• 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 […]

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 […]

  • Hattie Morahan in The Changeling at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare's Globe, London
    Permalink Hattie Morahan in The Changeling at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare's Globe, LondonGallery

    My theatre diary: Dramas Taken at Midnight, The Changeling, Out of the Cage and The Separation

My theatre diary: Dramas Taken at Midnight, The Changeling, Out of the Cage and The Separation

The infinite variety of theatre in London means you can be laughing at the theatre one night, crying the next night. Or, when it’s really powerful, alternating between both on the same night. In my companion Theatre Diary piece, I shared some of the comedies I’ve enjoyed recently. Now I turn to the top-notch […]

20 awe-inspiring quotes from Taken at Midnight

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’m a sucker for memorable #quotes. I think that’s one of the reasons I adore theatre so much: great dialogue. Whenever I see a show – first night, last night, press night, whenever – I always have my pen and notebook at the ready. That’s not to […]

  • Serena Evans, James McAvoy and Kathryn Drysdale in The Ruling Class in director Jamie Lloyd's Trafalgar Transformed Season at Traflagar Studios, London's West End
    Permalink Serena Evans, James McAvoy and Kathryn Drysdale in The Ruling Class in director Jamie Lloyd's Trafalgar Transformed Season at Traflagar Studios, London's West EndGallery

    My theatre diary: Comedies The Ruling Class, Di and Viv and Rose, Diary of a Nobody and Bad Jews

My theatre diary: Comedies The Ruling Class, Di and Viv and Rose, Diary of a Nobody and Bad Jews

I’ve had a heavy schedule of plays over the past few weeks, including quite a few comedies, many of them with deep, dark cores. (For dramas I’ve seen recently, see my companion Theatre Diary piece.)

As usual, I’ve listed productions in closing date order. Note, the first – not the least bit dark – finishes […]

  • Lauren Ward mothers Rob Compton in Bat Boy at Southwark Playhouse, London, January 2015
    Permalink Lauren Ward mothers Rob Compton in Bat Boy at Southwark Playhouse, London, January 2015Gallery

    My theatre diary: Musicals Women on the Verge, Bat Boy and Grand Tour

My theatre diary: Musicals Women on the Verge, Bat Boy and Grand Tour

I caught you up on my new year playgoing earlier this week, now let me turn to some tuners on offer. Though vastly different in scale and subject matter, these three musicals do have two key things in common: they are all Broadway-born and must-sees for musical buffs.

As usual, I’ve listed productions in closing/booking […]

  • Sam Troughton, Neil Stuke, Adam James and Eleanor Matsuura in Mike Bartlett's Bull at the Young Vic Theatre, London, January 2015
    Permalink Sam Troughton, Neil Stuke, Adam James and Eleanor Matsuura in Mike Bartlett's Bull at the Young Vic Theatre, London, January 2015Gallery

    My theatre diary: Plays Bull, Donkey Heart, Golem and The Play That Goes Wrong

My theatre diary: Plays Bull, Donkey Heart, Golem and The Play That Goes Wrong

If these first few weeks are anything to go by, 2015 is going to be an entertaining year. Here are four, very different plays that I’ve seen recently and am happy to recommend.

As usual, I’ve listed productions in closing date order. Note, the first two finish at the end of January – don’t delay!

If […]

  • The cast of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown at the West End's Playhouse Theatre, London. ©Alastair Muir
    Permalink The cast of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown at the West End's Playhouse Theatre, London. ©Alastair MuirGallery

    Press pass: Everything you need to know about Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Press pass: Everything you need to know about Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, the first major opening of 2015, and one of the year’s biggest musicals, had its West End premiere last night (Monday 12 January 2015, previews from 16 December 2014) at London’s Playhouse Theatre.

Based on renowned Spanish director Pedro Almodovar’s breakthrough 1988 film of the same name, […]

The best of the best of #theatre2015 preview highlights

We’ve looked back ad nauseum over the past fortnight at the best of #theatre2014; now it’s time to look forward. And there’s SO much to look forward to theatrically.

