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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: The Proposal/The Bear translated by Stephen Mulrine

Elaine Larkin’s production is all of a piece and like all original readings asks of Chekhov what he wants. Larkin also makes demands on her actors they mostly cope very well with, and two excel in: though some of Chekhov’s subtleties – they exist even here – are bleached out. Firmly recommended though.


Review: Educating Rita

Even if you’ve seen this play, know the film, get a fresh education in masterly acting and see this.


Review: Dead Dad Dog

McKay is even-handed, and very funny. And don’t you just love a ghost in 1985 who’s never heard of Margaret Thatcher?


Review: Imposter 22

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


Review: Pygmalion

What this production gives, in its hovering over periods, is a technocratic gloss on Shaw’s optimism and female agency. That optimism and agency though is why this play continually fascinates. Not because of the mechanics of accent, or even social mobility, but sheer release of human potential. In Patsy Ferran’s Eliza that transformation’s palpable.


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: Billy and The Situation

The show portrays Billy 'Fyre Festival' McFarland and Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino's time as cellmates when they were locked up for fraud in a New York state penitentiary.


Review: Life With Oscar

Cohen plays an impressive array of characters, from his own parents to the Mexican model of the Oscar statuette Emilio Fernandez.


Review: The Impresario

A light Opera which touches upon big ambitions in a perfect and evocative rendering of a long forgotten time.


Review: Shortlist

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


Review: Colleen Lavin: Do The Robots Think I’m Funny

“ Murderbot is going to asses my performance,” says Lavin at the top of the show, “And then you’re going to decide if you care.” At least in this case, the robot did find Colleen Lavin to be very funny. I have to say I agree.


Review: Shakespeare in Love

You’ll forget the film; you might even forget any staged version of Lee Hall’s in the West End. The mystery’s in the ensemble, the production, its bewitching leads Lewis Todhunter and Melissa Paris. With Claire Lewis’ direction, Michael James’ music, and Graham Brown’s movement direction to the fore, it’s a mighty reckoning in a little room – seamlessly transferred to an ampitheatre.


Review: Gerry Carroll-Young

At age 70, Gerry Carroll-Young is bringing his clown comedy to entertain Fringe audiences.


Review: Furious

Daly is the Pied Piper of Edinburgh – Enchanting, witty, interactive and relatable. A one woman show that pokes fun at satirical characters from her past!


Review: Bill’s 44th

Relatable. Joyous. Everyone needs a Bill in their life!


Review: Arc: Amy Rosenthal Birth, Alexis Zegerman Marriage, Craig Ryan Death

This 65 minutes takes you on a traversal of human, not simply Jewish experience, out of all proportion to its length. One of the highlights of the latter dog-days, or as here, the long night of the hamster. Three leading playwrights showcased by Emanate, which in just two years has shown how essential it already is, how indispensable it can become.


Review: Be My Guest

A funny and charming (with attitude) search for self-acceptance.


Review: Runaway

A fascinating tale of searching for home in a city that is a foreign land.


Review: Meat Boy

A hilarious tale of revenge, nut allergies and how not to play a recorder.


Review: Indoor Kids

An interesting story of two next door neighbours who became the very best of friends.


Review: Nicola Macri: Single Entendre

Macri’s performance is warm and inviting, and although her arguments are made intelligently and with plenty of back-up, it never feels like a lecture as much as a chat with a pal who occasionally dances around as the Spectre of Sex, here to ruin every conversation with its ubiquity.


Review: Alba

A balanced take on the effects of the referendum, delivered with plenty of heart.


Review: The Booth

Clashing egos and back stage shenanigans


Review: The Ruffian on the Stair and Funeral Games

Joe Orton’s The Ruffian on the Stair and Funeral Games come to the Lantern Theatre for four performances. This in-house double bill of one-acters is directed by Daniel Finlay and Mark Burgess respectively. A fitting end to the Lantern’s extraordinary week


Review: Bowjangles: Dracula in Space

The stakes are high, as a talented string quartet encounter Dracula, with tremendously entertaining shenanigans aplenty


Review: A Good Panto Die Hard

The alchemy required to create this panto/action/comedy/musical, and get away with it, should not be underestimated.


Review: Love, Monty

A one man show of original writing from an exceptional actor playing to the strengths of yesteryear.


Review: Adults

An entertaining farce set in a brothel with quality performances by its three-strong cast


Review: Whipped Up!

A morning for baby and care giver that is a delicious treat.


Review: Shakespeare in Love

You’ll forget the film; you might even forget any staged version of Lee Hall’s in the West End. The mystery’s in the ensemble, the production, its bewitching leads Lewis Todhunter and Melissa Paris. With Claire Lewis’ direction, Michael James' music, and Graham Brown’s movement direction to the fore, it’s a mighty reckoning in a little room.


Review: Initial Consult

Despite what might seem to be heavy material, there is never a moment where you feel like you can’t laugh. It is all delivered with warmth, energy, and skill that is impossible to not be charmed by. 


Review: Green Fingers

Delightful, fun, musical stories with puppetry about being different.


Review: Jingle Street

Annoyingly catchy jingles that will linger longer than you might want


Review: Beyond the Nose

Daring and delightful clownfest from a fifty plus troupe that enages, inspires and impresses


Review: London Assurance

Dazzle might be the name of the hero’s ligging new bestie. But it’s what Dion Boucicault’s London Assurance (1841) directed by Tony Bannister with Jacqui Freeman at LLT is about. Their production though blazes midsummer laughter through dog-days. Leave the night to Shakespeare, this is high noon with a hangover. Worth several Dreams for miles around. Applause and laughter throughout this production - the liveliest I can remember for years – prove it. Do see it.


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: 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: Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay!

A cost-of-living revolution in St James Street? You’d better believe it as Triada Theatre kick off the weekend with Dario Fo’s 1974 Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! at the Lantern Theatre. Superb, energised theatre, rough occasionally, but mostly very-well performed, imaginatively staged, rapturously received. Now get out on the streets.


Review: London Assurance

Dazzle might be the name of the hero’s ligging new bestie. But it’s what Dion Boucicault’s London Assurance (1841) directed by Tess Gill at BLT is about. And it’s what this production does. Gill’s production though blazes midsummer laughter. Leave the night to Shakespeare, this is high noon with a hangover. Worth several Dreams for miles around. A must-see.


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: Viking 9-5

What can being in a game-show and acting as a Viking teach a 20-something man about life? A fact and fun-filled story written and performed by Tom Draper.


Review: LULU

Where's Lulu? Tricks and treats - A great combination of mime and acrobatics!


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.