Latest theatre reviews

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

Show of the week

The Changeling

Critics' choice

If comedy equals tragedy plus time, then Thomas Middleton and William Rowley’s 1622 tragedy ‘The Changeling’ has had almost four centuries to get funny.Some of it already was: setting aside the darker Middleton-penned main story for a moment, Rowley’s subplot about romantic shenanigans in a loony bin was always intended to elicit a few un-PC lols. That’s why exasperated modern directors often give it the heave. But Dominic Dromgoole’s new take for the Globe positively revels in everything ludicrous and anachronistic about ‘The Changeling’. Often it’s down to the lead to find the tragedy in the play, but as Beatrice-Joanna, the noblewoman who loses her virtue in more ways than one, Hattie Morahan does quite the opposite. Posh, frivolous and impulsive, with her mouth constantly half-agape and her voice flitting excitedly through the octaves in a way reminiscent of Queenie in ‘Blackadder’, Morahan’s performance isn’t a piss-take, but it’s certainly disarmingly light-hearted. In contrast to her painfully intense recent turn in ‘A Doll’s House’, Morahan’s Beatrice is almost frighteningly superficial. It’s Jacobean tragedy by way of ‘Made in Chelsea’ and it’s actually a pretty legitimate interpretation. Spoilt Beatrice finds herself in a terrible pickle via a combination of over-entitlement and under-thinking, believing that she can make her feckless fiancé ‘go away’ by calling in villainous manservant Deflores (Trystan Gravelle), and that such an action will have no consequences.

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Sam Wanamaker Playhouse Until Sunday March 1 2015

Bad Jews

Critics' choice

Family tensions are bound to run high when a loved one dies. But in this hilarious new comedy from Joshua Harmon, you frequently wonder whether a tragic death might actually provoke a bloody murder. Three cousins are lumped together in a one-room apartment in New York because ‘the most important person’ in their family, their Holocaust survivor grandfather, has died. Bright-if-difficult Daphna is a hardliner when it comes to her faith. To the other extreme is uptight Liam, who wilfully avoids being defined by Judaism. Then there’s quiet man-in-the-middle Jonah, Liam’s younger brother, who says little and finds himself torn between the other two. Oh, and just to really mess things up, Liam’s well-meaning – if slightly simple – atheist girlfriend is thrown into the mix. It’s a recipe for absolute disaster and Harmon cleverly builds to a cataclysmic bust-up, the catalyst being an heirloom that both sides want for very different reasons. The fight between Daphna and Liam is the push and pull between the traditions and heritage of religion and the homogenisation of modern Western culture. But it’s also a play that looks more universally at grief, loss and legacy and how easy it is to lose sight of other people.  Jenna Augen is magnificent as Daphna, relentlessly pick-pick-picking away at her cousin with exceptional comic timing. And she is by no means unbearable, as Augen adds real depth to the character. The rest of the cast are also strong, with Ilan Goodman providing a gobsmack

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St James Theatre Until Saturday February 28 2015

The Boys Upstairs

There’s plenty of scope for a sharp comedy about the sexual mores of twenty-first-century gay men. But this play – set in New York City and making its UK debut at LGBT-focused Above the Stag theatre – isn’t it. Strip out the namechecking of Grindr and Manhattan’s current crop of gay bars, and what do you have? An often unpleasant, cliché-ridden mess, pedalling tired stereotypes.Following two unbelievable gay flatmates and their equally unbelievable friend try to guess which way their hot new neighbour swings, American writer Jason Mitchell sets his sights on ‘Sex and the City’ and hits something closer to ‘Confessions of a Window Cleaner’. I like a good farce, but the deeply predictable jokes here are trotted out like a checklist – not so much toilet humour as pipe-blockages.It isn’t just that the play presents gay men as vapid, bitchy, borderline date-rapists and expects that to be enough to get us rolling in the aisles – oh, those guys! They’re such poorly drawn cartoons, it’s not clear why they’d even choose to live in the same city, let alone be the close friends Mitchell has them keep claiming they are. One relationship seems to materialise out of thin air just to create something akin to a conclusion.The two-room apartment set makes impressive use of the theatre’s small space, and there’s a genuinely funny moment with a starry-eyed one-night stand whose lines stitch together the lyrics of a dozen Broadway songs. But Andrew Beckett’s production generally hurtles through