To help you keep track of all the new year picks and predictions, here’s a handy 2015 recommendations round-up. Having perused them all, let me summarise […]

  • James Corden and Emily Blunt play the Baker and his Wife in Into the Woods
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    Is Into the Woods one of the best stage-to-screen musicals of all time?

Is Into the Woods one of the best stage-to-screen musicals of all time?

I’m jealous of guests attending the UK gala screening of Into the Woods tonight at London’s Curzon Mayfair cinema. Not for the celeb-spotting, paparazzi-dodging, canape-scarfing or any other red carpet reason. But simply because they get to watch this fantastic, fantastical film.

Indeed, I’ll extend my envy to anyone booking to see Into the Woods this weekend or […]

More Top 10 #theatre2014 lists: Mine and yours

Rounding up the best of the best of theatre 2014 highlights got me reflecting on my own year in theatre.

Having unexpectedly left WhatsOnStage just before Christmas 2013, the shape and pace of my 2014 theatregoing was going to be inevitably different from the previous 16 years. For a time, I wasn’t even sure that […]

The best of the best of #theatre2014 round-ups

Can you keep up with all the 2014 theatrical year round-ups? I’ve rounded up the round-ups to give you a quick overview.

The Guardian went ALL out looking back with a profusion of top 10 lists from its various critics, including eminence grise Michael Billington, fringe and festival queen Lyn Gardner, columnist Mark Lawson and […]

  • Ontroerend Goed tackles feminism in Sirens at Soho Theatre, London, December 2014
    Permalink Ontroerend Goed tackles feminism in Sirens at Soho Theatre, London, December 2014Gallery

    My theatre diary: Plays to make you think – Widowers’ Houses, Visitors, Hope and Sirens

My theatre diary: Plays to make you think – Widowers’ Houses, Visitors, Hope and Sirens

If your brain has started to turn to mush after too much turkey and mash, get yourself along to one of these four plays quick. I can personally recommend each for provoking serious thought, discussion and reflection on urgent issues including local government, austerity, dementia, discrimination, feminism, urban housing and corruption, to name a […]

  • The cast of Hope at the Royal Court
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    Podcast: How to find Hope when the streetlights are turned off

Podcast: How to find Hope when the streetlights are turned off

 

It’s frightening how prescient Jack Thorne’s Hope is.

Just this week, new research released by the Labour Party showed that streetlights are being switched off in three-quarters of England’s councils in order to save money. And there’s a likelihood that even more will be “plunged into darkness” after the Government’s most recent announcement of further […]

Kidzone with Cats, Wind in the Willows and Potted Sherlock

What a fantastic time to be a kid in Theatreland!

Never mind the plethora of pantomimes, and the superlative programming year-round at the Unicorn and Polka Theatres, this holiday season in London, littler ones can also take their pick from:

two Treasure Islands (at the National, with Arthur Darvill, and at the Arts Theatre)
Room on the […]

  • Made in Dagenham, Adelphi Theatre
    Permalink Made in Dagenham, Adelphi TheatreGallery

    My theatre diary: ‘Tis Pity, Made in Dagenham, East Is East and Neville’s Island

My theatre diary: ‘Tis Pity, Made in Dagenham, East Is East and Neville’s Island

I’m playing catch-up. Here are four shows I caught before my turkey-filled escape to the States last week for Thanksgiving. All of which serve up entertaining evenings in the theatre.

As usual, I’ve listed them in closing date order. Don’t delay with the first in particular, as it finishes its limited season in a week. […]

  • Alexander Hanson and Abigail Cruttenden in Accolade at the St James Theatre, London, Nov 2014
    Permalink Alexander Hanson and Abigail Cruttenden in Accolade at the St James Theatre, London, Nov 2014Gallery

    My theatre diary: Off-West End plays Accolade, Jonah and Otto and Grand Guignol

My theatre diary: Off-West End plays Accolade, Jonah and Otto and Grand Guignol

There are plenty of plays to choose from on London’s fringe and Off-West End. Here are some that I’ve seen recently and am happy to recommend. As usual, I’ve listed them in closing date order. Don’t delay with the first two in particular, both of which finish their limited seasons this week.

