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Thursday 2nd October 2008
Theatre Review | OTHELLO | Frantic Assembly @ The Lowry [tour]
On paper, this is gold. Shakespeare’s infuriating tragedy of jealousy, supposed sexual betrayal, and marital breakdown re-imagined by the brilliant Frantic Assembly. This time, we’re in the pool room of a rough Northern pub as head bouncer Othello (Akingbola) starts to doubt the loyalty of his new wife, Desdemona (Cordwell.) With a heavily edited version of the text, and the addition of Frantic’s trademark movement sequences, this is clear, fresh, and full of committed performances, but feels a bit smug, and doesn’t always work. Matthew Nichols [more]



Thursday 2nd October 2008
Theatre Review | NOW OR LATER | Royal Court Theatre
There is something of Mamet’s Oleanna in Christopher Shinn’s quick witted political drama, which makes a welcome change from recent preaching-to-the-converted offerings from the likes of David Hare. Harriet Davis [more]



Wednesday 1st October 2008
Theatre Review | WEST SIDE STORY | The Lowry, Salford Quays [world tour]
As he loves to remind us, Cliff Richard has been churning out hits for some 50 years now. The irrepressible “original pin-up” seems bewilderingly lost in a modern cultural climate, like someone’s granddad appearing uninvited at a wild house party and insisting on teaching the young folk how to dance. What a relief, then, to discover that West Side Story, celebrating its own 50th anniversary is as vital, fresh and zingy as it’s ever been. Matthew Nichols [more]



Wednesday 1st October 2008
West End actor William Fox specialised in playing aristocratic and military types and was much admired for his gift for high comedy. He excelled in the works of Congreve, Sheridan and Wilde but was equally at home in modern drama. Rarely out of work he was also a prolific writer of plays for radio. Patrick Newley [more]



Wednesday 1st October 2008
Celebrations were underway last week at Richmond Theatre as staff and friends of the theatre turned out in full force to wish the theatre a Happy 109th Birthday. The occasion was a star studded affair with guests including Oscar nominated actress Brenda Blethyn; Laurence Olivier Awarded actor Julian Glover and television actress Isla Blair as well as Joan Lanceley, a descendant of Francois Mouflet the local business man whose grand scheme it was to build Richmond Theatre and Tony Layton who is Chair of the Frank Matcham Society. [more]



Wednesday 1st October 2008
Theatre Review | CREDITORS | Donmar Theatre
The Donmar has, yet again, been transformed with signature neo-realism into a stark, whitewashed Swedish seaside hotel lounge. The date, 1888, the year Strindberg first presented this unusual play, the temporal sister to his more famous Miss Julie. Kevin Quarmby [more]



Tuesday 30th September 2008
Can you judge the best acting, most spectacular dancing or pitch perfect opera of the year? If you can, then the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) needs you … [more]



Tuesday 30th September 2008
I was not sure what to expect when I turned up to this event at The Institute of Psychoanalysis. Was the celebrated children’s author and poet Michael Rosen – the words of whose book We’re Going On a Bear Hunt were worn by repetition into deep grooves in my brain some years ago – going to be psychoanalysed? He was not; he was, in fact, doing exactly what it said on the packet, taking part in a conversation, but in the most civilised sense of the word. He was connecting. Claire Ingrams [more]



Sunday 28th September 2008
Theatre Review | PERÔ | Speertheater @ Unicorn Theatre
Dutch theatre company Speeltheater have arrived at The Unicorn Theatre bearing puppets, music and moonshine. Guus Ponsioen’s adaptation of French author Michel Tournier’s children’s book Pierrot ou les secrets de la nuit has been around since 1994, touring widely and garnering awards. Taking the ancient story of Pierrot, Columbine and Harlequin and fashioning an exquisite puppet show with unusually sophisticated lyrics and music, also by Guus Ponsioen, Perô well deserves its longevity. Claire Ingrams [more]



Sunday 28th September 2008
Quote | PAUL NEWMAN | 1925-2008



Sunday 28th September 2008
Theatre Review | WELCOME TO RAMALLAH | Arcola Theatre
Sixty years after the displacement of the Palestinians, the Arab-Israeli conflict remains one of the most complex. Ice and Fire’s brave, third production explores the impact of this political battleground on the world’s largest refugee population – the Palestinians. Rhona Foulis [more]



Saturday 27th September 2008
Theatre Review | RAIN MAN | Apollo Theatre
Staging films or filming plays is always a tricky business. The intensity of live performance is lost on celluloid and the deep focus and assortment of camera angles unique to film are difficult to translate in a theatre space. Joanna Bedford [more]



Saturday 27th September 2008
One cannot know what technologies, what lights, what sounds, what movements will be become a part of the Donmar’s productions of three TS Eliot plays later this season. But one thing about those works is absolute: they are plays in which the words are primary. They are poetry, and they are plays in which the action takes place in the language. Linda Wyman [more]



Friday 26th September 2008
Quote | T S ELIOT [1888-1965]



Friday 26th September 2008
Theatre Review | COME DANCING | Theatre Royal Stratford East
At the end of Wednesday’s performance of Come Dancing, Ray Davies and the cast got a standing (and dancing) ovation – as long as the music played, the audience wanted to cheer and dance. As for me, I hadn’t expected that the show would be involving but I ended up sentimental and smiling. Norman Tozer [more]



Thursday 25th September 2008
Theatre Review | RIFLEMIND | Trafalgar Studios
Riflemind takes as its theme a common subject: the rock band reunion. It's a topic which is never far from the media, with talk of everyone from Pink Floyd to Boyzone reforming, and for motives which many interpret as cynical – that is, financial – even if one may be grateful for a chance to revisit the songs of yesterday. Jason Millar [more]



Tuesday 23rd September 2008
Quote | RIFLEMIND | Trafalgar Studios



Tuesday 23rd September 2008
Theatre Review | THE GLASS MENAGERIE | Royal Exchange Theatre @ Richmond Theatre [tour]
On the day that Lehman Brothers employees were clearing their desks and chain smoking in Canary Wharf, I was sat in the elaborate, Victorian splendour of Frank Matcham’s Richmond Theatre, watching a play about (among other things) the Depression, poverty and the fear that future uncertainty breeds. Jason Millar [more]



Sunday 21st September 2008
Quote | WAR HORSE | National Theatre



Thursday 18th September 2008
Theatre Review | CALENDAR GIRLS | Chichester Festival Theatre
Rounding off a spectacularly successful season, Chichester now premiere the stage show of the phenomenon known as the Calendar Girls. They, you may remember, began life in the Yorkshire Dales – members of the local WI who on the death from leukaemia of the beloved husband of one of their number, determined to rally round and raise money in his memory for the local hospital. Somehow, they came up with the idea of taking the annual WI calendar, usually showing scenic views of the area and replacing it with a spoof Pirelli calendar, the one that usually adorns the back wall of garages and boasts pictures of young, nubile Page three totty all over it. Carole Woddis [more]



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