FringeReview UK

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FringeReview UK 2018

4.48 Psychosis

An outstandingly imaginative, fearless recreation of Kane’s testament in another medium. It triumphs and is easily the most remarkable, necessary opera to have been produced in years.


Absolute Hell

This can’t be seen as anything less than a triumph of Ackland’s skein of characters caricatures and remarkable vision – which Hill-Gibbins consummately brings off. We’re not used to this scale, perhaps, from this period either. It’ll take some time to settle, and can’t be essayed too often with such a cast. But it is treasurable.


Act and Terminal 3

everything – set, actors, script – come mesmerizingly and painfully together.


Adam Le Clercq Chopin Recital

Readings of distinction. Le Clercq really is a recitalist to watch.


Albach Guitar Duo Recital

A highly distinguished duo, with a repertoire both intelligently chosen and superbly executed


Allelujah!

Bennett’s exhorting us to fight back with laughter and rage in this riveting, timely play. It’s a sad and angry consolation.


All’s Well That Ends Well

This is an All’s Well to believe in, and plucks, just this once, a happiness Helena so richly deserves with a husband who equally doesn’t.


An Experiment with an Air Pump

A great painting by Joseph Wright of Derby - brought to life on stage.


Animal Farm

A swift and telling production that’s quick-swerving on its feet with memorable vocal projection and physical acting that’s a delight and enticement. This outstanding outdoor version feels special.


Anthony Pleeth and Tatty Theo Baroque Cello Duo

It takes integrity to stick to such deeply reflective music and project it so well. More than worth spending an hour with.


Antony and Cleopatra

Supremely worth it to see these characters weighing equal in their own balance, perhaps for the first time.


Antony and Cleopatra

Supremely worth it to see a pair so famous weighing equal in their own balance, perhaps for the first time.


Aristocrats

Turner terraces a reading of Aristocrats that heightens Friel’s study in dislocation.


As You Like It

A ripping discovery, a spontaneity and transparent skin to the process makes this thrilling. An As You Like It for the moment, certainly. But a moment of change.


Bach and Stern Violin and Piano Recital

Altogether, we need players like Bach who understand what’s there to be discovered. Stern proves ideal.


Bad Jews

This is a play supremely worth seeing: for its flayed comedy, acerbic wit, farce-dipped dynamics, monster roles, wincing and raw truths. It’s a triumph from all parties in the best NVT American vein. Don’t miss it.


BBC Prom 22 Haydn Symphony 104 in D; Vaughan Williams Symphony No. 2

The Haydn was excellent and we need more. The Vaughan Williams a revelatory cleansing and asserting its stature - which should be international.


BBC Prom 28 Mussorgsky, Benjamin, Ravel Ligeti and Debussy NYO, George Benjamin RAH August 4th 2018

An outstanding concert. We need George Benjamin to inspire young players to fall in love with modern works not least his own.


BBC Prom 33 Musgrave and Brahms Requiem BBC SO & Chorus, Richard Farnes RAH August 7th 2018

A superb reading of the Brahms Requiem. In Phoenix Rising, never before programmed, we find another Thea Musgrave classic.


BBC Prom 66 Dukas, Prokofiev, Schmidt Requiem Berlin Philharmonic, Petrenko.

BBC Prom 66 was - with the Berlin Philharmonic under Kirill Petrenko – at least as adventurous as anything Simon Rattle brought across with this band. Schmidt’s Symphony 4 though is the revelation.


Be My Baby

Like several NVT productions recently, you should see this.


Believe As You List

A work rich in a few characters and poignant recognitions touching some of Massinger’s greatest. It’s the larky stoic Berecinthius though, who adds a dimension to the Caroline stage.


Belleville

Poots and Norton achieve a quivering fright and tenderness that alone make this a must-see. but if a touch incredible in one choice, it shows Herzog’s ability to combine the new post-naturalism with a rare character-driven ride to apotheosis, recalling dramas more ancient and elemental.


Betrayal

A really fine mid-season revival: after forty years, it’s good to see Pinter back at Lewes Little. Perhaps this season presages more daring things to come.


Beyond Therapy

You want Bruce and Prudence to be happy till the lights go down, and to do that it needs a supreme breathlessness, then a slow exhalation at the very end. Worth seeing still.


Billy Bishop Goes to War

Overall though, it’s those songs.


Billy Bishop Goes to War

Nikolas Balfe gives the performance of his life so far.


Black Men Walking

There’s a resolution and a few late epiphanies. It’s an important work, satisfying in its refusal to over-imbue a situation which needs less plot-driven conflict than to lay open its stories like a knap of stone revealing the shine.


Black Mountain

Brad Birch has won awards recently, and in Black Mountain he shows in part how fine he can be. It’s in the speech by the partner of man who’s cheated on her. That’s the rich ore mined on this particular mountain. That, and an ear for dialogue that shows Birch will do even finer things.


Brighton Rock

Greene’s original will continue to tease with its unrelieved religious intensity. Otherwise for a secular age this adaptation, and this production, is as good as it gets.


