All stories by Tom Birchenough on BroadwayStars

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Merry Wives of Windsor, RSC, Barbican review - panto Shakespeare by Tom Birchenough

Love it or leave it production sends the RSC on a laboured way to EssexFor those of us who have never thought much before about links between pantomime and Shakespeare, Fiona Laird’s new M…

Linked From theartsdesk.com at 11:32AM
Friday, December 7, 2018

Nine Night, Trafalgar Studios review - hilarity and heartbreak by Tom Birchenough

Natasha Gordon joins the company as her debut drama transfers from the NationalThis is Natasha Gordon’s first play, and in it she has created a whole world. A world of grief and laughter, …

Linked From theartsdesk.com at 08:36AM
Thursday, September 27, 2018

Antony and Cleopatra, National Theatre review - Ralph Fiennes in marvellous throttle by Tom Birchenough

Supreme lucidity and two commanding performances make for a moving productionYou always wonder about those final scenes of Shakespeare’s tragedies. Are they really needed dramatically; do …

Linked From theartsdesk.com at 08:48AM
Saturday, September 22, 2018

Eyam, Shakespeare's Globe review - plague drama, dark and loose by Tom Birchenough

Back to the 17th century: the village that cut itself off to dieThe end-of-season contemporary writing slot at the Globe must be a proposal as full of promise for playwrights as it is perhap…

Linked From theartsdesk.com at 04:06AM
Monday, September 10, 2018

Underground Railroad Game, Soho Theatre review - scratching the American wound by Tom Birchenough

A furious, darkly comic riff on race, this frenetic two-hander dazzlesUnderground Railroad Game is scabrous theatre – in every sense. To start with, Jennifer Kidwell and Scott R Sheppard…

Linked From theartsdesk.com at 09:04AM
Thursday, August 30, 2018

Love’s Labour’s Lost, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse review - in praise of a fantastical Spaniard by Tom Birchenough

The ladies of France shine in a production that otherwise makes heavy weather If ever there was a play of “well bandied” words, it’s surely Love’s Labour’s Lost. The early Shakesp…

Linked From theartsdesk.com at 09:06AM
Friday, August 10, 2018

Homos, or Everyone in America, Finborough Theatre review - a complex pattern of glee and profundity by Tom Birchenough

Jordan Seavey paints a landscape of New York gay life that is as moving as it is witty I’m still not entirely sure what the full associations of the title of New York playwright Jordan Sea…

Linked From theartsdesk.com at 08:24AM
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Killer Joe, Trafalgar Studios review - family drama, creepy and cruel by Tom Birchenough

Orlando Bloom compels as the hitman-cop ruling Tracy Letts's dark, gothic worldRight from the beginning of this production of Tracy Letts’s very first play, it’s clear we’re in fo…

Linked From theartsdesk.com at 06:48AM
Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The String Quartet’s Guide to Sex and Anxiety, Brighton Festival review - molto nervoso by Tom Birchenough

Calixto Bieito's melange of text and music delivers a mesmerising agony of desolationCalixto Bieito has a reputation as a radical theatre-maker, and by any traditional standards The Str…

Linked From theartsdesk.com at 06:24PM
Friday, May 18, 2018

As You Like It / Hamlet, Shakespeare’s Globe review - ensemble emphasis sets leaner style by Tom Birchenough

Michelle Terry's new company explores gender fludity, charts new directionsThere’s a distinct feeling of back-to-basics to this opening double bill at the Globe under the theatre’s …

Linked From theartsdesk.com at 10:06AM
Saturday, April 21, 2018

Rasheeda Speaking, Trafalgar Studios review - unsettling comedy, thorny racism by Tom Birchenough

Bravura performance from Tanya Moodie in sharp new American drama of racial discordConflict and comedy can be unpredictable bedfellows, and Chicago playwright Joel Drake Johnson’s 2014 pla…

Linked From theartsdesk.com at 09:48AM
Monday, January 29, 2018

The Open House, The Print Room review - razor wit, theatrical brio by Tom Birchenough

★★★★ THE OPEN HOUSE, THE PRINT ROOM A tyrannical family reunion and a dramatic volte-face in Will Eno's ingenious new dramaA tyrannical family reunion and a dramatic volte-face in Wi…

Linked From theartsdesk.com at 05:45AM
Thursday, April 14, 2016

In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel, Charing Cross Theatre by Tom Birchenough

Was Tennessee Williams breaking rules, or breaking apart when he wrote this 1969 play? A bit of both, probably, and the two main characters of the rarely performed In the Bar of a Tokyo Hote…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 03:19AM
Friday, April 1, 2016

