All stories by Tom Birchenough on BroadwayStars

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Barnes' People, Original Theatre Company online review - intriguing quartet of monologues revived by Tom Birchenough

Jemma Redgrave and Adrian Scarborough excel in Peter Barnes radio solos brought to screen The four monologues that make up Barnes’ People were filmed in the grand surroundings of the Theat…

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Friday, February 19, 2021

Hymn, Almeida Theatre online review - highs and lows of a soulful brother bonding by Tom Birchenough

Adrian Lester and Danny Sapani in their skins in Lolita Chakrabarti’s new play Contact without touch: among the many readjustments that the pandemic has brought to theatre, its demands th…

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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Tiger Country, Hampstead Theatre online review - a taut drama of NHS pressure and pain by Tom Birchenough

Nina Raine’s urgent story of hospital stress rings truer than ever today If ever there was a “play for today”, it’s surely this.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Collapsible, Bush Theatre review - a high-wire solo engagement by Tom Birchenough

Breffni Holahan’s bravura performance controls a monologue of mental malaise There’s such remarkable symbiosis between material and performance in Irish dramatist Margaret Perry’s Coll…

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Kunene and the King, Ambassadors Theatre review - a Shakespearean voyage through the legacy of apartheid by Tom Birchenough

A strange meeting across the boundary of race: John Kani co-stars in his two-hander with Antony Sher John Kani’s Kunene and the King is history in microcosm. Its premiere at the RSC last y…

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Uncle Vanya, Harold Pinter Theatre review - a superlative company achievement by Tom Birchenough

Ian Rickson’s exemplary production relishes the nuances of Conor McPherson's adaptation Uncle Vanya must surely be the closest, the most essential of Chekhov’s plays, its cast – just f…

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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Three Sisters, National Theatre review - Chekhov in time of war by Tom Birchenough

Relocation from the Russian provinces to Sixties Biafra brings insight and immediacy Inua Ellams’ Three Sisters plays Chekhov in the shadow of war, specifically the Nigerian-Biafran seces…

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Monday, December 9, 2019

Fairview, Young Vic review - questioning the assumptions of race by Tom Birchenough

New American drama directs a rapier wit at black stereotypes Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Fairview comes to the Young Vic with the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama under its belt, and a reputatio…

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Solaris, Lyric Hammersmith review - moving and finely cerebral by Tom Birchenough

David Greig’s dream-drama of cosmic loneliness is sci-fi at its most philosophical David Greig’s reimagining of Stanisław Lem’s 1961 novel has brought a masterpiece of intellectual sc…

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Mephisto [A Rhapsody], Gate Theatre review - the callowness of history by Tom Birchenough

More manner than message in adaptation of Klaus Mann's 1930s novel You wonder about the title of French dramatist Sam Gallet’s Mephisto [A Rhapsody], an adaptation for our days of Klaus Ma…

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Friday, October 4, 2019

Our Lady of Kibeho, Theatre Royal Stratford East review - heaven and hell in Rwandan visions by Tom Birchenough

Questions of faith in Katori Hall’s luminous meditation on belief, doubt and miracles The American dramatist Katori Hall has created a work of rare accomplishment in Our Lady of Kibeho, a …

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Monday, September 30, 2019

Macbeth, Chichester Festival Theatre review - cosmic yet closely crafted by Tom Birchenough

John Simm is a strikingly intelligent Thane in a broadly theatrical production There’s a fine balance between the cosmic and the closely crafted in director Paul Miller’s Macbeth, his fi…

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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Youth Without God, Coronet Theatre review - the chill control of nascent Nazism by Tom Birchenough

Christopher Hampton adapts von Horváth's novel about the mindset of totalitarianism The only novel by the Hungarian dramatist Ödön von Horváth, Youth Without God was written in exile aft…

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Friday, September 20, 2019

Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, Wilton's Music Hall review - klezmer revue is moving and inventive by Tom Birchenough

An original piece of theatre-making finds joyous exuberance, as well as sorrow, in the immigrant experience Canadian playwright Hannah Moscovitch’s “refugee musical” – now there’s …

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Faith, Hope & Charity, National Theatre review - a grim compassion by Tom Birchenough

Rich in empathy, dramatically raw, Alexander Zeldin's bleak study of society on the edge Alexander Zeldin continues his devastating analysis of modern Britain in this culminating play of a…

