Theatre

Hard to get to grips with: Marie Curie: The Musical reviewed

Marie Curie: The Musical is a history lesson combined with a chemistry seminar and it’s aimed at indignant feminists who want to agonise afresh over the wrongs of yesteryear. We meet the young Marie, wearing her signature widow’s frock, as she speeds towards Paris on a train from Poland. The essential materials of this musical

Eddie Izzard’s one-man Hamlet deserves top marks

Every Hamlet is a failure. It always feels that way because playgoers tend to compare what they’re seeing with a superior version that exists only in their heads. And since disappointment is inevitable, it’s worth celebrating the successful novelties in Eddie Izzard’s solo version. He makes some valuable breakthroughs, especially in the comedic sections. Izzard

Minority Report is superficial pap – why on earth stage it?

Minority Report is a plodding bit of sci-fi based on a Steven Spielberg movie made more than two decades ago. The setting is London, 2050, and every citizen has been implanted with an undetectably tiny neuroscanner which informs the cops about crimes before they’ve been committed. However, as the first scene reveals, the undetectably tiny

An exquisitely funny sitcom that should be on the BBC

Agathe by Angela J. Davis follows the early phases of the Rwanda genocide 30 years ago. The subject, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, became prime minister on 18 July 1993 but her tenure ended abruptly when she was assassinated by a rioting mob which surrounded the UN compound where she was sheltering on 7 April 1994. She saved

Player Kings proves that Shakespeare can be funny

Play-goers, beware. Director Robert Icke is back in town, and that means a turgid four-hour revival of a heavyweight classic with every actor screaming, bawling, weeping, howling and generally overdoing it. But here’s a surprise. Player Kings, Icke’s new version of Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, is a dazzling piece of entertainment and the

Exhilarating: MJ the Musical reviewed

If you’ve heard good reports about MJ the Musical, believe them all and multiply everything by a hundred. As a music-and-dance spectacular, the show is as exhilarating as any Jackson produced while he was alive. The sets, the costumes, the choreography and the live band deliver an amazing collective punch. When he removes his black

If you hate the Irish, you’ll adore this play

Faith Healer is a classic Oirish wrist-slasher about three sponging half-wits caught in a downward spiral of penury, booze, squalor, sexual repression, bad healthcare, murderous violence and non-stop drizzle. The mood of grinding despair never lets up for a second as the healer, Frank Hardy, along with his moaning wife and their Cockney sidekick, motors

An engrossing new two-hander about Benjamin Britten

Ben and Imo are composer Benjamin Britten and his musical assistant, Imogen Holst. But those cosy pet names tell us where we stand – or at least, where we think we do. The illusion of being inside an artistic clique is at the heart of Mark Ravenhill’s new two-hander, which began life as a BBC

Lloyd Evans

Dazzling: Harry Clarke, at the Ambassadors Theatre, reviewed

Sheridan Smith’s new show is more a mystery than a musical. Opening Night is based on a 1977 film by John Cassavetes that failed to attract a major US distributor. After opening briefly in LA, it vanished without trace. It’s a backstage drama about a tattooed drunk, Myrtle, who accepts the lead role in a

Hannah Tomes

Devastating: Almeida Theatre’s King Lear reviewed

Yaël Farber’s production of King Lear at the Almeida Theatre is imbued with an undercurrent of tension that feels as if it’s constantly on the edge of exploding into violence. It’s not her first crack at Shakespeare – in 2001 she adapted Julius Caesar, and she directed Hamlet at the Gate in Dublin in 2018