Buck Brass Trio

When you see them back, don’t hesitate.


Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

There have been classic accounts to eclipse this production, but Jack O’Connell in particular throbs with a ferocious identification few can have matched. Here too, director Benedict Andrews takes Maggie literally about who’s now the stronger, and Sienna Miller seizes her chance. It’s a riveting conclusion, for the right reasons.


Chapel Royal, Paul Gregory and Peter Shulski, Bach and Schubert, August 7th 2018

Gregory and Shulski make both works seamless and I the Bach, powerfully truthful. And Gregory’s proved his point with this arrangement too: you see it in a new, summer-laden light.


Christina McMaster Recital

Christina McMaster confirms we hardly need the Wigmore if such artists travel to Brighton for the Chapel Royal and a few other venues.


Cock

A superb revival of Bartlett’s warmest, most ground-breaking, perhaps most enduring play so far.


Confidence

This is a must-see in reviving the theatrical profile of a fine dramatist for too long shrouded in the digital of radio and TV when the acoustic world is claiming her back.


Copenhagen

A superb revival that can hardly be bettered, it’s more than enough to persuade us of Copenhagen’s classic status.


Crazy For You

This is a blast of the purest kind. You have to see it. In terms of talent on display worked to a supreme ensemble pitch, this is quite simply the most stunning pure musical I’ve seen this year.


Cruft Robertson Pleeth String Trio

A superb trio and what unexpected, refreshing repertoire too. With such consummate musicianship, they should be on record.


Dance Nation

As an airborne metaphor for how you get to be grown-ups, what it does to you, Dance Nation takes as it were some beating.


Dealing with Clair

Superb and horribly timely, as we crest the next crash.


Dial M for Murder

This production of Dial M for Murder is in the best traditions of the house. A superb entertainment, suavely and consummately executed with some depth, it must feel reassuring to tread in such a solidly realised black and white world.


Dirty Dancing

There’s a fitting heart-warming climax to a dream of production. And a surprise to those who think they know the film.


Dr Carnesky’s Incredible Bleeding Woman

These women are not shy when it comes to tackling the taboo topic of menstruation


Dracula

This really is the one-stop Dracula we need.


Duo Asteria Corinna Hentschel and Giulio Poggia

A highly distinctive, powerful duo. It would be wonderful to hear them again.


Dust

This is outstanding. See it.


ear for eye

Listen for our commonality, don’t look for difference. Here’s a memorable place to start.


Eastward Ho!

This is one of the most exuberant and superbly orchestrated Read Not Deads I’ve seen.


Edith in the Dark

Will Edith always be in the Dark?


Electra

As a gifted exploration of Electra’s themes and a transposition of them to 21st century values, this is as exhaustive, detailed and convincing as you’d wish.


Elephant’s Graveyard

It’s in NT’s best American vein. Forget Rehearsed Reading. It’s the real thing.


Eliette Harris and Joshua Urben, Violin and Piano Recital

A tremendous burgeoning; I hope this duo continue.


Ellie Blackshaw, Yoko Ono, Paul Gregory Piano Trios

If you care about chamber music, and want to be surprised, this is the place to be.


Emilia

This is a necessary, thrilling play, its energy and message spill straight into the audience.


Emma Halnan Flute, Heather Wrighton, Harp

Truly first class music-making, alluring and scintillating, but with heart and adventure too.


English Piano Trio

Consummate music-making. Definitive performances.


Evita

Evita lives.


Exit the King

We need such risk-taking theatre back. This outstanding production of Exit the King might just remind us how to get it.


Eyam

A ringing, tolling end to a pioneering season. This play must have a life – and already possesses a miraculous importunity.


Fame

Excellent feelgood musical though there’s superabundant dance content.


Female Parts

Adult Orgasm Escapes from the Zoo. That title, from the 1983 version of one of the plays presented here summarises what you can expect. Sadly, subversion has to be rationed. Franca Rame and Dario Fo’s five short plays from 1977 Female Parts, get two outings – they’re joined in a similar bid for self-determination by OneNess Sankara’s The Immigrant, the first black woman in space. Go: it’s likely someone will vault over your head.


Flashdance

It’s Joanne Clifton’s night. She lives Alex, dangerously pushing every routine with an extravagance, a hunger, sexiness and raw power that makes it one of the most memorable dance performances in a musical I’ve ever seen.


Fleabag

Original, raw, brilliantly funny and devastating. This production is Fleabag neat. Its harrowing streak of genius burns like a healing scar torn.


Flesh and Bone

Warren’s East London heritage is similar to other writers, and it’s his time to re-tell it now, with new notes and a love of language that muscles in and won’t let go.


For King and Country

Terrific immersive fun. If you want to know what might have happened in an alternative December 1940, this is as exciting, informative and perhaps as authentic experience as you could encounter.


Gemma Kateb Piano Recital

Entrancing. It’d be good to see such a sensitive, searching musician back.


Gemma Kateb Piano Recital

Entrancing. A sensitive, searching and individual debut at Chapel Royal.