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Monday, September 9, 2019

Torch Song, Turbine Theatre review - impressive return for Harvey Fierstein's seminal gay drama by Tom Birchenough

Matthew Needham in lithe drag queen form opens new London venue London’s latest theatre opening brings a stirring revival of Harvey Fierstein’s vital gay drama, which premiered as Torch …

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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Son, Duke of York's Theatre review - a piercing drama of depression by Tom Birchenough

Florian Zeller’s play of family anguish receives a much-deserved West End transfer A tale of teenage depression and its family resonances, Florian Zeller’s The Son has a devastating simp…

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Friday, August 23, 2019

Appropriate, Donmar Warehouse review - fraught family reunion blisteringly told by Tom Birchenough

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s 2013 play is tensely dark, as well as very funny You can’t fail to feel the ghosts in Appropriate: they are there in the very timbers of the ancient Southern pl…

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Monday, July 29, 2019

Peter Pan, Troubadour White City review - off to a flying start by Tom Birchenough

New West London venue opens with a zestful spectacular to suit all ages London’s Troubadour White City theatre has got off to a, literally, flying start.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Equus, Trafalgar Studios review - passionate intensity by Tom Birchenough

Lean and hungry brilliance in Ned Bennett's production of Peter Shaffer When he gave Martin Dysart, the troubled psychiatrist protagonist of Equus, a line in which he speaks about “moments…

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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Three Sisters, Maly Drama Theatre, Vaudeville Theatre review - a Chekhov of luminous clarity by Tom Birchenough

Stagecraft skill and company playing meld seamlessly in Petersburg production Lev Dodin has been artistic director of the famed Maly Drama Theatre for some three and a half decades now, ove…

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Sweat, Gielgud Theatre review - searing drama of working life by Tom Birchenough

The indelible power of Lynn Nottage’s new play confirmed in Donmar transfer There’s a joke early on in Sweat, Lynn Nottage’s superlative drama about American working lives, in which a …

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Monday, June 10, 2019

Bronx Gothic, Young Vic review - fervid intensity by Tom Birchenough

Okwui Okpokwasili’s solo performance piece is an astounding piece of theatre It’s hard, and finally fruitless to attempt to describe Okwui Okpokwasili’s Bronx Gothic in conventional te…

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Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Knight of the Burning Pestle, Cheek by Jowl/Pushkin Theatre, Barbican review - theatre satire updated by Tom Birchenough

Declan Donnellan riffs on Beaumont’s meta-comedy in flavoursome Russian Declan Donnellan has a rich record of working with Russian actors: his previous walk on the Slavic side, the darkly …

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Monday, June 3, 2019

King Hedley II, Theatre Royal Stratford East review - concentrated, enveloping drama by Tom Birchenough

Lenny Henry leads a strong cast in August Wilson’s 1999 play of African American identity The huge achievement of the last two decades or so of August Wilson’s life, right up to his deat…

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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The Crucible, The Yard Theatre review - wilfully over-stirred by Tom Birchenough

Arthur Miller’s possession drama staged for spectacle The Crucible is a play that speaks with unrelenting power at times of discord, most of all when the public consciousness looks ripe fo…

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Price, Wyndham's Theatre review - David Suchet stands supreme by Tom Birchenough

Powerful production of Arthur Miller's play of fraternal discord, past painThere’s a sublime equilibrium to Arthur Miller’s 1968 play between the overwhelmingly heavy weight of hist…

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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Pinter Seven, Harold Pinter Theatre review - elaborations of anxiety by Tom Birchenough

The season's closing pairing presents Danny Dyer and a radio revelationIt was back to the very beginning for this final instalment of “Pinter at the Pinter”, with its pairing of A S…

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Friday, February 1, 2019

Cost of Living, Hampstead Theatre review - tough but tender by Tom Birchenough

Adrian Lester compels in new American drama about care and connectionThe Off Broadway production of Cost of Living two years ago brought Martyna Majok the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the …

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Daughter-in-Law, Arcola Theatre review - searing simplicity by Tom Birchenough

DH Lawrence's tragically inflected 1913 tale of family relationships powerfully toldThere’s a stark power to Jack Gamble’s production of DH Lawrence’s The Daughter-in-Law, which h…

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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…

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