Blood Knot by Athol Fugard – Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond

Blood Knot by Athol Fugard – Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond

Since it’s more than half a century since the first staging of this early Athol Fugard play, it has become something of an historical document as well as a continuingly relevant study of South African apartheid’s contamination of human relations. The relations in question here are close, even fraternal, as the plot concerns two adult…

Party Time and Celebration – Pinter at the Pinter | Review

Party Time and Celebration – Pinter at the Pinter | Review

Watching these two late Pinter one-acters in the major season that bears his name, performed in the theatre that does likewise, I couldn’t help thinking of a remark made by his friend and fellow dramatist, albeit a very different one, Tom Stoppard. About ten years ago, when the theatre was still called the Comedy, there…

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Great Expectations at Richmond Theatre – Review

To put Dickens’ novels on the stage is as tempting as it is bold. Tempting because of the books’ innate theatricality of form and manner; bold because so many fine adaptors, directors and actors have been drawn to the rich challenges of their depiction. In this version, a co-production by Malvern Theatres and the newly…

Stephen Ward The Musical review by Alan Franks
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Stephen Ward The Musical review by Alan Franks

You can accuse Andrew Lloyd Webber of many things – you often do – but you can’t level the charge of uniformity at the subjects he chooses. If you can forgive this blasphemy, given that one such subject was the superstar Jesus Christ, Stephen Ward is arguably his most interesting. He is also the most…

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui review by Alan Franks
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The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui review by Alan Franks

Few performances get more wildly flagged into the West End than Henry Goodman’s Arturo Ui. There are good reasons for the excitement. A big Brecht play with apparently permanent relevance; an actor whose repute is now little lower than the Gambon/McKellen stratum; a German election for good measure. Just as the play leans with almost…

Barking in Essex review Wyndham’s Theatre
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Barking in Essex review Wyndham’s Theatre

Funny thing, swearing. That is, it starts out funny and then becomes something else. Coming from the mouth of Sheila Hancock’s criminal matriarch Emmie Packer, it kicks off with a hilarious sort of commitment as she moves around her flashily opulent Barking house in a blizzard of her own profanities. Her son Darnley (Lee Evans)…