FringeReview UK

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FringeReview UK 2021

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Even more than 2019, a carnival riot of joy – with enough misdirection to evoke moonshine


A Splinter of Ice

Absorbing. With such an acting masterclass the play’s a bewitchingly-voiced fugue on the limits of belief and betrayal.


Adorable Dora

Consummate, the complete Dolly-d up experience.


Adventurous

A play gently subverting all expectations. Feeling Adventurous? You should.


An Evening With Flanders and Swann

A sovereign tribute. If you know Flanders and Swann, you’ll know Bednarczyk.


and breathe…

Yomi Sode’s hybrid theatre is a compelling immersion of witness and poetry: we need more of it.


Anton Chekhov

The nearest we’ll come to meeting Chekhov. In Pennington’s masterclass.


Aphrodite

Dazzling: wise, clever twists about choice, male determination, and consequence.


Bad Nights and Odd Days

If you can beg a chair from the rafters, see it.


Before After

A pristine, heartwarming Valentine of a musical, starring a pair of real-life lovers, it deserves a real-life run


Between the Cracks

Another hugely stimulating triple-hit from Creative Associates.


Branching Out

Three very fine and one outstanding work, Scratches – the best kind of play on depression, self-harm, black holes. Because it’s screamingly funny and deeply connected to why we do theatre.


Dazzling Divas

Issy Van Randwyck brings seven divas to life in this paean to tragic fulfilment.


Eng-er-Land

Writer/performer Hannah Kumari leaves you alert and exhilarated


Evening Conversations/Life Laundry

Engrossing, it should provoke. Sudha Bhuchar absolves us by being bloody funny.


Footfalls & Rockaby

Charlotte Emmerson and Sian Phillips make their parts indelible, and add to Beckett’s stock of pity, stoicism and a window on death. Outstanding.


Groan Ups

Just wait for the second act.


Hamilton and Me: An Actor’s Journal

In rapid, elegant, idiomatically kerned language, Giles Terera proves himself a superb expositor of where it happens.


Hamlet

Jumbo’s Hamlet strips out accretions and ghosts you into asking who or what Hamlet is. See it if you possibly can.


Hole

Don’t miss the chance to see this transcendent actor prove she possesses another dimension altogether.


How I Learned to Swim

Ends in a hush of absorption as you lean in for every word.


Hymn

Its potency lies in a fine peeling apart by Adrian Lester and Danny Sapini, and the language that bridges it.


I Wish My Life Were Like a Musical

Flawless, a stunning pocket-sized musical you really must see.


Icarus

After all the gods and their lack of choice, we come to the final instalment, the human dimension. Where we have one. A heartfelt, satisfying finish.


Illusions of Liberty

A finely-calibrated solo play of what it’s like to enter that tunnel of near-undiagnosable but very real illness. Corinne Walker’s both authoritative and quicksilver. Do catch it.


Inside

They’re live. And Orange Tree. Catch them.


Is God Is

A stunning, preternaturally timed production


Jew… ish

One of the wittiest but also truthful comedies about love, identity, sexual politics and gefilte fish I’ve seen


Last Easter

After all the uproar, it’s a quiet blinder.


Leaves

This haunting 45-minute tale is a superb small gem from Jermyn Street’s Footprints Festival.


Leopoldstat

Stoppard’s written out his theatrical testament. Outstanding.


Little Wimmin

An adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel Little Women by all-female performance art collective Figs in Wigs


Living Newspaper #3 Royal Court Theatre

Hot off Sloane Square a team of writers, actors and creatives twist the news to truth


Living Newspaper #4

We need this. Watch.


Living Newspaper #5

Like all the Royal Court’s Living Newspaper series, we need this. Watch.


Living Newspaper #6

Like all the Royal Court’s Living Newspaper series, we need this. Watch what this does with the future


Living Newspaper #7

Like all the Royal Court’s Living Newspaper series, we need this. Watch a group of young dramatists take on the future


Lockdown, Taboo and You

Four fine lockdown plays on zoom


Lockdown, Taboo and You 2

Another five fine lockdown plays on zoom


Lone Flyer

An absorbing drama, absorbingly acted and produced.


Love in the Time of Corona

The finest drama to emerge from the pandemic


Mac and More

A consummate, intimate homage to theatre


Macbeth

Building out of Macbeth a recurring epic of structural violence not ended with one overthrow, sets the seal on this outstanding production.


Metamorphoses

The overriding sense, not surprisingly with these actors, is joy.


Metaphysicals

A cross between cheerfully-spun recital and quicksilver treasury


Mr and Mrs Nobody

A warm-hearted yet sharp-witted peek at how the Pooter half live


Music For Rooftops

On the roof, balcony and terrace, a brass extravaganza


New Moon Monologues April

As we saw in March, don’t be lulled by friendly colours and fluffy fonts. Queens of Cups again proves they’re a company to revel with and wait for heart-stopping reveals


New Moon Monologues March

Don’t be lulled by the friendly colours and fluffy fonts. Queen of Cups is absolutely a company to watch, and its showcase productions are literally unmissable


Ode to Joyce

A gem of an incarnation.