Girls & Boys

When you hear an opening like: ‘I met my husband in the queue to board an easyJet flight and I have to say I took an instant dislike to the man’ you relax. Too soon. Thus the chippy wit of Carey Mulligan’s opening of Dennis Kelly’s monologue Girls & Boys at the Royal Court Theatre Downstairs, directed by Lyndsey Turner stretches ninety minutes into something else. Fourteen years after her debut on this stage, it confirms Mulligan as a great stage actor.


Great Expectations

An excitingly-conceived adaptation of a familiar story. Ahead lies some astonishment.


Grimm’s Tales

An exuberant Christmas production, and a miracle of compression, blocking, set-design and ensemble acting skills.


Grotty

Know the Dalston lesbian scene? Verbally and dramatically as well as breaking new ground, this sings. Do see Grotty at the Bunker and be illumined. It’s rare to see such brutal tenderness laugh itself to the lip of the balcony.


Gundog

This Theatre Upstairs production lends a striking suspension of time to the middle of a sheep nowhere. Simon Longman’s Royal Court debut Gundog exudes the kind of stark belonging his plays seem made of. With such faultless direction and acting, Longman’s reach is patent.


Hamlet

In Michelle Terry’s quicksilver, quick-quipping Hamlet, much has been proved, from interpretive to gender fluidity in tragic action, that sets a privilege on being in at a beginning.


Hammig String Quartet with Pianist Clare Wibberley Brahms Piano Quartet No. 2 A major, Op 26

The ensemble’s absolutely inside the music, and they all fit each other with unanimity and panache.


Happy Now?

However fine the original 2008 cast, you won’t miss them with this company’s revival of a stunning contemporary play. See it.


Harmonia Trio

Excellent, poignant, quietly unique.


Harmonia Trio Cara Barseghian, Daphne Elston, Elizabeth Shepley

Bracing, innovatively chosen repertoire makes the Harmonia Trio an essential part of music-making in the south.


HEARD

Multi-instrumental, stratospheric vocalists. Simply exceptional music-making.


Hector Castro Guitar Recital

Superb recital at short notice.


Hector Castro Guitar Recital

Catch him next time. He’s the real thing.


Hole

Wow drama, the original Greek tragoidia. It invokes the same powers, almost the same gods.


Home, I’m Darling

It’s a moment when rejoicing to concur with the general public, as Samuel Johnson once did over Gray’s Elegy, is the only thing to do.


How It Is

You’ll have to see this. It’s in no way a continuation of their previous Beckett. and it’s immersive, outstanding, unrepeatable and unimaginable anywhere else: Gare St Lazare, and in the UK, no-one but the Print Room it seems would dare to stage it.


How To Be a Kid

More than an enchanting diversion Sarah McDonald’s play does ask just how quickly we need to grow up, even when we have.


Humble Boy

Jones really deserves her place in the forefront of contemporary dramatists. Humble Boy confirms its own place, pivotal to he oeuvre which has grown more robustly and cleverly than the thematic flora or indeed bees that ululate to the end.


Imogen Hancock and Jennifer Hughes

Trumpeter Imogen Hancock and pianist Jennifer Hughes gave an outstandingly vital recital at All Saints.


In the Night Time (Before the Sun Rises)

This production’s sheer inventiveness, the feral truth of the acting and fabulously exploding set surely reinvent something; and land this drama where it should be: in the bleak dark before a bleached-out dawn.


Instructions For Correct Assembly

As an ingenious commentary on everything from genetic manipulation to over-determining children’s achievements, Instructions For Correct Assembly is a necessary unforgettable object lesson, in all senses.


Into the Woods

This is an outstanding first-class revival, but more, it’s intimate knowing and innocent at the same time: it sports a residual wisdom beyond its brief.


Iolanthe

You’ll have to see this if you care for music theatre at all. it’s unmissable.


I’m Not Running

Compelling dissection of what hampers the mindset of our main progressive party.


James Osler and the Pillow Band

First-class crossover music-making for anyone who cares for music that stretches delight.


James Shenton, Paul Gregory Recital

An improvised concert doesn’t get much better than this.


Jamie Andrews Organ Recital All Saints

A burgeoning talent of some magnitude.


Janice Fehlauer Piano Recital

On the strength of this astonishing recital Janice Fehlauer should be at the Wigmore Hall and with a number of CDs to her credit.


Johan de Cock Piano Recital

Revelatory pianism from a composer pianist who proves classic and film music adaptations belong in the same repertoire.


John

After Annie Baker’s outstanding The Flick in 2016 also in the Dorfman, her 2015 play John written two years later, has raised expectations that punch the roof of this intimate space. Whatever the premise, her priorities remain: the aching possibility of love in bleak solitudes inside or out, of healing, of forgiveness for the past, recent or historic.


John Bruzon Piano Recital

A Brighton-based pianist who deserves wider acclaim.


John Bruzon Piano Recital

A Brighton-based pianist who deserves wider acclaim.