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Above the Stag Theatre Until Sunday February 15 2015

The Caucasian Chalk Circle

The bods at the Unicorn Theatre don’t scare easily. They recently staged a riproaring adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Henry V’ for children and now they’re tackling Brecht’s 1944 play ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’. It is a demanding work, which asks complex questions about capitalism and social justice, but Amy Leach’s vivid production keeps both children and adults enthralled. The play is set in Georgia in the throes of civil war. In a vicious opening, Georgia’s governor is killed by rebels and his wife forced to flee. In the confusion, the governor’s baby is left behind. Servant Grusha (Kiran Sonia Sawar – all heart and guts) is left to pick up the baby and the play tracks Grusha’s struggle for survival, with plenty of Brechtian detours and music along the way. Director Leach and designer Hayley Grindle invoke the horror of war, but also cleverly suggest the absence it brings about. Legions of dead soldiers are represented by clothes falling from above and bloody executions are depicted using beautiful gowns swinging from the rafters. Everything is tinged in red and Dom Coyote (composer and singer) underscores the action with a heavy pulse on his electric guitar. Frank McGuinness’s stark and stirring translation brings to life a whirlwind of vivid characters. Mia Soteriou is equally convincing as a tough servant and cowardly farmer, Emily Wachter is frankly terrifying as the governor’s wife and Nabil Shaban is all seedy charisma as judge Azdak. Perhaps the biggest surprise is h

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Unicorn Theatre Until Saturday March 21 2015

Islands

There’s a scene deep, deep into Caroline Horton’s rambling satirical cabaret ‘Islands’ where it all actually comes together. The credit crunch has just ravaged the show’s lurid allegorical world, and the giggling, grotesque super-rich – led by Horton’s Mammon-like Mary – have just received a bollocking from the powers that be. They promise to be good, to be responsible from now on… then cautiously Mary suggests they might have some plain scones to celebrate. They look around warily. Nobody stops them. So they order some jam. Nobody stops them. Then some cream. Nobody stops them. Then some champagne. Then caviar. Then a taxi. Then a private jet. Then a holiday to Ibiza. Then Miami. By now they’re cackling and screeching and whooping in delirium, laughing like children who’ve just found out that Santa Claus is in fact real. It’s not the subtlest allegory for how the super-rich have bounced back while our wages have stagnated. But it is a tremendously powerful one.Would that the rest of ‘Islands’ had anything like its vivid kick. Horton is a mercurial and talented theatre maker, whose last show ‘Mess’ – a poignant comedy about anorexia – verged on genius. ‘Islands’ is a total change of tack, a satire on the phenomena of tax havens, in which Mary’s mega-wealthy posse live on a floating island called Haven, adrift from the concerns of the world below – which they call Shitworld.So far so agit prop, but Horton’s decision to present the whole thing as an indulgently absurdist cabare

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Bush Theatre Until Saturday February 21 2015

Out of the Cage

This rousing play about female munitions workers fighting for equal pay during World War 1 is a nice companion piece to the rather fancier ‘Made in Dagenham’. ‘Out of the Cage’ also includes songs – arguably better songs – and some sharp movement sequences choreographed by Simon Pittman. But it’s an all together more earnest affair, with a lot of poetry flowering up the pragmatism. It’s an interesting but awkward mix that’s patchier in form than its single-minded politics would suggest. Nevertheless, it packs an emotional punch.Writer and director Alex McSweeney shines a light on a group of women who, having taken on men’s jobs, feel they should be getting men’s wages. Inspired by the true story of the workers of Silvertown in east London, McSweeney tells the story of the girls of Shell Shop Two who decide to strike, under the beleaguered leadership of union organiser Jane Byass (a superb Milly Finch).McSweeney’s text is too polished to appear realistic and at points, when the soliloquies are underscored by emotive music, it feels manipulative. The arguments that are voiced within this fractured resistance group – around feminism and socialism – feel a little forced. The cast tackle their thin characters with varying degrees of success individually, but they have a lovely chemistry as an ensemble and they do feel like a sisterhood. For all its niggles and holes, this is an interesting frame in which to examine a familiar subject. Contrived or not, in a working world that stil

