All stories by Michael Billington on BroadwayStars

Monday, December 17, 2018

Top 10 theatre shows of 2018 by Michael Billington

A gender-switch Company got Sondheim’s blessing, Sam Mendes probed the doomed Lehman dynasty and Austen had a sparkling rewrite. But the year belonged to Jonathan Pryce and Eileen Atkins f…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:18AM
Friday, December 14, 2018

Timon of Athens review – Kathryn Hunter lays waste to wealth-worship by Michael Billington

The Swan, Stratford-upon-AvonA searing central performance flips the gender dynamics as Shakespeare’s study of greed gets a ravishing revivalShakespeare’s embittered satire, notoriously,…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:04AM
Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Cane review – Mark Ravenhill's provocative look at power abuse by Michael Billington

Royal Court, LondonA deputy head’s historical deeds trouble his retirement in this tense drama starring Alun Armstrong, Nicola Walker and Maggie SteedFor the second time in a week on stage…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:06PM
Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Double Dealer review – sly schemers, randy wives and foolish cuckolds by Michael Billington

Orange Tree, RichmondSelina Cadell stages an enterprising production of Congreve’s convoluted restoration comedySelina Cadell is on a one-woman mission to preserve Restoration comedy. Havi…

Linked From The Guardian at 05:42PM
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Snowflake review – Mike Bartlett's Christmas drama for a divided Britain by Michael Billington

Old Fire Station, OxfordA masterfully written generational clash lies at the heart of this timely story rich in insight, poignancy and optimism It is a quite a coup for this bustling arts ce…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:42AM
Monday, December 10, 2018

Sleeping Beauty review – futuristic panto for the Fortnite generation by Michael Billington

Theatre Royal Stratford East, LondonCharles Perrault meets Doctor Who in this lively production about a cockney martial-arts princess who travels through timePantomime survives by being infi…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:24AM
Friday, December 7, 2018

Uncle Vanya review – Terry Johnson brings brutality to Chekhov country by Michael Billington

Hampstead theatre, London There are vibrant performances in this new version of the Russian masterpiece, directed and written by Johnson Terry Johnson has directed his own new version of Che…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:06AM
Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Producers review – Brooks's bonfire of good taste still burns brightly by Michael Billington

Royal Exchange, Manchester Raz Shaw’s riotous revival of Mel Brooks’s musical meisterwerk offers as much fun as you’ll find on a stage this ChristmasMel Brooks’s 2001 musical, like t…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:12AM
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Hole review – history of female empowerment with heavy gravity by Michael Billington

Royal Court, London Ellie Kendrick livens up her inventive debut with astrophysics and ancient Greek myth – but it could use more concrete argumentEllie Kendrick’s hour-long debut play c…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:12PM
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

True West review – Harington and Flynn star as Shepard's warring siblings by Michael Billington

Vaudeville, LondonKit Harington and Johnny Flynn are good, if slightly mismatched, as the brothers in Sam Shepard’s haunting playYou can see why Kit Harington and Johnny Flynn were drawn t…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:04PM
Monday, December 3, 2018

Burke and Hare review – a very merry romp about murder by Michael Billington

Jermyn Street theatre, LondonWith a cast of three playing multiple characters, this is an energetic telling of the cadaver-supplying criminalsYou learn something new all the time. I had alwa…

Linked From The Guardian at 05:42PM

Jeannie review – return of a spirited Scottish Cinderella by Michael Billington

Finborough, LondonMairi Hawthorn really gets her teeth into the titular heroine in Aimée Stuart’s 1940 play that creaks with age at timesCinderella stories are all the rage at Christmas. …

Linked From The Guardian at 12:06PM
Thursday, November 15, 2018

Love-Lies-Bleeding review – Don DeLillo play is a matter of life and death by Michael Billington

Print Room at the Coronet, London The novelist’s 2005 drama opens up arguments about assisted death and the point at which life ceases to have meaningMany of the great American novelists …

Linked From The Guardian at 06:33AM
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Hadestown review – musical Orpheus myth is a beguiling fable for today by Michael Billington

Olivier, LondonThere are some cracking songs in Rachel Chavkin and Anaïs Mitchell’s haunting journey through the underworldThis is a show that escapes easy definition. With music, lyrics …

Linked From The Guardian at 07:04AM
Sunday, November 11, 2018

Pinter Three and Four review – terror from Tamsin Greig, and a hilarious Lee Evans by Michael Billington

Harold Pinter theatre, LondonGreig shows nothing is now beyond her range while Evans’s physical comedy is a delight as this short-drama season highlights Pinter’s fascination with marita…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:06AM
Friday, November 9, 2018

The Hoes review – Essex girls in Ibiza search for sex and security by Michael Billington

