A Theatre Festival in Newfoundland

Theatre is a wonderful thing. During a three-week holiday in Canada you are in Newfoundland at a remote outport (local term for an isolated coastal settlement where people grow up with strong cultural traditions), and you come across there a…

Arthur Miller’s Playing for Time in Sheffield

Of all subjects to write a play about, life in Auschwitz must be the most difficult. Arthur Miller’s Playing for Time, originally written for television in 1980, has been bravely revived at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre. Sian Phillips as Fania Fenelon,…

UK première of Ingmar Villqvist’s Helver’s Night

All credit to the Company of Angels who, with support from the University of York and the EU Cultural Programme enterprisingly staged the UK première of  Ingmar Villqvist’s piece, Helver’s Night, at the York Theatre Royal Studio.  Villqvist is the…

Pinter’s Betrayal in York

The enduring popularity of Pinter’s plays is both intriguing and reassuring: intriguing because it is not obvious why his work which is, for the most part, elusive should  have such appeal; reassuring because it reveals that in a period when,…

A Mixed Programme by Northern Ballet

Under the artistic direction of David Nixon, the Northern Ballet have established a reputation for narrative ballet and understandably have had a great success with dance versions of such familiar tales as Cinderella, Dracula and the Three Musketeers. But once,…

Alan Bennett’s Untold Stories Staged in Leeds

It is not difficult to explain why Alan Bennett has achieved such popularity with his autobiographical writings. The very ordinariness of his humble background and the tensions that created within him as he explored the larger world of culture and…

Under Milk Wood staged by Theatre Clwyd

We all love Under Milk Wood. Why? Most obviously because of the language, the imagery, its colour and resonance; and the eccentric characters and their Welshness. But there is also here a love of life and its confrontation with death….

Sean O’Casey’s Silver Tassie at the National Theatre

The Silver Tassie has achieved fame as a play in which Sean O’Casey moved away from naturalistic settings of life in Dublin tenements during the Irish revolution to multi-styled dramatic treatment of the First World War and its impact on…

Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd at the West Yorkshire Playhouse

Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd is a masterpiece, musically tuneful and imaginative, with brilliant lyrics. It was given a first rate performance at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, with David Birrell and Gillian Bevan excelling in the two leading roles. As theatre, the…

Northern Broadsides in Erdman’s Suicide

Russian drama of the 1920s and 1930s is not easy for a British theatre company. The mixture of comedy, surrealism, social and political satire does not fit in easily with our theatrical traditions. One can understand why Deborah McAndrew decided,…

Ostrovsky’s Too Clever by Half at the Royal Exchange

The production of Ostrovsky’s play Too Clever By Half at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre was nearly brilliant. The production contained some extraordinarily funny moments and highly imaginative stagecraft, notably at the end of Act Two when the anti-hero Gloumov attempts…

LaBute’s Mercy Seat in York

The Mercy Seat by Neil LaBute is a brilliant piece and in its current production at the York Theatre Royal, superbly interpreted. To use 9/11 as the context for a penetrating  dramatic investiagtion of human identity and morality was inspired….

The Tobacco Factory in Two Gentlemen of Verona

Two Gentlemen of Verona has not a great reputation as a Shakespearian comedy. Someone once remarked that by the time you get to the second half, you realise that there are no longer any gentlemen in Verona. And, in truth,…