All stories by Michael Billington on BroadwayStars

Friday, July 12, 2019

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat review – stunning debutant steals a starry show by Michael Billington

London PalladiumSheridan Smith and Jason Donovan bring charisma to a jubilant revival – but neither can match the young dreamer at its centre I first saw this show in 1972 when it was a mo…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:33AM
Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Fountainhead review – Ivo van Hove hypnotises with Ayn Rand's nonsense by Michael Billington

The Lowry, SalfordInternationaal Theater Amsterdam present a constantly inventive, four-hour staging of the overheated 1943 polemic Ivo van Hove is the most ubiquitous of modern directors. B…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:18AM
Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Peter Gynt review – David Hare brings modern madness to Ibsen's epic by Michael Billington

Olivier, LondonHare updates Ibsen’s 1867 dramatic poem with wit and ingenuity, resulting in a sharp satire on contemporary mores This play is credited as “by David Hare after Henrik Ibs…

Linked From The Guardian at 12:54AM
Sunday, July 7, 2019

Measure for Measure review – the best RSC show of the summer by Michael Billington

Royal Shakespeare theatre, Stratford-upon-AvonGregory Doran’s assured production offers a perfectly judged portrait of public hypocrisy and seething sexuality Gregory Doran is not the firs…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:54PM
Friday, July 5, 2019

Tree review – Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah dance with identity by Michael Billington

Family and politics collide as a British man sets out to unearth his South African roots – and get the audience off their seats This show has the aura of a big event. It helps kickstart th…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:48AM
Thursday, July 4, 2019

The End of History ... review – Jack Thorne surveys the death of radical England by Michael Billington

Royal Court, LondonBeautifully staged by John Tiffany, Thorne’s new drama explores the pitfalls of socialist parenting How does one cope with being reared by radical parents? It’s a them…

Linked From The Guardian at 01:24PM
Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Noises Off review – Frayn's chaotic farce as thrilling as ever by Michael Billington

Lyric Hammersmith, LondonMichael Frayn’s witty parody of backstage antics endures in an entertaining production that hit a real-life on-stage glitch What irony! Just as Michael Frayn’s f…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:36AM
Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Xanadu review – psychedelic circus evokes summer of love by Michael Billington

Chiswick House, LondonCal McCrystal brings a woozy vibe to Giffords Circus, though these hippies are versatile performers and formidable athletes We expect a display of random skills. But th…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:42AM
Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Deep Blue Sea review – Rattigan's furious tide of doomed passion by Michael Billington

Minerva, Chichester Nancy Carroll is magnificent as a woman shamed by a failed affair with a younger man, in a play that seethes with postwar English anger Two critics, a Young Turk and an O…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:36AM
Friday, June 28, 2019

Europe review – refugees shelter in train station as a continent frays by Michael Billington

Donmar Warehouse, London David Greig’s 1994 play about yearning for a united Europe as fascists gather strength is deeply resonant Refugees desperately seek shelter, neo-fascist thugs roa…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:24AM
Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Hunt review – false accusation unleashes small-town savagery by Michael Billington

Almeida, LondonRupert Goold directs a taut adaptation of Thomas Vinterberg’s film about an innocent man falling prey to clannish locals Back in 2004 the Almeida had a big hit with a stage …

Linked From The Guardian at 01:03PM
Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Present Laughter review – Andrew Scott dazzles in Coward's enduring classic comedy by Michael Billington

Old Vic, London Scott is richly funny as a peacocking Peter Pan whose theatrical bohemia is threatened by outsiders Andrew Scott gives a virtuosic performance in Noël Coward’s imperishabl…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:18AM
Sunday, June 23, 2019

After Dark review – a deliciously dank vision of Victorian London by Michael Billington

Finborough, LondonDion Boucicault’s convoluted melodrama is elevated by the earnestness and imagination of Phil Willmott’s canny revival “Spare me the theatricals,” pleads a characte…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:33AM
Friday, June 21, 2019

Three Sisters review – stunning Russian staging of Chekhov classic by Michael Billington

Vaudeville theatre, LondonLev Dodin’s masterly production allows the actors to truly inhabit their roles and presents a familiar play afresh We live in an age of director’s theatre. But …

Linked From The Guardian at 09:36AM
Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Damned review – Ivo van Hove's Third Reich thriller is riveting by Michael Billington

Barbican, LondonThis adaptation of Luchino Visconti’s 1969 film, performed by the Comédie-Française, is full of startling set pieces When Luchino Visconti’s movie, The Damned, opened i…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:54AM
Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Bitter Wheat review – Malkovich and Mamet's monstrous misfire by Michael Billington