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Park Theatre Until Saturday February 14 2015

Upper Cut

The last 26 years of the Labour party are swooped through in this smart play by Juliet Gilkes Romero. With two black politicians at its heart, it looks at diversity in UK politics and how black politicians have always had to fight to be heard. But it’s also about the limits of politics and how the passion and drive to change the world can entirely dominate a life. ‘Upper Cut’ flashes back through the journeys of three people, beginning in November 2012, on the eve of Obama’s re-election. Disillusioned with Britain, Karen (Emma Dennis-Edwards) is leaving for America, while her friend and lover Michael (Akemnji Ndifornyen), the deputy Labour leader, tries to convince her to stay. They obviously have history, but it takes the entire play to realise just how much. The influence of party strategist Barry (Andrew Scarborough), a sort of slightly nicer, northern Alastair Campbell, is woven into both their paths. At different points, we see each of the characters sacrificing their ideals to get ahead whilst also destroying their health. Where Karen once believed the black sections movement was divisive, and Michael was the revolutionary force, their attitudes blur. Barry, caught up in their journeys, also swaps his allegiance and betrays the woman he loves. It’s demanding watching, and it’s frequently fascinating. Though occasionally there’s too much historical scene-setting, the script is well-balanced and doesn’t sentimentalise the characters or their struggle. Half way through the

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Southwark Playhouse Until Saturday February 7 2015

Title and Deed

Critics' choice

‘I’m not from here’, a man tells us. And he’s audibly not: he’s Irish performer Conor Lovett of acclaimed theatre company Gare St Lazare. ‘I guess I never will be’, he continues. He’s an outsider, as the play’s subtitle, ‘monologue for a slightly foreign man’, informs us.Not very foreign: he’s a native English speaker and he’s dressed for invisibility, with an everyday blue suit jacket and carrying a bag full of everyday items. He speaks with an unusual tentativeness, as if he’s unsure of what we’ll make of him, or if he should be speaking to us at all.A celebrated interpreter of Beckett, Lovett here performs a monologue by US playwright Will Eno that must have been written for his unnerving but compelling acting style. He vibrates like a taut catgut string to the audience’s presence, noting every unintentional cough or shuffle with a perturbed raise of his eyebrows.It’s Lovett’s balancing of the banal with the utterly peculiar that gives his performances their power, and it’s perfectly matched by a monologue that circles around nothing much in particular, yet gradually sketches quite a haunting image of the outsiders in our midst, of our own capacity for shutting out or finding fault in those different to us or alien to our conveniences.The Man carries a stick and an empty lunch box in his bag, and Eno dares us to find a comparison between Christ in the wasteland and this gawky wanderer. He rifles through commonplaces of speech and language as if he’s checking for loose part

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Print Room Until Saturday February 7 2015

Bat Boy: The Musical

Critics' choice

Some cult classics spring naturally into being, as what was once thought trash is transmuted into box-office gold, and some are made. ‘Bat Boy: The Musical’, which first premiered off-Broadway in 1997, could be the fang-toothed poster child for the latter category as it’s custom-built for the midnight-movie crowd. Inspired by the greatest ever scoop in the lunatic tabloid Weekly World News, it’s a playfully gruesome satire that revels in its own weirdness and takes gleeful potshots at the prejudices of Bible-belt America. Bat Boy is a pointy-eared feral child found in a cave and adopted by the family of frustrated local veterinarian Dr Parker. As the fearful townspeople round on the boy for depleting their cattle population, Parker’s wife Meredith and daughter Shelley fall for the Boy’s toothy charms and raise him into a model citizen. A model citizen with a craving for fresh blood, that is. The book and lyrics are nowhere near as subversive as they think they are, but they’re tremendous fun, particularly as the tension ratchets up in act two and the focus shifts on to the Parkers’ unconventional family dynamics. It’s also where the score really takes off, with raucous revival number ‘A Joyful Noise’ and the standout ‘Three Bedroom House’ that sees Shelley and Meredith plan a perfect future with their new arrival. It’s all been given a stunning production by Luke Fredericks and Morphic Graffiti, with a cooking band under conductor Mark Crossland. Rob Compton strikes the perfe

