Review: Accidental Death of an Anarchist

The adage that farce is tragedy speeded up met its greatest progenitor in Dario Fo. In a ferocious new version by Tom Basden of Franca Rame’s and Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist, directed by Daniel Raggett in a stunning production now at the Haymarket, the target here is squarely the London Met. And if you slowed down Basden’s brilliant, no-holds-unbludgeoned telling, details prove tragic enough.


Review: A Mirror

This is a far more ambitious work than Sam Holcroft’s Rules For Living, and grounded in things she’s wished to write for a decade. It’s ingenious, necessary and occasionally at the end needs a tweak more to land. It’s still unmissable.


Review: Fergus O’Donnell, Losing the Plot, Rebecca Frew Safe, Bernadette Cremin Painless

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.


Review: CREEKSHOW

An evocative and touching personal take on a hidden corner of London’s waterways.


Review: The Effect

It’s as if a decade’s experiment has altered this headlong, mind-rippling play. Returning to the National Theatre after 11 years, Lucy Prebble’s 2012 The Effect directed by Jamie Lloyd now comes out bigger than ever, one of the finest 21st century British plays, questioning identity and emotion under the effect of drugs, placebos, what we imagine ourselves into. What, in fact, the imaginary of love is.


Review: Where Is Love

Gritty coming-of-age experience with an uplifting twist


Review: Spiral

Because she’s almost permanently working as an actor, including in her own work, Abigail Hood doesn’t seem to have attracted the praise other late Millennial writers already have. On this evidence she’s one of the very finest, perhaps the most distinctive. I will go anywhere my budget allows to see a new work by Abigail Hood, and so should you.


Review: Sectioned

A raw and poetic journey through the experience of being sectioned


Review: NSFW

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.


Review: Word-Play

Here though, Rabiah Hussain’s greatest strengths are allied to an excoriating sense of the limits of first language, how it colonises, even destroys mother tongues, and marginalises, even imprisons those who buck the monolinguistic norm. Hussain’s poised for remarkable things.


Review: Cuckoo

Michael Wynne bringing something full circle touches where the floating island of home and family might bring sanctuary, or last refuge before the cuckoos come and kick you out. A must-see, particularly for those who’ve not thought the Royal Court could rock with laughter.


Review: Union

After his breakthrough Rainer, much is expected of Max Wilkinson. Here he dazzles in depth with a fable of the limits of human agency, and conscience. Do see it.


Review: Grenfell: in the words of survivors

Grenfell isn’t quite like any verbatim theatre, and the result’s groundbreaking. If the Dorfman could stage at least one such play a year, verbatim or imaginative, then that’s one legacy of Rufus Norris’ tenure that mustn’t be lost. Outstanding.


Review: After All These Years

Giles Cole’s extending from one wistfully comic short to a three-act Chekhovian elegy for the dance of age, is in a defining league of its own.


Review: Then, Now and Next

The Book and Lyrics are peerless for this scale, or indeed anywhere: and we can only look forward to much more from Orton and Robyns. This is a heart-rending, heart-warming piece. Laughter certainly, tears, yes those too. The must-see musical of the summer.


Review: Goodbye Jolene

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.


Review: The Pillowman

‘The greatest 21st century play’ deserves revival, and again after this where something of its lustre might be restored. Till then it abides our question, but question it you should, if not repulsed by true reports of its darkness.


Review: The Swell

An absorbing play, as breathtaking as one of its surfing epiphanies. The Swell will break over your head. Let it. You’ll come up for air changed. A small masterpiece.


Review: Dear England

There’s a sacramental thrill as you enter the NT’s Olivier: both sci-fi and ancient Greek. James Graham Dear England, directed by Rupert Goold, is like that: tackling something seen as almost too sacred, at once transcendent for many; but so impacted by nationalist hubris it’s become sclerotic. We enter the game at a historically pivotal moment. Where English football will never be the same. Outstanding.


Review: Tony!

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.


Review: Cheesy Cheesy Catchy Mousey

There’s surprises here you’ll discover. A superb landmark in Mark Daniels’ gifted exploration of Absurdism’s relevance. This isn’t deadly theatre, it’s quietly lethal to deathly assumptions everywhere. See it.


Review: Hope has a Happy Meal

A balloon dystopia announces Tom Fowler Hope has a Happy Meal. It’s a smiley killer-clown place with real clowns; very funny at times though charged with melancholy for what might have been. Despite one or two moments, Hope feels a solid world, rather than a sketchy work distended into a play. Fowler’s settling into himself, definitely both worth seeing and pursuing.


Review: The Goat

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.


