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London theatre reviews

Read through our latest London theatre reviews and find out what our theatre team made of the city's new openings

Twelfth Night

Here it is, then. Barely a year after she directed her first Shakespeare play for the Globe, this 'Twelfth Night' marks current theatre boss Emma Rice's last Shakespeare in the main theatre, and probably - pending on her final, indoor season - her last one at the Globe generally (and perhaps ever)…

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Shakespeare's Globe , South Bank Friday May 26 2017 - Saturday August 5 2017

An Octoroon

How do you deal with slavery as a black American playwright? Take someone else’s play, and play with it. Problematise it. Take the piss out of it…

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Orange Tree Theatre , Richmond Until Saturday June 24 2017
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Woyzeck

It's been eight years since John Boyega last acted on a stage – Kilburn’s Tricycle Theatre in 2009 – but it might as well be a lifetime…

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Old Vic , Southwark Until Saturday June 24 2017

Life of Galileo

Recommended

Sometimes there's nothing more excruciating than a director trying to 'liven up' a classic play with a ton of OTT flourishes…

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Young Vic , Southwark Until Saturday July 1 2017
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Richard III

Recommended

Richard III is compared to more animals than most of Shakespeare's characters – a dog, a hedgehog, a spider, a toad – and Greg Hicks somehow manages to channel them all in a performance of gripping intensity…

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Arcola Theatre , Kingsland Until Saturday June 10 2017
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Dyl

Director Clive Judd has a way of making characters pop into three dimensions on stage…

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Old Red Lion , Angel Until Saturday June 3 2017

Babette's Feast

Heard of hygge? Well, Glynn Maxwell’s new play turns up the fabled Danish cosiness to eleven, turning Karen Blixen’s subtle short story into something a bit more sumptuous…

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Print Room , Kensington Until Saturday June 3 2017

Blush

The vertiginous highs and nauseating lows of social media and revenge porn culture are pithily assessed in this rollercoaster of a show from Charlotte Josephine…

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Soho Theatre , Soho Until Saturday June 3 2017

Judy!

'Judy!' is on at Arts Theatre in Summer 2017. This review is from the 2016 run at Southwark Playhouse, under its previous name 'Through the Mill'.…

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Arts Theatre , Covent Garden Until Saturday June 17 2017
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Lettice and Lovage

The late Peter Shaffer never wrote anything truly brilliant after 1979’s ‘Amadeus’, and eventually concluded he had nothing left to say – he died last year having not finished a play since 1992…

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Menier Chocolate Factory , Southwark Until Saturday July 8 2017

Life of Galileo

Recommended

Sometimes there's nothing more excruciating than a director trying to 'liven up' a classic play with a ton of OTT flourishes. And other times the director converts the theatre into a massive fuck-off planetarium and commissions an indecently banging score from one of the Chemical Brothers, and everything is just groovy. Joe Wright's in-the-round take on Bertolt Brecht's 'Life of Galileo' falls (pretty literally) into the latter category. Indeed, not to labour the point , but if you're going to smoke a doobie before one theatre show in your life, you might as well make it this one and book yourself into one of the lie-down 'seats' directly under designer Lizzie Clachan’s planetarium dome. It is a genuinely exhilarating bit of staging – enhanced by 59 Productions's stunning cosmic projections and Tom Rowlands’s pulsating score – that breaks down any barrier between performers and audience. Wright's take on Brecht's drama – about the pioneering astronomer Galileo Galilei, but an allegory for the spread of the socialist dream – is given a giddy momentum that compensates somewhat for the production's comparative lightness. The play's anchor is Aussie actor Brendan Cowell, known to Young Vic audiences for its soon-to-return hit 'Yerma'. He plays Galileo with a panache to match the staging. Part-rocker, part-nerd, part-mad scientist, his passion for learning animates his every action and utterance, like the first throes of a love affair that he never shrugs off. Cowell leads the

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Young Vic , Southwark Until Saturday July 1 2017

Love In Idleness

Still plugging away at 77, veteran director Trevor Nunn seems to have a mild obsession – maybe ‘interest’ is fairer – with the slightly naff wartime comedies of the great Terence Rattigan…

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Apollo Shaftesbury , Soho Until Saturday July 1 2017
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Richard III

Recommended

Richard III is compared to more animals than most of Shakespeare's characters – a dog, a hedgehog, a spider, a toad – and Greg Hicks somehow manages to channel them all in a performance of gripping intensity…

Read more
Arcola Theatre , Kingsland Until Saturday June 10 2017
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Life of Galileo

Recommended

Sometimes there's nothing more excruciating than a director trying to 'liven up' a classic play with a ton of OTT flourishes…

Read more
Young Vic , Southwark Until Saturday July 1 2017

Richard III

Recommended

Richard III is compared to more animals than most of Shakespeare's characters – a dog, a hedgehog, a spider, a toad – and Greg Hicks somehow manages to channel them all in a performance of gripping intensity…

Read more
Arcola Theatre , Kingsland Until Saturday June 10 2017

Room

Recommended

It’s hard to imagine anyone reading the 2010 Emma Donoghue novel ‘Room’, or watching the Oscar-winning 2015 film version, and thinking: ‘You know what’s lacking in this story of a young mother raising a child in forced captivity while being raped by her kidnapper each evening? Songs!’…

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Theatre Royal Stratford East , Stratford Until Saturday June 3 2017
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Angels in America

Recommended

Tony Kushner's landmark 'Angels in America' is a mad, eight-hour quasi-religious 'gay fantasia on national themes' that was written in response to – amongst many other things – the AIDS epidemic that was still raging upon its UK premiere at the National Theatre a quarter of a century ago…

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National Theatre , South Bank Until Saturday August 19 2017

The Ferryman

Recommended

There is a live goose in 'The Ferryman'. And a live rabbit. And a live baby. None of these things are particularly important in and of themselves, but I guess I have to start somewhere…

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Gielgud Theatre , Soho Tuesday June 20 2017 - Saturday October 7 2017

42nd Street

Recommended

To start with, the red curtain rises just a foot off the stage. And it artfully reveals the star attraction of this mind-blowingly lavish revival of a classic Broadway musical…

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Theatre Royal Drury Lane , Covent Garden Until Saturday October 14 2017
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Hamlet

Recommended

Star director Robert Icke’s achingly compassionate take on ‘Hamlet’ presents Shakespeare’s masterpiece as a shimmeringly sad vision of love…

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Harold Pinter Theatre , Soho Friday June 9 2017 - Saturday September 2 2017

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Recommended

In the unlikely event you were worried a leap to the stage for JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series would result in it becoming aggressively highbrow, self-consciously arty or grindingly bereft of magical high jinks, just chill the hell out, muggle…

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Palace Theatre , Soho Until Sunday July 22 2018
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Comments

1 comments
felicity b
felicity b

Cinderella in Chiswick House Gardens is great!  Went tonight, it was a breath of fresh air without cheesy jokes, but with ballerina mice dancing, an acrobatic lizard, singing and dancing - Inearly forgot, the magician throughout.  Topped off with a sprinkling of snow at the end. 

Company as called Humdalila Productions I think.  Only on in December.