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: Kunstler

An outstanding production persuading us such a self-narrating show can enthral as well as inform. A hidden gem.


Review: Lived Fiction

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


Review: Rock, Paper, Scissors

A joyous revival. Though working in TV production, Hayden’s writing is too good, too well-shaped not to develop in theatre instead.


Review: Dawn Again: A Rap Opera

Elliot has a problem: two girlfriends, both giving birth on the same day in the same hospital


Review: Magpie

This really has no place in the Brighton Fringe. Perhaps the Festival. What is a slice of the darkest Sean O’Casey doing at a 9pm slot? Outstanding.


Review: The Promise

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


Review: Seasons

A tapestry of concrete dialogue interwoven completely with stunning poetry prose.


Review: Laughing Boy

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


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: 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: 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: Punchline

Destined to be a riveting play in Kay’s late-emerging canon.


Review: Queers

All I can repeat is: see it.


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: Foam

Scorching script, outstanding acting, particularly by Richards, a must-see.


Review: Storming!

Stands alone, a wholly original twist to a growing alarm-bell of ethics.


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: 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: The Human Body

The work’s best at its quietest, where intimacy doesn’t need shouting. It’s still an intriguing development, as Kirkwood, as in her magnificent The Welkin, interrogates the condescensions of history.


Review: Hide and Seek

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


Review: Casserole

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


Review: Rika’s Rooms

Emma Wilkinson Wright manages the narrative as an odyssey punctuated by screams. It’s a pretty phenomenal performance and the actor is so wholly immersed in Rika you know you’re in the presence of something remarkable.


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: Stitches

The end’s both poignant and visionary. A show to remember long after the Bear’s imagined batteries run down.


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: ACT Playwriting Course

Mark Burgess and his students should feel immensely satisfied. And of course the students themselves divinely dissatisfied as they develop their craft.


Review: Turning the Screw

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


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: 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: For Entertainment Purposes Only

Philip Ayckbourn’s songs are the heart of this collection. It’d be thrilling to see a full musical here; and staged in London. Enthusiastically recommended, there’s gems, with more of Ayckbourn’s elegiac sensibility than I’ve ever seen. More of this please.


Review: A Chat With Adonai

Jacob Kay and Helen Baird are both exemplary and funny – there’s explosions of laughter. At 40 minutes there’s much matter hurled at the speed of dark. See it if you can, and check out the other Bitesize plays at Riverside.


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: 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: The Good John Proctor

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


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: Rika’s Rooms

Emma Wilkinson Wright manages the narrative as an odyssey punctuated by screams. It’s already a phenomenal performance and the actor is so wholly immersed in Rika you know you’re in the presence of something remarkable


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: Refilwe

At just 45 minutes, a delightfully adapted fairy-tale, adapted in its turn. Bisola Aalbi’s rewrite is a lively, timely take on a silent culture war to make people of all ages think again.


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: Men Talking

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.


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: Influence

A superb debut show, Influence enjoys quite a long run and suggests that Stockroom’s an exciting fresh venture. And that embedded with Collective Theatre’s acting studios and writing rooms provided, this company and theatre synergy is more like a gleaming hub where magic in non-magic shows is poised to happen.


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: The Confessions

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


Review: Blue Mist

A stunning debut, linguistically brilliant, very funny, freighted with critique and truthful.


Review: Jock Night

With one-liners and wit in nearly every exchange, it’s a beautifully-scripted, scream-out affirmation of love, lust, loss and forever’s time being. And built to last.


Review: Adrift

Psychological Thriller – sci-fi at it’s finest! New writing, not to be missed!


Review: Death of England: Closing Time

Hayley Squires blazes Carly as a revelation wielding the writers’ language like a Swiss army-knife with secret gouges, and renders her still loveable. Yet here after all’s said, talked through, it’s when Denise’s “It’s closing time Carly. It’s over. Come on babe, let’s do this” and takes her hand you’re not sure whether to cry or cheer.


Review: Greatest Days

It’s a one-stop night out to spot upcoming with established talent. Everything from costume-change to curtain-call is a kaleidoscope.


Review: This Way For The Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen

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.


Review: Imposter 22

A joyous, riotously funny, wholly untypical experience. A play to shift boundaries and ourselves.


Review: The Yellow Wallpaper

Stephanie Mohr’s adaptation is a remarkable manifestation (no other word seems more apt) of the Charlotte Perkins Gilman short story The Yellow Wallpaper, an important realisation of a key feminist awakening. It’s good enough for you not to want it depicted in any other way.


Review: Compositor E

Charlie Dupré’s fast-paced, dazzlingly original Compositor E cuts into how the anonymous assert fingerprints: brilliant, unsettling, absorbing. McCarthy and the Omnibus team deserve huge credit for a work that might play to a larger space.


Review: Infamous

Emma Hamilton, mother and ward. Expect spats. Nine months since her National Theatre Kerry Jackson opened, April de Angelis arrives at Jermyn Street with the three-hander Infamous, directed by Michael Oakley, till October 7th. Even though the earlier play was staged in the smaller Dorfman, Infamous is chamber music by comparison. As in Kerry Jackson, De Angelis avoids tragedy where it clearly offers itself. The final two scenes though offer more; it’s piquant, momentarily uplifting, a little sad. And dramatically right it’s expressed in dance.


Review: As You Like It

It’s the trio of cousins and lover who ensure this production enjoys its fathoms-deep in love. An As You Like It with an inviting new prologue by Travis Alabanza, underscoring the forest’s healing as well as magical inversions; but shorn of its Epilogue. When you see how that Epilogue’s so rich in queerness and transgression it seems an own goal to the fluffier part of this production’s vibes.


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: Dough

Energetic, well acted play about money.


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: Shortlist

Shortlist really must be experienced by anyone who appreciates excellent theatre, brilliant writing or those who simply want a good laugh.


Review: Blue Morpho

The flapping of a butterfly’s wing can have a great effect