Review: Wagatha Christie

The brilliance of movement, lighting, script-editing and strong performances, with physical jokes make this a greater thing than it might be, and this production’s gained a notch of humanity in its tour. But to wish for something more human falls into the very intrusiveness that gave rise to the trial. It’s a tribute to Wagatha Christie – and Liv Hennessy – that it raises that paradox.


Review: all of it

Still the most sheerly thrilling yet intimate piece MacDowall has written, though all three pieces amplify that. A miniature classic of snatched meaning its staging too flashes by with shocking brevity. In all it lasts just 90 minutes. Catch it.


Review: Des Kapital

Revolutionary songs sung by a lusty audience in the heart of Hove. A revolution in itself. If you’ve any sympathy, antipathy or subversive sense of humour towards a way at laughing at history’s atrocities, and thinking there must be a better way - this is the show for you.


Review: The Last Night Out

Very-well written, darkly comedic, more touchingly true, writer Paul M Bradley and Georgie Banks take this just as far as it’ll go. Highly recommended.


Review: A Caravan Named Desire

Anything by Alexander and Helen Millington is worth coming for. A Caravan Named Desire isn’t yet at the level of I Love Michael Ball but by the time you see it, it almost certainly will be. This is a team to watch and queue for.


Review: Surfing the Holyland

A profoundly joyous and a joyously profound show, touching on all those issues of assimilation, marriage drift and acceptance; as well as self-discovery. For most of all as Erin Hunter brings out with sparkling wit and straight looks, this is about women’s agency. Dive in, you’ll surface with a whoop.


Review: I Believe in One Bach

An absorbing, extraordinarily well-written short play on letting go of your identity, the part giving it meaning. It’s also excoriatingly funny. On a mundane level, it’s case of ‘work won’t love you back’; on another, to quote the Narrator, this work’s not a noun but a verb. In addressing how we live up to the transcendence we create for ourselves, it affirms the unanswerable. The finest new short play of the fringe.


Review: I Love Michael Ball

Alexander Millington’s I Love Michael Ball is, in the words of one director, the absolute spirit of the Fringe. That is, brilliantly oddball, in fact deranged. Millington, wholly in command, is winningly able to return us to the sanity of sheer good singing. So make a date.


Review: After All These Years

Giles Cole’s extending from one wistfully comic short to a three-act Chekhovian elegy for the dance of age, is in a defining league of its own. A superb play, it will now reach the West End.


Review: 30 and Out

It’s important Brighton welcomes such terrific all-encompassing shows such as this, sashaying hilarity and superbly-crafted storytelling with dance and poignant witness. You can’t go away a bit unchanged.


Review: Lovefool

Though it might be red-topped as a Fleabag for the abused, it’s so much more excoriating. It’s also a work profoundly moving, necessary and – particularly for Gintare Parulyte - an act of courage. Lovefool’s on till May 26th; do rush to this 55-minute must-see.


Review: Awful People

As someone who lists one of her pastimes as ‘spite’ Julie Burchill - who’s written the play Awful People with Daniel Raven – seems in remarkably forgiving mode. It’s a benign intergenerational tussle. Burchill and Raven have built up chuck-lists of late boomer assumptions. When the crisis arrives, outcomes are well-devised and pacy.


Review: Tony!

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.


Review: My Brilliant Divorce

Like any first-rate actor, Louise Faulkner lets each eyebrow rise and fall: Quizzical, hurt, amused, they all register. A work to be savoured for its exuberant telling of one of the most painful things to hit any of us, through nightmare to laughter to loving oneself, to the hope of love. Highly recommended.


Review: Wagatha Christie

The brilliance of movement, lighting, script-editing and strong performances, with physical jokes make this a greater thing than it might be. But to wish for something more human falls into the very intrusiveness that gave rise to the trial. It’s a tribute to Wagatha Christie – and Liv Hennessy – that it raises that paradox.


Review: Bakkhai

The Tale of Your Times. Of Old Times. Of Times Yet To Come.


Review: Manic

A new solo show that combines puppetry, spoken word and theatre to bring an honest look at sex and trauma to Brighton Fringe 2023


Review: The Way Old Friends Do

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.


Review: Pyrenees

A first-rate revival worthy to be seen anywhere.


Review: Quality Street

Don’t miss this exquisite confection. After this production, there’s possibly no return to the original. It’s a rethinking paying homage to both the sentiment, which it never upstages, and the brand and its factory-workers the comedy gave its name to.


Review: Home, I’m Darling

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.


Review: Phaedra

Stone suggests only someone as demonstrably damaged and damaging as Helen (Phaedra), in other words a politician, might pursue self-destruction so relentlessly; and devastate so many. It’s brilliantly achieved elsewhere than with the core relationship.


Review: You Bury Me

An essential play so rich in its one-hour-forty you emerge dazed with possibilities. Director Katie Posner hopes it’ll change you. So do I.