If you follow […]

10 things you should never say to a copper (c/o Wildefire)

A note in the programme for Wildefire, Roy Williams’ new play about the perils of modern-day policing at Hampstead Theatre, deftly summarises the public relations problem that the police force faces today. Titled “A Policeman’s Lot Is Not a Happy Note”, the piece is written by Brian Paddick, former Deputy Assistant Commission of The […]

Must-see musicals: Memphis and Kinks-filled Sunny Afternoon

In my Theatre Diary last week, I recommended two new musicals – Urinetown and The Scottsboro Boys, both originated in New York and given UK premiere productions Off-West End before transferring in the past few weeks.

Now, I can add two more major new West End musicals to your must-see list, which I had the […]

  • The Scottsboro Boys at the Garrick Theatre
    Permalink The Scottsboro Boys at the Garrick TheatreGallery

    My theatre diary: The Distance, Electra, Lord of the Flies, Urinetown, Next Fall

My theatre diary: The Distance, Electra, Lord of the Flies, Urinetown, Next Fall

Having escaped back to Mallorca for a week (god, I love that place, my little piece of heaven), there are at least two weeks of theatre I want to catch up with. My must-see list just keeps growing and growing and has, more accurately become, a might-see list … if I can find a […]

  • Tim Pigott-Smith as King Charles III at Wyndham's Theatre, London's West End, September 2014
    Permalink Tim Pigott-Smith as King Charles III at Wyndham's Theatre, London's West End, September 2014Gallery

    My theatre diary: King Charles III, True West, Toast, Eye of a Needle and Breeders

My theatre diary: King Charles III, True West, Toast, Eye of a Needle and Breeders

Knowing that my theatregoing – and overall mental and emotional bandwidth – would be going into tailspin this week, I packed in as many shows as I could over the past fortnight.

Amongst them, the five notable plays below. As usual, I’ve listed them in closing date order. Don’t delay with the first two in […]

  • Michael Flatley with young lords of the dance Tom Cunningham, James Keegan, Morgan Comer and Matt Smith at the London Palladium
    Permalink Michael Flatley with young lords of the dance Tom Cunningham, James Keegan, Morgan Comer and Matt Smith at the London PalladiumGallery

    Photos and podcast: With the original Lord of the Dance Michael Flatley

Photos and podcast: With the original Lord of the Dance Michael Flatley

I’m excited to attend the gala opening tonight of Michael Flatley’s revamped Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games. I got a sneak peek recently when a few extracts were performed at a preview event at the London Palladium.

In addition to the pounding Irish dancing – performed by a 40-strong company of world champions – […]

  • Benjamin Scheuer and Terri Paddock at The Lion post-show Q&A, 27 Aug 2014. © Peter Jones
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    Photos and podcast: The Lion post-show Q&A with Benjamin Scheuer

Photos and podcast: The Lion post-show Q&A with Benjamin Scheuer

As I mentioned in my Theatre Diary today, I cannot recommend Benjamin Scheuer’s The Lion highly enough. This is a beautiful one-man musical about a boy and his father and how that boy became a man and fell in love with playing music.

Last night, after being blown away by the 70-minute performance, I had […]

  • Gillian Anderson as Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire at the Young Vic, London, August 2014
    Permalink Gillian Anderson as Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire at the Young Vic, London, August 2014Gallery

    My theatre diary: Streetcar, My Night with Reg, Muswell Hill, The Lion and Dogfight

My theatre diary: Streetcar, My Night with Reg, Muswell Hill, The Lion and Dogfight

Edinburgh aside, my August theatregoing has been sporadic, but here are a few shows I’ve seen recently that are worth catching if you can, especially now that the late summer sunshine seems to have abandoned us. As usual, I list them below in closing date order.

If you follow me on Twitter (@TerriPaddock) – please […]

Embarking on my Edinburgh Festival Highlights adventure

In London, five shows a week is a serious haul. In Edinburgh, that’s small fry. When I was reviewing in Edinburgh, I could easily do twice that in a day.

