows a picture …

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WHEN THE CROWS VISIT Kiln NW6 by Libby Purves and Friends

ARROGANCE, ANGER ,   INDIA’S  SHAME     Hema’s is a house of women now.  The old grandmother is in bed below the tall screen doors ,  feeding  crows who move shadow-shapes behind…

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

VASSA Almeida, N1 by Libby Purves and Friends

GUEST CRITIC BEN DOWELL DOES NOT HAVE A GOOD NIGHT OUT   What a strange evening this is. Young director Tinuke Craig has taken Maxim Gorky’s 1911 play (there was a revision in 1935 but s…

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Thursday, October 24, 2019

BOTTICELLI IN THE FIRE Hampstead, NW3 by Libby Purves and Friends

RENAISSANCE  RUTTING,   VENUS AND  VANITIES   Sandro Botticelli, he makes clear to us at the start, plans to tell his version. He’s Dickie Beau: skinny and swaggeringly queeny in blac…

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​LUNGS.    Old vic, SE1​​​ by Libby Purves and Friends

​​IT TAKES TWO​​…​   Here’s  a sharp eyed little gem about coupledom and the wary, fretful road towards parenthood in an age of easy contraception and illimitable expectation…

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

A MUSEUM IN BAGHDAD Swan, Stratford upon Avon by Libby Purves and Friends

TWO CURATORS,  ACROSS EIGHTY YEARS     The little Swan , a jewel-box of a theatre, often sees the new plays the RSC does best: immaculate technique and careful clarity elucidating complex…

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Sunday, October 20, 2019

AN INSPECTOR CALLS Touring by Libby Purves and Friends

INSPECTOR GOOLE,  BACK  BACK ON THE ROAD    Below,  edited, is my original London review of this remarkable production.  This new tour deserves to be marked, though:   regarding the t…

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Friday, October 18, 2019

[BLANK] Donmar, WC2 by Libby Purves and Friends

A COOL EYE ON SHATTERED LIVES          Of all the well known flaws of our criminal justice system,  one of the most glaring is how badly it fits women – though they  are only around…

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

ASSASSINS           Watermill, Bagnor Newbury by Libby Purves and Friends

THE DARK AND THE CRAZY       This is  – for us anyway – the first  production in the Trump era of this savage musical:  a revue reimagining of all the attempts, successful or not,…

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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

THE NIGHT WATCH New Wolsey, Ipswich & touring by Libby Purves and Friends

PEOPLE OF THE BLITZ    Sarah Waters’ best novel, evoking lives during and after the London Blitz,  was told backward in time.  It is much the same way, indeed, as we meet real people…

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FOR SERVICES RENDERED              Jermyn St Theatre WC1 by Libby Purves and Friends

THE LOW DISHONEST DECADE…   It’s always intimate, the Jermyn,.  We’re in an autumn garden, apples on the ground and fading roses on the wall;  birdsong,  and a tea table set defia…

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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

MASTER HAROLD AND THE BOYS Lyttelton, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

A COLLIDING WORLD       Couldn’t miss this: for two years as a teenager (Dad in the Jo’burg Embassy)   I lived alongside the frightened, arrogant paranoia of  white South Africa un…

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Monday, September 30, 2019

THE WATSONS. Menier SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

15 CHARACTERS OBJECTING TO  AN AUTHOR..   The Jane Austen industry never flags, in tribute or in parody.  You can barely throw a bonnet without hitting an  Austentatious improv,  popcor…

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Friday, September 27, 2019

KING JOHN Swan, Stratford upon Avon by Libby Purves and Friends

KING JOHN WAS NOT A GOOD MAN…     Maybe we should stick to AA Milne’s version?  “King John was not a good man He had his little ways   And sometimes no one spoke to him For days an…

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

TWO LADIES Bridge, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

GLOBAL AND GENDER POLITICS IN  PERFECT MINIATURE      A glass conference-centre in the host nation France;  a visiting US President avid for airstrikes after a terrorist outrage , deman…

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

BIG THE MUSICAL           Dominion,  W1        by Libby Purves and Friends

GUEST REVIEWER BEN DOWELL SAYS HANKS FOR THE MEMORY , AND BRAVELY FACES THE WEIRDNESS   This is a lavish revival of the 1996 musical version of the 1988 Tom Hanks fantasy comedy, complete w…

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

HEDDA TESMAN Minerva, Chichester by Libby Purves and Friends

THIRTY YEARS LATER AND STILL FURIOUS: HEDDA’S BACK        Last night, while Parliament spiralled into disorderly, resentful confusion and Mr Bercow dramatically put an end to himself a…

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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

HANSARD Lyttelton, SE1 by Libby Purves and Friends

OLD TIMES,  OLD  SORROWS: BEFORE THE RAINBOW   With Parliament in uproar upriver ,  the NT hit a luckily apt moment to stage Simon Woods’ first play and promote it as a  “witty and…

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Saturday, August 31, 2019

CABILDO Arcola, E8 by Libby Purves and Friends

GUEST REVIEWER CHARLOTTE VALORI SWOONS OVER SWASHBUCKLING  AT GRIMEBORN Director Emma Jude Harris “couldn’t believe her luck” when she discovered Cabildo, the only opera by pioneering…

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Friday, August 30, 2019

THE ENTERTAINER             Curve, Leicester & touring  by Libby Purves and Friends

BITTERLY BRITISH      It was  a good mix of ages in the Curve audience,  so perhaps a  public service to remind the rising generation, awash in Brexindignation,  that Utterly-Despairi…

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TREEMONISHA Arcola, E8 by Libby Purves and Friends

GUEST REVIEWER CHARLOTTE VALORI FINDS JOPLIN TROUBLINGLY FUN Scott Joplin was rightly proud of Treemonisha, an opera for which he wrote both libretto and score; it was never fully staged in …

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Thursday, August 29, 2019

HOTSPUR /PIERROT LUNAIRE Arcola, E8 by Libby Purves and Friends

GUEST REVIEWER CHARLOTTE VALORI MARVELS AT THE OPERATIC POTENTIAL OF SIGNDANCE The double bill of Gillian Whitehead’s Hotspur with Schoenberg’s great Modernist Pierrot Lunaire is the fir…

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

EDITH IN THE BEGINNING Sutton Hoo by Libby Purves and Friends

A STRANGE RESURRECTION, BETWEEN WARS       A red sun was setting beyond the trees as we gathered around a square, isolated house in the golden-hour splendour.    Here the land rises abo…

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Sunday, August 25, 2019

AURORA Arcola, E8 by Libby Purves and Friends

GUEST REVIEWER CHARLOTTE VALORI FINDS DIMNESS RATHER THAN DAWN AT GRIMEBORN If Aylin Bozok is directing anything at Grimeborn, I always try to go. I’ve been absolutely blown away by her pa…

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