Review: Pussycat in Memory of Darkness

Neda Nezhdana’s play is a world: not simply a map of pain and war footage. Both essential and in the mesmerising Kristin Millward’s and Polly Creed’s hands, with this team, it’s almost a compulsory visit.


Review: SAP

SAP will endure as both a superb play and key witness in a struggle for acceptance, to be heard. See it.


Review: Spin!

An amusing drama about a washing machine that takes a sinister turn.


Review: Sugar Coat

Essential theatre. Five singer-actors, memorably punchy music, witty and heartbreaking – most of all groundbreaking – storytelling. 90 minutes of this and you’ll know just what to do with the patriarchy.


Review: Out of the Frying Pan

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


Review: Beginning

Beginning is the kind of play we all know we need: wincingly heartwarming, devastatingly joyous. It’s quite wonderful. Don’t miss it.


Review: BLACK SUPERHERO

Sharp, shapely dialogue, sizzling humour, ambitious theatricality a compelling story wrapped in baggy metaphors. There’s never a moment when the play’s proved less than engaging, sometimes riveting. A must-see debut play.


Review: Wish You Were Dead

There’s a good enough story for this to be recalibrated. Though If you’re a James fan, you’ll need to see this.


Review: Mad(e)

A mind-altering experience, and in writer and director one of the most inspiring partnerships I’ve seen


Review: Graceland

Understanding traumatic narrative from the outside: seeing through a skylight, darkly. An impressive debut


Review: Romeo and Julie

A gentle, heart-warming, occasionally hilarious play, and strikes a fresh redemptive note in Gary Owen’s work. Callum Scott Howells and Rosie Sheehy blaze across this play like meteors inexorably entering the earth’s orbit, seemingly doomed to break up or worse. And did I say it showers screamingly funny one-liners too?


Review: Duet For One

Kempinski has crafted an enduring drama of what it’s like to lose the joy of a life worth living.


Review: In the Net

See In the Net for its ambition, its occasionally gorgeous language, Offie-worthy lighting and in Carlie Diamond, an actor to greet and watch, making I predict one of the most assured debuts of the coming year.


Review: Django in Pain

Poignant, charming and meaningful play that is imaginative and vibrant in vision and message.


Review: James and the Giant Peach

With memorable music and ensemble singing added to a first-rate BLT production, there’s no better Christmas show in town.


Review: Mother Goose

This is more than panto: it’s an affirmation of something that panto here welcomes in, in our time uniquely invoking layers as only Elizabethan/Jacobean drama can.


Review: Henry V

Bracing, fresh, wholly re-thought in every line, emerging with gleaming power, menace and wit. And I defy anyone not to smile at this new take on Shakespeare’s downbeat ending.


Review: Here

A major talent with a distinct voice, and the consummate assurance to express it with stamp and precision


Review: Not One of These People

Worth 95 minutes of anyone’s time, you come out heavier with the weight of where you’ve been.


Review: The Seagull

A Seagull for the initiated, a meditation rather than the play itself, it’s still a truthful distillation, wholly sincere, actors uniformly excellent


Review: Cher A New Musical

See it here first before you feel compelled to travel to pay West End prices.


Review: Something in the Air

An outstanding development in Gill’s oeuvre, and of permanent worth.


Review: The Solid Life of Sugar Water

What theatre can do, how it can change us, how completely different it is from any other experience, has few examples that come close to this.


Review: Jews. In Their Own Words.

It’s Jonathan Freedland’s and Tracy-Ann Oberman’s brilliance to bring off-kilter, casual devastation to the stage; in raw unsettlings that for many keep the suitcase packed.


Review: Silence

More of a scattering of earth, ashes and love than simply groundbreaking. But caveats aside, groundbreaking it is.


Review: Ballet Freedom

Contemporary dance, excellent dancers, eclectic music, sexy choreography.


Review: Hard Shoulder

An intensely personal story performed with passion and complete abandon


Review: Waiting For God

Sarah Mann and Nathan Ariss lead a fine company into a dash to eternity and back. With a memorable finale of two weddings and a funeral.


Review: Burn

A highly entertaining hour of mystery and ghostly goings on


Review: Caligari

a 1920's silent film about power and illusion retold by a talented young company of musician/actors


Review: Blanket Ban

A must see energetic powerful wakeup call with plenty of humour


Review: Fitry

Intense and intriguing!


Review: 9 Circles

A monster play of words and ideas that leaves you speechless.  Astute, political and personal.


Review: All Of Us

As Ken Tynan once said of another debut, I don’t think I could love someone who doesn’t love this play.


Review: Prima Facie

if Comer doesn’t receive awards for this there’s no justice at all.


Review: Duck

An impressively finished play. Do see it.