FringeReview UK

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FringeReview UK 2016

A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur

A first-rate revival, the best we’re likely to see though hopefully not the last of late Williams. Oakley’s hinted there’s more to revive. Meanwhile, don’t miss this legacy-changing production.


Accidental Death of an Anarchist

In a stunning New Venture Theatre production Accidental Death of an Anarchist explodes with a cast of six. Rod Lewis directs


Dick Barton and the Tango of Terror

Admirable high-quality festive fun; an excellent script well worth reviving and indeed sourcing again for others, a crack creative team particularly the musical numbers, and a cast who for the most part are at home with whiplash RP, particularly Jack Edison who’s never tongue-tied once. Enjoy, and note the extra matinees.


How the Other Half Loves

Ayckbourn’s genius shows how literally times are changing in this early masterpiece portraying a sexual liberation more pervasive than the noisier one raging all around 1969: it shows how far the revolutions has as it were penetrated. Strachan’s brilliance is so complete, so identified with this particular play, you forget how superbly founded it is.


Love’s Labour’s Lost/Much Ado About Nothing

This Love’s Labour's Lost is one of the great show-changing interpretations in Shakespeare and confirms this production as the most outstanding of this play for years. It has heart, plangency and not a little devastation. This production of Much Ado About Nothing finally grounds the play in a post-war setting it has long begged. Both the plays’ malefaction and mischievous confusion, and hectic high spirits, are given the most truthful reading of recent years. We feel we’ve permanently understood some characters in a way never before revealed.


Present Laughter

Expertly-tailored, classy and for the most part surely-pitched fare: Stephen Unwin is sure-footed too and coaxes the best from his ensemble: jewel-like precision, light-footed blocking and quotable gestures makes this a production ravishingly conscious of its superiority.


Relatively Speaking

Not a creak in this sparkling production: Liza Goddard possesses an innate sense of how this should go: straight, elegant sang-froid touched with just the right amount of welcome; Powell inhabits the higher bluster; Antony Eden pitches it just right; Lindsey Campbell exudes recently thrown-off gawkiness. Herford knows what he’s about: pace, panache, and more than a dose of Ayckbourn’s generosity of spirit, which glows here as telling the world how it was going to be.


Stewart Lee – A Room With A Stew

Aggressively inventive, inventively aggressive


The Albatross 3rd & Main

An engrossing crime comedy caper with depth


The Alchemist

Ken Nwosu’s the stand-out, and if the RSC keep up with their Jonson, productions like these go 95% of the way to creating a relish for him.


The Comedy About a Bank Robbery

The Comedy About a Bank Robbery redefines the category, by edging beyond even recent work and revealing a classic structure entering a hall of mirrors and going mad. The musical as well as general ensemble is the most remarkably timed I’ve ever seen in a theatre, and the set designs and shifts the most frantically split into milliseconds. This is an outstanding and redefining farce in every way.


The Coxcomb

Beaumont and Fletcher’s The Coxcomb is one of their finest, a sparkling yoke of two love-plots involving feminism and sexual freedom unparalleled in the period’s comedy.


The Fancies Chaste and Noble

Sub-plots in The Fancies Chaste and Noble reveal vivid parts, the dramatic language and one or two plot elements fathom the great dramatist of ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore and The Broken Heart. If Ford’s great dramas were regularly performed, people might forgive this comedy almost as much as they do Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona.


The Importance of Being Ernest

Beautifully designed and sumptuous production where the palm goes to the older cast, in this fresh and vigorous production. Look out for matching buttonholes, silks and ensemble.


Unreachable

A profoundly quizzical play about directorial and film-mogul silliness, using one liners and silliness to address these questions.