Theatre: Curtain calls
Saturday 27 June 1998
Wild Iris's jaunty revival of Susanna Centlivre's gambling comedy, The Basset Table mocks the play's two-dimensional characterisation with exaggerated performances and hammy visuals. But although director Polly Irvin tests her audience's suspension of disbelief to the utmost, she shows Centlivre's dispatch from the sex war to be surprisingly unyellowed with time.
Tricycle Theatre, NW6 (0171-328 1000) to 11 Jul
Although written 90 years ago, Major Barbara addresses two subjects that have yet to become obsolete - poverty and the arms trade - and Peter Hall's highly accomplished production shows Bernard Shaw at his most alarmingly prescient. The cast's involvement in the twists and turns of the moral debate is electrifying, with some finely honed turns from Anna Carteret and David Yelland.
Piccadilly Theatre, W1 (0171-369 1734) in rep
THE LOST VEGAS SERIES
Julie Jensen's trawl through the town that never knows what time it is has a compelling irreverence for things like plot and character and a healthy respect for whacko dialogue. Margot Steinberg's wisecracking heroine keeps pests at arm's length as she dreams of death. Watch out for the Liberace tribute.
Riverside Studios, W6 (0181-237 1111) to 12 Jul
A night of enchantment as Shakespeare's Illyria takes on an Indian hue. Tim Supple's marvellous production banishes every comedic stereotype, and his actors play everything to the audience, who hang upon the words. This is wonderful ensemble acting, but Robert Bowman's unctuous Malvolio and Thusita Jayasundera's Viola are simply tremendous.
Young Vic, SE1 (0171-928 6363)
The porcine play that took the Edinburgh Festival by storm last year. Enda Walsh's tale of two teenagers out on the razzle in Pork City - the fictional twin of Walsh's native Cork - is as beguiling as it is baffling. Pig (Cillian Murphy) and Runt (Eileen Walsh) communicate in oinky baby talk and kick against the deadly adult world round the corner. Sizzling stuff.
Arts Theatre, Great Newport St, WC2 (0171-836 2132)
THE DOCTOR'S DILEMMA
Shaw's quack satire from 1906 hinges on the agonising of a TB specialist forced to choose between saving the life of a dull but worthy physician or that of a dissolute young artist, whose wife he falls for. Michael Grandage's fine cast puts in more effort than an A&E team to jolt one of Shaw's more fragile creations into life.
Almeida, N1 (0171-359 4404)
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