CRITICS CHOICE: The Top 10 New Musicals in London – November 2015

Showstopper at the Apollo Theatre

What Musical should you see first in London? Here is out list of London’s Top 10 New Musicals. We have compiled this list to save you the trouble of working it out! It’s just our view – and everyone has one – based on our Reviewers’ thoughts. We will update the list regularly so new productions get on your radar and when original casts change … Read more

REVIEW: The Moderate Soprano, Hampstead Theatre ✭✭

The Moderate Soprano at Hampstead Theatre

What pleasure the play offers comes in the characters Hare has carved from fragments of history. Roger Allam, almost unrecognisable as John Christie, does a superb job, totally transforming himself into a funny, fussy, oddly dressed Opera lover. He makes eccentricity part of the fibre of Christie and superbly shows his extremes: his anger about Glyndebourne when things don’t go his way; his gentle adoration of Audrey; his unflappable belief in the inherent value of Opera as the most sublime aspect of humanity.

REVIEW : Thérèse Raquin, Studio 54 ✭✭✭✭

Thérèse Raquin at Sudio 54 on Broadway starring Keira Knightley

Cabnet’s clear and perceptive direction is sound for the most part, and there is an emphasis on visual aspects of the production which make it something special. Thérèse, alone on a rock, contemplating escape; the awkward, near inept, murder of Camille followed by the images of the sodden lovers, breathless on dry land; Madame’s hand creeping into view, just as the stroke fells her; the restless sense of Camille’s spirit having possessed the bedroom where Thérèse and Laurent cuckolded him. Using silence as expressively as sound, Cabnet presides over a production rich in detail and incredibly tense to experience.

REVIEW: The Hairy Ape, Old Vic Theatre ✭✭✭✭✭

Bertie Carvell in The Hairy Ape at the Old Vic. Photo: Manuel Harlan

O’Neill’s play has lost none of its power or resonance. It still feels as shocking and new today as no doubt it did in 1922. Jones’ revelatory and evocative production is not just beautiful to look at, easy to follow and enthralling – it also reminds that the questions of oppression, disparity and injustice which concerned O’Neill then are still pertinent. The world may not turn to the tune of industrialists quite so much in the 21st Century, but there is still a clear, powerful and rich elite and workers whose lives are made hideous while the rich get richer.

REVIEW: Sylvia, Cort Theatre ✭✭

Sylvia on Broadway

There are many ways to read the play, but the most obvious is probably correct. Sylvia is a metaphor for a trophy girlfriend; she is someone Greg can use to make himself feel better about himself, rather than actually work on his own complex personality issues. Someone he can effectively cheat on with in front of his wife’s eyes, that he can challenge her with, that he can use to bring his wife to heel.

REVIEW: The Seagull, Chichester Festival Theatre ✭✭✭✭

The Seagull at Chichester Festival Theatre

Hare’s adaptation, the best of the three in the Season, is crisp, charming and comical, thereby magnifying the effect of the more tragic aspects. It’s a markedly short version of the play, and Kent assists the understanding of its contours and colours by interposing interval between Acts 3 and 4. This allows the four central characters of the play to stake out their positions, develop their tensions and alliances, their hopes, fears and dreams; by the time the third Act is over, the various dice have been rolled and Act Four, set two years on, is about consequences; chickens – or seagulls – coming home to roost.

REVIEW: Ivanov, Chichester Festival Theatre ✭✭✭✭✭

Ivanov at Chichester Festival theatre

Honesty, as David Hare points out, is the dominating theme of Ivanov. It is also the dominating principle adopted by Jonathan Kent as the guiding light for his revival of Ivanov, now playing at the Chichester Festival Theatre as part of their Young Chekhov season. The performances he elicits from the specially formed repertory company are intensely honest, truly felt, and they create a theatrical tapestry which is rich in detail and unsparing in terms of vitality and verity.

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