Garrick theatre, LondonJohn Malkovich works overtime to squeeze depth into David Mamet’s predatory Hollywood tycoon Barney Fein David Mamet’s new play, we are assured, is fiction and any…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:36PM
Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Strange Fruit review – Caryl Phillips’ immigrant family feel the heat by Michael Billington

Bush theatre, LondonNancy Medina directs a slow-burning story of a family caught between two cultures in 80s Britain As part of its policy of reviving neglected plays by writers of colour, t…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:18AM
Monday, June 17, 2019

While the Sun Shines review – fresh-as-paint Rattigan revival by Michael Billington

Orange Tree, RichmondSuperb performances power the ingeniously plotted story of a young earl’s marriage to the daughter of an impoverished duke The whirligig of time, as Shakespeare observ…

Linked From The Guardian at 02:12AM
Friday, June 14, 2019

Plenty review – David Hare's epic of despair has a Brexit echo by Michael Billington

Chichester Festival theatreRachael Stirling is excellent in Kate Hewitt’s invigorating production of a play about individual and national unease There seems a cunning plan to Chichester’…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:06AM
Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Pope review – Anton Lesser and Nicholas Woodeson's papal powerplay by Michael Billington

Royal and Derngate, NorthamptonRivalry and shared guilt combine as Pope Benedict XVI meets his successor, Pope Francis, in Anthony McCarten’s drama Having written films about Winston Chur…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:42AM
Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike review – Chekhovian comic curio by Michael Billington

Ustinov, BathStrong performances buoy up a lightweight story about characters fated to fulfil the destinies of their fictional namesakes I find it mildly astonishing that this piece won the …

Linked From The Guardian at 06:54PM
Tuesday, June 11, 2019

A Midsummer Night's Dream review – join the fiesta with Gwendoline Christie by Michael Billington

Bridge theatre, London Festive fun, ear-nibbling and high-wire antics infuse Nicholas Hytner’s startling role-reversal production A promenade Julius Caesar was one of the Bridge’s bigges…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:18PM
Friday, June 7, 2019

Garry review – murder and sexual torment trigger stellar pub theatre by Michael Billington

White Bear, LondonSophie Treadwell’s long-lost tale of Freudian fear gets its first outing with a cast who foster high tension in an intimate venue Sophie Treadwell is best known for her e…

Linked From The Guardian at 05:54AM
Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Knight of the Burning Pestle review – dimwit swordsman skewers theatre snobs by Michael Billington

Barbican, LondonA pair of Lion King fans blunder into a highbrow drama in Declan Donnellan’s gallant update of the class-collision comedy In Francis Beaumont’s 1607 burlesque, a grocer a…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:06AM
Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Wife review – rousing look at 60 years of sexual identity by Michael Billington

Kiln, LondonSamuel Adamson’s stimulating family saga revolves around A Doll’s House and is inventively staged by Indhu Rubasingham The slam of the door at the end of A Doll’s House was…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:33AM
Friday, May 31, 2019

Venice Preserved review – thrills, S&M sex and Restoration politics by Michael Billington

The Swan, Stratford-upon-AvonPrasanna Puwanarajah’s edge-of-the-seat revival of Thomas Otway’s 1682 tragedy looks like Blade Runner but deals in age-old themes of hypocrisy, corruption a…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:42AM
Thursday, May 30, 2019

Flinch review – Gen Z couple's fears, fights and restless ecstasy by Michael Billington

Old Red Lion, LondonEmma Hemingford’s promising debut gets under the skin of a troubled relationship and refuses to take sides Emma Hemingford has written and co-stars in this promising de…

Linked From The Guardian at 12:03PM
Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Starry Messenger review – Broderick and McGovern face up to cosmic failures by Michael Billington

Wyndhams, LondonKenneth Lonergan’s tale of astronomy and midlife misery makes fine use of an A-list cast but never truly explodes into life With Matthew Broderick and Elizabeth McGovern he…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:06PM

Rutherford and Son review – Roger Allam is magnificent in Edwardian classic by Michael Billington

Lyttelton, LondonAllam shines as the tyrannical capitalist patriarch at the heart of Githa Sowerby’s powerful story of a society in transition It has been exactly 25 years since a National…

Linked From The Guardian at 01:24PM
Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Coral Browne: This F***ing Lady! review – wit and glamour of a stylish star by Michael Billington

King’s Head theatre, LondonKnown for her sharp tongue and love affairs, the eccentric Australian actor is celebrated in this entertaining one-woman show If the title is outrageous, so was …

Linked From The Guardian at 01:12AM
Friday, May 24, 2019

King Hedley II review – Lenny Henry and Aaron Pierre make a dynamic duo by Michael Billington

Theatre Royal Stratford East, LondonAugust Wilson’s overheated story of an ex-con attempting to rebuild his life is buoyed by an energetic cast with meaty roles The parts are sometimes big…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:48AM

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