Hampstead theatre, LondonIfeyinwa Frederick’s debut play about three friends on holiday veers from comic to serious in a flashThis is a debut play by Ifeyinwa Frederick about three Essex-b…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:42AM
Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Watsons review – Austen heroine brought stunningly back to life by Michael Billington

Minerva, Chichester In Laura Wade’s bold and playful adaptation of Austen’s unfinished novel, the mutinous characters threaten to take control of the dramaI would seriously urge anyone p…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:32PM
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Zoo review – soulmates, sloths and slutty penguins by Michael Billington

Theatre 503, London A Florida zoo curator befriends a British bat enthusiast in Lily Bevan’s engaging pair of interwoven monologuesLily Bevan is a talented writer-performer who has previou…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:06AM
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

White Teeth review – Zadie Smith's 'multiculti' melting pot boils over by Michael Billington

Kiln, LondonStephen Sharkey adapts Smith’s immigrant tale with zest but struggles to contain the novel’s dizzying temporal leaps Adapting Zadie Smith’s phenomenal novel for the stage i…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:42PM
Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Funeral Director review – sex, death and religious belief by Michael Billington

Southwark Playhouse, LondonIman Qureshi’s award-winning play examines Islamic attitudes to same-sex relationships with grace and dignityEvery year the Papatango New Writing prize comes up …

Linked From The Guardian at 07:06AM
Friday, November 2, 2018

Bury the Dead review – fallen soldiers refuse to lie down by Michael Billington

Finborough theatre, London Six dead men do not want to be buried in Irwin Shaw’s expressionist but schematic anti-war play from 1936You can applaud a play’s intentions without enjoying i…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:54AM
Thursday, November 1, 2018

ear for eye – debbie tucker green's furious dissection of racial injustice by Michael Billington

Royal Court, LondonGenerational friction, slavery laws and police protocol all come under scrutiny in a stirring three-part study of oppressionAs she showed in her plays hang (2015) and trut…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:24PM
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Dealing With Clair review – Martin Crimp's fierce swipe at pious yuppies by Michael Billington

Orange Tree theatre, RichmondThis revival gains an eerie topicality, yet its ingenious study of moneyed hypocrisy makes it truly timelessBy an extraordinary quirk of fate, Martin Crimp’s 1…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:24AM
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Soldier On review – veterans and actors join forces to tell military tales by Michael Billington

The Other Palace, LondonEx-service personnel work alongside professional actors in Jonathan Lewis’s ingenious piece of meta-theatreWritten and directed by Jonathan Lewis, this is a play ab…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:12PM
Monday, October 29, 2018

The haranguing of David Edgar – by his 20-year-old self by Michael Billington

The playwright’s imagined confrontation with the political activist he was 50 years ago is a triumph of confessional courage – and relentless optimismWhat happened to the Sgt Pepper gene…

Linked From The Guardian at 12:24PM
Friday, October 26, 2018

I and You review – Maisie Williams blazes with a craving for life by Michael Billington

Hampstead theatre, LondonThe Game of Thrones star plays a surly death-haunted 17-year-old whose life is changed by a book of poems and an unlikely friendshipScarcely known in Britain, Lauren…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:32AM
Thursday, October 25, 2018

A Very Very Very Dark Matter review – so, did Hans Christian Andersen keep a woman in cage? by Michael Billington

Bridge theatre, LondonJim Broadbent is brilliantly buffoonish and sadistic in Martin McDonagh’s wildly inventive dismantling of the great Danish storytellerMartin McDonagh’s new play is …

Linked From The Guardian at 06:12AM
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Wild Duck review – Ibsen tarred and feathered by Robert Icke by Michael Billington

Almeida, London This parasitic rewrite treats a masterpiece as a lecture and totally overlooks Ibsen’s elusive comedyIf you want an example of the arrogance of director’s theatre, head t…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:06AM
Friday, October 19, 2018

Troilus and Cressida review – love, war and lechery on the road to dystopia by Michael Billington

Royal Shakespeare theatre, Stratford-upon-AvonVirtuoso percussionist Evelyn Glennie provides a soundscape for Gregory Doran’s futuristic production Expectation whirls me round, to borrow a…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:33AM
Thursday, October 18, 2018

Stories review – Nina Raine's smart drama about seeking a sperm donor by Michael Billington

Dorfman, LondonPlaying a single woman determined to have a child, Claudie Blakley lights up a new play by the Consent dramatistA character in Nina Raine’s vibrant new play points out that …

Linked From The Guardian at 09:54AM
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Company review – sex-switch Sondheim proves a heavenly fling by Michael Billington

Gielgud theatre, London Rosalie Craig and Patti LuPone star in Marianne Elliott’s reimagining of the musical about marriage and the single lifeA gender change can work wonders. It is no se…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:36PM

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