Reviews

  • Review

The Creation, Garsington Opera, Wormsley, review

The natural world flows through Haydn’s oratorio, The Creation, from new-made landscapes to darting birds and a roaring lion. In Garsington Opera’s new staging, a collaboration with Rambert dance company, dancers flit through the music, evoking animals or rippling through abstract patterns.

  • Review

The Kreutzer Sonata, Arcola Theatre, London

The motion of a train loosens the tongue, opines Pozdnyshev, the local government bureaucrat who is our garrulous travelling companion for the 100 minutes of this horribly compelling monologue that the playwright Nancy Harris has based on Tolstoy's notorious, warped novella. Directed by John Terry and starring the mesmeric Greg Hicks, the show holes us up with this fastidious, elegant figure who proceeds – as if out of some purgatorially recurring need – to try to explain why he was driven to murder his wife.  

  • Review

Unreachable, Royal Court, theatre review

If you're drawn to the dark and taboo-breaking side of Anthony Neilson's imagination, as exemplified by plays such as The Censor and Relocated, then the chances are that you'll feel disappointed by Unreachable. As is his habit, the dramatist has devised the piece during the rehearsal process with input from the cast, but what they’ve produced comes across as strangely conventional and cut off from the momentous happenings in the outside world.  

  • Review

Queens of Syria, Young Vic, review: 'a compelling and humbling show'

An all-female cast of thirteen Syrian refugees takes to the stage for this remarkable venture. They weave their own personal stories into an eloquent modern re-working of an ancient text -- Euripides' Women of Troy (415 BC) with its eponymous captives waiting to shipped from the sacked city into slavery.

  • Review

Faith Healer, Donmar Warehouse, theatre review

A thick curtain of sparking rain hides the stage, like a red velvet drape around a magician's vanishing act. Between scenes, Es Devlin's gorgeous design drenches the stage in drizzle that's been made extravagantly beautiful. But it's a beauty that's at odds with the subdued poetry of Brian Friel's 1979 play – a gesture that's typical of the faintly sterile reverence of director Lyndsey Turner's production.

  • Review

Phaedra(s), Barbican Theatre, review

It’s 20 years since Isabelle Huppert last appeared in a London theatre. She certainly makes up for lost time now, delivering a tour de force of extraordinary physical abandon and mesmeric skill in this three-and-half-hour mash-up of different takes on the legend of Phaedra, the woman who, in Greek myth, is seized by a fatal passion for her stepson, Hippolytus. The actress is barely offstage during this multi-media marathon production, by Polish director Krzysztof Warlikowski, which comes to the London International Festival of Theatre from the Odeon-Theatre de l'Europe in Paris.

  • Review

The Deep Blue Sea review

After winning awards for their collaboration on Medea, Helen McCrory and director Carrie Cracknell resume their partnership in this revival of Terence Rattigan's 1952 masterpiece

  • Review

The Go-Between, Apollo Theatre, review: 'Enthralling'

Michael Crawford returns to the West End, after a five-year break, in a piece that's appreciably different from the kind of shows (Barnum, The Phantom of the Opera) that rocketed him to stardom. There's no danger of mistaking The Go-Between for a noisy blockbuster but that doesn't signify any shortage of ambition in this enthralling, beautifully textured chamber-musical version of the LP Hartley novel about a boy's loss of innocence during a country house visit in the scorchingly hot summer of 1900.  

  • Review

4.48 Psychosis review

A first ever operatic setting by Royal Opera/Guildhall Composer-in-Residence Philip Venables for Sarah Kane's play

  • Review

Blue/Orange, Young Vic, review

From the moment Joe Penhall's play was premiered back in 2000, it was obvious that here we have a contemporary classic. Matthew Xia's remarkably vibrant and punchily performed revival reinforces that view. The links between ethnicity and perceptions of mental illness, the politics of healthcare in a cash-strapped NHS and the sometimes career-conscious subjectivity of diagnosis – these are amongst the issues thrown up by Penhall's taut three-hander. To get to Xia 's production, the audience has to proceed through dark corridors where there's a whiff of disinfectant and citrus and through a blue consulting room that's weirdly identical to the one where the play is set. Jeremy Herbert's environmental design for this psychiatric hospital instils a Kafkaesque sense of institutional oppressiveness.  

  • Review

Doctor Faustus review

An ambitious update of Marlowe's play pulls in young audiences with Game of Thrones star Kit Harington as Faustus