Brighton Year-Round 2023
A ghost told me it’s better now than in the West End. Sharp, satisfying in itself, above all hauntingly intelligent in its questions.
Directed by Jacqui Freeman, this latest LLT offering sparkles in a heart-warming tribute to amateur dramatics, with a plot denouement as dizzying as a Shakespeare comedy. There’s not a weak link here. Indeed it’s to be hoped several newcomers will return.
A multi-genre piece that can play anywhere, and needed now more than ever. Both to challenge denialists and most of all to illustrate the inhumanity of governments like ours towards refugees
A winter-warming hit.
Beginning is the kind of play we all know we need: wincingly heartwarming, devastatingly joyous. It’s quite wonderful. Don’t miss it.
In Black Mountain Brad Birch shows in part how fine he can be. Arlene Hutton’s I Dream Before I Take the Stand is a short assault on the way the law assaults its victims, particularly women.
This reinvigorated classic has overwhelming impact: as story, as lyric fable, as terrible moral for these distracted times.
Solidarity in the face of economic hardship
A cost-of-living revolution in St James Street? You’d better believe it as Triada Theatre kick off the weekend with Dario Fo’s 1974 Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! at the Lantern Theatre. Superb, energised theatre, rough occasionally, but mostly very-well performed, imaginatively staged, rapturously received. Now get out on the streets.
No doubting of the power of this double-bill from Kansas. The Paul Robeson is solid gold, the Suzi of the Dress, quicksilver.
Even if you’ve seen this play, know the film, get a fresh education in masterly acting and see this.
You don’t need persuading, do you?
The finest UK production of this play, certainly the best drama in Brighton this month.
Erin Burbridge kept tech sound and lighting effectively sashaying throughout, and tre propsl, particularly in the latter piece, attractive and undistracting. In just three months work, with term-breaks, this course run and directed by Burgess tonight has produced something vital. It needs celebrating and its best work a swift life in full-scale productions.
A glorious night out, a wonderful cast and in Shahmir a mesmerising star in the making.
A gentle tribute to singing, its people and touching disabilities that affect us all (in this case one in seven), it’s a major sixth in Siobhan Nicholas’ own augmented chord of plays. If you’re attracted by any of the themes, it’s a must-see, but it’s worth anyone’s 90 minutes.
It’s a one-stop night out to spot upcoming with established talent. Everything from costume-change to curtain-call is a kaleidoscope.
Rethought, rejigged, bright with humour and shadowed with plangency, this is the Heathers we’re meant to have
A satisfying seasonal finale: a clear, engaging, visceral production with nothing vital lost. It’s as straight-down-the-martial line as outdoor productions of Henry V need to be.
There’s a clever containment in Home, I’m Darling that reminds us yet again of Laura Wade’s lucidity and power. Since she’s written it, it seems more like a prophesy.
A revelatory production of what we must now think of as a small masterpiece, where Ayckbourn and Chekhov echoes recede to Charlotte Jones’ uniqueness. Jones really deserves her place in the forefront of contemporary dramatists. Humble Boy confirms its own place, pivotal to her oeuvre which has grown more robustly and cleverly than the flora or indeed bees that ululate to the end.
Most of all, this couple capture the feel of the Orton/Halliwell exchange, the chemistry, the aromatic stink of sex from Craig Myles’ Orton, the sweat and self-disgust of Tino Orsini’s Halliwell. John Dunne’s created an Ortonesque, almost What the Dramatist Saw version of events. Orton might have liked that best. And Halliwell, narrating his own death in Orsini’s delivery, been appeased.
Karen Wong’s strong rounded tone is beautifully centred. Lance Mok's playing of Prokofiev and Hindemith is rightly celebrated, as are both artists’ curiosity and desire to probe untapped repertoire.
Think Nick Payne’s Constellations meets Duncan Macmillan’s Lungs. If you love new theatre, queue for returns.
Allows the best of those it portrays, to shine in one intense beam of feminist solidarity, women against tyranny and genocide.
Dazzle might be the name of the hero’s ligging new bestie. But it’s what Dion Boucicault’s London Assurance (1841) directed by Tess Gill at BLT is about. And it’s what this production does. Gill’s production though blazes midsummer laughter. Leave the night to Shakespeare, this is high noon with a hangover. Worth several Dreams for miles around. A must-see.
Dazzle might be the name of the hero’s ligging new bestie. But it’s what Dion Boucicault’s London Assurance (1841) directed by Tony Bannister with Jacqui Freeman at LLT is about. Their production though blazes midsummer laughter through dog-days. Leave the night to Shakespeare, this is high noon with a hangover. Worth several Dreams for miles around. Applause and laughter throughout this production - the liveliest I can remember for years – prove it. Do see it.
A striking verbatim transcript.
The end, as it inevitably must be, is a way of recollecting emotion with emotion. An inspiring act of witness, before others, and beyond ourselves.
Neil Crossland’s piano recital at the Unitarian Church, New Road Brighton is on another level. A programme of a Kuhlau Sonatina, Chopin late Polonaises, transcriptions of two Rachmaninov songs, a transcription of Mussorgski’s Night on a Bare Mountain; and encore by Manuel Ponce.
A must-see cry for love and tolerance
A stunning vindication of an underrated early play of Lucy Kirkwood’s. With superb direction and tech, the mostly professional and professionally-trained cast would grace any stage. NVT triumphantly prove NSFW can join the modern canon.
If you know Judy Upton as a playwright you might have an inkling what to expect in this debut fiction. Witty, observant, self-deprecating, very funny, full of subversive glee, with its own moral field. I’d put nothing past this extremely gifted writer
Unique - and compelling - with high-calibre acting throughout.