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Southwark Playhouse Saturday January 31 2015

Bull

Critics' choice

Two audience members fainted during the press night performance of ‘Bull’, and I can’t say I blame them: anybody thinking the 55-minute running time of Mike Bartlett’s shocking play means an easy ride is sorely mistaken.Not that a single drop of blood is spilt in the boxing ring-like set of Clare Lizzimore’s production, which premiered in Sheffield a couple of years ago and finally arrives in London just as Bartlett’s ‘King Charles III’ is winding down in the West End.Instead, the subject is workplace bullying, of the worst kind. Though written as a sort of companion piece to Bartlett’s 2009 ‘Cock’, the title ‘Bull’ also explicitly refers to Sam Troughton’s hapless Thomas, who is destroyed by his two workmates with the one-sided inevitability of a pair of matadors slaughtering their bovine victim.The trio’s company is downsizing, and boss Carter (Neil Stuke) will be interviewing them all to decide which one goes. But posh Tony (Adam James) and pretty Isobel (Eleanor Matsuura) have already decided to monster shabby Thomas. They criticise his clothes, make jokes about his dead dad, force him into a dare that leaves him flustered just as Carter arrives.A sort of spoiler: Thomas is fucked. He stands no chance against Tony and Isobel; the twist is that there is no twist. What joy there is in ‘Bull’ is shameful: Bartlett’s exquisitely excruciating ear for the logic of the bully, his elegantly icy language, the painfully plausible performances. Troughton is brilliant as the crumblin

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Young Vic Until Saturday February 14 2015

Contact.com

One night of uncomplicated sauciness. It’s all the affluent husband and wife in Michael Kingsbury’s new play are looking for when they advertise for the company of a younger couple. Sauciness is certainly what they get, but it’s rather more complicated than they imagined. ‘Contact.com’ is a kind of blander, less menacing ‘Entertaining Mr Sloane’ for the digital age. When twentysomethings Ryan and Kelly – who live on a south London council estate, first turn up at forty-somethings Matt and Naomi’s chic north London flat there’s a slight clash of cultures. But despite the initial awkwardness, the internet quartet really hit it off. The play then descends into a psychological push and pull of sexual and emotional need. One night quickly turns into two days and then an entire week. But where she was once keen to have them stay longer, Naomi begins to think Ryan and Kelly have hidden agendas, while Matt, reticent at first, begins to believe he and his wife have a responsibility to the younger couple. Kelly and Ryan, meanwhile, are desperately trying to manipulate the situation, while also trying to keep their own relationship from breaking down. There’s a strong cast here and Charlie Brooks is good as uncomplicated Kelly, while Jason Durr is enjoyably silly as Matt the psychoanalyst-turned-young-at-heart loverboy. Kingsbury’s dialogue is smart, subtle and sure of itself, but there’s a point in the second half where the piece doesn’t have anywhere to go. Repetition and predictabili

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Park Theatre Until Saturday February 14 2015