Jon Byrne Piano Recital

An outstanding achievement.


Jon Rattenbury and Brian Ashworth Guitar Duo

Jon Rattenbury and Brian Ashworth one of the best-known guitar duos on the south coast enjoy a particular way with the classical guitar.


Jon Rattenbury and Brian Ashworth Guitar Duo

Jon Rattenbury and Brian Ashworth one of the best-known guitar duos on the south coast enjoy a particular way with the classical guitar.


Joseph Spooner and Glen Capra Russian Cello and Piano Recital

This is first rank cello and piano playing and we’re incredibly lucky these artists live amongst us.


Julie

A revelatory Julie for our time.


Juliet Edwards and Yoko Ono Four Hand Piano, Ravel and Rachmaninov

From Yoko Ono’s sweeping glissandi in the Ravel through to Edwards taking her treble line in the Rachmaninov, the unanimity of their performance is really distinguished playing.


Julius Caesar

Together with several definitive and newly-founded interpretations, it’s Hytner’s lithe political thriller that emerges by contrast as a physical assault on the senses. From out of the smoke and flashes of this outstanding production, there’s jumpings-on and off as participants run up from all sides and even jostle people out of the way.


Jumpy

You begin to wonder how life, not the playwright, will treat these playhouse creatures. De Angelis has hit a true vein. You must see this delirious state-of-the-pause play.


Karen Sharp Trio

A wonderfully mellow set of performances, and thoroughly recommended.


Katie Johnstone

Most of all you take away the sheer bravura of Georgia May Hughes’ throwing everything up in the air. She carries the energy to a cheery bleakness. And you want to cheer.


Ken

Terry Johnson’s two-hander might seem a low-key hommage but his script’s brilliant. It’s a re-affirmation of Campbell’s comic epic theatre, and inspires you to look out for what his daughter Daisy might be bringing to us at the Brighton Festival.


King Charles III

This is an outstanding production, one of the two or three finest amateur ones I’ve ever seen. It can hold its head amongst consummate professional ones.


Lana Trotovsek and Yoko Misumi

Lana Trotovsek and Yoko Misumi are a compelling duo, and I’ve not heard violin playing of that force and character for a long time.


Legally Blonde

You must see this. Apart from the heroic production itself, if there’s one outstanding performer it has to be Lucie Jones with Rita Simons’ superb support. Jones' voice is stunning, stratospheric, above all characterful.


LIPS Wind Quintet

LIPS are a superb ensemble, and typical of the Chapel Royal team to have discovered them.


Lonely Planet

If you know Angels in America, you’ll be grateful for Dietz’s concentration and economy. Much reckoning is packed into a little room.


Losing Venice

A play we need, and a production that honours it.


Love Me Now

There’s an almost tragic power to the two endings, amidst glimpses of redemption. How difficult it seems to admit love, particularly for men in the toxicity of casual sex where people become apps and black voids to delete. Unmissable. Michelle Barnette’s next play will be worth waiting for.


Loves-Lies-Bleeding

A slow-burn wonder. We need the Print Room.


Lovesong

It remains a highlight of the season, a mostly wonderful celebration of this rare gift from Abi Morgan. Let’s have more drama like this.


Love’s Labour’s Lost

You really should see this.


Lucia di Lammermoor

This is a stunning pocket-sized opera-house quality Lucia. You won’t find a better-sung, more affecting Donizetti this year.


Macbeth

There’s a visceral intent and bravery, a willingness to tear though every received nostrum, some wild use of the revolve with an admittedly frantic cast trying to catch a magic roundabout, that suggests something magnificent could be made of it all. The rationale’s an urgent one: in a post-Trump post-Brexit post-climate-refugee state we could even be looking at this world soon.


Macbeth

The one to see.


Machinal

Only when we see the best of Sophie Treadwell’s other thirty-eight plays will Machinal’s lonely pinnacle be augmented. This triumphant revival by the Almeida could signal the start. You must see this.


Madagascar The Musical

Highly Recommended for monkeys and lemurs of all ages – quite apart from lions, zebras, hippos and giraffes.


Maeve Jenkinson, Sarah Davison, Rachel Fryer Schubert Piano Trio No. 1 in Bb, D898

This is first-class music-making, the kind that persuades you you don’t need to travel up to the Wigmore Hall or wait for the Festival and fringe to enjoy all round music-making of this calibre.


Mary Thomas and Muriel Hart Songs

Thomas could afford to feel pretty wonderful by the end.


Mayfly

Mayfly’s a play conscious of its deft artistry. Equally though it’s a work that despite its buzzing coincidences never loses the pulse of its profound ache. That’s why it’s so heartbreakingly funny, tender, even affirmative. A superb debut, the first it’s to be hoped of many others here. Joe White’s one to watch, and so is the magnificent Orange Tree, invariably staging a mighty reckoning in a little room.


Measure for Measure

The most thoughtful and thought-provoking recreation of a Shakespeare play this year.


