Review: Stitches

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


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: Oliver!

You’re not going to see anything this special in most (if any) revivals, however luxury-cast. In stripping-back, then regrowing a complete ensemble with even lesser songs, this is the most complete Oliver! we’re likely to see.


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: Silence in Court

A fascinating social experiment where the audience literally judges the quality of performances right before our eyes.


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: Same Team

A raw exposition of what it is like being left without a roof until you find hope in a collective heart.


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: 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: Tom’s Midnight Garden

An absolutely first-rate ensemble and they tell the story with all the wide-eyed wonder of a real enchantment, beyond Christmas, beyond, perhaps time. A gem.


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: Pitchfork Disney

Unique - and compelling - with high-calibre acting throughout.


Review: Thief

A searing solo performance of the life of a man struggling to survive in the worst of circumstances.


Review: The Good Dad (A Love Story), The Mitfords

Now a superb double-bill, and makes a compelling case for these two shows to be yoked together, with their intertwining of family, sisterhood, abuse and terrible consequences.


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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Humble Boy

A revelatory production of what we must now think of as a small masterpiece, where Ayckbourn and Chekhov echoes recede to Charlotte Jones’ uniqueness. Jones really deserves her place in the forefront of contemporary dramatists. Humble Boy confirms its own place, pivotal to her oeuvre which has grown more robustly and cleverly than the flora or indeed bees that ululate to the end.


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: Birthright

There’s no denying Birthright’s sheer power, authenticity and perennial struggle played out between natural justice and lagging custom. It’s the breakthrough work of a masterly writer, whom only the Finborough look set to revive, as they have here. We’d be impossibly poorer without the Finborough.


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: The Taming of the Shrew

A slowly evolving, involving reading. Alex Louise can certainly develop this to a full-scale production. She just needs to take care of the script’s truth, though it seems contradictory. Confidence and imagination will soon sort that.


Review: Fergus O’Donnell, Losing the Plot, Rebecca Frew Safe, Bernadette Cremin Painless

Erin Burbridge kept tech sound and lighting effectively sashaying throughout, and tre propsl, particularly in the latter piece, attractive and undistracting. In just three months work, with term-breaks, this course run and directed by Burgess tonight has produced something vital. It needs celebrating and its best work a swift life in full-scale productions.


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: Makeshifts, Realities, Honour Thy Father

Finborough’s absorbing ReDiscovered season continues with a triple-bill of plays directed by Melissa Dunne that after tonight, you might never wish to imagine apart. Of course they should transfer, be far better-known, and at least they’re packed out - grab a ticket if you possibly can. We can be grateful again for Neil McPherson’s curating yet another series of early 20th century revivals.


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: The Accrington Pals

Actors and director can take pride in mounting this intensely moving play, especially in the sheer flow they all bring to Act Two, blazing an arc of ever-growing tensions. It could carry anywhere. ACT did it some service, and must know 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: 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: Cheesy Cheesy Catchy Mousey

There’s surprises here you’ll discover. A superb landmark in Mark Daniels’ gifted exploration of Absurdism’s relevance. This isn’t deadly theatre, it’s quietly lethal to deathly assumptions everywhere. See it.


Review: Des Kapital

Revolutionary songs sung by a lusty audience in the heart of Hove. A revolution in itself. If you’ve any sympathy, antipathy or subversive sense of humour towards a way at laughing at history’s atrocities, and thinking there must be a better way - this is the show for you.


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: I Believe in One Bach

An absorbing, extraordinarily well-written short play on letting go of your identity, the part giving it meaning. It’s also excoriatingly funny. On a mundane level, it’s case of ‘work won’t love you back’; on another, to quote the Narrator, this work’s not a noun but a verb. In addressing how we live up to the transcendence we create for ourselves, it affirms the unanswerable. The finest new short play of the fringe.


