All stories by Michael Billington on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Anna review – lies and surveillance in communist East Berlin by Michael Billington

Dorfman theatre, LondonElla Hickson’s inventive thriller turns the audience into spies behind a glass wall, with fascinating but flawed results Created by Ella Hickson and sound designers …

Linked From The Guardian at 09:54AM
Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil review – buoyant revival of a Scottish classic by Michael Billington

Eden Court, InvernessJohn McGrath’s 1973 play uses ceilidhs and hoedowns to tell the shocking tale of the exploitation of Scotland’s natural resources John McGrath’s 1973 play is a leg…

Linked From The Guardian at 12:03PM
Friday, May 17, 2019

White Pearl review – a racist ad, and a bracingly funny corporate satire by Michael Billington

Royal Court, LondonAnchuli Felicia King’s Singapore-set drama brilliantly unpicks hypocrisy and the base values of the beauty business White Pearl is a little gem. It is the work of Anchul…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:12AM
Thursday, May 16, 2019

Orpheus Descending review – Tennessee Williams’ melodrama back from the dead by Michael Billington

Menier Chocolate Factory, LondonHattie Morahan and Seth Numrich help breathe new life into Williams’ strange and clumsy southern gothic How best to describe Tennessee Williams’ strange p…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:18AM
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson review – satire fails to skewer by Michael Billington

Park theatre, LondonChurchill, Blair and Thatcher drop in on Jonathan Maitland’s vacillating hero, but the jokes fall flat in this topical comedy The problem with creating a play about Bor…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:36AM
Monday, May 13, 2019

The Provoked Wife review – when wedlock turns to deadlock by Michael Billington

The Swan, Stratford-upon-AvonSome of the humour in John Vanbrugh’s 1697 sharp comedy about a tortured marriage doesn’t endure, but there’s much to admire in this important play Phillip…

Linked From The Guardian at 02:06AM
Friday, May 10, 2019

Death of a Salesman review – Miller's masterwork is given urgent new life by Michael Billington

Young Vic, LondonRacial tensions simmer alongside those of class and family as Wendell Pierce and Sharon D Clarke’s American dream unravels There are two distinct impulses behind this rema…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:36AM
Thursday, May 9, 2019

Ian McKellen review – heartfelt hilarity from a crusader of the stage by Michael Billington

Everyman, CheltenhamShakespeare, wizards and panto dames all play their part in an evening of autobiography that is a love letter to theatre Scratch a great actor and you often find a born c…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:36AM
Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Memory of Water review – bickering sisters stir up family ghosts by Michael Billington

Nottingham PlayhouseShelagh Stephenson’s Olivier-winning play about siblings reuniting in Yorkshire for a funeral mixes comedy and tragedy With Alex Kingston scheduled to play Dr Stockmann…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:42AM
Sunday, May 5, 2019

Jude review – Hardy's hero becomes a Syrian refugee in Howard Brenton's reworking by Michael Billington

Hampstead theatre, LondonBrenton’s ambitious but muddled new drama follows a gifted young Syrian woman who attracts the attentions of an Oxford classicist, Euripides and MI5 Edward Hall en…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:24AM
Friday, May 3, 2019

Rosmersholm review – Atwell and Burke are breathtaking in Ibsen masterpiece by Michael Billington

Duke of York’s, LondonDuncan Macmillan’s deft but daring tweaks underline the majesty of this sexually charged study of faith and heartbreak This has been dubbed Ibsen’s darkest and mo…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:12AM
Thursday, May 2, 2019

Small Island review – Levy’s Windrush epic makes momentous theatre by Michael Billington

Olivier, LondonAndrea Levy’s story of first-generation Jamaican immigrants in postwar Britain has been skilfully adapted and staged with hurtling energy This feels like a landmark in the N…

Linked From The Guardian at 12:12PM
Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Man of La Mancha review – Kelsey Grammer quixotically cast in starry misfire by Michael Billington

Coliseum, LondonEven Danielle de Niese’s fine voice can’t save ENO’s out-of-sync commercial collaboration – no matter how many times they play The Impossible Dream Previous collabora…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:12AM
Monday, April 29, 2019

Hell Yes I'm Tough Enough review – the far too thick of it by Michael Billington

Park theatre, LondonBen Alderton’s bilious satire about the 2015 British general election is spasmodically entertaining but unsubtle We desperately need political satire, yet now seems an …

Linked From The Guardian at 01:00AM
Sunday, April 28, 2019

Gang fights, Ophelia up close, and Mark Rylance. Happy birthday, Shakespeare by Michael Billington

Shakespeare’s Globe filled Westminster Abbey with a free-range assortment of famous – and dangerous – characters for this moving celebration A brawl broke out in the nave of Westminste…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:12AM
Friday, April 26, 2019

Jane Clegg review – suffrage-era gem shines again by Michael Billington

Finborough, LondonWritten during the votes for women campaign, St John Ervine’s play receives its first London revival in 75 years ‘The half-witted heroine has held the stage too long,…

