• Peter Hamilton Dyer (George Orwell), Jimmy Walters (director) & Tony Cox (writer) at the Mrs Orwell Q&A. © Peter Jones
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    Mrs Orwell Q&A podcast and photos: What might George Orwell have written after 1984?

Mrs Orwell Q&A podcast and photos: What might George Orwell have written after 1984?

Sales of George Orwell’s 1984 surged by a staggering 9,500% after the election of Donald Trump to become Amazon’s biggest seller. Orwell himself died, at the age of 46, in January 1950, just seven months after 1984 was published. What might he have written after 1984, and his earlier hit novel Animal Farm (published in 1945), if he’d lived […]

  • Waiting for Godot director Peter Reid with Tim and Jane Ridley, who saw the original 1955 production at the Arts Theatre
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    Q&A video and photos: Bringing Beckett’s Waiting for Godot home after 62 years

Q&A video and photos: Bringing Beckett’s Waiting for Godot home after 62 years

I had my own Godotesque moment to start last night’s Waiting for Godot Q&A. The stage was bare. Where were the chairs? Was anyone bringing chairs? How long would we be waiting for chairs? Did such things as chairs exist? In the end, five chairs did materialise – just enough for the show’s director and […]

  • Tom Hiddleston stars as Hamlet at RADA until 23 September 2017
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    #HiddleHamlet is a ★★★★ success (for the few lucky critics who got tickets)

#HiddleHamlet is a ★★★★ success (for the few lucky critics who got tickets)

Did you get lucky in the ticket ballot for #RADAHamlet, which on Twitter has also gained the predictable #HiddleHamlet hashtag thanks to its title star, Tom Hiddleston? The fundraising production, directed by none other than Kenneth Branagh (who previously directed Hiddleson onstage in Ivanov and onscreen in Thor and has long wanted to direct […]

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    Q&A podcast and photos: What does Marlowe’s Edward II tell us about identity and gay rights?

Q&A podcast and photos: What does Marlowe’s Edward II tell us about identity and gay rights?

The plays may have been written 420-odd years apart, but I was really struck  by how many parallels there were between the discussion I hosted last week, to the European premiere of Jordan Tannahill’s Late Company at Trafalgar Studios, and the one I hosted last night, to Christopher Marlowe’s 16th-century classic Edward II.

Late Company, set […]

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    Q&A podcast and photos: Confronting bullies with the Late Company cast

Q&A podcast and photos: Confronting bullies with the Late Company cast

Having heard so many of My Theatre Mates raving about Late Company following its European premiere earlier this year at the Finborough, I was really looking forward to seeing it at Trafalgar Studios. And yet, I still came under-prepared: I didn’t bring enough tissues. It’s not giving away too many spoilers to say that, if […]

  • Clockwise from top left: Mrs Orwell, Salad Days, Boom and King Cowboy Rufus Rules the Universe
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    My (non-Edinburgh) theatre diary: Salad Days, Mrs Orwell, Boom and Cowboy Rufus

My (non-Edinburgh) theatre diary: Salad Days, Mrs Orwell, Boom and Cowboy Rufus

It’s not just umbrella festival programmes, as I blogged earlier, that keep myself and other London theatregoers busy in August. Here’s a round-up of some of the other plays and musicals I’ve seen recently that are worth a look. Get booking if any tickle your fancy – all are limited seasons finishing in the […]

  • Clockwise from top: Around the World in 80 Days, Flood and The Wasp.
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    My plays diary: Sari, Around the World in 80 Days, The Wasp, Flood

My plays diary: Sari, Around the World in 80 Days, The Wasp, Flood

My plays diary this week isn’t terribly varied. I’m spending most nights at the Tristan Bates Theatre, all in aid of one production: Preethi Nair’s Sari: The Whole Five Yards. That said, I’ll be lucky if I say the play once – demand for tickets is so high that I can’t get in any night […]

  • Dan Crawford features on the wall at the King's Head. © Jonny Fielding
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    Would founder Dan Crawford approve of the King’s Head’s big move?

Would founder Dan Crawford approve of the King’s Head’s big move?

The King’s Head Theatre attracted widespread coverage this week for its announcement that it is moving out of the King’s Head pub on Upper Street in Islington, north London, its home for the past 47 years, and into a purpose-built, two-auditoria space in the new £400million Islington Square complex.

We covered the announcement – including […]

Counting Sheep and top-notch bloggers

I’ve had issues with sleep – or rather lack of sleep – since I was a teenager. I won’t be an insomnia bore and tell you ALL of the so-called remedies I’ve tried over the years, including several sessions with a private, and very expensive, sleep therapist.

(Touch wood, the problem isn’t so bad at […]

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    Q&A podcast and photos: Is Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew inherently misogynistic?

Q&A podcast and photos: Is Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew inherently misogynistic?

Is Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew inherently misogynistic? Particularly with its treatment of spirited Kate, the Shrew of the title, who is starved and mentally tormented (gaslighting long before Patrick Hamilton, Ingrid Bergman or Donald Trump: “I say it is the moon [not the sun] that shines so bright”) into the role of […]

  • Director Anthony Biggs, stars Sandra Dickinson & Matthew Scott & author Lee Tannen with me at the I Loved Lucy Q&A
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    Q&A podcast and photos: What would Lucille Ball think of I Loved Lucy?

Q&A podcast and photos: What would Lucille Ball think of I Loved Lucy?

It’s always a real privilege to have the playwright involved when you’re chairing a post-show Q&A. But when the play is also based on the playwright’s own best-selling memoir… When the memoir recounts his relationship with a legend like Lucille Ball… Well, that’s extra special.

Add to the presence of I Loved Lucy author Lee Tannen the show’s […]

  • Kong & the audience were impressed by Sam Donnelly's nose flute skills. Was Brendan Murphy?
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    Q&A photos and video: Monkeying around with nose flutes at King Kong

Q&A photos and video: Monkeying around with nose flutes at King Kong

Before I attended King Kong, Daniel Clarkson’s bonkers stage parody of the 1933 film classic, last week at The Vaults, I never knew there was such a thing as a nose flute.

Now I will never forget! A diva nose flautist is one of the hundreds (?) of characters portrayed by King Kong’s multi-roling cast of […]

  • My theatre diary w/c Sunday 25 June 2017: Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, Hamlet, The Quentin Dentin Show, West End Live
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    My theatre diary: West End Live, Lady Day, Hamlet and Quentin Dentin

My theatre diary: West End Live, Lady Day, Hamlet and Quentin Dentin

My theatre week last week started and ended with musicals.

