Latest theatre reviews

Find out what our theatre team made of London's new openings

The Rise and Shine of Comrade Fiasco

Wakey wakey, rise and shine, you’ve been asleep for the last eight years and you’re now in prison. That’s essentially the situation the eponymous protagonist of Andrew Whaley’s 1991 play finds himself in. In Zimbabwe in 1986, three prisoners have been locked up for getting drunk and fighty. A mysterious fourth is thrown in to their cell, cloaked in rags and unable to remember anything. The cramped, barred, four-walled room is this strange figure’s rude awakening.

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Gate Theatre Until Saturday March 21 2015

Loserville

Before the geeks inherited the Earth, there were bands like Busted and Son of Dork.British bands who took 99 per cent of their inspiration from that one Wheatus song about listening to Iron Maiden. It’s only in retrospect that you can see quite how weird they were, and ‘Loserville’, co-written by Busted songsmith James Bourne, is all about retrospect.

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Union Theatre Until Saturday March 21 2015

Harajuku Girls

In the UK, ‘cosplay’ – literally, ‘costume play’ – conjures an image of excitable fans dressing up as their favourite TV or comic-book characters. But the Japanese version of cosplay also embraces sexual fetish and the giggling, uniformed schoolgirl…

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Finborough Theatre Until Saturday March 21 2015

Lovesong of the Electric Bear

Alan Turing’s teddy bear didn’t feature in ‘The Imitation Game’. Maybe that’s because Benedict Cumberbatch wanted to make sure a stuffed animal wasn’t going to beat him to an Oscar nomination. But in the late Snoo Wilson’s winding, surreal play about the life of oddball genius mathematician Turing, there are no such qualms.

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Hope Theatre Until Saturday March 21 2015

Lippy

Critics' choice

Bush Moukarzel and Mark O’Halloran’s ‘Lippy’ is an extraordinary and challenging piece of theatre that will probably infuriate as many people as it moves.

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Young Vic Until Saturday March 21 2015

Kill Me Now

Right, ‘cripping up’: how do you feel about it? Because the answer to that question is going to make a big difference on how much you get out of this Brad Fraser premiere. It’s a story that needs to be told, and is here told with bravery and the best of all possible intentions.

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Park Theatre Until Sunday March 29 2015

Multitudes

John Hollingsworth’s first full-length play, ‘Multitudes’, is far funnier than it should be. Strip it down to its synopsis and it sounds like a fairly mechanical exercise in political theatre, a production aching to be relevant, but it manages to be and do much more than that, and is written with wit and an appealing lightness of touch.

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Tricycle Until Saturday March 21 2015

Antigone

This version of Sophocles’s 2,500 year-old tragedy starts in a blur of ‘blud’, ‘fam’ and ‘crew’. Ancient Greece this is not; adapter Roy Williams instead puts us in a modern, grungy, urban Thebes surrounded by motorways and full of gang warfare

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Theatre Royal Stratford East Until Saturday March 14 2015

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

The Brits love an underdog. The Yanks love a winner. And Carole King was both. So it’s no wonder this biographical jukebox musical is shaping up to be a transatlantic smash, having already conquered Broadway.

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Aldwych Theatre Until Saturday March 12 2016

The Mikvah Project

Critics' choice

‘The Mikvah Project’ is set at a Jewish Mikvah, a pool used for ritual cleansing, and explores the burgeoning relationship between two men. It is a simple story but the textures in this production – the agile text, enveloping soundscape, subtle lighting and abstract projections – make for a beautifully nuanced show. 

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The Yard Theatre Until Saturday March 14 2015

Man and Superman

Is it a turd? Is it inane? No, it’s ‘Man and Superman’, a deeply bizarre play that makes the Man of Steel’s capers look positively humdrum. The great polymath Bernard Shaw wrote it in 1903 as a literally unstageable work that commenced with a lengthy letter to The Times’s theatre critic and concluded with ten chapters of an imaginary book by its protagonist Jack Tanner.

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National Theatre Until Sunday May 17 2015

Antigone

This version of Sophocles’s 2,500 year-old tragedy starts in a blur of ‘blud’, ‘fam’ and ‘crew’. Ancient Greece this is not; adapter Roy Williams instead puts us in a modern, grungy, urban Thebes surrounded by motorways and full of gang warfare.Creon becomes Creo, the newly crowned ‘king’ of the city, who rules the streets with a band of tooled-up bredrin.

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Theatre Royal Stratford East Until Saturday March 14 2015

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

The Brits love an underdog. The Yanks love a winner. And Carole King was both. So it’s no wonder this biographical jukebox musical is shaping up to be a transatlantic smash, having already conquered Broadway. Hitting the big time aged just 16, gawky, self-effacing Brooklynite King went on to write a string of smashes for other artists during the ’50s and ’60s, before overcoming shyness and a failed marriage (to her writing partner Gerry Goffin) to strike out on her own with the world-conquering album ‘Tapestry’.