On Arriving

On Arriving takes sixty minutes it seems we’ve been immersed in a Greek Tragedy of ninety. See it.


Once Upon a Time in Nazi-Occupied Tunisia

A profound parable for co-existence and its sometime impossibility, perpetually skewed by others’ disruptions.


Orpheus

A terrific reinvention, bringing gods and heroines up from the death of myth to an altered world.


Outside

As with Inside, Outside not only fits us, they help us to move on, and become in their modest, unassuming and utterly transcendent way, part of how we learn to.


Pandora’s Jar/Honour Among Thebes

The most educative stand-up and a thrilling presentation. Oh and bloody funny on the tragedies.


Paradise

A sleeping classic in the making


Persephone

Dazzling: wise, clever twists about choice, male determination, and consequence.


Plays for Today

A truly absorbing series. And free to stream on Soundcloud.


Pre-Raphaelites

A true Pre-Raphaelite gem-lit recital.


Public Domain

At 65 minutes it’s worth anyone’s time and emphatically money.


Push and Pull

A quietly thrilling evening, after it goes off with a bang and a bear.


Pygmalion

The most profound reinvention of this particular myth I’ve seen


Rare Earth Mettle

Absorbing. Rare Earth Mettle has found its time.


Relatively Speaking

With his new production director Robin Herford, most associated with this play, brings pace, panache, and more than a dose of Ayckbourn’s generosity of spirit


Rice

Do see this work of understated virtuosity, rich in character, substance, a shape-shifting singularity.


Romantics

As ever consummate, fine performances, and probing memorably into women Romantic poets


Romeo and Juliet

A fleet, brilliantly upending, wholly relevant take on the Verona-ready toxicity feeding male violence and young depression


Sacrament

A revelation, superbly written and acted. Comparisons have been made with A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing. I can think of no higher praise either. You must see this.


Saviour

A remarkable one-person play, performed to literal fever pitch by its creator.


Scaramouche Jones

Shane Ritchie’s phenomenal energy and slidings in and out of tongues, mesmerises.


Sci-Fi Poetry

Utterly refreshing, breaking new ground.


Shaw Shorts

A joyous, heady and oh-so-welcome return to this intimate yet high-kicking theatre. An absolute must-see.


Shook

If you’ve an appetite for exceptional new writing, just see it.


Staircase

A first-rate revival of a play that with its ostensible shock-value in aspic, reveals subversions and a clever structure so unsettling we should all look in the mirror and wince.


Statements After an Arrest under the Immortality Act

An important, scorching revival, Statements explores the limits of love in a forcing-house of oppression and racism.


Stay Awake, Jake

Once you tune in, you’ll be held all the way to Carlisle.


Sweet William

Naturally enriched by living with Shakespeare Michael Pennington unearths local habitations and names for him.


Tethered

Grab it while you can


The Fabulous Fox Sister

Michael Conley’s stunning stand-alone glows in the dark


The Game and Love and Chance

If you ever need a kick-start to theatre, this is it.


The Girl Who Was Very Good at Lying

Andrews vividly conveys what it is to be an undone thing, someone unravelling tales to live.


The Last Five Years

The finest musical in stream-town. Don’t miss this gem.


The Lodger

Do visit this exquisite production.


The Love and War Trilogy

An enormously satisfying traversal


The Mahabharata

A dramatic sense of arrival the way the Odyssey here ended: a clash of even vaster ferocity, keening, treachery, humour, mischievousness, sacrifice and grief, joy and the agency of women.


The Normal Heart

An outstanding revival. If you see one play this autumn, make it this one.


The Odyssey

As spellbinding as Circe and Calypso in one


The Rape of Lucrece

The definitive way to experience this troublingly great, disturbingly unresolved poem


The Shock of the Old

A wryly consummate musician.


The Whole Shebang

See it again!


This Beautiful Future

Heartstopping. There’s an absoluteness here we need. We must prove desperate for it or die ourselves.


Tom Lehrer

Another sovereign tribute. Stefan Bednarczyk brings Tom Lehrer swaggering out of retirement.  


Troy Story

Again the most educative stand-up and a thrilling presentation. Oh and bloody funny on war, male sexuality and the Bechdel Test.


Twelfth Night

With Michelle Terry as Viola, one of the most touching and truthful Twelfth Nights I’ve seen.


Two Horsemen

The glaring energy of this piece can’t disguise how it strikes profundity in its funny-bone.


Vagabonds My Phil Lynott Odyssey

An original off-kilter approach to elegy, tribute and becoming yourself.


Vespertilio

Vespertilio marks Barry McStay’s emergence as a writer of distinction. Anything he writes now should be looked out for.


Walden

Amy Berryman’s Walden is a remarkable play where the earth itself’s at the cross-planet, and travellers in space have inner and outer choices.


What If If Only

Churchill’s anatomy of grief is what abides. Its emotional plangency and pulling the future open is unique.


While the Sun Shines

An outstanding revival. Again.


Wilde Without the Boy

A jewel of inhabiting


Women on War

Exemplary, revelatory.