My partner Peter and I rushed back from our – rather too work-filled – fortnight in Mallorca just in time for West End Live. It’s incredible how much this free, two-day event has grown in its 13-year history. Having started out with a handful of […]

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    Q&A podcast and photos: The latest in Rotterdam‘s extraordinary trans journey

Q&A podcast and photos: The latest in Rotterdam‘s extraordinary trans journey

Just 11 months after I chaired my first post-show talk for Jon Brittain’s Rotterdam – then at Trafalgar Studios for its West End premiere – and so much has changed. The play went on to win an Olivier Award and transfer to New York before now returning for its second West End run, this […]

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    Q&A podcast and photos: Talking prison lessons with Held‘s writer, director and stars

Q&A podcast and photos: Talking prison lessons with Held‘s writer, director and stars

What’s the most important lesson in a prison ‘education’? HELD is a hard-hitting new British prison drama exploring the broken lives of five inmates, including two young offenders (both played by Jack Brett Anderson) incarcerated for the first time and learning fast that there’s a price to pay for everything…

Originally two interlinked one-act plays, […]

  • Jeffrey Holland with Corinna Marlowe in Waiting for God. © Geraint Lewis
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    My Waiting for God interview series: Leading man Jeffrey Holland

My Waiting for God interview series: Leading man Jeffrey Holland

I was recently hired by the producer of Waiting for God to interview the show’s stars and writer as it embarks on a major UK tour. Here’s the first in a three-part series. Waiting for God continues touring until 8 July 2017. Visit the show website for full dates and tickets.

Jeffrey Holland stars in the new stage […]

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    Q&A podcast and photos: Lessons in kindness and comedy on Fried Meat Ridge Rd.

Q&A podcast and photos: Lessons in kindness and comedy on Fried Meat Ridge Rd.

I had a hunch that this would be an especially amusing post-show Q&A and the company and audience of American hillbilly comedy Out There on Fried Meat Ridge Rd., now transferred to the West End’s Trafalgar Studios 2 for a limited season, did not disappoint.

After a sell-out performance last night, I was joined by […]

  • Nichola McAuliffe in Waiting for God. © Geraint Lewis
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    My Waiting for God interview series: Leading lady Nichola McAuliffe

My Waiting for God interview series: Leading lady Nichola McAuliffe

I was recently hired by the producer of Waiting for God to interview the show’s stars and writer as it embarks on a major UK tour. Here’s the first in a three-part series. Waiting for God continues touring until 8 July 2017. Visit the show website for full dates and tickets.

Nichola McAuliffe stars in the new stage […]

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    My Waiting for God interview series: Writer and creator Michael Aitkens

My Waiting for God interview series: Writer and creator Michael Aitkens

I was recently hired by the producer of Waiting for God to interview the show’s stars and writer as it embarks on a major UK tour. Here’s the first in a three-part series. Waiting for God continues touring until 8 July 2017. Visit the show website for full dates and tickets.

Michael Aitkens conceived and created the […]

  • Sophia Carr-Gomm, Natalie Simpson & assistant director Leigh Toney at The Cardinal Q&A, 2 May 2017.
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    Q&A photos and podcast: Why has James Shirley’s The Cardinal been overlooked since the 17th century?

Q&A photos and podcast: Why has James Shirley’s The Cardinal been overlooked since the 17th century?

James Shirley’s 1641 tragic masterpiece THE CARDINAL, one of the last plays staged in England before Oliver Cromwell’s ban on theatre, this month receives its first major production since the 17th century. This critically lauded rediscovery is directed by Justin Audibert for Troupe Theatre in a limited season now running at London’s Southwark Playhouse […]

  • Clockwise from top: Guards at the Taj, Sea Fret, Junkyard and Waiting for God.
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    My theatre diary: Guards at the Taj, Junkyard, Waiting for God and Sea Fret

My theatre diary: Guards at the Taj, Junkyard, Waiting for God and Sea Fret

Here’s a round-up of productions I’ve seen it recent weeks which I haven’t already covered in Press Passes (do please dance your way as soon as you can into seeing both An American in Paris and 42nd Street in the West End) or other blogs. What do all four of these have in common? […]

  • David Baddiel uses Twitter to guide his storytelling in My Family: Not the Sitcom at the Playhouse
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    Inspired by David Baddiel: My top ten most highly trolled tweets

Inspired by David Baddiel: My top ten most highly trolled tweets

As a Twitter geek, one of the things I enjoyed most about David Baddiel’s latest one-man show My Family: Not the Sitcom, which is now enjoying its second West End run at the Playhouse Theatre after premiering last year at the Menier Chocolate Factory, is how he so successfully employs social media in his […]

  • Joanna Riding in The Girls; Dominic Rowan and Tracy-Ann Oberman in Stepping Out
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    Bra-waving, toe-tapping and female solidarity: The Girls and Stepping Out

Bra-waving, toe-tapping and female solidarity: The Girls and Stepping Out

If you’re seeking life affirmation, celebrations of female solidarity (of a quintessentially British variety) and general uplift, my two current West End recommendations that tick all three boxes are The Girls, Tim Firth and Gary Barlow’s new musical adaptation of the story of the Calendar Girls from Yorkshire, and Maria Friedman’s revival of Richard […]

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    Q&A photos and podcast: A return to Brechtian politics via The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Q&A photos and podcast: A return to Brechtian politics via The Caucasian Chalk Circle

What would Bertolt Brecht have made of Donald Trump? Brecht’s “epic theatre” was sparked by the rise of Nazism in 1930s Germany. Many pundits have likened the political period we’ve now entered – with Trump in the Oval Office, Brexit under way and hard-right populism on the rise across Europe – with that dark […]

  • Doubling up with Stoppard: Joshua McGuire & Daniel Radcliffe in R&G, Freddie Fox & Tom Hollander in Travesties
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    Take two: Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Travesties, plus future fantasy casting

Take two: Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Travesties, plus future fantasy casting

I’m pleased that the Old Vic has added a week to the run of its 50th anniversary production of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, now booking until 6 May – it gives me another chance to tell you to go see it.

There’s a special thrill seeing Stoppard’s breakthrough play back on the same […]

  • Paul Chahidi, Roger Allam, Shirley Williams and Tom Goodman-Hill play the "Gang of Four" in Limehouse. © Jack Sain
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    Limehouse asks both ‘what if?’ and ‘why not now?’ Urgent questions

Limehouse asks both ‘what if?’ and ‘why not now?’ Urgent questions

Steve Waters’ Limehouse is as much a rallying call as a play: a rallying call for those of us left politically homeless by Jeremy Corbyn’s failed Labour Party.