Medea Electronica

Like the recent Suppliants, in a very different way, Medea Electronica asks just what we mean by Greek tragedy, what our conceptions of drama without music are. An essential experience.


Meera Maharaj (flute) and Dominic Degavino (piano)

One of the most exciting flute recitals I’ve attended. Maharaj is back on September 20th at All Saints.


Michele Roszak and Lynda Spinney: Harmony in Love?

Vocally adventurous, a joy to hear


Michele Roszak and Lynda Spinney: Music in May

Michele Roszak’s as ever a richly engaging singer pushing her range through the soprano register. Always pushing new repertoire too she ranges widely here. Lynda Spinney’s acute understanding maximises their impact.


Mike Hatchard Piano Recital

Mozart would have been delighted wit what Mike Hatchard does with his Turkish March.


Moormaid

Bott asks serious questions. How can a terrorist redeem themselves, and how do individuals negotiate this? Can art play any part in rehabilitation?


My Mum’s a Twat

‘Have you ever tried to sustain a relationship with a twat?’ Some debuts establish more than a new voice. Anoushka Warden’s My Mum's a Twat certainly revels in its compelling and sassy distinctiveness; but it nails to this a cause. Beyond this though is the thrill of a debut writer with the tang of their own voice stinging the air. As Warden says about something else: ‘You’ll have to take my word on that.’ So see it.


Network

A truly thrilling piece of theatre


Niall O’Riordan and Anne Marshall Flute and Piano Recital

Enchanting territory, enchantingly and stratospherically played.


Nine Night

Natasha Gordon emerges as a playwright whose capacity to balance seven characters in profound ambivalence – and shuddering proximity - to each other is both thrilling and wholly assured. Anything Gordon does now must be eagerly anticipated.


No One is Coming to Save You

No One is Coming to Save You makes me want to see a lot more of Nathan Ellis.


Not Talking

Not Talking is a superb, affirmative debut play, up there with Bartlett’s finest, prophetic of much later work.


Notes From the Field

What makes this harrowing selection work is how Smith varies, gradates and paces her interviews; and builds a climax. It renders the experience a memorial; it’s what such artistry’s for. You will experience nothing like this and leave reeling.


Of Mice and Men

This is a first-rate revival. Everything snaps and sings with a lyric devastation that asks with Guthrie just whose land this is, in a year where presidential excesses have seen the US population ask the same question for the first time in generations.


Old Fools

There’s truths to discover here. Indeed, to remember love, happiness and life vigorously to combat the oblivion surrounding it. It’s still a hidden gem of a piece, and you should see this brief hour-long odyssey, either to reflect from its early evening finish or if visiting, as a sweetly sad, perhaps wiser prelude to whatever you choose from the later lights.


Olive Murray, Christopher Foreman, Soprano and Piano Recital

A delighted, delightful recital, exploratory and really worth hearing again.


Oliver Nelson and Vasilis Rakitzis Violin and Piano

Consummate playing. We shouldn’t be complacent about the luxury of such instrumentalists delivering programmes like these.


One For Sorrow

Cordelia Lynn’s a compelling dramatist whose political imagining is swept into musical paragraphs, landing on rhythmic details, pitches of self-betrayal.


Organ Recital, All Saints

A superb double-recital to celebrate the return of the Hill organ.


Orphans

It might be nearly sold out but queue for returns if you possibly can.


Othello

Othello will never quite seem the same again; that’s an achievement and a marker.


Our Lady of Sligo

The fact that sadly you’ll not see another Sebastian Barry in these parts unless you pick up one of his Booker-shortlisted novels is one good reason to see this. The fact that there’s some magnificent acting though makes it a must-see, for the soul as well as theatre-goer.


Out of Love

There’s much in this sweet, fleet and heart-breaking narrative of female friendship over thirty years that needs to be seen, including the poignant and unexpected epilogue. It’s a thumbnail classic.


Owls

A sensitive, potentially important addition to plays about distress.


Pam Crag and Maggie Grimsdell Four Hand Piano Recital

It’d be a delight to see these artists return.


Patrick Avery Guitar Recital

Exquisitely performed. It takes nerve and artistry to perform so consistently slowly till near the end: a fascinating career to watch.


Paul Richards Guitar Recital

Magical wholly Hispanically-inflected recital.


Phillip Dyson 60th Birthday Piano Tour

Dyson proves how supreme he is in conjuring orchestral sonorities in this stand-out recital bringing so-called lighter classics home where they belong.


Pity

Those receptive to those energies unleashed in the Ionesco, or more fitfully in Saint George and the Dragon will readily see Mullarkey’s almost unique position. What he writes next might define him.


Poet in da Corner

Exemplary, thrilling, adrenalin-shot and shout-worthy. There has to be a part two, and it ought to be soon.


Precious Little Talent

Do see why this un-preciously funny, inherently angsty play deepens.


Present Laughter

Gary Essendine’s rampant again. Will Liz Essendine with Miss Reed’s help work out a five-point peace plan as all the writhing lovers seemingly wish to embark on the same boat for Africa (pronounced Efrica, out of that Streep echo)? Will her blithe response to all latch key claimants that they spent the night at her flat make any difference? Do find out. A gem.