The Chronicles of Kalki

Two girls in a London comp are visited and befriended by a mischievous incarnation of the destructive Hindu god Kalki in Aditi Brennan Kapil’s would-be outrageous mini-saga. The rampant deity looks and talks like a jet-setting Chelsea girl, which gives the girls a lot of cred by association, especially the slightly frumpier one who’s dealing with sexual harassment in the playground. Kapil’s play has already surfaced in the US but is now closing the Gate’s Who Does She Think She Is? season. It’s certainly a novel piece of writing, set mostly in a police interview room in which a long-suffering plod is trying to get to the bottom of the girls’ goddess story. Kapil doesn’t settle for dreary old reality; she wants to get in touch with something much racier and cosmic. In doing so, she pushes a few theatrical boundaries and gives us a sort of ‘Grange Hill’-meets-‘The Matrix’ in a Bollywood ‘Thelma and Louise’ stylee. The language is all London English, accessorised with teenage postures and attitude-heavy snarls. Alex Brown’s production is set in a drab grey interview room with frosted glass and carpet tiles which, thanks to Madeleine Girling’s nifty design, opens up into the cosmos with the help of directional disco lighting. Although the show puts all three girls through their paces, it also gives the impression of being in a hurry to get the 75 minutes over. Angela Terence and Jordan Loughran are wholly watchable as a couple of lippy teenagers, as is Trevor Michael Georges as t

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Gate Theatre Saturday January 31 2015

The Fever

Wallace Shawn wrote ‘The Fever’ in 1990, and it has to be said that it shows. Ostensibly a searing attack on middle-class guilt, the monologue invites audiences to join the thought processes of a western man staying in a hotel in a third-world country that’s racked by civil war. When he wakes up nauseous in the middle of the night, he vomits up his worries about the world’s inequality along with the bile. For the audience it’s supposed to be an exercise in growing discomfort.Produced by the Almeida, this production follows ‘The Merchant of Venice’ in the influential theatre’s series examining money, materialism and what we value. Directed by Robert Icke, it’s staged off site at the May Fair Hotel, the kind of establishment where you can expect to meet hedge fund managers and wealthy Russians at the bar. A perfect setting, then, in which to discuss the divisions between the champagne-guzzling haves and oppressed have-nots who struggle even to find a clean glass of water.We are ushered into a mirrored lift, and whizzed up to a hotel suite in which wine and chocolates await us. As we make ourselves comfortable, actor Tobias Menzies appears, dressed down in a T-shirt, joggers, and bare feet. Quietly he starts to ask questions, worrying about the contrast between his privileged upbringing (there’s a beautiful passage where his protected childhood is compared to being a luxury item in state-of-the-art wrapping) and the existence of those caught up in the civil war outside.Menzies,

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The May Fair Hotel Until Saturday February 7 2015

Liberian Girl

In a startling and visceral contrast to recent Royal Court programming, former usher Diana Nneka Atuona’s first play is an immersive drama about child soldiers in the bloody Second Liberian Civil War.What Atuona captures really well is the dialogue of her young protagonists. They’re boys giddy with power, excitement and drugs, so thrilled to be playing adults, to be wielding guns, to be on a mission from ‘Papay’ Charles Taylor that they and we almost forget they are kids until they’re startlingly betrayed by childish naivety or pitiful hankering for their mothers. Atuona is of Nigerian descent, not Liberian, but having spent some time in Ghana myself, the West African English spoken by her young protagonists – or ‘small boys’ – certainly rings true. The dialogue is fast, funny, horrible and engrossing.There are two twists to ‘Liberian Girl’. The main one is in the title: on the run from Taylor’s forces, 14-year-old Martha (Juma Sharkah, convincingly traumatised) is dressed as a boy by her grandmother to save her from rape. Captured, she is forcibly conscripted into a child soldier regiment, where she experiences an unsettling coming-of-age in the company of unstable Killer (Valentine Olukoga) and marginally more laid-back Double Trouble (Michael Ajao). The second twist is Matthew Dunster’s unexpected staging: though there is limited seating, most of the audience are on our feet the whole time, constantly shunted about Anna Fleischle’s fine, naturalistic set. This sort of stuf

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Royal Court Theatre Until Saturday February 14 2015