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Aldwych Theatre Until Saturday March 12 2016

Closer

Critics' choice

Is ‘Closer’ the best play about London ever written?It’s not so much that Patrick Marber’s 1997 masterpiece has a fine eye for the nooks and crannies of the old City, though there is that – the play and 2004 film have pretty much made obscure Victorian memorial Postman’s Park famous. It’s more the psychology of London that Marber understands so well, the way in which its enormity and its transience allow you to reinvent yourself – whether you like it or not.

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Donmar Warehouse Until Saturday April 4 2015

Farinelli and the King

Claire van Kampen has been the Globe’s de facto in-house composer since it opened in 1997: if anyone has earned the right to have their debut play staged here, it’s her. And in fact, she should probably be allowed to do whatever she wants within its walls simply for putting up with her notoriously eccentric husband, ex-Globe artistic director Mark Rylance (aka Thomas Cromwell off the telly).

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Sam Wanamaker Playhouse Until Sunday March 8 2015

Harajuku Girls

In the UK, ‘cosplay’ – literally, ‘costume play’ – conjures an image of excitable fans dressing up as their favourite TV or comic-book characters. But the Japanese version of cosplay also embraces sexual fetish and the giggling, uniformed schoolgirl.Writer Francis Turnly uses cosplay as a lens through which to view the seedier side of modern day Japanese culture.

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Finborough Theatre Until Saturday March 21 2015

Kill Me Now

Right, ‘cripping up’: how do you feel about it? Because the answer to that question is going to make a big difference on how much you get out of this Brad Fraser premiere. It’s a story that needs to be told, and is here told with bravery and the best of all possible intentions. But if you believe that the reticence to use disabled actors for disabled roles is a problem that needs to be urgently addressed, then ‘Kill Me Now’ is going to be a considerably less heartening experience.

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Park Theatre Until Sunday March 29 2015

Lippy

Critics' choice

Bush Moukarzel and Mark O’Halloran’s ‘Lippy’ is an extraordinary and challenging piece of theatre that will probably infuriate as many people as it moves. But I loved this Irish production’s strange, sinister odyssey to the outskirts of human comprehension.

Read more
Young Vic Until Saturday March 21 2015

Lovesong of the Electric Bear

Alan Turing’s teddy bear didn’t feature in ‘The Imitation Game’. Maybe that’s because Benedict Cumberbatch wanted to make sure a stuffed animal wouldn’t beat him to an Oscar nomination. But in the late Snoo Wilson’s winding, surreal play about the life of oddball genius mathematician Turing, there are no such qualms.

Read more
Hope Theatre Until Saturday March 21 2015

The Mikvah Project

Critics' choice

Miller, artistic director of The Yard, wants to use Hackney Wick’s hippest venue to interrogate how we stage and perform dramatic texts. ‘The Mikvah Project’, written by Josh Azouz, is an impressive start. This new play is set at a Jewish Mikvah, a pool used for ritual cleansing, and explores the burgeoning relationship between two men.

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The Yard Theatre Until Saturday March 14 2015

Benefit

Critics' choice

London institution Cardboard Citizens continues its great work making theatre with people who have experience of being homeless with this piece of forum theatre. It's a medium used to educate, inform and provoke change as the audience are encouraged to comment on what happens in the play and direct the characters into a path that may bring a better outcome. 'Benefit' is based on the stories of individuals battling the benefits system and the impact of austerity.

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Pleasance Theatre Until Sunday March 8 2015

Forest Fringe

Critics' choice

Over two nights excellent alternative theatre and live art festival Forest Fringe stages some exciting work from unpredictable performance artists. A regular in Edinburgh, Forest Fringe have made a name for being the place to catch challenging, mind-expanding pieces. Their residency at The Place includes a series of installations and one-on-one experiences that you sign up to on the night. That's alongside a dance theatre work about connecting from Jo Fong, an interactive dance lesson from Brian Lobel and a piece by Peter McMaster about turning 27 - the age Jimi Hendrix Brian Jones, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison all died.

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The Place Friday March 6 2015 - Saturday March 7 2015

Lippy

Critics' choice

This review is of the show's 2014 Edinburgh fringe run. Bush Moukarzel and Mark O’Halloran’s ‘Lippy’ is an extraordinary and challenging piece of theatre that will probably infuriate as many people as it moves. But I loved this Irish production’s strange, sinister odyssey to the outskirts of human comprehension.

Read more
Young Vic Until Saturday March 21 2015

The Mikvah Project

Critics' choice

Miller, artistic director of The Yard, wants to use Hackney Wick’s hippest venue to interrogate how we stage and perform dramatic texts. ‘The Mikvah Project’, written by Josh Azouz, is an impressive start. This new play is set at a Jewish Mikvah, a pool used for ritual cleansing, and explores the burgeoning relationship between two men.

Read more
The Yard Theatre Until Saturday March 14 2015
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