Private Peaceful

This is as good as a one-person show of this kind gets. Andy Daniel should be up there above his own rows of five-star ratings.


Proms 17 Parry Vaughan Williams Holst Royal Albert Hall July 27th 2018

A revelatory programme, and fresh, flowing performances that pick up the keen lyricism and blow the fustian. A couple more masterpieces we can count on the strength of this one.


Quartet

Like The French Lieutenant’s Woman, there are now two endings to Quartet. You must see this if you know the film only, or care about music, ageing, friendship and achingly lost love.


Rambert

The theatre of Goat, its apotheosis into something else from its comedic opening, is stunning. It’s what the Rambert does; completely reinvent itself and the dance. this and the earlier ballet are outstanding in themselves. The Cunningham company are lucky to learn from them.


Random Selfies

This is sweet, fleet story-telling with just the right amount of pitch and yaw for anyone to take, without it becoming too dark or didactic. Ten-year-old Lola’s engaging, and in Natalia Hinds’ hands utterly believable, energetically inhabited with a sense of fun clearly relished by this revelatory actor.


random/generations

In a season featuring not before time several superb women dramatists – Enid Bagnold and Charlotte Jones follow – starting with tucker green is a proud moment for Chichester.


Reared

Reared is above all forgivingly funny, John Fitzpatrick’s comedy exquisite in group dynamics but sometimes on a telling image also contains create one of the most gripping story-telling scenes in recent drama.


Rita, Sue and Bob Too

A first-class revival of a timely, still-urgent play, from an untimely-ripped dramatist, this is a must-see for anyone who cares about British drama, British history, and its more thoroughly-beleaguered people.


Romeo and Juliet

This Romeo and Juliet has all the pace and heart any production, modern-dress or period, demands. Karen Fishwick’s radiant Juliet is the soul that imprints itself on it.


Romeo and Juliet

This Romeo and Juliet has all the pace and heart any production, modern-dress or period, demands. Karen Fishwick’s radiant Juliet is the soul that imprints itself on it.


Salad Days

Don’t miss it.


Sara Pascoe: Lads Lads Lads

A one woman comedy stand up: break up sex, incest and being too 'tampony'.


Sary

The imaginative force, language and unique serenity of this work demands another run.


Section 2

This is an urgent, compellingly written stunningly acted piece of naturalistic drama. It should be filmed for mental health awareness week, and acted wherever possible.


Sense and Sensibility

An adaptation to surprise and thrill you. Jessica Swale’s made Sense and Sensibility wholly hers, and quintessentially Austen at the same time. The cast render it a delight.


Shona Knight Soprano Recital

An outstanding debut.


Shostakovich 24 Preludes and Fugues

Powell makes more of the interconnectedness of this music perhaps than anyone since Tatiana Nikolayeva, and more lucidly than anybody ever. Acclimatising himself to the St Michael’s acoustics he delivered something extraordinary.


Sir Thomas More

This the second RND this year easily maintains the bar set so high by Eastward Ho! It’s fleet, superbly characterised in major parts but inevitably John Hopkins takes the palm for centring a superbly-realized portrayal.


Sisterhood

A powerful polemic about women and witchcraft.


Son of a Preacher Man

Son of a Preacher man has real potential. It’s easily more than a cut above a jukebox musical, and Revel-Horwood’s work particularly coupled with Herbert’s musical arrangements is exemplary. As is the marvellous and marvellously hard-working ensemble.


Spun

The genius and universality of this play is that Hussain writes stingingly of what it’s like to be working-class as well as Asian.


Square Rounds

Proud Haddock have delivered their own stamp on Harrison’s verse-play, and it’s mostly thrilling


St George’s Church Vote 100 Celebrating Women Composers

An outstanding, rousing and moving concert.


St Nicholas, Belladonna – Sue Mileham Soprano, Jane Plessner Clarinet, Nicola Grunberg Piano

With clarinet piano and soprano, a gloriously rich vocal recital


Starfish

What does a home mean? What's it like to lose yours?


Stay Happy Keep Smiling, Fury

Where else in Brighton can you see two new acclaimed plays so swiftly?


Still No Idea

Laughter’s the best start to killing ignorance. See it.


Stories

Utterly compelling. Anything Nina Raine writes now is routinely expected to touch greatness. No pressure.


Strangers on a Train

This ATG production should reach anyone who’s curious about Warner’s rather different outcome to the original, which Highsmith herself, writing later, might well have approved of; I prefer it too.


Summer and Smoke

Sometimes it fees as if Williams’ characters can’t breathe without their intrinsically skew-sided unhappiness. Ferran’s Alma though takes on a life that transcends this and makes one wonder again.


Summer Holiday

Stunning Ray Quinn and ensemble work their bobby-socks off with notable support from Rob Wicks and his band. Give No. 9 a proper MOT and it’ll strike gold too.


