Category Archives: Theatre

George Bernard Shaw revisited

It made quite an impression in the 1890s, but has the play aged well? My review of “Candida” at the Orange Tree: If this had been Ibsen, heaven knows what might have happened. Would the lovelorn teenage poet who falls … Continue reading

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The panicky listlessness that attends theatrical failure is an atmosphere that everyone within the walls of the theatre has no choice but to breathe, and worst affected, because most responsible was Ken Tynan… On my way to the theatre on … Continue reading

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A different world

No disrespect to the drama critics, but when I saw some of the reviews for “Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour” at the National, my first thought was, “Can it really be that good?” Well, it turned out to be even better. … Continue reading

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Fiction into fact

A couple of decades ago, I interviewed the critic John Lahr ahead of his not very successful stage adaptation of “The Manchurian Candidate”. (It was a bit of a mess, to be honest, and only served to remind you how … Continue reading

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Bootmaker’s blues

You can’t help wondering what they made of it in Atlantic City in 1915. Until I read the programme note for the revival of “Hobson’s Choice” at The Vaudeville, I had no idea that Harold Brighouse’s vintage play originally had … Continue reading

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Les Blancs – too black & white

I don’t mind admitting that, until Lorraine Hansberry’s play “Les Blancs” opened at the National this month, I’d never even heard of it. After sitting through Yaël Farber’s production last night, I don’t feel quite so guilty. The London critics greeted this … Continue reading

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Nina Conti’s voices

Ventriloquism ain’t dead yet. My review [£] of a magical, hilarious night: Conti’s latest offering is devastatingly witty and full of daringly unscripted flights of fancy. She giggles endlessly and occasionally flirts with disaster as she summons members of the … Continue reading

Posted in Comedy, Theatre | Tagged ,

Bit player

Via John Podhoretz in The Weekly Standard. With apologies to my thespian friends: There’s a great joke about acting. One actor says to another actor, “Hey, I just got cast in Hamlet.” The other actor says, “I know this is … Continue reading

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Ma Rainey’s blues

I hate to say it, but one of my biggest disappointments of the last couple of years was the revival of August Wilson’s “Fences”, a Pulitzer-winning play which seemed to win wall-to-wall raves on this side of the Atlantic. Not … Continue reading

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The Scottsboro Boys revisited

My Sunday Times feature [£] on how  the Kander & Ebb musical draws on the tortured history of minstrelsy: As a young man, Kander had directed blackface shows at a summer camp in Wisconsin. The whole point of using minstrelsy to … Continue reading

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