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Saturday 31st May 2008
A former president of the Critic's Circle, William Hall was the film critic for the London Evening News from 1959 until its closure in 1980 and during his time with the paper interviewed many of Hollywood's biggest stars including John Wayne, Charlie Chaplin, Spencer Tracy, Marlon Brando and Elvis Presley. Patrick Newley [more]



Friday 30th May 2008
Theatre Review | TROILUS & CRESSIDA | Cheek by Jowl [tour]
The actors have been robbed of their faces. Cheek by Jowl company's director, Declan Donnellan, and designer, Nick Ormerod, have lit their production in such a way that you rarely see one of the performers' greatest assets. Add the complications of strange placing with questionable vocal delivery and the consequences are boring and dispiriting in equal measure. But these are assertions. Let me make my case. Norman Tozer [more]



Thursday 29th May 2008
Theatre Review | ROSMERSHOLM | Almeida Theatre
Anticipating the hushed emotion and frustrated action of the play, the set of this new production of Rosmersholm is a gem of fourth wall theatre. Cold morning light falls into the austere grey of a bourgeois drawing room, an impressive recreation of Vilhelm Hammershøi's melancholic interiors by the designer Hildegard Bechtler. But classical as this staging might be – put a frame around it and you have a moving painting – it nonetheless creates unsettling and powerful drama that any more adventurous adaptation of Ibsen would struggle to match. Vid Simoniti [more]



Thursday 29th May 2008
Quote | THE ARTS COUNCIL | David Lister



Tuesday 27th May 2008
Theatre Review | ROSMERSHOLM | Almeida Theatre
I've been tussling with Ibsen! I seem to have been watching him – along with Shakespeare and Chekhov – all of my adult life. Yet I still can't fathom him and even less after this viewing of Rosmersholm, one of the last of the 'realistic' dramas before he plunged into the icy symbolist wastes of John Gabriel Borkman and When the Dead Awaken. Carole Woddis [more]



Tuesday 27th May 2008
Theatre Review | THE CHERRY ORCHARD | Chichester Festival Theatre
What is it about Chekhov? What is it about this very special relationship between English audiences and the Russian playwright that makes our response to him so personal and intense? It doesn't seem to matter how many translating hands he goes through, how many directors' eyes and interpretations he's subjected to, he and his plays almost never fail to get through to us as a mirror somehow of ourselves. Carole Woddis [more]



Monday 26th May 2008
Theatre Review | MARGUERITE | Theatre Royal Haymarket
La Dame aux Camelias by Alexandre Dumas fils is a very familiar story that I think we all know. Rich, beautiful courtesan meets and falls in love with a young, poorer man. Circumstance contrives to separate them at great personal cost to her. They are finally reunited at her deathbed when the extent of her sacrifice is finally known. But of course it is too late. Curtain. Jack Hughes [more]



Sunday 25th May 2008
Theatre Review | THE PITMEN PAINTERS | NT Cottesloe [transfer]
Funny, populist, crowd-pleasing entertainment but, wait a minute, a serious discussion about the real meaning of Art and its vital importance in everybody's life, Lee Hall's new play The Pitmen Painters exercises the mind as well as the funny bone. It is just wonderful and the best thing I have seen at the Cottesloe for quite a while. Brought to the National by Live Theatre, who had a hit with it when they opened their new theatre complex on the Quayside in Newcastle last September, this is a play with legs; I foresee it being taken to the hearts of audiences all around the country. Claire Ingrams [more]



Saturday 24th May 2008
Theatre Review | HARD HEARTED HANNAH & Other Stories | Cartoon de Salvo @ Lyric Hammersmith Studio [end of tour]
Improvised theatre is a very canny beast. Nothing too conclusive can be said about an improv play because by tomorrow it will have morphed into something different. However if a show is rip-roaringly brilliant, most likely the brilliant version will be taken as the norm. If a show is a bit flat then it can be put down to an errant off-night, and there is always the failsafe fallback of cast giggles and corpsing to get an audience on side. Evie Rackham [more]



Saturday 24th May 2008
Theatre Review | A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM | Shakespeare's Globe
Being a Globe virgin, I tasted the 21st-century version of what it would have been like to be in the audience back in WS's day with wonderment—the gallery benches, the standing 'commoners' below, the electric moon on strings bobbing above us and the feeling that we could vocalise our appreciation in as rowdy a manner as we wished. Julienne Bannister [more]



Friday 23rd May 2008
News | Quote | DAVID FARR



Friday 23rd May 2008
Frith Banbury's career spanned 70 years in the theatre. He worked both as an actor and manager but was best known as one of the West End's most experienced directors. Patrick Newley [more]



Thursday 22nd May 2008
Theatre Review | EQUUS | Richmond Theatre [end of tour]
On the border between commercial and artistic theatre, there is a small number of established playwrights whose work migrates with surprising ease from one side to the other: Stoppard, Hare, Ayckbourn, of course, and someone now thought of less often, Peter Shaffer. Adam Sheldon [more]



Thursday 22nd May 2008
Theatre Review | THE LONG ROAD | Soho Theatre
>After I was attacked in the street one evening and the police had arrested someone, the only thing I could think of for quite a time afterwards was that I wanted to meet this man and simply ask him 'Why?' Norman Tozer [more]



Wednesday 21st May 2008
Theatre Review | PYGMALION | The Old Vic [transfer]
The portico entrance to St Paul's Church, Covent Garden, on a wet autumnal evening. Edwardian toffs in top hats and capes accompany their young and not-so-young ladies, resplendent in the latest pencil-thin fashions, in a desperate search for an elusive 'cab'. Rain pours down as the upper classes mingle uncomfortably with the Covent Garden whores and costermongers. A young and particularly grubby flower girl plies her wares, deftly weaving a buttonhole with wire and bloom. Eliza Doolittle by name, possibly the most famous flower seller in the world. Kevin Quarmby [more]



Wednesday 21st May 2008



Wednesday 21st May 2008
Theatre Review | UNDER MILK WOOD | The London Theatre Company @ Tricycle Theatre
Under Milk Wood, first performed on the radio, is a play for voices. There is very little movement. The muscular rhythms and melodies of the First Voice create rich images like juicy peaches that fill the mouth and roll the tongue. The other characters can be drawn completely by voice alone. Although the staging of the play does allow bodily attitudes to be added, it is the words that are paramount. The words, and their delivery. The music of the words. Rhys Williams [more]



Tuesday 20th May 2008
Theatre Review | STOCKHOLM | Frantic Assembly @ Hampstead Theatre
Frantic Assembly have a come a long way. Actually, they were always ahead of the game, into the mingling of extended physical movement and text long before it became today's fashionable theatrical modus vivendi. Carole Woddis [more]



Tuesday 20th May 2008



Monday 19th May 2008
Theatre Review | THE BIRTHDAY PARTY | Fuel @ Lyric Hammersmith
To open with a review of a review: hooray for Harold Hobson. Hooray for a critic with the vision to match that of the playwright. The terrible dislocation and Kafkaesque miasma of Pinter's play must have been a shock for the audience of 1958. Quite understandably, since its current incarnation at the Lyric, 50 years on, is one of the most contemporary and relevant pieces of theatre I have seen. Rhys Williams [more]



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