All stories by John Chapman on BroadwayStars

Saturday, July 11, 2020

‘A timely piece of writing’: MOOD MUSIC – Old Vic (Online review) by John Chapman

Mood Music is a timely piece of writing highlighting, as it does, questions of creativity, control, ownership, capitalism and personal well-being.

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Friday, July 10, 2020

‘I can’t wait until they are able to perform live again’: OEDIPUSSY – Spymonkey by John Chapman

Like the virus, Spymonkey’s brand of comedy in shows like Oedipussy has proved highly infectious over the last couple of months but at the same time it has also become a regular weekly vac…

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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

‘Foy & Smith seem to have found a new way of interacting at a distance’: LUNGS – Old Vic (Online review) by John Chapman

This was the production of Lungs live streamed from the actual stage of the Old Vic with real actors in real time as part of its In Camera project.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Are the OnComms the template for theatrical awards in ‘the new normal’? by John Chapman

The current circumstances mean that there are questions about whether there will even be a usual theatre awards season next winter/spring, especially as there may, ostensibly, be little to g…

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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

‘Distinct voices ably portrayed’: THE MIKVAH PROJECT – Orange Tree Theatre (Radio review) by John Chapman

The Mikvah Project by Josh Azouz had originally got quite a way into its run at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond before lockdown took place.

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Friday, June 26, 2020

‘Never less than arresting’: SHOE LADY – Royal Court Theatre (Radio review) by John Chapman

BBC Radio’s Lockdown Theatre Festival, curated by Bertie Carvel, highlights productions cut short by broadcasting them with the original casts, albeit in an audio format only.

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Thursday, June 25, 2020

‘Pushes the envelope of the monologue genre’: DECLAN – The Actors Centre (Online review) by John Chapman

Jimbo is 12 and on the cusp of young adulthood. Both his body and his mind are confused about its identity and the world around him is not much help.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

‘A modern-day classic about an age-old problem’: SMALL ISLAND – National Theatre (Online review) by John Chapman

A terrific and epic play about the Windrush generation: Andrea Levy’s sprawling novel Small Island has been turned into a glorious staged adaptation by writer Helen Edmundson.

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Thursday, June 18, 2020

‘These short pieces will provide valuable testimony for what people got up to in the great pandemic’: UNPRECEDENTED – Headlong Theatre (Online r by John Chapman

Life as it is currently lived in 14 playlets: Most of the plays are about ten minutes in duration and punch well above their weight featuring writing by the likes of James Graham and April d…

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Monday, June 15, 2020

Lost Labour of Love: ‘All I had to do was turn up & say the words wot Shakespeare wrote, didn’t I?’ by John Chapman

Knowing that some 600 people had applied the week previous to that, I had no great expectation that I would be selected but, to my amazement, I was offered the part of Costard.

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Sunday, June 14, 2020

‘A towering central performance by Mark Gatiss’: THE MADNESS OF GEORGE III – Nottingham Playhouse (Online review) by John Chapman

An excellent production of a modern classic with a towering central performance: Alan Bennett’s early 1990s play examines public versus private monarchical concerns at the end of the 18th …

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Monday, June 8, 2020

‘The delightful level of detail punctuates the action’: THE UNDERSTUDY – Lawrence Batley Theatre by John Chapman

Life on the lowest rung of the theatrical ladder. There are lots of in-jokes with digs at actors, directors, the rehearsal process, theatrical agents, critics and the site-specific trend.

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Sunday, June 7, 2020

‘Tom Hiddleston is worth the price of admission’: CORIOLANUS – Donmar Warehouse (Online review) by John Chapman

There are some staggering contemporary references to draw from this staging of a lesser-known Shakespeare, starring Tom Hiddleston.

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Sunday, May 31, 2020

‘Power is shown to be almost totally male-dominated’: THIS HOUSE – National Theatre (Online review) by John Chapman

The plotline of James Graham play covers several years during a period when majorities were slim and politics was a brutal business.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

‘It places sound firmly front & centre’: THE ENCOUNTER – Complicite (Online review) by John Chapman

Simon McBurney performs this stupendous and extraordinary solo show from Complicite. Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin’s soundscape is nothing short of a triumph.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

‘Think you know the war poets? Think again’: IT IS EASY TO BE DEAD – Finborough Theatre by John Chapman

When poetry of the First World War is mentioned, the names which tend spring to mind are Brooke, Owen, Sassoon, Graves, Blunden and so on. Then there’s Charles Sorley.