It takes its name from the east London district where the “Gang of Four” – then-Labour politicians Roy Jenkins, Shirley Williams, Bill Rodgers and David Owen (played respectively […]

  • My Country; a work in progress
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    The ‘will of the people’? London has no place in My Country

The ‘will of the people’? London has no place in My Country

I’ve never voted Conserative. Indeed, the morning after the 2015 General Election, I was so horrified that, after five years of austerity, the Tories had not only got back in but had done so with a majority, that I immediately joined the Labour Party and vowed to get the Tories out at the next election. […]

  • Clockwise: In Other Words, Diary of a Teenaged Girl and La Ronde
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    My theatre diary: Off-West End plays Diary of a Teenage Girl, In Other Words and La Ronde

My theatre diary: Off-West End plays Diary of a Teenage Girl, In Other Words and La Ronde

Two Off-West End plays have recently inspired my other half Peter Jones to compile Spotify playlists of his youth – terribly convenient as I’ve tasked him with providing background music for a milestone birthday party this weekend (shhh… he’s celebrating the big 5-0).

In Matthew Seager’s debut play In Other Words, at the Hope Theatre, music […]

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    Where were you on 9/11? How about 7/7? BU21 brought it all back

Where were you on 9/11? How about 7/7? BU21 brought it all back

What were you doing on 9/11? And, if you were in London, on 7/7? I thought about this recently when watching Stuart Slade’s excellent new play BU21, which this weekend completes its West End run at Trafalgar Studios 2 after last year’s premiere at Theatre503.

The play centres on a group of Londoners who were […]

  • Me and Mark Shenton in the middle with some of our amazing Awards volunteers: James Lawrence, Claire Ackling, Tina Foote and critic Kate Maltby
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    Behind-the-scenes: My Critics’ Circle Awards experience and Glenda Jackson crush

Behind-the-scenes: My Critics’ Circle Awards experience and Glenda Jackson crush

A year ago when blogging about the annual Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards, my headline was “Critics’ Circle Award winners: Are they the only ones that make sense anymore?”

I didn’t know then that Critics’ Circle Drama Section Chair Mark Shenton would go on to ask me to produce these awards, nor that, in a moment […]

Top Trumps podcast: What can we do next as progressives?

The best antidote to hopelessness has got to be action. That’s what I have kept reminding myself over the past few months, and what I recited almost mantra-like on Friday afternoon as I watched Donald J Trump be sworn in as the 45th US president and then deliver a dystopian, divisive inaugural speech that painted the rest of […]

The power of the poetry in The Wild Party onstage

Stage shows based on Joseph Moncure March’s 1928 narrative poem The Wild Party are like buses. Ahead of next month’s much-anticipated UK premiere of the Michael John LaChiusa’s musical version, directed by Drew McOnie and starring Frances Ruffelle at the re-branded Other Palace (currently the St James Theatre), comes this month’s two-hander performance care […]

  • Critics' Theatre 2016 highlights included: Harry Potter, Groundhog Day, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Yerma, King Lear, the all-female Shakespeare Trilogy and Iphigenia in Splott.
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    The list of lists: Was there a consensus on the best of #theatre2016?

The list of lists: Was there a consensus on the best of #theatre2016?

Last week I was more on schedule with rounding up lists of critics’ tips for the best theatre coming up this year. But in truth, as I’ve been organising the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards ceremony on 31 January, as well as working with My Theatre Mates’ to announce the Also Recognised shortlists soon after that, […]

The list of lists: The best theatre coming up in 2017

What are the hottest shows coming up this year? Based on the ones that are most likely to appear on top picks’ lists in my round-up of commentators’ round-ups, they are:

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Trump-tweeted hit Hamilton;
Ivo van Hove’s production of Obsession, starring Jude Law at the Barbican;
the New York transfer of The Glass Menagerie, directed by Harry […]

My top #theatre2016 plays, musicals & performances

Ahead of rounding up various publications #theatre2016 highlights, I’m taking a moment to reflect on my own theatregoing year and my favourite plays, musicals, performances and other events.

My lists are not in the least bit definitive: they represent only my personal opinions on the shows I’ve managed to see. There are two shows not […]

  • Coming up at the National in 2017: My Country, Ugly Lies the Bones, Twelfth Night and Angels in America.
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    How much have I been missing the National Theatre? 5 NT shows for 2017

How much have I been missing the National Theatre? 5 NT shows for 2017

The National Theatre used to be one of my favourite theatregoing destinations, but I’ve only been a handful of times in recent years. This hasn’t been an intentional omission on my part. When I left WhatsOnStage, I dropped off the NT’s opening night list (which is understandable), and with other commitments and financial restraints […]

  • LUV cast Nick Barber, Elsie Bennett and Charles Dorfman at the post-show Q&A
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    Q&A photos and podcast: What’s most absurd about Murray Schisgal’s LUV?

Q&A photos and podcast: What’s most absurd about Murray Schisgal’s LUV?

What’s most absurd about absurdist comedy LUV? That it’s virtually unknown in this country – despite an incredible pedigree.

Long before he wrote the screenplay for the hit 1982 film Tootsie starring Dustin Hoffman, American Murray Schisgal made a name for himself in New York with this 1964 stage play, which is a riotous celebration of the […]

  • Ed Harris, Jeremy Irvine, Charlotte Hope & Barnaby Kay Ed Harris & Jeremy Irvine in Buried Child at London's Trafalgar Studios
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    6 Quotes: What can Buried Child tell us about Trump’s America?

6 Quotes: What can Buried Child tell us about Trump’s America?

What does Sam Shepard’s 1978 play Buried Child have to tell us about America after the presidential election of Donald Trump? The West End transfer of the New Group’s production, first seen in New York this past February, was announced in September, when the likelihood of a Trump presidency was still being dismissed by […]

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    Q&A photos and podcast: Feeling the rage with Donny Stixx‘s Philip Ridley

Q&A photos and podcast: Feeling the rage with Donny Stixx‘s Philip Ridley

What a treat to pay my first visit to London’s newest venue – The Bunker, carved out of a carpark beneath the Menier Chocolate Factory – to host this post-show Q&A for Tonight with Donny Stixx.