This year, this week, I’m experiencing the festival from a different perspective. I’ve been working with producer James Seabright and Festival Highlights, guest-editing content on […]

  • Richard Armitage in The Crucible at the Old Vic
    Permalink Richard Armitage in The Crucible at the Old VicGallery

    My theatre diary: From tears to laughter with The Crucible, The Events, Invincible and Shakespeare in Love

My theatre diary: From tears to laughter with The Crucible, The Events, Invincible and Shakespeare in Love

I’m really doing well for play choices in July. Don’t let the warm weather put you off catching these compelling productions, which scale great heights and depths of emotion. (Apart from the entertainment, most of these theatres were lovely and cool on the hot summer evenings I attended. So you’ll get a respite from […]

  • Just the type: Forbes Masson, Martin Freeman, Philip Cumbus, Jo Stone-Fewings in Richard III
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    Why is Jamie Lloyd and Martin Freeman’s Richard III set in a 1970s open-plan office?

Why is Jamie Lloyd and Martin Freeman’s Richard III set in a 1970s open-plan office?

When the production shots for Richard III were first released earlier this week, showing that director Jamie Lloyd had located the Bard’s bloody history play in a 1970s office block, my interest was piqued.

After seeing the show at Tuesday’s opening night, my first reaction was to describe the resulting effect as “Get Carter meets […]

  • Terri Paddock and writer/director Chris Larner
    Permalink Terri Paddock and writer/director Chris LarnerGallery

    Photos and podcast: The Frida Kahlo of Penge West post-show Q&A

Photos and podcast: The Frida Kahlo of Penge West post-show Q&A

I had a great time last night (3 July 2014) hosting the post-show Q&A at the hilarious new “two-woman comedy about putting on a one-woman show”, The Frida Kahlo of Penge West. I was joined by writer/director Chris Larner and the show’s two stars, Cecily Nash and Laura Kirman.

Amongst the topics discussed were: comedy […]

  • Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid star in Bakersfield Mist at the West End's Duchess Theatre
    Permalink Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid star in Bakersfield Mist at the West End's Duchess TheatreGallery

    My theatre diary: Five plays worth seeing, from Adler to Bakersfield

My theatre diary: Five plays worth seeing, from Adler to Bakersfield

Despite the considerable distractions of the World Cup, Wimbledon and my own much-talked about (!) triathlon debut in Wales – I’m a sucker for a sporting spectacle – I have been lucky enough to squeeze in some top theatregoing in recent weeks.

Here are five plays I can heartily recommend, listed in closing date order. […]

Wanted: Small Asian children for Miss Saigon

Do you have a small, confident, South-East Asian-looking child? If so, Jo Hawes is looking for you. My interest was piqued when I attended Miss Saigon recently at the West End’s Prince Edward Theatre.

On the cast credits page of the programme, just below the notification about American stars Eva Noblezada (who plays Kim) and […]

Mr Burns, Marmite and memory

I haven’t read them all but a glance at the headlines as they whizzed by in my Twitter feed alerted me that the UK premiere of Anne Washburn’s “post-electric play” Mr Burns had received some bad reviews from critics last week.

Undeterred, I showed up at the Almeida for Saturday’s matinee. Look, there’s no denying that […]

Never mind Titus: The West End is awash with blood

There’s been a lot of media attention around the Globe’s Titus Andronicus. Once again, Lucy Bailey’s production – which starred Douglas Hodge in its first 2006 outing and now has William Houston in the title role – has got audiences fainting on Bankside.

Titus, with the strapline “brutality of the highest order”, is an extreme example […]

From famine to feast: My ever-growing theatre to-see list

Between my father’s illness, coursework and a month in Mallorca (sigh), I was out of show-going circulation for six weeks. Social media monitoring is fine for staying in the openings, closings and castings loop, but I was missing ACTUAL theatre.

So, when I arrived back in London, I had a very very long wish list.