Sussex Flutes, All Saints

Beautifully consummate, with memorable repertoire, they’re a unique group who should be selling discs.


Tamzin Barnett and Nancy Cooley Soprano and Piano Recital

Tamzin Barnett’s already a remarkably versatile and mature artist. Where most was asked for she was at her most thrilling. Watch out for her.


The Boatswain’s Mate

About time this became standard repertoire.


The Brighton Scratch Night

9 pieces of New Writing play across 3 nights for a place in The Brighton Fringe 2019


The Cane

Ravenhill’s apparently muted play works exceptionally well.


The Case of the Frightened Lady

This is still something of a vintage treat, and a rare opportunity to see the old master in action.


The Chalk Garden

Not quite the last drawing-room comedy. But the Janus-faced prophesy of plays that took thirty years to catch up. Chichester’s season of women dramatists is one of the treasurable things of 2018.


The Claim

Ultimately this is a play putting humanity and the limits of empathy on trial, the whole refugee crisis and bureaucracy’s way of distorting, dishonouring witness a corruptive glare that’s universal. It’s a vital, seminal work on how we misunderstand our humanity.


The Comedy About a Bank Robbery

A redefining farce in every way.


The Comedy of Errors

This is a light-footed, thump-fisted, limp-wristed and eye-poppingly uproarious production.


The Country Wife

A dazzling revival. If you don’t know the finale, with its superb resolution, this 1920s-style production is a memorable way in, with its clarity, its comedy and its last dangerous kiss. Stunning. Do see it.


The Crucible

Identity Theatre Company’s Blue Remembered Hills was a stand-out last year. Directed by Nettie Sheridan and Gary Cook, this is too: strongly-conceived and mostly well-acted with stand-outs: don’t miss it.


The Daughter-in-Law

This is as pitch-perfect as we’re likely to get for a very long time. Ideas and instincts at war drive this play out of its apparent bounds but not out of Eastwood. And its aftermath is a hushed miracle.


The Dresser

This consummate portrayal of near-disaster ending in a successful one, is as good as it gets at LLT.


The Exploded Circus

A skilful and sensory mix of acrobatics, aerial feats and juggling, encapsulated in a story about finding order after chaos


The Fall

It’s a play which for theme, formal handling and ingenuity would be highly recommendable alone. Coupled with the excitement of ten young actors getting the measure of this and themselves provides a thrilling reach into tomorrow, including the tomorrows we hope never come.


The Funeral Director

One of the most riveting few minutes of contemporary theatre I’ve seen all year.


The Graduate

There’s so many reasons to see this production. It’s worth hanging around for returns.


The Great Wave

Turnly’s straightforward play treats of a history we’re unfamiliar with, and we need it straight. That’s more than enough to make it thoroughly absorbing, with far more questions than when we entered the space. Do see it.


The Gulf

Gould’s team have made this as authentic as some of U. S. casts who travelled over from The New York Public Theater for the Nelson plays. There’ll always be some who don’t get this kind of theatre, but there’s an increasing appetite for and understanding of it. When you do, like Kendra’s Betty, you’ll be hooked.


The Habit of Art

It’s a triumphant revival. Do see it.


The Leading Man

Doyen has the kernel of something excellent, disturbing and playable.


The Lehman Trilogy

Almost stupefying, but outstanding.


The Little French Lawyer

Make friends with this troubling, deeply fascinating, vitally sour play.


The Madness of George III

This magnificent revival poses even more urgent questions. A twitch on the thread for all of us.


The Meeting

Quieter than Humble Boy, The Meeting juggles ideas as adeptly, and heart more fully perhaps than any Jones play. There’s every reason to celebrate Jones’ return to the stage.


The Merchant of Venice

Exceptional in many things, it’s almost a classic production and definitely worth a detour for.


The Merry Wives of Windsor

Sparkling, a sassy, sexy, and sure-footed revival.


The One

This breaks rules as it makes them. See it.


The Open House

It’s a wholly original drama, and if you like the super-naturalist verismo of Amy Herzog’s Belleville recently at the Donmar or Annie Baker’s John at the National, you’ll enjoy this sidling from that. It’s conceptually even more original. Do see this. It’s a masterly play - in a theatre famed for its dishevelled uniqueness.


The Outsider

Like so much from The Print Room, this feels like European theatre. And we need it more desperately than ever.


The Play That Goes Wrong

A play about amateurs no amateur company should even dare contemplate. There’s genius in the timing of all this. Outstanding.


The Political History of Smack and Crack

As theatre it Catherine-wheels with anger. As an unsentimental education this takes some beating. Don’t miss it.


The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

It’s not shorter than before, but dare one say it, somehow Sparkier, conveying the author’s economy in a sinewy morality tale.


The Prudes

Neilson’s piece twists an unexpected root out of recent debates over power and sexual abuse the Royal Court has addressed so consistently. Uniquely Neilson’s made the faintly horrible full-on hilarious.