I’m a little in awe of playwright Philip Ridley, whose myriad plays over the years have, in addition to Tonight […]

  • Deny, Deny, Deny and Saving Jason are both running at London's Park Theatre until 3 December 2016.
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    Overdosing at the Park Theatre: Deny, Deny, Deny & Saving Jason

Overdosing at the Park Theatre: Deny, Deny, Deny & Saving Jason

Everyone’s on drugs at the Park Theatre, I tweeted last Monday night. For a theatre that consistently impresses with the diversity of its received productions, it’s interesting that it should be hosting premieres in both of its houses, opened within days of each other, that both concern drug abuse. Admittedly, abuse of a very […]

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    Exit, pursued by a bear: How we reacted to Emma Rice’s Globe departure

Exit, pursued by a bear: How we reacted to Emma Rice’s Globe departure

My first gut response to yesterday’s news that Emma Rice was leaving Shakespeare’s Globe, announced after less than a year – and only one summer season in post – was simply “Oh my God!”. In my years of commenting on theatre, I have never been as shocked by the news of someone’s leaving a job […]

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    Photos and podcast: Sharing joy with debut playwright Theresa Ikoko and her Girls

Photos and podcast: Sharing joy with debut playwright Theresa Ikoko and her Girls

What an astonishing way to make your playwriting debut. Theresa Ikoko’s first full-length play GIRLS was a Verity Bargate finalist and winner of both the Alfred Fagon Award (for Black British playwrights) and the George Devine Award (for new writers). The premiere production – co-produced by Talawa Theatre, HighTide Festival and Soho Theatre and directed by […]

  • Berkoff double bill stars Shaun Dooley and Emily Bruni with director Nigel Harman at post-show Q&A
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    Photos and podcast: Brush up your Berkoff with Nigel Harman and co

Photos and podcast: Brush up your Berkoff with Nigel Harman and co

Two rarely seen short plays by Steven Berkoff are professionally performed together for the first time in this much-anticipated West End premiere. LUNCH and, written 20 years later, its sequel THE BOW OF ULYSSES are both set at the seaside where a couple first passionately collide and, decades later, sit reflecting on their wasted […]

  • Amanda Muggleton in The Book Club at London's King's Head Theatre
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    Photos and podcast: One-to-one with The Book Club‘s Amanda Muggleton

Photos and podcast: One-to-one with The Book Club‘s Amanda Muggleton

If you have to work on your birthday, this is just the kind of work you want. After watching the wonderful Amanda Muggleton rip through her 90-minute one-woman comedy The Book Club on Friday night, I joined her one-on-one on the onstage sofa for more hilarity.

In The Book Club, Amanda plays suburban housewife Deb, whose […]

  • The Boys in the Band cast members Greg Lockett, John Hopkins, Ben Mansfield & Mark Gatiss reacting to another gem from playwright Mart Crowley
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    Photos and podcast: Mart Crowley and The Boys in the Band cast on making history

Photos and podcast: Mart Crowley and The Boys in the Band cast on making history

UPDATED: The Boys in the Band transfers to the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre for a strictly limited season from 7 to 18 February 2017. Buy tickets here.

Mart Crowley’s seminal play, The Boys in the Band, premiered in New York in 1968, just 14 months before the Stonewall riots that ignited the gay rights movement. […]

  • Ophelia Lovibond and Dominic Cooper in The Libertine. © Alastair Muir
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    Press pass: Everything you need to know about Dominic Cooper in The Libertine

Press pass: Everything you need to know about Dominic Cooper in The Libertine

I experienced frequent flashbacks while watching The Libertine last night at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Here’s another Restoration-set comedy to hit the West End in which much of the action (and myriad in-jokes) takes place in and around a London theatre. The Libertine even shares characters with Jessica Swales’ Nell Gwynn (though Nell herself is only referred to) […]

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    Photos and podcast: Climbing metaphorical mountains with Pilgrims playwright Elinor Cook

Photos and podcast: Climbing metaphorical mountains with Pilgrims playwright Elinor Cook

Critic Matt Trueman described Elinor Cook’s Pilgrims, about a pair of young mountain climbers, as the “peak of playwriting”. I got to talk mountain climbing, metaphors and much more with this whipsmart George Devine Award-winning playwright at last night’s Q&A after the performance of Pilgrims at London’s Yard Theatre.

For the Q&A, we were also joined by […]

Unfaithful: 11 quotes for would-be cheaters

Are you in a happy relationship? An unhappy one? Or just a normal one with standard-fare ups and downs? Ever thought about cheating on your partner?

Owen McCafferty’s play Unfaithful, now in its London premiere run at Found111 in Charing Cross Road, could either be viewed as either a cautionary tale or a call to […]

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    Press Pass: Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in No Man’s Land ‘masterclass’

Press Pass: Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in No Man’s Land ‘masterclass’

After a run in New York and a short UK regional tour, Sean Mathias’ much-anticipated production of Harold Pinter’s 1975 play No Man’s Land officially opened in the West End last night (20 September 2016).

The production reunites Mathias with his two leading men, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, who starred in his award-winning 2009 […]

Quote Unquote: 11 different takes on actors & acting

Is it pure coincidence that many of the plays I’ve seen recently feature actors as characters? And, consequently, a range of views on the life of actors and the nature of acting, which got my quote-taking pen twitching. For any actors or FFOAs (friends or family of actors) reading, please tell me which most closely […]

  • Ralph Pezzullo & Stephen Fife. © Peter Jones
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    Photos and podcast: Discussing the ‘war on terror’ at The American Wife Q&A

Photos and podcast: Discussing the ‘war on terror’ at The American Wife Q&A

What if everything you’re ever known was thrown into question? And everything you ever trusted was subjected to doubt? When San Diego housewife Karen Ruiz’s husband is accused of being a terrorist, she endeavours to clear his name. Can she maintain her faith in her husband, her marriage and her government? Or will she […]

  • HighTide 2016: Face to Face with Alexi Kaye Campbell, Elizabeth McGovern & Ben Miles, chaired by Terri Paddock. © Peter Jones
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    #HighTide2016 photos and podcast: Alexi Kaye Campbell, Elizabeth McGovern and Ben Miles

#HighTide2016 photos and podcast: Alexi Kaye Campbell, Elizabeth McGovern and Ben Miles

I made my HighTide Festival debut this weekend and what a privilege. Over the course of the weekend at this ten-day annual event, held in the beautiful Suffolk coast town of Aldeburgh and now marking its tenth anniversary, I had the privilege of chairing three hour-long “Face to Face” talks with world-class artists.

In this […]

  • Terri with director Oli Rose, writer Zoe Lewis, Wilton's Holly Kendrick and Sadie Frost
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    Photos and podcast: Post-show Q&A with Britten in Brooklyn‘s writer, director and star Sadie Frost

Photos and podcast: Post-show Q&A with Britten in Brooklyn‘s writer, director and star Sadie Frost

A New York artistic commune in the early 1940s – occupied by British exiles Benjamin Britten, WH Auden, American novelist Carson McCullers (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter) and stripper Gypsy Rose Lee amongst many other artists – is the setting for Zoe Lewis’ new play Britten in Brooklyn, which has just premiered at […]

  • Waiting for Waiting for Godot cast James Marlowe, Laura Kirman and Simon Day at the post-show Q&A
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    Photos and podcast: Post-show Q&A at the European premiere of NYC hit Waiting for Waiting for Godot

Photos and podcast: Post-show Q&A at the European premiere of NYC hit Waiting for Waiting for Godot

