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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.


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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


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.


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.

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.


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


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.


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.

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.

Doctor Faust

If this Wanamaker is hell, you should queue for two-and-a-half hours of it.


This really is the one-stop Dracula we need.


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?


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


A revelatory Julie for our time.

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.


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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


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


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.


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.


The one to see.


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.


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.


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.


A truly thrilling piece of theatre

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.

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.


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


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.


A sensitive, potentially important addition to plays about distress.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.

Richard II

A savage anointing, a revelatory reading.

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.

Rocky Horror Show

The Rocky Horror to see.

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.


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.

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.


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.


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


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.


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.

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 Double Dealer

I doubt if there’s ever been a production as good as this.

The Dresser

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

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 Merry Wives of Windsor

Sparkling, a sassy, sexy, sure-footed revival. On its own terms, could it really be bettered?

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 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 Tell-Tale Heart

As an electric shock to schlock gothic, theatre doesn’t come much better than this.

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 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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

£¥€$ (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.