Saturday 14 February 1998
David Mamet's wittily interleaved portrait of eight men crewing a Lakeboat is chock-full of energy and comic moments of insight. Aaron Mullen's staging is extremely atmospheric, thanks largely to Melanie Allen's superb set, but his direction of a frankly variable cast is much less sure. Would it kill them to slow down and listen to one other more often? Fortunately, the better actors make the piece glow and Jim Dunk's warm and wise performance is a small miracle of compassion.
Lyric Studio, W6 (0181-741 2311)
DO YOU COME HERE OFTEN?
Yippee! An extra week! Who needs Ready Brek when you've got The Right Size? Warm glows don't come funnier than this joyously inspired, supremely silly show based on the entirely barmy premise of two men trapped in a bathroom. Plead for a seat.
Vaudeville Theatre, WC2 (0171-836 9987)
Shakespeare's vicious villain is relocated to an East End pub circa 1967. The results of a sharply cut text are distinctly mixed, but Ruth Platt is a moving Elizabeth, Tony Tarrat a horribly convincing Catesby and Eddie Marsan's Richard mixes malice and innocence to hypnotic effect.
Pleasance Theatre, N7 (0171-609 1800)
THE FRONT PAGE
Crime and corruption a-go-go in this famously frantic farce about a bunch of newspaper hacks fighting on the brink of a scoop. On Mark Thompson's excellent set, Sam Mendes's smart cast has a field day creating a riot of treasureable comic performances topped off by Alun Armstrong on awesome form as the fearsome editor.
Donmar Warehouse, WC2 (0171-369 1732)
Richard Eyre's beautiful, deeply felt production of David Hare's flawed but fascinating metaphorical play about an actress will probably never be bettered. It's a great privilege to watch Judi Dench, who quite literally takes your breath away. Do anything to see her.
Aldwych Theatre, WC2 (0171-416 6003)
THE DAY I STOOD STILL
Kevin Elyot's follow-up to My Night With Reg is a beautifully composed chamber piece, a finely etched portrait of embarassment, longing and first love. Mark Thompson provides yet another ravishingly evocative set and Adrian Scarborough's performance is truly touching.
National Theatre, SE1 (0171-928 2252)
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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