All stories by Michael Billington on BroadwayStars

Monday, September 16, 2019

Anna Bella Eema review – trailer-park golem with a touch of Thoreau by Michael Billington

Arcola, LondonGothic sound design and a trio of sharp central performances lend this version of Lisa D’Amour’s rather mystifying play some definition Lisa D’Amour’s play is as weird …

Linked From The Guardian at 08:54PM

What to see this week in the UK by Andrew Pulver, Michael Cragg, John Fordham, Jonathan Jones, Andrew Clements, Michael Billington and Lyndsey Winship

From Downton Abbey to Khalid, here’s our pick of the best films, concerts, exhibitions, theatre and dance over the next seven days Continue reading...

Linked From The Guardian at 03:48AM
Friday, September 13, 2019

The King of Hell’s Palace review – eye-opening look at horrifying corruption in China by Michael Billington

Hampstead theatre, LondonCeleste Den portrays a real-life hero who exposed how local officials were spreading HIV ‘You are an enemy of the people,” a character remarks in Frances Ya-Chu …

Linked From The Guardian at 08:03AM
Thursday, September 12, 2019

A Doll's House review – Ibsen's classic shrewdly reimagined in colonial India by Michael Billington

Lyric Hammersmith, LondonWith a career-defining performance from Anjana Vasan, Tanika Gupta’s production is moving, multilayered and intelligent Tanika Gupta has transposed Ibsen’s semin…

Linked From The Guardian at 05:48AM
Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present review – masterful Ayckbourn unwraps a family feud by Michael Billington

Stephen Joseph theatre, ScarboroughNaomi Petersen’s turn is the icing on the cake of this time-bending drama from a writer who has lost none of his ingenuity Dramatists, from George S Kauf…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:48AM
Monday, September 9, 2019

Peter Nichols probed his private life to reveal the state of the nation by Michael Billington

The playwright behind A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, who has died aged 92, wrote deeply autobiographical plays that offered an image of modern Britain Peter Nichols, who has died aged 92, on…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:36AM

Chiaroscuro review – Jackie Kay's play is more gig than theatre by Michael Billington

Bush theatre, LondonLynette Linton’s debut as artistic director is a musical revival of an undramatic piece about the dilemmas of four women The Bush, which has recently revived Winsome P…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:36AM
Sunday, September 8, 2019

Torch Song review – pioneering gay drama still packs a punch by Michael Billington

Turbine, LondonMatthew Needham stars with tremulous assurance as the witty, sharp-tongued drag queen of Harvey Fierstein’s 70s drama Theatre seems one of our crazy nation’s few growth in…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:33AM
Friday, September 6, 2019

A Very Expensive Poison review – Lucy Prebble's Litvinenko drama fascinates by Michael Billington

Old Vic, London The twisted tale of the Russian dissident’s death by radioactive poisoning employs songs, puppets and even Putin as an unreliable narrator Watching Lucy Prebble’s fascina…

Linked From The Guardian at 02:24PM
Thursday, September 5, 2019

Two Trains Running review – August Wilson's study of a crisis-ridden city by Michael Billington

Royal and Derngate, NorthamptonThe richness of Wilson’s characters make them a joy to watch and a great cast lifts this tale set in Pittsburgh in 1969 By today’s standards, the plays of …

Linked From The Guardian at 09:54AM
Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The 10 best plays about politics by Michael Billington

As Hansard opens at the National Theatre and drama heats up in Westminster, our critic picks his favourite political theatre Whose side is Shakespeare on? As always, it is difficult to tell.…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:54PM

Hansard review – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? for the Cotswold set by Michael Billington

Lyttelton theatre, LondonAlex Jennings and Lindsay Duncan treat us to 90 minutes of sustained verbal warfare between an entitled Tory minister and his disaffected liberal wife When a charact…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:36AM

A shining light: Peter Gill, the unsung hero of British theatre by Michael Billington

He’s written 18 plays, rescued DH Lawrence from theatrical oblivion and played a crucial role at the National Theatre – all the while putting love, loss and the working class centre stag…

Linked From The Guardian at 03:24AM
Friday, August 30, 2019

Bartholomew Fair review – a merry muddle of Jonson's carnivalesque satire by Michael Billington

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, LondonBlanche McIntyre’s hectic production attempts to convey the riotous vice of Ben Jonson’s Jacobean London fair, but falters in translation to modernity Ben …

Linked From The Guardian at 12:06PM
Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Sexy, subversive … and sad: Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Fleabag in West End premiere by Michael Billington

Wyndham’s Theatre, London The first night, playing to a celebrity-packed audience, felt like a coronation but Waller-Bridge still has the ability to spring surprises Six years after its de…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:42PM
Friday, August 23, 2019

Appropriate review – Branden Jacobs-Jenkins pushes everything to the limit by Michael Billington