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Thursday, May 21, 2020

‘A spectacular show which treats its subjects with respect’: ONLY THE BRAVE – Wales Millennium Centre (Online review) by John Chapman

After the 75th anniversary weekend of VE Day, the musical Only The Brave drew my attention as a perfect way to spend an afternoon.

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Monday, May 11, 2020

‘Ralph Fiennes & Sophie Okonedo are well matched’: ANTONY & CLEOPATRA – National Theatre (Online review) by John Chapman

I’ve always found Antony and Cleopatra a bit of a slog. There, I’ve said it. Too many scenes which flit about all over the place, too many minor inconsequential characters, deaths which …

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Thursday, May 7, 2020

‘A kind of strange hybrid form’: THIRTY MILLION MINUTES (Online review) by John Chapman

A life distilled to its essentials: 30 Million Minutes indicates the rough length of time that Dawn French had been alive at the time of her solo show recorded in its final incarnation in 20…

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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

‘The one-woman play is far superior to the TV series’: FLEABAG – Soho Theatre (Online review) by John Chapman

When DryWrite co-Artistic Director Phoebe Waller-Bridge wrote Fleabag back in 2013, it needed to be crowdfunded in order for it to be premiered at that year’s Edinburgh Festival.

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Friday, April 10, 2020

‘This is a defiantly feminist reading of the text’: JANE EYRE – National Theatre (Online review) by John Chapman

The problem with staging a classic novel is that everyone has a slightly different view of how it should be done – many have tried and few have fully succeeded.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

‘A success which I intend to repeat’: LADY WINDERMERE’S FAN – Marquee TV (Online review) by John Chapman

This production of Lady Windermere’s Fan is mostly a strong account of a play that will always be overshadowed by Earnest and a very pleasant way to spend a locked down afternoon.

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Sunday, April 5, 2020

40+ ways to get your theatre fix online during lockdown by John Chapman

Are you fed up with not being able to go out to the theatre? Don’t be. There’s a wealth of stuff to watch online. Here’s a handy list of current opportunities. OK, so it’s not quite …

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

‘Dense study of women in emotional turmoil’: PERSONA – Riverside Studios by John Chapman

While I can fully imagine Persona working on film – indeed it seems to be generally hailed as a masterpiece – on stage I fear it fares less well.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

‘Given a new lease of life’: TEN TIMES TABLE – Touring by John Chapman

A review of Ten Times Table by Alan Ayckbourn currently at Richmond Theatre . Still has resonance.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

‘All a bit too minimalist’: BECKETT TRIPLE BILL – Jermyn Street Theatre by John Chapman

A man sitting behind a table, a man sitting on the edge of an unmade bed, two men sitting on a park bench. These are the settings in the Samuel Beckett Triple Bill currently at the tiny Jerm…

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Sunday, January 12, 2020

‘A valuable reminder of how far things have progressed’: COMING CLEAN – Trafalgar Studios by John Chapman

If I have understood the timeline correctly the latest incarnation of Kevin Elyot’s debut play Coming Clean is a revival of a revival.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

‘Fails to be seriously entertaining’: THE WEATHERMAN – Park Theatre by John Chapman

“A meaningful play about a really important subject”. As I left the Park Theatre having watched Eugene O’Hare’s play The Weatherman, these were the sort of (overheard) comments I hea…

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Saturday, June 15, 2019

‘Splendidly sharp & biting satire’: BREXIT – King’s Head Theatre by John Chapman

A revival of the play Brexit at the King’s Head Theatre, Islington is very much of the moment and stirs some classic sitcom memories.

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

To be (onstage) or not to be (onstage) by John Chapman

Last night I found myself both onstage and in the audience at the same time – neat trick if you can do it and I have done… on more than one occasion.

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Friday, May 31, 2019

‘It was just the most magical experience of reading a play’: Director Rob Ellis fills in the background on new play Cuttings at the Hope Theatre by John Chapman

Rob Ellis directs Ollie George Clark’s new play called Cuttings at London’s Hope Theatre which examines the hitherto unexplored backstage world of theatrical PR – a world that has beco…

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All that Chat

Oct 06: Slave Play
Feb 01: The Minutes
TBA: Blue