The Rape of Lucretia

Far from being just timely, this Grimeborn production reinvents how we might feel about this troubling, disturbed and absolutely contemporary piece in a time of #Me Too.


The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives

The genius of this production is to keep hilarity airborne whilst slipping in something poisonous. You must see this.


The Snowman

The most enduring British Christmas hits are melancholy, in stark contrast to say American. There’s a profound sadness in the magic. Its not a long work, perfectly proportioned for children. It’s still the ideal winter present, especially on a first trip to the theatre.


The Sweet Science of Bruising

It’s incredibly helpful Troupe champion new writing as good as this. It should go to a prize-fight.


The Trench

A small masterpiece.


The Two Noble Kinsmen

We’re looking at a bright Book of Hours. Barrie Rutter’s done it profound service, adding a warmth and agency that opens up this pageant. This is hopefully just the first of many such he’ll bring to the Globe.


The War Of The Worlds

A group of four battle to embody a cast of hundreds


The Way of the World

A triumphant revival. What’s striking isn’t just the clockwork plotting but the amplitude, even insouciant luxury Congreve allows his characters to unfold in. It comes together in this rich, endlessly self-fascinated masterpiece from a master of self-effacement.


The Wild Duck

You should be shocked.


The Winslow Boy

It’s a uniformly excellent cast. For Tessa Peake-Jones and particularly Aden Gillett, Timothy Watson and above all Dorothea Myer-Bennett, this is a treasurable revival of a now classic play, whose themes are every week recalled in political injustices visited by government on defenceless people. ‘Let right be done’ is as sadly relevant as ever.


The Winter’s Tale

If Sicilia and its dense expressive syntax could rise elsewhere, this might be altogether remarkable. As it is, enjoy its slow burn.


The Wits

Exhilarating and fresh, this comedy shows just how singular Davenant is, deserving full-scale revival. You’d go far to find as spirited and sure-footed a cast as this.


The Woman in the Moon

This superb production has shifted our sense of Lyly’s pre-eminence still further. Lyly hugely influenced Shakespeare like no other writer. Lyly remains the Globe’s Read Not Dead greatest rediscovery, and this production underscores that more fully and emphatically than even before, in unexpectedly to this bold, necessary reading.


The Woods

Of this play's witness and power there can be no doubt whatsoever. Compelling and unmissable.


The Writer

This is necessary, exciting, playful, and still unsettling, not just because of what it asks but the manner of narration. It’s also seminal.


The York Realist

Robert Hastie’s revival at the Donmar reaffirms this a modern classic in a production fully realizing Peter Gill’s quiet universality. By the close, when George quotes lines from the York Realist we’re on another plane from a superb play about love. It’s an outstanding play: this revival is as fine as we’re likely to see.


There But For the Grace of God (Go I)

A rare instance of an actor knowing exactly how to direct himself. It’s a super-Fringe show well worth reviving, and Welsh clearly puts his life into it.


This Is Elvis

Inevitably this stands or falls by Steve Michaels, but it could only be outstanding if the whole production revs around it, and this one fires into life, never letting up. This Is Elvis. Elvis lives. End of.


This Restless State

If it comes near you – visit the website – do try and see this pungently-paced meditation on upheaval. This Restless State breathes across its zones as a play with real potential that simply needs a little more daring, a little less peeling back.


Translations

In this pitched-perfect National Theatre production in the Olivier, Translations taps as close to its power as it can. This is the version for a generation.


Translations

In this pitched-perfect National Theatre production in the Olivier, Translations taps as close to its power as it can. This is the version for a generation.


Trial By Laughter

You won’t see a finer comedy till well into the new year.


True West

Another winning piece of Americana from NVT, now the go-to on the south coast for anything pointing true west.


Underground Railroad Game

The most radical piece of American theatre I’ve seen, and certainly the bravest. See it.


Utility

It’s a great phase of U. S. playwrighting, driven by women, and we’re lucky to be living in the middle of it. Schwend unleashes unexpected miracles and is one reason to see this hushed superlative of a play.


Victoria Puttock and Mark Dancer, Saxophone and Piano

An exhilarating recital, from a duo who plan to return in January. Look out for them when you need winter blues blown away by the summer ones.


When the Wind Blows

BLT have produced in less than two weeks two outstandingly fine full-length productions. This latest offering confirms this theatre’s confidence in producing stark contrasts: an unfashionable yet horribly topical drop of silence into a bustling city.


Woman Before a Glass

Judy Rosenblatt’s reading irradiates Robertson’s and indeed Peggy Guggenheim’s rationale into a morphology, something felt along the gut. The appalled and occasionally appallingly purity of Peggy Guggenheim is laid bare. More widely, this work addresses the limits of patronage, of rescue, of greed and altruism, of comic high-Bohemianism and sexual affirmation before the sexual revolution. Which of course began in 1963.


Yoko Ono Piano Recital

Another iridescent recital by an artist far too easy to take for granted.


£¥€$ (Lies)

By the end of this you’ll know far more about the banking sector than even Robert Peston explains. Now go and play them for a fool.