Othello

Critics' choice

With trademark style, theatre company Frantic Assembly breathe brutal new life into Shakespeare’s tale of manipulation, sexual jealousy and murder. First staged in 2008, this exceptionally good production drops ‘Othello’ into a Shane Meadows-esque landscape of bare-knuckle friendships and simmering violence. While retaining the verse, Frantic Assembly’s adaptation downplays the dukedoms and overseas warfare. Iago’s machinations play out over a pool table in a grubby pub with a slot-machine flashing in the corner. It works well, distilling the bristling rivalry of the original into a bleak, modern-day Britain populated by a disaffected younger generation and shadowed by racism. The cast thoroughly ground their characters in the burnt-out reality of their circumstances, in which acceptance of Mark Ebulue’s powerful, quick-tempered Othello is tentative and fragile. Steven Miller’s coiled-spring Iago can easily destroy it with his poisonous whispers of infidelity. These are young men with nothing, and therefore everything to prove. Kirsty Oswald impresses as a strong-willed Desdemona, able to fight her corner but fatally blindsided by her love for Othello. Her conversation with Leila Crerar’s Emilia about sexual double standards – here transposed from the bedchamber to the pub toilet – is a highlight: funny, sad and still uncomfortably relevant today. There’s a sinewy, balletic beauty to the show’s choreography, which mixes baseball bats and dance in sequences evoking tense socia

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Lyric Hammersmith Until Saturday February 7 2015

The Railway Children

Critics' choice

Mike Kenny’s hit stage adaptation chugs into a new station at King’s Cross with all its charm and energy intact. E Nesbit’s book-turned-cult movie about three exceptionally well-mannered Edwardian children is essentially ‘Brief Encounter’ for families. But this lively live version is more than just a ticket for the nostalgia express.Admittedly, the 60-tonne star of the show is a very real museum piece, the big, brassy William Adams Express Passenger Engine No 563. But the human cast is jolly decent too: Jeremy Swift (aka Maggie Smith’s butler in ‘Downton’) brings comedy and gravitas to Mr Perks, the stationmaster who befriends the three children (nicely played by grown-ups) when they move up to Yorkshire after their father is wrongly imprisoned.The stage show is livelier and less exquisitely poignant than the movie: steam locomotive nerds may get misty eyed, but anyone who has the words ‘daddy, my daddy’ monogrammed onto their tear-stained pocket handkerchief may be disappointed. That’s largely a good thing in this kiddie-packed temporary theatre, erected over railway track that will shortly make way for Google’s London headquarters. Small viewers appreciate the thrilling and clever staging, which hoots, chuffs out smoke, and sends the railway children racing all over a set built on platforms either side of the track.The show has lost some of its pace since first outing, but it’s quality entertainment: so well-made that it might have been built in the same Nine Elms locomotiv

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King's Cross Theatre Until Sunday September 6 2015

The Talented Mr Ripley

Like ‘Big Brother’, Christmas and The Mack, the return of the Faction is inevitable. The rep theatre company’s season at the New Diorama has become an annual event, but rather than retreating into predictability, it is thriving. This year, that’s in no small part due to Mark Leipacher’s excellent adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 thriller novel. It’s a dark, exciting journey through one man’s murderous mind.  Most people will know the plot, having seen the 1999 film with Jude Law and Matt Damon. The tale of murder and impersonation has the penniless, nervy Tom Ripley befriending Dickie Greenleaf and his friend Marge in Italy, but Ripley quickly begins to covet his new friend’s charisma and money. This adaptation lays bare Ripley’s cracking mind: we see the increasingly unstable man, where his friends do not. The production hinges on the performance of Christopher Hughes as Tom, who barely leaves the stage. He’s superb, at first just a little kooky and unsure of himself, but soon becomes frightening: a large, gurning smile continually crossing his lips. But he never loses a shadowy sense of vulnerability.In the second half, the plot twists and turns as Tom dodges police throughout Italy – a section that drags on too long. But generally, adapter-director Leipacher’s tense, often abstract staging runs at a high pace. The stage is filled by a large white elevated square with a hole in the centre; the action happens on top of it and beside it, and objects and people pop up f

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New Diorama Theatre Thursday February 5 2015 - Saturday February 28 2015