Two hapless understudies on a production of Waiting for Godot occupy their time backstage, trying to understand art, life, theatre and their precarious existence within it. Dave Hanson’s hit New York comedy Waiting for Waiting for Godot receives its European premiere at London’s St James Theatre and, just before he flew back to New […]

  • The Lazarus Theatre panel debate: Ricky Dukes, Sonia Massai, Edith Hall and Timothy Sheader, chaired by Terri Paddock. All Q&A photos © Peter Jones
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    Photos and podcast: Breaking taboos at Lazarus Tis Pity debate

Photos and podcast: Breaking taboos at Lazarus Tis Pity debate

Are there any stage taboos left? John Ford’s 17th-century romantic thriller ‘TIS PITY SHE’S A WHORE, centring on an incestuous relationship between brother and sister Giovanni and Annabella, is one of the most controversial in the classical canon and was not performed in the UK for more than 200 years until the mid-twentieth century. Does […]

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    ‘Laughter through tears’: 25 quotes heard in Steel Magnolias‘ salon

‘Laughter through tears’: 25 quotes heard in Steel Magnolias‘ salon

If the line “Laughter through tears is my favourite emotion” makes you nod your head, then you must see the play from which it comes: Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias, now revived at the Hope Theatre. If you’ve already seen the 1989 film of the same name, which was released two years after the stage […]

  • Rotterdam post-show Q&A. © Peter Jones
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    Photos and podcast: Getting to grips with gender issues at Rotterdam Q&A

Photos and podcast: Getting to grips with gender issues at Rotterdam Q&A

What a treat it was to not only see Jon Brittain’s Rotterdam again last night, but to be able to question this hugely talented young writer about his bittersweet comedy, which ranked amongst my Top Ten new plays of last year.
The play – set in the titular Dutch city, where Jon once spent months (unhappily) working in a call […]

  • Scenes from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. © Manuel Harlan
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    Press Pass: Harry Potter & the Cursed Child earns global raves, breaks more records

Press Pass: Harry Potter & the Cursed Child earns global raves, breaks more records

Ahead of the double-show gala day at the West End’s Palace Theatre this Saturday, a galaxy of stars have already turned out for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. And I’m not just talking about Emma Watson and other celebrities who have sneaked in during seven weeks of previews.

(The Cursed Child started performances in […]

  • The cast of Some Girl(s) with director Gary Condes at post-show Q&A, chaired by Terri Paddock at Park Theatre
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    Photos and podcast: Men, misogyny and Neil LaBute at Some Girl(s) Q&A

Photos and podcast: Men, misogyny and Neil LaBute at Some Girl(s) Q&A

I first – and last – saw Neil LaBute’s Some Girl(s) in its world premiere in the West End in 2005, in a production that starred Friends’ David Schwimmer along with “girls” including Catherine Tate and Lesley Manville. In this first major London revival, Charles Dorfman takes on the pivotal role of a writer (never addressed […]

  • The Trial of Jane Fonda post-show Q&A on 19 July 2016. All event photos © Peter Jones
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    Photos and podcast: Jane Fonda and war on trial with Anne Archer and co

Photos and podcast: Jane Fonda and war on trial with Anne Archer and co

What does The Trial of Jane Fonda, concerning the actor-activist’s controversial protests during the Vietnam War (in which the UK did not support our US allies), have to tell us about more recent conflicts in Syria and Iraq (in which we did)? Particularly in the wake of the Chilcot Report? (And was the timing of […]

  • Through The Mill Q&A. © Anthony Kelly
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    Photos and podcast: Going Through the Q&A Mill with three Judy Garlands

Photos and podcast: Going Through the Q&A Mill with three Judy Garlands

I first saw – and adored – Through the Mill when it premiered at the London Theatre Workshop (then above a pub in Fulham) last year. I was delighted when the show, which revolves around three pivotal periods in the life of Judy Garland, announced its transfer to the – much larger, more centrally […]

  • Claudio Macor and Peter Tatchell at Savage post-show Q&A
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    Photos and podcast: Peter Tatchell and the real-life Nazi war crimes behind Savage

Photos and podcast: Peter Tatchell and the real-life Nazi war crimes behind Savage

Most theatregoers will have only learned about Carl Peter Værnet from watching Claudio Macor’s new play Savage, now running upstairs at the Arts Theatre. But the Nazi doctor from Denmark has played a large role in the life of LGBTI activist Peter Tatchell for decades.

It was in the late 1980s that Tatchell first learned of Værnet, […]

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    Plays for my #Brexit & #Chilcot mood: The Truth & Faith Healer

Plays for my #Brexit & #Chilcot mood: The Truth & Faith Healer

Has anyone else had difficulty getting back into their theatregoing after the results of the EU Referendum? The two – excellent – plays I have managed to see since the UK voted to leave on 23 June, have both, in a strange way, deepened my Brexit despair too.

Neither Florian Zeller’s The Truth nor Faith Healer by […]

PHOTOS: The new cast of Some Girl(s) show their sassiness

Character portraits aren’t just for Harry Potter. Photographer Darren Bell gained access to the new cast of Buckland Theatre’s revival of Neil LaBute’s Some Girl(s) to snap these beauties.
In the play, directed by Gary Condes, Guy (played by Charles Dorfman) is desperate to clear his conscience before he gets married. So he sets off on […]

Press Pass: All the reviews on Jesse Eisenberg and The Spoils

In my years of covering theatre, I’ve seen a lot of Hollywood stars make their West End debuts, but I’ve rarely, if ever, seen it done with quite so much aplomb. Jesse Eisenberg and Kunal Nayyar – best known internationally for, respectively, multiple films including The Social Network, and US sitcom The Big Bang […]

  • The Potters captured in Charlie Gray's family character portrait
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    Complete Harry Potter family albums + VIDEO: Potters, Granger-Weasleys and Malfoys in Cursed Child

Complete Harry Potter family albums + VIDEO: Potters, Granger-Weasleys and Malfoys in Cursed Child

Celebrity photographer Charlie Gray has shot three sets of exclusive character portraits of the grown-up characters from JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, along with the next generation, which feature in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The wildly anticipated two-part stage play receives its world premiere this summer at the West End’s Palace Theatre, […]

  • Terri Paddock with Sideways author Rex Pickett and the cast at last night's post-show Q&A
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    Photos and podcast: Sideways author Rex Pickett and the wine-mad cast

Photos and podcast: Sideways author Rex Pickett and the wine-mad cast

Did you know that Sideways was an unpublished novel – rejected, like the efforts of the character Miles in the story, some 66 times – when the film rights were first picked up? In fact, the novel and film, about middle-aged buddies Miles and Jack on a pre-nuptials road trip through California wine country, were […]

A View from Islington North: “It’s not all about deselection”

Having never met him before, in less than a week, I’ve crossed paths with Jon Lansman, chair of Momentum, twice. Last Thursday, he attended the monthly meeting of my constituency Labour party (CLP), in which one of his colleagues threatened the deselection (or to be precise, the “mandatory reselection”) of my MP. Tonight, I […]

Monster Raving Loony: Where is the party now? Tooting…

When Monster Raving Loony was announced a few months ago, I got a bashing on Twitter when I cheekily asked dramatist James Graham if he’d considered writing his next political play about the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn – “or if that was too close to his current subject”.