Linked From The Guardian at 03:03PM
Thursday, April 25, 2019

Ghosts review – spirits of the dead haunt Ibsen's gripping classic by Michael Billington

Royal and Derngate, Northampton Mike Poulton’s new version lends fresh wit to the tragedy without diminishing its emotional intensity A great Manchester Guardian critic, CE Montague, once …

Linked From The Guardian at 06:30AM
Tuesday, April 23, 2019

All My Sons review – Sally Field and Bill Pullman deliver a Miller for our times by Michael Billington

Old Vic, LondonIn an era of fake news and moral uncertainty, this fine production of Arthur Miller’s play rings as true as ever Why the spate of Arthur Miller revivals? And why now? Watchi…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:30PM
Thursday, April 18, 2019

Sweet Charity, Donmar Warehouse review – Anne-Marie Duff has the rhythm of life by Michael Billington

Donmar Warehouse, LondonJosie Rourke turns this spirited Broadway musical into a hymn to female resilience in her exhilarating farewell production at the Donmar Anne-Marie Duff’s last appe…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:11AM
Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Three Sisters review – Frecknall and Ferran reunite for clannish Chekhov by Michael Billington

Almeida, LondonPatsy Ferran’s Olga is one of the many admirable performances in a production by Rebecca Frecknall that fails to deliver a full Chekhovian experience When actor Patsy Ferran…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:20AM
Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Sweeney Todd review – raging underdog adds politics to the pies by Michael Billington

Everyman, Liverpool Nick Bagnall’s ingenious revival reminds us that Sondheim’s musical thriller is also a savagely political piece about injustice Forty years after its premiere, Stephe…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:01PM
Friday, April 12, 2019

A German Life review – Maggie Smith shines as Goebbels' secretary by Michael Billington

Bridge Theatre, London Smith returns to the stage in triumph as she relives one woman’s extraordinary experience in Nazi Germany Absent from the stage for 12 years, Maggie Smith returns in…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:48PM

Rooms review – Enda Walsh's empty spaces are full of despair by Michael Billington

Barbican, LondonPart installation, part prose-poem, this strangely beautiful piece takes its audience into other people’s heads Enda Walsh’s plays are often about people trapped inside f…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:36AM
Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Pah-La review – fascinating Tibetan drama sets theatre ablaze by Michael Billington

Royal Court, LondonAbhishek Majumdar’s play launches a philosophical inquiry into non-violence and defying oppression A special virtue attaches to playwrights who take us into unfamiliar t…

Linked From The Guardian at 05:07AM
Monday, April 8, 2019

Intra Muros review – prison play takes liberties with a serious subject by Michael Billington

Park theatre, LondonAn English version of a play by golden boy of French theatre Alexis Michalik is too cavalier in its depiction of prison life Alexis Michalik is the man of the moment. His…

Linked From The Guardian at 01:00AM
Friday, April 5, 2019

Scary Bikers review – John Godber saddles up for a bumpy Brexit ride by Michael Billington

Trafalgar Studios, LondonIn his funny and perceptive two-hander, Godber and his wife play a quarrelsome couple on a tandem trip to Europe Although it dominates our lives, Brexit has so far m…

Linked From The Guardian at 02:30PM
Thursday, April 4, 2019

Top Girls review – Churchill's study of bourgeois feminism gets an epic makeover by Michael Billington

Lyttelton, LondonWith a boosted cast of 18, Lyndsey Turner’s revival of Caryl Churchill’s classic sometimes feels like three separate plays What started as an economic necessity in 1982 …

Linked From The Guardian at 06:52AM
Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Kunene and the King review – poignant two-hander illuminates post-apartheid South Africa by Michael Billington

The Swan, Stratford-upon-AvonJohn Kani beautifully captures the complex divides of race, class and politics in a remarkable and moving new play How do you put a nation’s history on stage? …

Linked From The Guardian at 06:30PM
Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Little Miss Sunshine review – feuding family hits the road to a new tune by Michael Billington

Arcola, LondonThis lively musical take on the 2006 film satirising child beauty pageants is likable but lacks bite I missed the 2006 film that is the source for this musical with songs by Wi…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:50AM
Sunday, March 31, 2019

Maggie May review – Lionel Bart's musical knows how to show you a good time by Michael Billington

Finborough, LondonBart and Alun Owen’s 1964 musical about a Liverpudlian dockside prostitute and her sailor beau gets a foot-stamping first professional revival The working-class British m…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:01AM
Friday, March 29, 2019

Grief Is the Thing With Feathers review – Cillian Murphy is a wonder by Michael Billington

Barbican, LondonMurphy has an astonishing athleticism playing both man and crow in an adaptation of Max Porter’s story of grief Cillian Murphy and Enda Walsh have teamed up to bring Max Po…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:56AM

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