Review: I Love Michael Ball

Alexander Millington’s I Love Michael Ball is, in the words of one director, the absolute spirit of the Fringe. That is, brilliantly oddball, in fact deranged. Millington, wholly in command, is winningly able to return us to the sanity of sheer good singing. So make a date.


Review: After All These Years

Giles Cole’s extending from one wistfully comic short to a three-act Chekhovian elegy for the dance of age, is in a defining league of its own. A superb play, it will now reach the West End.


Review: 30 and Out

It’s important Brighton welcomes such terrific all-encompassing shows such as this, sashaying hilarity and superbly-crafted storytelling with dance and poignant witness. You can’t go away a bit unchanged.


Review: Suddenly Last Summer

A flawless production, where Lawrence gives one of the three or four finest performances I’ve seen this Fringe: in other words, phenomenal.


Review: Chemistry

Chemistry is a consummate production. Yet again Sam Chittenden reminds us how theatre can punch holes into the future, partly to ensure they never happen.


Review: Brontë

This is what theatre means. BLT and Nettie Sheridan strike gold with emerging talent here, starting their professional careers. It’s to Sheridan’s choreography too we owe a seamless ensemble production. Familiar BLT names blaze with a new fire and in every way there’s synergy between physical exuberance and indelible characterisation. Outstanding.


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.


Review: A Manchester Girlhood

Julia Pascal’s A Manchester Girlhood is a rich work, a slice of generations happening. Rosie Yadid’s musical arrangements furnish the greatest amplification of this lighting-sketch of heritage, rendering soul and hope, the essence of generations.


Review: Bakkhai

The Tale of Your Times. Of Old Times. Of Times Yet To Come.


Review: A Bunch of Amateurs

Directed by Jacqui Freeman, this latest LLT offering sparkles in a heart-warming tribute to amateur dramatics, with a plot denouement as dizzying as a Shakespeare comedy. There’s not a weak link here. Indeed it’s to be hoped several newcomers will return.


Review: Havisham

As ever with Heather Alexander, this is a masterclass in acting. It’s also a masterclass in directing and technical address. The outstanding one-person show of the Fringe so far


Review: Who Is No. 1?

An outstanding script, with consummate acting. It ought to make London.


Review: The King’s Speech

Outstanding. Direction is revelatory, the musical cues from Logue’s own methods culminating on the finest single scene I’ve witnessed at BLT. Even if you’re from the Republic of Brighton and Hove, do push your way to the front for this one. A study of how a Republican humanises a man mired in the cerements of his own subjection holds lessons for us yet.


Review: Anna & Marina

Dovetailing invention and quotation triumphs. It’s a narrative of thrust and weave as well as tone. Overall it's terrific: one of Richard Crane’s very best works. If you care for gripping drama, can be drawn by hypnotic verse and superb acting, haste over to this unique hour.


Review: The Only White

A vital play that needs to seen. See it here and subsequently a well-deserved transfer or revival.


Review: Spin!

An amusing drama about a washing machine that takes a sinister turn.


Review: Mad(e)

A mind-altering experience, and in writer and director one of the most inspiring partnerships I’ve seen


Review: The Emergence Festival

A fascinating evening of well-considered works that augur well for many with a real future in the arts.


Review: The Snow Queen

A fantastic experience of their very first live performance of a vivacious and proud group of very able people.


Review: Downs With Love

A brilliant piece of social commentary which uses the right people to examine the wrong things.


Review: Lost in the Willows

As a definitive staged version of Kenneth Grahame’s life, it will certainly hold the stage in its subsequent tour.


Review: Happy Meal

A queer rom com where Millennial meets Gen Z and change is all around.


Review: It’s Not Rocket Science

A charming performance taking aim at the misogynistic orthodoxy trying to stop career trajectories reaching towards the stars


Review: I Don’t Like Mondays

A fascinating insight into one of the most controversial political topics in the US which confounds us in the UK


Review: Horse Country

A highly entertaining double act who breathe new life into this modern classic