I don’t want to attract more […]

  • Two generations of female playwrights: Tanika Gupta and Anna Jordan at My Mother Said I Never Should panel discussion. © Peter Jones
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    Photos and podcast: What’s changed for female playwrights since My Mother Said I Never Should?

Photos and podcast: What’s changed for female playwrights since My Mother Said I Never Should?

How much has changed for female playwrights since 1985 when Charlotte Keatley wrote her landmark play, My Mother Said I Never Should? The play is now receiving its first major London revival in a critically acclaimed production starring Maureen Lipman and Katie Brayben at the St James Theatre, and as part of the limited […]

  • Barbara Flynn and Zoe Wanamaker in Elegy at the Donmar Warehouse, April 2016
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    Elegy: Would you erase your lover’s memory of you to save their life?

Elegy: Would you erase your lover’s memory of you to save their life?

I’ve met up with two friend couples since seeing Nick Payne’s new play Elegy at the Donmar Warehouse on Saturday afternoon – well, seeing it via the loop in the theatre bar as a coughing fit drove me out of the auditorium five minutes into the performance – and I’ve posed the play’s central […]

  • Rose Leslie papped on the red carpet at Doctor Faustus' West End opening
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    Press Pass: All the reviews (and #GameOfThrones pics) from Doctor Faustus opening

Press Pass: All the reviews (and #GameOfThrones pics) from Doctor Faustus opening

I shared some of my own thoughts about Jamie Lloyd’s new production of Doctor Faustus – along with choice quotes (be they care of Christopher Marlowe or Colin Teevan) – last night. This morning’s other coverage following the star-studded opening night is, like the story itself, a mixture of heaven and hell.

While most critics […]

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    Fame before the fall: Kit Harington in bloody Doctor Faustus in 9 quotes

Fame before the fall: Kit Harington in bloody Doctor Faustus in 9 quotes

The first thing you need to know about Jamie Lloyd’s new production of Doctor Faustus – apart from the fact that it stars Kit Harington (a.k.a. Jon Snow from TV’s Game of Thrones), which every Throner undoubtedly already knows – is that it is not for the squeamish.

There is A LOT of blood – […]

What if every day were #Shakespeare400 and London Marathon?

Celebrations for an important family milestone – my partner Peter’s mother’s 70th birthday – prevented me from taking part in festivities around the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare on the day itself yesterday. But I’ve had fun catching up on some of it today.

The Globe’s Complete Walk was a fantastic cultural installation […]

My theatre diary: Five of my favourite plays on now

From Mark Shenton’s Top Ten Tickets on My Theatre Mates last week, I noted that I could personally recommend eight of them – and, of the two I couldn’t whole-heartedly endorse, one of them, the NT revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s Les Blancs, I haven’t yet seen.

But, in this theatre diary catch-up, I want to […]

My frenetic night live-tweeting the 2016 #OlivierAwards

After my frustrated efforts to both attend and tweet from the Olivier Awards nominations announcement back in February, I concluded that it was impractical to even attempt to attend this year’s ceremony and stand a chance of covering it with my various theatre media hats on. So instead I booked myself – thanks very much […]

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    Photos and podcast: On Ayckbourn and comedy with How The Other Half Loves‘ cast and director

Photos and podcast: On Ayckbourn and comedy with How The Other Half Loves‘ cast and director

What’s the essence of good comedy? And what marks out an Alan Ayckbourn comedy in particular? What does the UK’s most prolific, produced playwright (80 plays and counting) demand of actors and directors? And, despite the (often onerous, occasionally near-impossible) demands, why do actors and directors relish coming back for more?

These were some the […]

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    En garde for the French revolution in theatre (and I don’t just mean Florian Zeller)

En garde for the French revolution in theatre (and I don’t just mean Florian Zeller)

I recently wrote about super-hot French playwright Florian Zeller’s London hat trick – with The Father, The Mother and, still running at the Menier Chocolate Factory, The Truth.

As I sat down to catch up on my Theatre Diary of other plays I’ve seen recently, however, I realised London’s theatre landscape is going Gallic for […]

  • Stephen Unwin. © Peter Jones
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    Photos and podcast: The politics of theatre at The Caucasian Chalk Circle Q&A

Photos and podcast: The politics of theatre at The Caucasian Chalk Circle Q&A

What’s the difference between political theatre and theatre about politics? Can theatre be a catalyst for real change? Do right-wing political perspectives get a fair hearing onstage or is theatre the preserve of the left-wing? And how much does modern political theatre owe to Bertolt Brecht?

These were just some of the questions that arose in a lively […]

  • Lynn Nottage accepting the 2016 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize from judge Tanya Moodie. National Theatre, 22 February 2016
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    Tanya Moodie: Female playwrights ‘light candles in gale winds’

Tanya Moodie: Female playwrights ‘light candles in gale winds’

It was hugely inspiring attending the presentation of the 2016 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize at the National Theatre on Monday night. Inspiring to hear about so many brilliant plays written by women. Inspiring to hear from so many of the authors of those plays, not least the winner, Lynn Nottage, for her play Sweat. […]

Press pass: All the reviews and news on Gemma Arterton as Nell Gwynn

The poster of Nell Gwynn shows a saucy, bare-shouldered Gemma Arterton and promises “fun, funny and joyous… a cast of 20! and a band… naughty songs… merry dances. And a dog!”

And Christopher Luscombe’s lively production of Jessica Swale’s bawdy, feminist, Restoration-style romp delivers every one of those items it advertises. It’s also the perfect […]

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    Press pass: All the reviews and news on Matthew Perry’s The End of Longing

Press pass: All the reviews and news on Matthew Perry’s The End of Longing

I wrote last night about my personal response (including misgivings) to Matthew Perry’s playwriting debut, and return to the West End stage, in The End of Longing which I saw last week. And now the national newspaper critics have all filed their verdicts, which are – on the whole – so savage that the news […]

  • Jennifer Mudge and Matthew Perry in The End of Longing. © Helen Maybanks
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    Friends forever? What can I say about Matthew Perry’s The End of Longing?

Friends forever? What can I say about Matthew Perry’s The End of Longing?

Near the end of an interview Matthew Perry gave with The Times last weekend, the interviewer Sarfraz Manzoor commented “having made so many people so happy it feels only right to wish some happiness for him”.

