All stories by Michael Billington on BroadwayStars

Monday, February 18, 2019

Come From Away review – relentless niceness in tale of post-9/11 Canadian kindness by Michael Billington

Phoenix theatre, LondonThis musical about plane passengers diverted to Newfoundland on 11 September has plenty of heart but not enough biteThis musical by the Canadian married team of Irene …

Linked From The Guardian at 05:54PM
Sunday, February 17, 2019

9 to 5 The Musical review – slick and stylish Dolly Parton period piece by Michael Billington

Savoy theatre, LondonThis beloved revenge fantasy is as subtle as a sledgehammer but its advocacy of workplace equality makes it hard to dislikeYou can’t escape the presence of Dolly Parto…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:42PM
Friday, February 15, 2019

Berberian Sound Studio review – aural sex-drenched horror hits its targets by Michael Billington

Donmar Warehouse, London This fascinating adaptation of a film about a Foley artist creating sound effects for a horror movie attacks its targets – artistic responsibility and male power s…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:42AM
Thursday, February 14, 2019

The American Clock review – Arthur Miller's snapshots of the 1930s by Michael Billington

Old Vic, LondonThis vaudeville about the Great Depression showcases Miller’s capacity to capture the state of a troubled nationThe impromptu Arthur Miller festival – initiated by the tra…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:36AM
Tuesday, February 12, 2019

All About Eve review – classic Hollywood updated with technical wizardry by Michael Billington

Gillian Anderson and Lily James give fine performances but this version of the 1950 film might be a little too clever for its own goodThis is a show that reeks of chic. It stars Gillian Ande…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:24PM

Rutherford and Son review – passion and power in Githa Sowerby's classic by Michael Billington

Crucible, SheffieldOwen Teale and Laura Elphinstone are superb, as a patriarch and his daughter, in Caroline Steinbeis’s potent production The astonishing thing about Githa Sowerby’s pla…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:12PM
Friday, February 8, 2019

Albert Finney on stage: that indefinable quality called 'weight' by Michael Billington

The actor shone as brightly in theatre as he did on film, helping to create modern classics from Billy Liar to Joe Egg, and playing the first Hamlet at the National’s Southbank homeBecause…

Linked From The Guardian at 01:36PM

Dracula review – Stoker's chiller returns to library where it was written by Michael Billington

The London LibraryA cast of two do their best to breathe cohesion into a play full of sex, shrieks and floating eyes … but without a vampire in sightGiven that Bram Stoker researched his 1…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:04AM
Thursday, February 7, 2019

Pinter Seven review – Danny Dyer and Martin Freeman on fire in glorious double bill by Michael Billington

Harold Pinter theatre, LondonDyer and Freeman excel as gunmen in The Dumb Waiter and Jamie Lloyd’s staging of A Slight Ache, with John Heffernan and Gemma Whelan, is a revelationThe season…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:24AM
Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Cougar review – breathless scenes of sexual power games in luxury hotels by Michael Billington

Orange Tree, RichmondThis unsettling portrait of a world and a relationship in crisis breezes through 80 scenes in 75 minutesRose Lewenstein’s play triggers all kinds of associations. Sinc…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:54AM
Sunday, February 3, 2019

Beast on the Moon review – portrait of a marriage and a massacre by Michael Billington

Finborough, LondonRichard Kalinoski’s deeply touching play is about the fraught relationship between two escapees of the Armenian genocide living in 1920s MilwaukeeDrama can tackle big sub…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:42PM
Friday, February 1, 2019

Cost of Living review – Adrian Lester dazzles in stirring portrait of poverty by Michael Billington

Hampstead theatre, LondonAn impeccable cast play out dual narratives about life on the US breadline in a tough drama that earns its poignancyFor the 100th premiere in his decade-long tenure …

Linked From The Guardian at 05:54AM
Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Orchestra review – Jean Anouilh's band clash over sex and politics by Michael Billington

Omnibus theatre, LondonA team of musicians create discord as the neglected playwright’s short, sharp drama is given a stylish revival In 1962 there were six plays by Jean Anouilh running i…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:48PM
Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Cuzco review – romance left in ruins on the Inca trail by Michael Billington

Theatre 503, LondonVíctor Sánchez Rodríguez’s play stylishly shows how confrontation with the colonial past can lead to self-discoveryLiving European writers are so rarely seen on the i…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:18AM
Sunday, January 27, 2019

Welcome to the UK review – fancy a game of Home Office bingo? by Michael Billington

The Bunker, LondonThe Borderline theatre group’s timely satire is well-intentioned, but its funfair setting reduces it to baggy vaudevilleThis is a prime example of what you might call the…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:18PM
Friday, January 25, 2019

Leave to Remain review – spirited gay-marriage musical from Kele Okereke by Michael Billington