I hit the […]

  • Angela Lansbury keeps conjuring at the West End's Gielgud Theatre until 7 June 2014 only
    Permalink Angela Lansbury keeps conjuring at the West End's Gielgud Theatre until 7 June 2014 onlyGallery

    Noel Coward in three events: Blithe Spirit, Relative Values and Tonight at 8.30

Noel Coward in three events: Blithe Spirit, Relative Values and Tonight at 8.30

You only have three more weeks to catch Blithe Spirit at the Gielgud Theatre. Michael Blakemore’s production – and, more specifically, Angela Lansbury’s performance in it as dotty clairvoyant Madame Arcati – is undoubtedly one of the theatre events of the year.

The “eventfulness” of the occasion has little to do with the play. The […]

  • Splash out: drink tap instead
    Permalink Splash out: drink tap insteadGallery

    What I learned today: Where to get free water (and why you don’t need to ditch your bottle at airport security)

What I learned today: Where to get free water (and why you don’t need to ditch your bottle at airport security)

My partner’s sister Carry was in a tizz the other day as she related her airport tale of woe. She and her husband were travelling with their two thirsty children and had made the mistake of buying bottles of water for everyone before they checked in – only to have them confiscated a few […]

Tony trivia: Twelfth Night is officially a history play

Twelfth Night is generally classified as one of Shakespeare’s comedies, but last week it officially became a history play as well, after its phenomenal haul in this year’s Tony Awards nominations.

Mark Rylance is already something of a Tony legend. He has won Best Actor twice for two other London transfers –1960s farce Boeing-Boeing in […]

  • Just grab a chair for a simpler, meditative mind-break
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    What I learned today: Five-minute meditation for dummies (you DON’T have to sit like this!)

What I learned today: Five-minute meditation for dummies (you DON’T have to sit like this!)

Learning meditation is one of those things I’ve had on my life to-do list for years. I have several friends who swear by it and who have been to multiple escape-way-out-of-London retreats where they do NOTHING but meditate – well, and sleep and eat, but no talking, reading or writing – for days on […]

  • What's your personality type?
    Permalink What's your personality type?Gallery

    What I learned today: How to find your Myers-Brigg personality type

What I learned today: How to find your Myers-Brigg personality type

Have you been Myers-Brigged? I first heard of this “personality inventory” test in a psychology course at university, and first encountered it in the real world in my late twenties when working at a high-tech PR agency in London. The firm used various Myers-Brigg questionnaires during recruitment and for planning team and management structures. […]

  • Making the right decisions is getting harder
    Permalink Making the right decisions is getting harderGallery

    What I learned today: Beware confirmation bias – and why decision-making is getting harder

What I learned today: Beware confirmation bias – and why decision-making is getting harder

Composing yesterday’s blog about my recent experience with Hopi ear candles, first evangelising and then debunking them, provided me with a reminder lesson opportunity about confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is the tendency to seek out “proof” that confirms our preconceived notions on a subject or existing belief – and we are all prone to […]

What I learned today: Help! SOS doesn’t mean anything

With all the blood and gore – and fantastically poetic staging care of director John Tiffany and choreographer Steven Hoggett – Morse code may not be the first thing you associate with the National Theatre of Scotland’s production of vampire Let the Right One, now playing at the West End’s Apollo Theatre. But it […]

  • Rufus Hound and Robert Lindsay star as conmen in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the West End's Savoy Theatre, London
    Permalink Rufus Hound and Robert Lindsay star as conmen in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the West End's Savoy Theatre, LondonGallery

    Musicals to make you laugh: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Urinetown

Musicals to make you laugh: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Urinetown

The Book of Mormon now has two major contenders for the title of funniest musical in London. But why just coronate one?! Let’s go ahead and give them all crowns (or tiaras, if they prefer).

In any case, rest assured, if you enjoyed the South Park creators’ naughty humour, you will love these two as […]

The horrors of Headlong’s 1984 strike close to home

I came home from the opening night of Headlong’s 1984 at the Almeida Theatre in a foul mood. It’s a brilliant production and a slick adaptation by Robert Icke (@robertwicke) and Duncan Macmillan (@SleeveNotes) – though slightly over-reliant on the gimmick of performing key scenes backstage and then projecting them onto Orwell’s ever-present telescreens, […]