That’s the same feeling I carried with me into the Playhouse when I saw The End of Longing a […]

  • Florian Zeller family plays: Kenneth Cranham in The Father, Gina McKee in The Mother
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    A Florian Zeller hat trick: The Father, The Mother and The Truth

A Florian Zeller hat trick: The Father, The Mother and The Truth

Is Florian Zeller the new Yasmina Reza?

Certainly, he’s the most successful French playwright to hit English shores since Reza, whose 1990s hits – Life x 3, The Unexpected Man and, of course, the long-running (eight years in the West End), starry cast-rotating Art – were followed more recently by 2006’s God of Carnage in […]

My theatre diary: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Rabbit Hole, Pink Mist, One of Those

Here are a few more plays that I’ve seen recently and can happily recommend. As usual, I’ve listed them in closing order – and two of them finish their London runs this weekend, so sorry for the short notice.

If you follow me on Twitter (@TerriPaddock) – please do! – you’ll be able to see […]

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    Press pass: No more Sunday shows, but Rufus Norris’ confidence is growing at the National

Press pass: No more Sunday shows, but Rufus Norris’ confidence is growing at the National

The audience at yesterday’s National Theatre press conference gave the biggest cheer to news that hasn’t generated headlines anywhere: artistic director Rufus Norris invited journalists to wish bon voyage to the theatre’s head of press Lucinda Morrison and we did so volubly, the applause only ending when Lucinda motioned for us to cut it […]

  • Mona Golabek performs The Pianist of Willesden Lane at the St James Theatre
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    A very personal Holocaust memorial: The story behind The Pianist of Willesden Lane

A very personal Holocaust memorial: The story behind The Pianist of Willesden Lane

My partner and I saw, and were deeply moved by, The Pianist of Willesden Lane when it had its London premiere at the St James Theatre last Friday.

The play is based on the book The Children of Willesden Lane: Beyond the Kindertransport: A Memoir of Music, Love, and Survival, written by Mona Golabek (with Lee […]

  • The cast of Martin McDonagh's Hangmen
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    Critics’ Circle Award winners: Are they the only ones that make sense anymore?

Critics’ Circle Award winners: Are they the only ones that make sense anymore?

The annual best of lists are always a good indication of who’s likely to triumph at the Critics’ Circle Awards, which were presented this afternoon at the Delfont Room in the West End’s Prince of Wales Theatre. Understandably so as it’s critics who, by and large, draw up those lists and critics only – […]

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    My theatre diary: Plays 4000 Days, Hangmen, The Dazzle, Jane Wenham, The Long Road South

My theatre diary: Plays 4000 Days, Hangmen, The Dazzle, Jane Wenham, The Long Road South

I’m well overdue for a theatre diary, aren’t I? So here goes with a quick one on more new plays I’ve seen in recent (and not-so recent) weeks that I’d recommend catching and haven’t yet managed to squeeze in to separate blogs. As usual, I’ve listed productions in closing date order: the first three finishing […]

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    Putting Alan Rickman’s theatre work (and activism) centre stage

Putting Alan Rickman’s theatre work (and activism) centre stage

You don’t need me to tell you that Alan Rickman passed away last week, or how shocking and unexpected his death from cancer was at the age of 69, just days after his contemporary David Bowie shuffled off this mortal coil in similar circumstances.

I had just sat down at my laptop mid-day last Thursday after returning […]

  • Clockwise from top left: Matt Henry in Kinky Boots, John Heffernan in Oppenheimer, Greg Hicks and Peter Bourke in Clarion, Derren Brown in Miracle and Noma Dumezweni in Linda
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    Year in Review: More Top 10 #theatre2015 lists from me and my Mates

Year in Review: More Top 10 #theatre2015 lists from me and my Mates

After rounding up various publications’ #theatre2015 highlights yesterday, it’s time to reflect on my own year in the stalls (well, mainly in the stalls, occasionally in the dress circle).

I don’t pretend for a minute that these lists are definitive of the theatregoing year overall; they represent only my personal opinions on the shows I’ve […]

Year in Review: My top Twitter activity in 2015

If you know me at all well, you’ll know that I’m a Twitter addict – which includes a love for all sorts of nerdy things to do with Twitter management and monitoring. And that includes Twitter Analytics, which has been coming on leaps and bounds over the past year.

And so, after an engrossing few […]

  • Lia Williams and Angus Wright in Duncan Macmillan's reimagining of Oresteia
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    Year in Review: The best of the best of #theatre2015 round-ups

Year in Review: The best of the best of #theatre2015 round-ups

After my two-week Christmas roadtrip in the US, I’m finally back at my desk and able to catch up on all the 2015 UK theatrical year round. Have you been keeping up in my absence?

Fear not either way, because once again – and as promised on Twitter – I’ve rounded up the round-ups to […]

  • Noma Dumezweni took over the title role in Linda just ten days before it premiered
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    The heroic Noma Dumezweni + 7 quotes on women who take on the world

The heroic Noma Dumezweni + 7 quotes on women who take on the world

After Anna Francolini on Monday and the Judy Garlands yesterday, I’m going for a hat trick of blogs about amazing women today so that I can tell you this: if you haven’t yet seen Linda at the Royal Court yet, get your skates on.

You’ve only got until 9 January to see this new play […]

What’s the collective noun for Judy Garlands?

Take your pick of Judy Garlands.

On the London stage this week alone, you’ve got a choice of three – Helen Sheals, Belinda Wollaston and Lucy Penrose – in Ray Rackham’s brilliant new play with music Through the Mill.

In the new year, Peter Quilter’s Olivier and Tony-nominated End of the Rainbow returns, with Lisa Maxwell (from TV’s The […]

  • Jeremy Corbyn with Rapunzel's "Prince Corbyn", played by Alex Hope, and Fairy Jane and Fairy John
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    Local MP Jeremy Corbyn and the art of the theatre publicity pic

Local MP Jeremy Corbyn and the art of the theatre publicity pic

When news of the Park Theatre’s pantomime, Rapunzel, came through earlier this year, I remember clocking the name of the hero character Prince Corbyn – names are never a coincidence when it comes to pantomimes, surely?

But had naming considerations also played a part in casting the role? Finding an actor named Alex Hope to […]

Quote Unquote: 15 of my favourite lines from 6 plays on now

People who see me in the theatre no doubt assume I’m always armed with my little notebook and scrambling for the pen that always seems to have fallen to the bottom of my bag because I’m a critic. [Readers of this blog know, however, that I never lay claim to that label.]

