Author: Alan Franks

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it’s more than half a century since the first staging of this early Athol Fugard play, it has become something of an historical document as well as a continuingly relevant study of South African apartheid’s contamination of human relations.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 half-brothers (same mother, different fathers) leading a hard-pressed life together in a shack in the “coloured” section of Port Elizabeth. …

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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 was a rumour that Pinter, by then aged and ailing, wanted to see it re-christened as the Pinter and was …

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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 formed Tilted Wig company, the interrelated lives of Pip, Magwitch, Miss Havisham and the rest are played out in an …

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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 widely misunderstood. This could have been his own fault, if fault it was. But it was also the fault of …

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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 its entire weight on the overtly Hitleresque Ui and his rise, so must any production depend on the incumbent. Without …

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