Review: Some Demon

A superbly uncomfortable edge-of-seat revelation. Groundbreaking, it’s also definitive on something we often see far too dimly.


Review: The Beckett Trilogy

It’s reading Beckett in flashes of lightning and laughter. Conor Lovett stuns in this cut-down stand-up Beckett-novels-for-beginners-and-enders three-hour whistlestop. A tour de force as well as a tour de farce of Beckett’s genius.


Review: The Bounds

As it stands, this is a play with greatness seeded in it.


Review: The Caretaker

Three remarkable performances edge The Caretaker to new ground. Justin Audibert’s directorial debut at Chichester proves both thrilling and prescient.


Review: The Kite Runner

Spellbindingly translated to the stage and here with more power even than before. Don’t miss it.


Review: Suite in Three Keys

A once-in-a-generation masterpiece of revival. This is what we’ve been missing.


Review: Lie Low

An outstanding production.


Review: Richard III

In a female-led cast led by the eponymous Richard III (Michelle Terry) it’s striking that the trio of cursing women is this production’s highlight


Review: Cold Water

Still in her twenties but vastly experienced, it’s going to be exciting to see where Lawford breaks out to next.


Review: The English Moor

Richard Brome’s 1637 The English Moor marks a new departure for Read Not Dead. You might say with this play it’s Read to be Dead.


Review: Sappho

A bit of theatrical democracy invoking pre-democracy crafts an exquisite irony for a rainy afternoon. Do see it.


Review: Much Ado About Nothing

A triumph of tone, of textual intercourse and tight-reined spirits. Beatrice’s star is dancing. It’ll stay fresh as the feelgood Shakespeare this summer.


Review: Lived Fiction

Unique, spellbinding, groundbreaking; above all makes everyone more alive to the possibilities of being human.


Review: Captain Amazing

Simon Stephens commented “If I could get all your numbers I would ring you all up individually and urge you to see Captain Amazing.” That can’t be improved on. It’s a must-see.


Review: The Promise

With a first-rate cast and team it’s a groundbreaking work.


Review: Laughing Boy

Stephen Unwin directs his own play as a sweep of storytelling, laughter and devastation.


Review: Frozen

Frozen is far more than a thriller: it’s an interrogation into the limits of what evil-doing is, what redemption and some capacity to forgive might be, and its consequences: and above all it ends in a thaw cracking like a Russian spring.


Review: Peter Pan

Maybe a too sobering affair for Christmas


Review: The Other Boleyn Girl

Mike Poulton’s text gleams and snaps. Lucy Bailey’s production of it thrills and occasionally overwhelms, dazzling in its maze of missteps. A must-see.


Review: The Pull of the Stars

World premiere of Emma Donoghue’s new play set in a maternity ward during the Spanish Flu pandemic in Dublin, directed by Louise Lowe.


Review: Algorithms

A bisexual Fleabag for 2024? It’s more than that


Review: London Tide

It compels, and nothing in its three hours 15 seems superfluous.


Review: Testmatch

A superbly witty interrogation of identity, abuses many histories deep, asking questions it sets up in not too sober a fashion. Testmatch is a lightning-conductor.


Review: An Officer and a Gentleman

What brings this musical home is the drawing-together of threads that hang loose in Act One. And finally you believe in a story that doesn’t flinch from darkness and sings its distress. Thoroughly enjoyable.


Review: Machinal

This triumphant revival by Ustinov Studios and the Old Vic might finally encourage exploration. You must see this.


Review: Banging Denmark

This production’s 100 minutes are so absorbing you’re not quite sure if the time’s stopped, or just your preconceptions. Stunning, a must see.


Review: Life With Oscar

Nick Cohen’s exceptional powers as writer and performer are mesmerising


Review: The Comeuppance

Might prove the most lasting American drama about. emerging to a different world.


Review: The Valley of Fear

Blackeyed have kept their telling as lean as Holmes’ hawk-like face, and it pounces. If you admire 221b at all, see it this week.


Review: Dream of a Ridiculous Man

A definitive telling of that rarest thing, an uplifting Dostoevsky tale. It’s unlikely to be rendered better than this.


Review: The Motive and the Cue

An extraordinary production. Thorne’s vision is capped by a riveting performance by Gatiss, who glows with the still, sad music of Gielgud’s humanity.