A first-rate revival worthy to be seen anywhere.
This is a first-rate ensemble and Parry has mastered a superlatively-layered interaction. Forget reading, this is a brace of vibrant performances.
Exquisitely-calibrated theatre. A gem. Mark Burgess will hopefully return with more of his past and possibly new plays. There’s plenty of them.
The most lucid-voiced Rocky I’ve seen and on balance strongest cast for a long time. Two great reasons to return, or adventure for your first awakening on Planet Transexual.
One of the finest OFS productions. Its velocity, tumbling comedy and bawdy, tragedy through lightning brawls, rapier-wit foiled in quicksilver, rapiers foiling wit, headlong teen despair, the exaltation of love flown in lyric sonnets and defying stars: it’s all here, principally because of three outstanding actors. The Romeo of newcomer Isabella Leung, who’s never played Shakespeare in her life, the return of Catie Ridewood as Juliet. And the return from that golden season of 2021: David Samson as Mercutio.
You’ll forget the film; you might even forget any staged version of Lee Hall’s in the West End. The mystery’s in the ensemble, the production, its bewitching leads Lewis Todhunter and Melissa Paris. With Claire Lewis’ direction, Michael James' music, and Graham Brown’s movement direction to the fore, it’s a mighty reckoning in a little room.
You’ll forget the film; you might even forget any staged version of Lee Hall’s in the West End. The mystery’s in the ensemble, the production, its bewitching leads Lewis Todhunter and Melissa Paris. With Claire Lewis’ direction, Michael James’ music, and Graham Brown’s movement direction to the fore, it’s a mighty reckoning in a little room – seamlessly transferred to an ampitheatre.
Stavrou’s a deliriously gifted musician with a focus on French piano, and Fauré in particular
First-rank playing, worthy of any venue including the Wigmore
A good opening concert, particularly for the promise of soprano Jem Byrne.
Actors and director can take pride in mounting this intensely moving play, especially in the sheer flow they all bring to Act Two, blazing an arc of ever-growing tensions. It could carry anywhere. ACT did it some service, and must know it.
Martin Malone more than revives Edward Albee’s 2002 masterpiece The Goat, at the New Venture Theatre; he rethinks how we can receive it. An exemplary revival of a play Michael Billington named one of his 101 Greatest – even over Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Make up your own mind; see it. Martin Malone more than revives Edward Albee’s 2002 masterpiece The Goat, at the New Venture Theatre; he rethinks how we can receive it. An exemplary revival of a play Michael Billington named one of his 101 Greatest – even over Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Make up your own mind; see it.
Surely the Sarah Mann Company’s finest hour, overcoming the BOAT’s wondrous yet treacherous acoustics – and weather. Alan Bennet’s 1991 The Madness of George III is their most ambitious, most jaw-dropping production. This magnificent revival poses even more urgent questions. A twitch on the thread for all of us.
Shakespeare told in flashes of lightning maybe, but with the thunder of laughter and a ghost of wrongs rumbling long after the lights go down. A gem of distillation, dispatch and truth. If you can, go.
Elaine Larkin’s production is all of a piece and like all original readings asks of Chekhov what he wants. Larkin also makes demands on her actors they mostly cope very well with, and two excel in: though some of Chekhov’s subtleties – they exist even here – are bleached out. Firmly recommended though.
A masterclass in tension and atmosphere
Joe Orton’s The Ruffian on the Stair and Funeral Games come to the Lantern Theatre for four performances. This in-house double bill of one-acters is directed by Daniel Finlay and Mark Burgess respectively. A fitting end to the Lantern’s extraordinary week
The Shawshank Redemption returns in an even stronger production than in 2015: sharper, more visceral, and with a stronger set and sound, frames even more resonant performances
A slowly evolving, involving reading. Alex Louise can certainly develop this to a full-scale production. She just needs to take care of the script’s truth, though it seems contradictory. Confidence and imagination will soon sort that.
In a show celebrating the revival of friendship, twice, through the love of a non-binary ABBA tribute band, it’s good to know who you can rely on. You can rely on this scintillating, bittersweet play too. Absolutely recommended.
Though a slow, cumulative film, intensely personal and keeping to that, there are sudden sidesteps out – as with Newbury’s nurse, Freud, the Lear sequence – that pattern the message in lateral sidelight that tells. A slowly magnificent odyssey.
Based on the writing of poet Tadeusz Borowski and the paintings of Arnold Daghani This Way For The Gas bears explosive witness to shape the pulse of that post-Holocaust world. Bill Smith, Angi Mariano and their colleagues have wrought an enormous service. In the last great reprise of 'Never' we realise we're seeing the finale of an emerging masterpiece.
There’s no doubt this is an offbeat, brilliant, rude, absolutely necessary musical. Its acid test will come from younger Millennials and Zoomers. But then that’s the point: the winners rewrite history. History has just struck back, and it’s a blast.
This is more than a first-rate revival. In this production it’s a must-see one, the definition of a superbly-made, timeless play.
This is an exciting production, outdoors and adding a new dimension to our experience. Pace was a little slow in the first act, where the voices don’t pick each other up, and drop a fraction. But this gear-changes and the second act is energy itself, as the day wanes the actors energise and the whole spirit and voicing ups a notch too. It’s beautifully landed. Very warmly recommended.
Lea Sep at Femfest
Dazzling spectacles and poignant moments against a background of Nazi oppression
What enterprise. Do see this if you can.
There’s a good enough story for this to be recalibrated. Though If you’re a James fan, you’ll need to see this.
You’s Rialto production at the Rialto won a FringeReview award in 2015. No reason to change that verdict.