Les Blancs, National Theatre by Tom Birchenough

Lorraine Hansberry’s career as a playwright proved tragically short. A Raisin in the Sun is by some distance her best-known work, a key piece about the African American post-war experience…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 09:09AM
Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Rolling Stone, Orange Tree Theatre by Tom Birchenough

I’m still pondering the title of Chris Urch’s new play. On the surface it’s clear enough: The Rolling Stone is a weekly newspaper in Uganda that has been notorious for pursuing that co…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 10:21AM
Friday, January 15, 2016

P’yongyang, Finborough Theatre by Tom Birchenough

Every incarnation of totalitarianism has its own specific mythology, which exists in different forms as it is believed at home and “translated” abroad (or not, in both cases). North Kore…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 08:20PM
Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Christmas Carol, Noël Coward Theatre by Tom Birchenough

Is Jim Broadbent Britain’s best-loved actor? The slate of screen roles he’s accumulated over the years – this Christmas Carol is his return to theatre after a decade away – has surel…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 09:46AM
Friday, December 4, 2015

Around the World in 80 Days, St James Theatre by Tom Birchenough

One of the joys about this stage adaptation of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days is the contrast between its phlegmatic hero Phileas Fogg, who deals with everything in terms of pre…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 08:31AM
Saturday, November 21, 2015

Flowering Cherry, Finborough Theatre by Tom Birchenough

In the world of rediscoveries, half a century may not be a long time. Slightly more, in fact, with Robert Bolt’s first performed stage play Flowering Cherry, which premiered in 1957 with R…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 07:54AM
Saturday, September 12, 2015

One Minute, The Vaults by Tom Birchenough

The repercussions of loss ripple inexorably through Simon Stephens’ 2003 play One Minute. Foreshadowing elements developed in his later work, it’s a testing piece that speaks most of all…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 05:33AM
Friday, August 21, 2015

Lady Anna: All At Sea, Park Theatre by Tom Birchenough

If you were expecting a fusty, formal adaptation of Anthony Trollope – and one of his least known novels, to boot – Lady Anna: All At Sea will come as a breath of fresh air. Colin Blumen…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 08:21PM
Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Heresy of Love, Shakespeare's Globe by Tom Birchenough

Helen Edmundson’s The Heresy of Love may be set in 17th century Mexico and follow the conflict between strict religion and personal development, but its theme of a woman denied her voice b…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 12:01PM
Saturday, July 11, 2015

Lesere, Jermyn Street Theatre by Tom Birchenough

There’s a clear territorial divide in the small space of the Jermyn Street Theatre at the opening of Ashley G Holloway’s Lesere. At the centre of Ellan Parry’s persuasive design there…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 07:14AM
Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Three Lions, St James Theatre by Tom Birchenough

The devil gets the best lines. That may depend, of course, on whether we’re prepared to qualify David Cameron as the devil, but in William Gaminara's rapid-firing farce The Three Lions, th…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 02:07AM
Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Broken Heart, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse by Tom Birchenough

Jacobean playwright John Ford is flavour of the season at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. His better-known, and simply better, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, opened the venue’s new programme la…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 11:14AM
Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Playhouse Theatre by Tom Birchenough

It’s true that there is something wildly, garishly, theatrical about Pedro Almodóvar’s films – none more so than this rampant farce – but it’s equally true that their sensibility …

Linked From The Arts Desk at 05:42AM
Thursday, December 4, 2014

3 Winters, National Theatre by Tom Birchenough

The single spacious room that is the central location of Tena Štivičić’s 3 Winters has seen plenty of ghosts. It’s part of an old Zagreb mansion, and through the course of the pl…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 10:25AM
Friday, October 10, 2014

Notes from Underground, Print Room by Tom Birchenough

“I am spiteful! I am ill! You are not going to like this!” With these words Harry Lloyd opens his one-man show that adapts the Dostoevsky 1864 novella that is often hailed as the first w…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 05:01AM
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fortune's Fool, Old Vic by Tom Birchenough

There’s cruel comedy and human drama aplenty in Fortune’s Fool, so much so that it’s hard sometimes to know whether we’re watching farce or tragedy. But it’s a mixture that works w…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 07:25AM
Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Love Girl and the Innocent, Southwark Playhouse by Tom Birchenough

Southwark Playhouse's new production of The Love Girl and the Innocent is London’s first in over 30 years, and there’s a reason Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s play rarely reaches the stage: …

Linked From The Arts Desk at 11:35AM
Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Preview: Solzhenitsyn's The Love Girl and the Innocent by Tom Birchenough

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was two years out of prison camp when he wrote The Love Girl and the Innocent. The experience of the eight years of hell that followed his sentence in July 1945 for an…

Linked From The Arts Desk at 03:27AM

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