Review: Macbeth

It’s a phenomenal feat and even if you know Macbeth, it’s still a must-see for how a quintessence can be dusted off.


Review: In and Out of Chekhov’s Shorts

Outstanding. After this, there’s no other way to tell Chekhov dramatically that he’s not already nailed down in a play himself. Chekhov would have loved it.


Review: Cluedo 2

The last ten minutes in particular are the silliest stuff: which is why it works. Soon more of the show will tighten and we’ll see that quality retro-fit.


Review: London Zoo

A masterly play in the making. It goes where very few dare, and in an environment we think we know. Very highly recommended.


Review: Hide and Seek

An absorbing two-hander with as unexpected an ending as Lauren Gunderson’s I and You


Review: Sister Act

In short, a fabulous example of British talent, now endangered, bringing quadruple threat to a magnificent production. Not all such mainstream shows on tour even approach outstanding, but this truly is.


Review: Casserole

One of the finest small-scale plays to come out of Arcola’s Studio 2 recently. Do see this.


Review: Good-Bye

Wholly absorbing, wholly other, it’s a gem of the Coronet’s dedication to world theatre.


Review: Drop the Dead Donkey: The Reawakening

This is as fresh as an AI paint set, and far more transgressive than the original. The fizziest, most outrageous assault on common decency since – I’ll leave it to the gibbons. A must-see.


Review: The Duchess of Malfi

There’s so much to admire here that it’s a happy duty to urge you to see it, if you can, any way you can.


Review: Vanya

This is the greatest one-man performance I’ve seen, said a Chekhov-immersed director of 45 years’ experience next to me. Yes.


Review: Jab

Highly recommended, it’s also essential.


Review: Dear Octopus

Two hours 45 starts slowly but you feel Smith’s arc move with its casual, supremely naturalist conversation to moments where time stands still. Outstanding revival.


Review: Turning the Screw

This six-hander is a 90-minute announcement of a major talent. An almost flawless play.


Review: King Lear

This smouldering production – fast-talking or timeless - fully engages with the play. It makes almost perfect sense: and two families’ DNA ring true as rarely before.


Review: Just For One Day

Despite history’s caveats, O’Farrell’s core message isn’t about white saviours or pop stars but how ordinary people unite to change things.


Review: Before After

A pristine, heartwarming Valentine of a musical, it fully deserves its revival


Review: Till the Stars Come Down

Even this early, it’s safe to predict we’ll look back at the end of 2024 and proclaim it as one of the year’s finest.


Review: Othello

With institutional racism and trauma compounded in a feedback loop, this Othello’s a timely, and timeless broadside on everything toxic we inhale and expel as venom.


Review: The Beautiful Future is Coming

Beautiful Future engages throughout though the near future is where it beats quickest. Flora Wilson Brown’s play makes you wonder what life, not just the playwright, might do with her characters. Urgently recommended.


Review: The EU Killed My Dad

Do see this, preferably alongside its sometime co-runner The Beautiful Future is Coming. A dizzying theatrical gem.


Review: Afterglow

It’s conquered both sides of the pond. Stunning, heartwarming, heartbreaking. We need this.


Review: Leaves of Glass

This is possibly Ridley’s masterpiece. Always exercised by the spectral presence of something just out of eyeshot, he never lets that intrude. Scorching and necessary, Leaves of Glass delves into family toxicity, ceaselessly dragging us back into the past.


Review: Cowbois

Cranford’s gone Wild West, via the Court and RSC. Cowbois is of course daft. But it’s magnificent in its silliness, contains wonderful – and truthful – moments. Deadly serious can have you rolling in the aisles and still jump up for the revolution.


Review: Boy In Da Korma

A necessary, engaging, original variation on finding your voice: and a theatrical coup. Acting, writing, directing, video, lighting and tech support, indeed singing are first class. A gem.


Review: Don’t Destroy Me

This brilliantly nervous, unresolved play of at least seven lives seeking balance is an astonishing feat, uniquely chronicling the lives of refugees only three months after Osborne’s equally rent-infused Look Back in Anger: and with the same unsettling refusal to closure. A must-see.