Lyric Hammersmith, LondonIn Okereke and Matt Jones’s play, directed by Robby Graham, the story, song and movement are seamlessly integratedThe title suggests we’re in for an evening advo…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:36AM
Wednesday, January 23, 2019

When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other review – enjoyable, but hardly shocking by Michael Billington

Dorfman, LondonCate Blanchett and Stephen Dillane add some heft to an uninspired exploration of modern sexual mores Advance reports of people fainting in the stalls suggested we might be in …

Linked From The Guardian at 08:12PM

Dear Elizabeth review – poets bare their souls in a lyrical show by Michael Billington

Gate theatre, London Jade Anouka and Jonjo O’Neill give first-rate performances reading the letters between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert LowellSarah Ruhl’s dramatisation of the letters ex…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:54AM
Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Violet review – Fun Home duo's road trip gets lost in music by Michael Billington

Charing Cross theatre, LondonKaisa Hammarlund impresses but Jeanine Tesori’s musical has a trite message and gets an over-amplified productionJeanine Tesori, who wrote the scores for Carol…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:32AM
Thursday, January 17, 2019

Our Lady of Kibeho review – startling story of a heavenly 'visitation' by Michael Billington

Royal and Derngate, NorthamptonKatori Hall’s astonishing drama, based on the alleged visions of three schoolgirls, explores the power of faith and miracles as Rwanda’s genocide loomsKato…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:04AM
Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Rosenbaum's Rescue review – riveting clash about escaping the Nazis by Michael Billington

Park theatre, LondonTwo men compare fiercely different reckonings of the exodus of 7,500 Jews from Denmark in this gripping playAt the heart of Alexander Bodin Saphir’s fascinating first p…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:06AM
Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Approaching Empty review – Iron Lady drives a wedge between cabbies by Michael Billington

Kiln, LondonIshy Din’s new play, set in the aftermath of Margaret Thatcher’s death, explores the impact of her legacy on two immigrantsIshy Din is a former Middlesbrough taxi-driver on a…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:12AM
Monday, January 14, 2019

Aspects of Love review – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most beguiling score by Michael Billington

Southwark Playhouse, LondonLove has one too many aspects in Jonathan O’Boyle’s spirited revival, which needs a librettist to trim the untidy narrative ‘It is possible to have more than…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:12AM
Friday, January 11, 2019

The War of the Worlds review – smart take on today's 'fake news' invasion by Michael Billington

New Diorama, LondonOrson Welles’s radio adaptation of the sci-fi classic is given a new spin on stage with references to Trump and BrexitThe story of the panic induced by Orson Welles’s …

Linked From The Guardian at 08:54AM
Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Paradise review – Sara Kestelman is superb in sunset drama by Michael Billington

Hampstead Downstairs, LondonDusty Hughes’s play about two mischief-making seniors living in a retirement home is stoic about ageingGiven that nearly a fifth of the UK population is aged 65…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:36AM
Monday, January 7, 2019

Time Is Love/Tiempo Es Amor review – betrayal in the barrio by Michael Billington

Finborough, LondonChé Walker’s enigmatic drama, set in Los Angeles, is the theatrical equivalent of film noirWritten and directed by Ché Walker, this play brings a touch of unexpected gl…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:24AM
Sunday, January 6, 2019

Pinter Five and Six review – starry cast bring shorter works into the spotlight by Michael Billington

Harold Pinter theatre, LondonJane Horrocks, Rupert Graves and others shine in Patrick Marber and Jamie Lloyd’s bold revivals of the playwright’s shorter playsOne of the great pleasures o…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:04AM
Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Decadence and dystopia: the unmissable theatre, dance and comedy of 2019 by Michael Billington, Lyndsey Winship and Brian Logan

Blanchett and Hiddleston get sexual, there are chills in a Glasgow tower block, Matthew Bourne takes on the star-crossed lovers, plus Catherine Tate, Tim Minchin and Ben Elton return to the …

Linked From The Guardian at 07:42AM
Friday, December 21, 2018

Nativity! The Musical review – season's greetings from Dani and Danny Dyer by Michael Billington

Eventim Apollo, LondonThe father-and-daughter duo add self-deprecating cheer, alongside Jo Brand, to this feelgood fairytaleThe Dyers – Danny and Dani – and Jo Brand are the marquee name…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:48AM
Thursday, December 20, 2018

Sweat review – breathtaking drama about life in the American rustbelt by Michael Billington

Donmar Warehouse, LondonBased on interviews with residents of small-town Pennsylvania, Lynn Nottage’s play vividly describes the betrayal and resentments of striking female factory workers…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:32AM
Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Tragedy of King Richard the Second review – Simon Russell Beale's king sold short by Michael Billington

Almeida, London Joe Hill-Gibbins’ stripped-back production delivers a forceful royal downfall, but leaves little space to explore the power plays behind itSimon Russell Beale was born to p…

Linked From The Guardian at 05:32AM

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