Donmar Warehouse, LondonDark secrets emerge as three siblings gather at their late father’s old plantation home in this daring drama Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is a subversive writer. In An Oc…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:48AM
Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Weatherman review – a glimpse into the sex trade's grisly reality by Michael Billington

Park theatre, LondonAn array of disturbed characters are cogs in the grimmest of machines in Eugene O’Hare’s frustrating but well-written debut Sex trafficking is a big and serious subje…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:54AM
Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Doctor review – Robert Icke offers brilliant diagnosis of modern ills by Michael Billington

Almeida, LondonJuliet Stevenson delivers one of the peak performances of the theatrical year in Robert Icke’s striking reimagining of Schnitzler As a director and writer, Robert Icke speci…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:24AM
Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Argument review – no winners emerge from William Boyd's couple at war by Michael Billington

Theatre Royal, BathA whole set of relationships unravel in a shrewdly observant play showing the ripple effect of marital hostilities This is only the second play by the admired novelist Wil…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:24PM
Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Actually review – two sides of the story about a date gone wrong by Michael Billington

Trafalgar Studios, LondonPhotograph 51 playwright Anna Ziegler returns with a problematic two-hander that asks us to decide where the truth lies In Photograph 51, Anna Ziegler attacked the …

Linked From The Guardian at 08:24AM
Monday, August 12, 2019

Edinburgh festival 2019: the shows we recommend by Brian Logan, Alex Needham, Catherine Love, Michael Billington, Chris Wiegand, Mark Fisher, Anna Winter and Kate Wyver

Plan your schedule with our roundup of top shows, ordered by start time. This page will be updated daily throughout the festival BoutSummerhall, 10.20am, until 25 AugustAn exploration of bro…

Linked From The Guardian at 03:12PM
Friday, August 9, 2019

Go Bang Your Tambourine review – family, faith and Oedipal feuds by Michael Billington

Finborough theatre, LondonA grieving father and son lock horns over an alluring visitor in a magnetically acted revival of Philip King’s Freudian drama Philip King is best known for See Ho…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:36AM
Thursday, August 8, 2019

8 Hotels review – Paul Robeson drama lifts curtain on a racist America by Michael Billington

Minerva, Chichester Based on a true story, a new play tracks a backstage affair with big repercussions for Robeson, played perfectly by Tory Kittles Nicholas Wright’s compelling new play i…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:33AM
Monday, August 5, 2019

How Not to Drown review – an adolescent adventure story of a Kosovan refugee by Michael Billington

Traverse, EdinburghDritan Kastrati’s journey as an 11-year-old to the UK with people smugglers is a survival story that speaks to what it is like to be caught between two cultures Dritan K…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:42AM

The Secret River review – pinpointing a crucial moment in Australian history by Michael Billington

King’s theatre, EdinburghAndrew Bovell’s adaptation of Kate Grenville’s novel about the collision between settlers and Indigenous Australians combines masterly storytelling with metaph…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:42AM
Sunday, August 4, 2019

Enough review – the unstoppable force of women by Michael Billington

Traverse, EdinburghStef Smith’s latest production depicts the two female leads rejecting male classification and raising themselves up Stef Smith wrote a fascinating dystopian drama in Hum…

Linked From The Guardian at 03:32PM

La Reprise: Histoire(s) du Theatre (I) review – compassion and curiosity in recreation of a murder by Michael Billington

Royal Lyceum, EdinburghDirector Milo Rau asks disturbing political questions while attempting to honour the real-life victim of a senseless homophobic crime This is exactly the kind of show …

Linked From The Guardian at 10:06AM
Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Bridges of Madison County review – sober musical take on tale of late-flowering love by Michael Billington

Menier Chocolate Factory, London With two excellent lead performances at its heart, Trevor Nunn’s production of the musical version of the bestselling love story is focused and honest Firs…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:48AM
Sunday, July 21, 2019

The Actor's Nightmare review – it's just a stage they're going through by Michael Billington

Park theatre, London Christopher Durang’s breezy sextet of plays takes the cast from pique to panic as he explores the insecurities of performing life To complement its main-house product…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:24AM
Thursday, July 18, 2019

Vienna 1934-Munich 1938 review – Vanessa Redgrave's portrait of antifascism by Michael Billington

Ustinov Studio, BathThe star mines her family history in this passionate but haphazard ride through socialist resistance to the Nazis This is a show unlike any other. Subtitled “A Family A…

Linked From The Guardian at 03:48PM
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Whodunnit (Unrehearsed) review – secret celeb shines in murder mystery by Michael Billington

Park theatre, LondonA quick-witted Gyles Brandreth, one of 22 stars in action during the run, sleuthed stylishly in this fundraising spoof This is all very jolly. Jez Bond and Mark Cameron h…

Linked From The Guardian at 04:18PM

All that Chat

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