Review: The Good John Proctor

A valuable corrective to anticipate both real events and Arthur Miller’s take on Abigail Williams


Review: And Then There Were None

This is the finest Christie production I can remember. If you’re not a Christie fan, do see this anyway: it’s far more than a whodunnit.


Review: 1979

Political history told in Mamet-fast satire, imagined conversations and accurate stats. What could be more thrilling? 82 minutes later you won’t ask why this three-hander is like curing New Year’s hangover with Red Bull, ice, something illegal and a vodka chaser.


Review: Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol

Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol triumphs as easily the best junior take on this classic I’ve ever seen.


Review: Protest Song

Tim Price’s magnificent one-man play reminds us – yells at us - how much we’re all connected, and unless we stand together, how much we lose.


Review: Cold War

Cold War ends with a draining-out of hope in Anya Chalotra and Luke Thallon; a desolate beauty the cast certainly earn.


Review: Bullring Techno Makeout Jamz

Bullring Techno Makeout Jamz is neither complex or fiendishly plotted. But it’s very witty, linguistically inventive and light-hearted: so its downside is highlighted.


Review: The House of Bernarda Alba

Adaptor Alice Birch takes the House apart like Rachel Whiteread’s sculpture. Harriet Walter is magnificent: staring out like a jailor, patrolling. Hainsworth remains hypnotic and terrible, joyously sexual and headlong as her Juliet in self-destruction.


Review: Clyde’s

Clyde’s follows Sweat, also seen at the Donmar in 2018, which won Lynn Nottage her second Pulitzer Prize. A play of redemption, indeed love. Outstanding.


Review: Ikaria

Ikaria’s an essential play and marks Philippa Lawford – already at 25 with her own theatre company of six years and as director – a voice unafraid to use - and kern - direct experience; and create riveting theatre.


Review: Odyssey: A Heroic Pantomime

This compact one hour 45 show must run again. The most inventive, best-written and possibly best-sung panto in Town.


Review: Ghosts

Tom Hill-Gibbins emphasises the original’s shock in conversational prose-style too. Stripped to a straight-through 100 minutes is hurtles like the Greek tragedy with reveals it essentially is.


Review: Oh What a Lovely War

Musically directed by Ellie Verkerk the six-strong cast play instruments throughout. They’re a phenomenal team, singing beautifully a capella or in solo. With six young actors mostly fresh out of drama school absolutely at the top of their first game, we’re treated to acting both hungry to prove and yet touched by the world they’ve entered. This is an outstanding production.


Review: She Stoops to Conquer

Tom Littler’s team reveal rare mettle and sincerity in a classic that can take some (if not all) updating. The 1930s must prove the very limits of belief in such class confusion, but this triumphs with the snap of a cracker, or (as here) the smash of Wedgwood. Outstanding.


Review: Twelve Angry Men

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.


Review: Mates in Chelsea

Mates in Chelsea is definitely worth seeing, and apart from adaptations surely the best thing this writer’s produced in a decade. Royal Court Theatre


Review: Phantasmagoria

There seem enough potential endings to make what happens neither predictable, nor entirely obvious. A first-rate cast with enough residual fascination in the characters they create to wonder at what life, and not just Deepika Arwind, might do to them. The terror is existential and we should ask what it might do to us.


Review: Passing

A mesmerising play, one that won’t fade and whose topicality will only reverberate more. The dialogue’s consummate and touching, the gradual reveals of blindness – and blandness - to racism on a memory-trip with a disastrous family album, releases a slow detonation of all that’s wrong still. One of my comedies of the year. Pretty outstanding.


Review: Knocking On The Wall

Exquisite slivers of a great talent, this three-piece-suite could not be more expressively rendered than at the Finborough, home of such miniatures, and occasionally, epics.


Review: The Inquiry

An absorbing, in many ways authoritative first play Refusing cynicism, trying for humanity all round, Harry Davies is already striking the right balance. His next play should be eagerly awaited.


Review: 2:22 A Ghost Story

A ghost told me it’s better now than in the West End. Sharp, satisfying in itself, above all hauntingly intelligent in its questions.


Review: The Confessions

Though not the ordinary made phenomenal, Alexander Zeldin’s touchstone, it’s an outstanding personally-inflected testament and striking advance.