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Reviews

Reviewing is at the heart of what we do. Here you’ll find all the reviews that our wonderful team have written. If you want to find something more specific, why not pick a genre of show instead from the list in the menu

The Veil, National Theatre

Written and directed by Conor McPherson ★★★★ Courtesy of National Theatre Well, we have just entered the first few days of October, which means that the grueling period of Hallowe’en is upon us. Yes, entire aisles of supermarkets dedicated to low-grade costumes, children banging on your door, asking for the sweets which you inevitably have forgotten to buy (they never seem satisfied with apples or stale digestive biscuits), and, perhaps worst of all, the incessant playing of “Monster Mash” by ...

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Double Feature 1, National Theatre

Edgar and Annabel  Sam Holcroft Directed by Lyndsey Turner ★★★★ The Swan  DC Moore Directed by Polly Findlay ★★★★ The Swan, courtesy of the Evening Standard As you will know from my review of Double Feature 2, I miserably failed to attend Double Feature 1 in late July due to an incident in the Solent. However, last weekend I made it back to the National’s pop-up performance space in the Paintframe to watch the second (well, technically the first…) batch ...

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Double Feature 2, National Theatre

Nightwatchman  Prasanna Puwanarajah Directed by Polly Findlay ★★★★★ There is a War Tom Basden Directed by Lyndsey Turner ★★★★ Courtesy of the National Theatre In an ideal world, I would review Double Feature 1 first, and Double Feature 2 second – I’m sure you’ll agree with my exemplary logic. This was the original intention, as I was booked to see Double Feature 1 in mid-July, and I only saw Double Feature 2 last week. Our plan was to then release ...

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Avignon Off Festival, France

www.avignonleoff.com While most UK readers will have heard of, and probably indeed attended the Edinburgh Fringe, I imagine that only few will know about the Avignon Off festival. The similarities between the two are striking: they were both founded in 1947, they both attract hundreds of companies and thousands of tourists, they each last for three weeks every summer and, ironically, they both tout themselves as the largest theatre festival in the world. Sometimes it seems like the organisers of ...

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Journey’s End, Duke of York’s Theatre

R.C. Sherriff  Directed by David Grindley ★★★★★ Courtesy of TimeOut Ordinarily, we reserve the elusive five stars for productions which have broken the boundaries in some way. Frankenstein was unlike anything I’d seen before, and One Man, Two Guvnors was the single funniest production I have ever had the pleasure of watching. David Grindley’s production of Sherriff’s Journey’s End doesn’t deliver anything ground-breaking – in many ways it doesn’t allow for much artistic license since it is in essence a ...

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A Woman Killed with Kindness, National Theatre

Thomas Heywood Directed by Katie Mitchell ★★ Courtesy of the National Theatre The National’s recent productions have been so good that I suppose it was only a matter of time before they produced one that didn’t live up to the high standards we now expect. Despite being classed as Heywood’s masterpiece, I cannot profess to having heard of A Woman Killed with Kindness before the National’s revival. Some basic research reveals that it is a critically acclaimed piece, regarded as ...

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Spotlight: Andrew Scott

Andrew Scott as Julian the Apostate Emperor and Galilean, Henrik Ibsen’s ‘lost masterpiece’, has just opened for the first time in English at London’s National Theatre. The three-hour-long epic Drama deals with the rise and subsequent fall of Emperor Julian the Apostate in the 4th Century AD. The play relies heavily on the actor playing the role of Julian to carry it through: indeed, a flat performance would make the entire experience totally unpalatable. But Andrew Scott, who plays this ...

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London Road, National Theatre

Book and Lyrics by Alecky Blythe Music and Lyrics by Adam CorkDirected by Rufus Norris★★★★ Courtesy of the National Theatre The National Theatre’s London Road is a musical about the (recent) murders of five prostitutes in Ipswich. On the face of it, it sounds like it should be hugely distasteful: a horrifying and entirely true story which is still fresh in the minds of the victims’ families, which has been trivialised and turned into popular entertainment. Rather strangely though, it ...

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Being Shakespeare, Trafalgar Studios

Jonathan Bate Directed by Tom Cairns ★★★ Courtesy of the Ambassador Theatre Group There is always a risk in going to see one man shows as the entire production rests on one person delivering an outstanding performance if the audience are to be kept engaged. Being Shakespeare is also a reasonably long one man show, running for 80 minutes over two acts. Fortunately, Simon Callow, one of Britain’s best loved actors, delivers a very engaging performance which makes it more ...

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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Theatre Royal Haymarket

Tom StoppardDirected by Trevor Nunn★★★★ Courtesy of the Theatre Royal Haymarket In truth, we hadn’t planned to see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead so early in its London run: we were actually planning on trying to catch the last performance of Blythe Spirit at the Apollo. However, due to circumstances beyond our control, we weren’t able to do so. Thankfully, quick thinking allowed us to snap up some front row seats to Tom Stoppard’s existentialist masterpiece, which turned out to ...

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