But I’m not […]

  • Judi Dench and Kenneth Branagh with co-director Rob Ashford and the company at the press day's final curtain call
    Permalink Judi Dench and Kenneth Branagh with co-director Rob Ashford and the company at the press day's final curtain callGallery

    Press pass: Reviews and everything else you need to know about Kenneth Branagh’s The Winter’s Tale and Harlequinade / All On Her Own

Press pass: Reviews and everything else you need to know about Kenneth Branagh’s The Winter’s Tale and Harlequinade / All On Her Own

There’s nothing like a major theatre event to warm the cockles on a winter’s day. And the opening of Kenneth Branagh’s return to the West End with a year-long season as actor-manager was undoubtedly an event with a capital E.

And also a bit of a marathon, albeit one with a long pit-stop. The 2pm […]

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    13 thoughts On Freedom: Belarus Free Theatre marks ten years by Staging a Revolution

13 thoughts On Freedom: Belarus Free Theatre marks ten years by Staging a Revolution

Belarus Free Theatre (BFT), the underground theatre group routinely censored and persecuted in its state-controlled homeland, is celebrating its tenth birthday this month.

Founded by human rights activist husband-and-wife Nikolai Khalezin and Natalie Koliada, joined by director Vladimir Shcherban, BFT’s inaugural production in May 2005 was Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis, which tackles Belarusian taboo subjects […]

  • Erik Odom (Tim), Charlotte Parry (Tina), Dan Fredenburgh (Tom) and Stephen Tompkinson (Teddy) in Pig Farm by Greg Kotis @ St James Theatre. Directed by Katharine Farmer.
(Opening 28-10-15)
©Tristram Kenton 10/15
(3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550  Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com
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    From Pig Farm to Urinetown: Piss and sh*t and sustainability

From Pig Farm to Urinetown: Piss and sh*t and sustainability

The play Pig Farm, which is currently receiving its UK premiere at London’s St James Theatre, is written by American Greg Kotis, who also wrote the book for the Urinetown, the musical which also received its UK premiere at the St James before transferring to the West End last year.

Attending Pig Farm’s opening last week, […]

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    Photos and podcast: Barrie Keeffe discusses “unacceptable”, still timely Barbarians

Photos and podcast: Barrie Keeffe discusses “unacceptable”, still timely Barbarians

Regular readers of this blog will know that, a few weeks ago, I was blown away by Tooting Arts Club’s revival of Barbarians, Barrie Keeffe’s 1977 modern classic about disaffected London youth. So much so that I practically begged the producer Rachel Edwards to let me come back and chair a post-show discussion on the […]

The birth of an Icon: I was there

Obviously I go to the theatre a lot: but last night truly was special. I had the huge privilege of attending a premiere, at the White Bear Theatre, that marked the playwriting debut of a dear friend, whose scripts I’ve had the honour of reading over many years.

That’s not to suggest that said friend, Dave Cantor, is […]

  • Huw Parmenter and Tom Maller in Dark Tourism at the Park Theatre. © Oli Sones
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    Dark Tourism and the art of the theatrical put-down: 17 top insults

Dark Tourism and the art of the theatrical put-down: 17 top insults

Richard, one of the central characters in Daniel Dingsdale's debut play Dark Tourism (like me) has a thing for quotations. The irony is that he's a peddler of lowest common denominator culture, a "celebrity" PR with a hotline to the tabloids, who once dreamed of high-brow literary success.

Why are strong women – and witches – so scary?

Tonight should have been the night that Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s new Out of Joint play Jane Wenham: The Witch of Walkern, inspired by the last woman in England to be charged with witchcraft in the 18th century, visited the Ipswich High School for Girls as part of its rural touring in East Anglia and Essex.

Unfortunately, […]

This is England: Barbarians tap into anti-austerity rage

I’m not the only theatre person who was focused on the Conservative Party Conference last week.

Though she may not have anticipated quite the extent of the spitting, pig mask wearing protests outside the gates of the “Tory scum” meetings, Tooting Arts Club producer did intentionally time the opening of her Tooting Arts Club revival […]

  • A brief moment's political respite: on the beach in Brighton
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    My Conference diary: A striking similarity to the Edinburgh Fringe

My Conference diary: A striking similarity to the Edinburgh Fringe

I wish I could have been in Manchester last week for the Conservative Party annual conference. Not because I’ve suddenly gone “true Blue” and definitely not because I wanted to spit at those who are.

I joined the Labour Party the day after this year’s General Election and, despite (not because of) Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership […]

  • Mark Rylance interviewed by Andrew Marr on his BBC One Sunday politics show
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    Mark Rylance: ‘What’s wrong with being a theatre actor?’

Mark Rylance: ‘What’s wrong with being a theatre actor?’

On this Sunday’s Andrew Marr Show on BBC One, in amongst an interview with David Cameron and other reports from this year’s Conservative Party conference in Manchester, I was delighted to see Marr, perched in the circle at the West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre, chatting with actor Mark Rylance.

Theatregoers know, of course, that […]

  • Barney Norris in rehearsals for Eventide
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    INTERVIEW (pt2): Barney Norris on Peter Gill, Van Gogh writing and theatres as ’empathy engines’

INTERVIEW (pt2): Barney Norris on Peter Gill, Van Gogh writing and theatres as ’empathy engines’

Playwright Barney Norris has followed his award-winning debut Visitors with Eventide, which is now running at London’s Arcola Theatre before touring until 15 November 2015, care of Up in Arms, the theatre company he co-founded with director Alice Hamilton.

I’m a huge fan of Barney, both as a great writer and a great thinker. In this second […]

  • Barney Norris with Eventide cast member Ellie Piercy in rehearsals
    Permalink Barney Norris with Eventide cast member Ellie Piercy in rehearsalsGallery

    INTERVIEW (pt1): Eventide‘s Barney Norris on monoculture, Thomas Hardy and Salisbury dreams

INTERVIEW (pt1): Eventide‘s Barney Norris on monoculture, Thomas Hardy and Salisbury dreams

I’ve been looking forward to Barney Norris’ new play ever since I caught his acclaimed four-hander Visitors at the Bush Theatre last year. The play, which centred on an elderly couple dealing with the devastating consequences of dementia, affected me deeply. Partly, that was because of my own family’s experience with my father’s recent post-operative delirium, but […]

  • Shaun Evans, Miranda Raison and various collectables in Hello/Goodbye at Hampstead Theatre, London, February 2015
    Permalink Shaun Evans, Miranda Raison and various collectables in Hello/Goodbye at Hampstead Theatre, London, February 2015Gallery

    Hello, crazy collectors: 15 world record-breaking collections

Hello, crazy collectors: 15 world record-breaking collections

If I had a bigger flat with lots of nice empty walls, I’d be ringing Hampstead Theatre and putting my name on a waiting list for some of the props in the current production of Peter Souter’s romantic comedy Hello/Goodbye.

In it, Shaun Evans plays Alex, “a lister, a filer, a collector”, who unpacks boxes […]