All stories by Libby Purves on BroadwayStars

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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Saturday, October 12, 2019

‘Roars along’: GROAN UPS – West End by Libby Purves

Groan Ups has hamster substitutions, unexpected subtler laughs and a moment of real pathos before it swizzles into something more poignant.

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

REVIEW: Assassins, Watermill Theatre Newbury ✭✭✭✭ by Libby Purves

By Libby Purves Libby Purves reviews Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's musical Assassins now playing at the Watermill Theatre, Newbury. This post REVIEW: Assassins, Watermill Theatre Newbu…

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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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Sunday, September 29, 2019

‘Streaks of compassionate melancholy under the sparkles of hilarity’: BIRTHDAYS PAST, BIRTHDAYS PRESENT – Scarborough ★★★★★ by Libby Purves

Underneath Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present beats Ayckbourn’s sorrowful, understanding heart, showing us that comedy is just tragedy on its way to happening.

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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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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Absolutely superb’: A TASTE OF HONEY – Touring ★★★★ by Libby Purves

The National Theatre does not disappoint with A Taste of Honey. The production is absolutely superb, with some of the cleverest staging imaginable.

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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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Friday, September 13, 2019

‘Unfolds with depressing predictability’: THE KING OF HELL’S PALACE – Hampstead Theatre by Libby Purves

The King of Hell’s Palace is a play brimful of good intentions but with virtually no artistry or dramatic tension.

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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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Friday, September 6, 2019

‘Using theatre to entertain & appal’: A VERY EXPENSIVE POISON – Old Vic Theatre ★★★★★ by Libby Purves

Marina Litvinenko’s final address in A Very Expensive Poison, reminding us of our political cowardice and idly greedy tolerance of crooked Russian money in our capital city, will bring the…

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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

REVIEW: Hansard, National Theatre London ✭✭✭✭ by Libby Purves

By Libby Purves Libby Purves reviews Simon Woods' first play Hansard now playing at the Lyttelton Theatre in the National Theatre complex. This post REVIEW: Hansard, National Theatre London …

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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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Saturday, August 24, 2019

ORIGAMI SOUNDSCAPES /THE CRANE Arcola, E8 by Libby Purves and Friends

GUEST REVIEWER CHARLOTTE VALORI FINDS NOT MUCH UNFOLDING AT GRIMEBORN I have to admit – I’m a sucker for a bit of rarefied Japanese elegance on stage in almost any context: the very ment…

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Thursday, August 22, 2019

THE WEATHERMAN Park Theatre by Libby Purves and Friends

GUEST REVIEWER  BEN DOWELL SEES A GOOD SUBJECT NOT QUITE GETTING THERE…   The trafficking of human beings – 7,000 identified in the UK in 2018 – is a disgusting blight on our country…

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

8 HOTELS Minerva, Chichester by Libby Purves and Friends

A GRIPPING PIECE OF HISTORY              In 1944  the adventurous British director Peggy Webster cast the first black Othello in the USA,  where for a white woman even to walk with …

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REVIEW: The Doctor, Almeida Theatre ✭✭✭✭ by Libby Purves

By Libby Purves Libby Purves reviews The Doctor very freely adapted from Arthur Schnitzler's Professor Bernhardi by Robert Icke now playing at thew Almeida Theatre, London. This post REVIEW:…

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‘An updating perfect for our times’: THE DOCTOR – Almeida Theatre ★★★★ by Libby Purves

Arthur Schnitzler was, like Chekhov, a doctor; he was an Austrian Jew at a time when mistrust was rising. The Doctor belongs passionately to that time: but director Robert Icke’s very free…

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Thursday, August 15, 2019

COUNT ORY Arcola, E8 by Libby Purves and Friends

GUEST REVIEWER CHARLOTTE VALORI GETS INTO THE BLITZ SPIRIT WITH OPERA ALEGRIA AT GRIMEBORN Rossini’s Le Comte Ory is a flirtatious farce in which a naughty young Count drives everyone de…

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