Theatre reviews

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The Gift Tricycle Theatre, London NW6 (020-7328 1000) Roy Williams's new play spans decades and continents as it weaves its intense, tangled tale of family love and allegiances that connect the past with the present and the living with the dead. The pacing of Annie Castledine's production and the fluidity of the performances make for a very impressive evening. The use of humour around serious issues is both surprising and delightful, while slick timing, a slap of irreverence, and an awareness of how far to take the joke make for a gift indeed. Zoe Green

The Gift Tricycle Theatre, London NW6 (020-7328 1000) Roy Williams's new play spans decades and continents as it weaves its intense, tangled tale of family love and allegiances that connect the past with the present and the living with the dead. The pacing of Annie Castledine's production and the fluidity of the performances make for a very impressive evening. The use of humour around serious issues is both surprising and delightful, while slick timing, a slap of irreverence, and an awareness of how far to take the joke make for a gift indeed. Zoe Green

Moving On The Bridewell, London EC4 (020-7936 3456) David Kernan's new Sondheim compilation takes 42 items from the composer/lyricist's catalogue and skilfully knits them together with links provided by Sondheim himself (on tape). His cast of five work hard, but perhaps too hard. Fixed toothpaste grins and too much determination make some of this rather hard to take. But when the tension disappears, it's a pleasure to listen to the early songs, the innocent duets and the occasional suprising rethink. Less discerning fans will probably adore it, but it should have been better. David Benedict

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest The Barbican, London EC2 (020-7638 8891) Dale Wasserman's adaptation of Ken Kesey's Sixties novel sticks to a sentimental - nay, self-congratulatory - view of insanity. Terry Kinney directs Chicago's excellent Steppenwolf company with sitcom precision, evoking laughs and cheers, and Gary Sinise is convincingly louche and charismatic, if over-busy. Patients learn to defy women and authority and we're supposed to applaud their self-expression - it's illogical and ill thought-out. In both the ward itself and the world it symbolises, this cuckoo doesn't fly close enough to reality. Rhoda Koenig

Mr Peters' Connections The Almeida, London N1 (020-7359 4404) The title character of Arthur Miller's latest play is an ex-pilot for Pan Am, the airline that uses the copyline: "Suddenly you're somewhere else". Which is where Mr Peters pitches up, finding himself in a dream and looking back over his life. Michael Blakemore's production pins down the drifting writing and sharpens the relationships between Peters and his loved ones, but only Jan Waters and Nicholas Woodeson really breathe life into the elusive characters here. Sadly, it all adds up to a disappointingly diffuse evening. David Benedict

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