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

If you’re confused as to the exactly logic behind turning Pedro Almodóvar’s 1988 indie classic ‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’ into a musical then, er, don’t necessarily expect answers by watching it.A very Spanish film, adapted by an all-American team (Jeffrey Lane, David Yazbek and director Bartlett Sher) in 2010, and now given an extremely English London premiere, this screwball comedy feels like its been translated a few times too many to strictly make sense.At the centre of it all is the Rock of Gibraltar herself, Tamsin Greig. She makes her musical theatre debut as Pepa, a Madrid TV actor having a trying day which begins when her lover Ivan dumps her by voicemail, setting in motion a chain of events that lead her to discover he’s been concealing a son and a batshit mental wife, Lucia (Haydn Gwynne, a tremendously good sport in a slightly iffy role).You cast Tamsin Greig, you get Tamsin Greig: she is a tremendous comedy actor, but not a character actor, and her drolly neurotic delivery and knack for undignified physical business is both funny and familiar. Her Tamsin Greig-ishness is enough in itself to kill off any sense that we’re in Spain: in fact, with Anthony and Caitlin Ward’s austerely groovy designs and costumes, it’s easier to imagine it as set in Swinging London. But the casting is worth it: she may be as Spanish as an episode of ‘Eldorado’, but she is funny, lovable, and her big presence binds the somewhat messy story together.And of course she sin

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Playhouse Theatre Until Saturday May 9 2015

Comments

5 comments
Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W

'Click!' at the Ophelia Theatre, Dalston is fantastic. A black comedy about two girls, Elle and Erm, who discover Elle has a magical superpower- the ability to be happy with just a click. Cannot recommend it highly enough. On until Sunday.

alan
alan

Just been to see Michael Finestein at the Palace theatre in London. The show which is part of Londons Festival of Cabaret also included Elaine Paige and Julian Ovenden. Michael was fantastic singing songs from the Great Amercian songbook from such writers as George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter and Jerry Herham. His talent and knowledge of this music is unsurpassed and he gave a truly wonderful performance.

Lia
Lia

I bought tickets to see Phantom of the Opera through lastminute.com that were advitised as second price stalls or royal grand stand for £50. The seats I was asigned were actually restriced view and were misrepresented on the lastminute site. When I complain to the company, with picture evidence, they refused to admit that the seats were ristricted view. Both the theatre and lastminute are selling these tickets and fooling the public. Be aware it will definately spoil your enjoyment!

Simon
Simon

How could Time Out give Birthday the honour of being show of the week?? Either the offering that week in London was abysmal, or the reviewer had been smoking something very mind altering, because certainly not even "easily pleased from Welwyn Garden City" could have honestly thought this play was good. It was second-rate British TV sitcom from the beginning to end. A laboured premise (if you'll excuse the pun), cardboard characterisation (e.g. midwife and registrar) and not one funny line in the whole play. A disaster! Don't go!

Tony
Tony

Duchess of Malfi- Old Vic: Visually stunning production but at 3 1/4 hours Mr. Spacey needs to talk to Jamie Lloyd - who seems like one of those children, who given too many toys for Christmas insists on playing with all of them at once. Webster's plotting is pedantic at best and it does not do to allow the audience to dwell on the leaps of time and logic that bedevil the text. Mr. Lloyd instists on explaining everything - slowly, directly and with deliberate focus. But what has kept the play in focus for the past 400 years is the language in all its beauty and epigramatic magnificence. Eve Best is wonderful and her transformations from duchess to lover, to mother, to victim and back to duchess again are clear and emotionally satisfying. Her brothers offer less clarity and compelling complexity. Harry Lloyd in particular, offered none of the perverted sexual power that drives him to lust after his sister while seeking her death to secure his release from his guilt. Understudy Adam Burton did well with the cardinal, but was perhaps more clinical than debauched. Fynbar Lynch brought an unexpected celtic quality to his Bosola and I missed his sense of ambition and secret power. His redemptive moments were however compelling and he held the narrative together beautifully. One last note - I think that the design elements of this play - while offering the standard Jacobean shape of curtained discovery space and multiple balconies made brilliant use of the theatres vast proscenium opening - truly magnificent.