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John Morrison
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Understudies don't get much recognition in the theatre unless the lead actor has to withdraw for an extended period. So I'm happy to blow the trumpet for Theo Solomon, who stepped in to play Woyzeck at the Old Vic yesterday... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2017 at John Morrison
Greg Hicks mesmerises the audience for three hours with a performance that mingles sadism, misogyny, venom and flashes of humour, distilled and concentrated by the Arcola theatre's tiny stage. Mehmet Ergen's taut production allows one of our greatest Shakespearean actors... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2017 at John Morrison
This Othello is among the very best I have seen. Without star names and with no public subsidy, Andrew Hilton's Bristol-based company has a glowing reputation for concentrating on the essentials and showing that less can be more. Like Declan... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2017 at John Morrison
There aren't too many fixed rules for making theatre. Thank goodness for that. But in my experience, an alarm bell starts to tinkle when the writer of a show and the director are one and the same person. This is... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2017 at John Morrison
A lightly edited version of the letter I posted yesterday to my MP Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary. Like Theresa May and Philip Hammond, he was a Remain supporter who seamlessly switched sides after the referendum. Dear Sir Michael,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2017 at John Morrison
In many ways this is one of the very best productions I have seen of Chekhov's greatest play, which I first encountered in Chichester half a century ago. Mehmet Ergen's casting is inspired, and he allows the actors to fully... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2017 at John Morrison
When I've seen a Shakespeare play dozens of times, studied it at school and acted in a student production, there's always a risk of seeing it once too often. Will it really be funny when I see it for the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2017 at John Morrison
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This survey of Russian art’s turbulent history between 1917 and 1930 opens an extraordinary range of material, much of it familiar, but it also contains some stunning surprises. I’m fairly used to rubbing shoulders with the works of the Russian... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2017 at John Morrison
I finally caught up with a second cinema showing of the RSC's flagship production for 2016 of The Tempest, with our greatest Shakespearean actor Simon Russell Beale as Prospero. It's a triumph; I've seen him play Iago, Hamlet, Macbeth, Benedict,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2017 at John Morrison
A half-empty snowbound local cinema was the ideal place to catch a repeat NTlive showing of Pinter's masterpiece dealing with the icy wastes of dementia and the loss of memory. Of course, that's not the only way to understand No... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2017 at John Morrison
Josie Rourke's revival of Shaw's 1923 play could not be more different from the last major London production at the National Theatre in 2007. On that occasion director Marianne Elliott, with Ann-Marie Duff in the title role, showed us a... Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2016 at John Morrison
I'm not usually a fan of European-style 'director's theatre' but I'm prepared to stretch a point when the director is Ivo van Hove, whose version of A View From The Bridge at the Young Vic cleaned up at the Olivier... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2016 at John Morrison
I used to dismiss Lucy Bailey's theatrical dishes as indigestible, but she is fast turning into my Star Baker. Using an early 17th century recipe that has been out of fashion for more than a century, she has added a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2016 at John Morrison
Isango Ensemble of Cape Town is a trailblazing company that has taken opera by the hand and led it into areas it never dreamed of. From mediaeval mystery plays to Mozart's Magic Flute and Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis, Mark Dornford-May... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2016 at John Morrison
This production is a triumphant success on every level, a revival of Peter Shaffer's classic play that subtly brings it into the modern era without violating its 18th century period context. The acting is superb, and so is the music... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2016 at John Morrison
Back in June I was enthusiastic about the National Theatre's revival of Terence Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea, with Helen McCrory as Hester Collyer. Now I'm even more enthusiastic about the Arcola's production of the autobiographical play that Rattigan might... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2016 at John Morrison
The Tempest completes director Phyllida Lloyd's impressive trilogy of all-female productions, which began with Julius Caesar in 2012 and continued with Henry IV . Harriet Walter (previously Brutus and Henry IV) is once again in the lead as Prospero, with... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2016 at John Morrison
Tom Stoppard was in the audience for last night's preview of his 1974 play Travesties, and I thought he looked as delighted as the rest of us. Patrick Marber's revival at the Menier Chocolate Factory of one of his funniest... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2016 at John Morrison
Over-amplified and over-lit, this version of Shakespeare's Cymbeline at the Globe continues artistic director Emma Rice's demolition of the theatre's founding concept and the work of her two predecessors. It is hard to see what more she can do to... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2016 at John Morrison
The empty crib, the absent baby. It's a powerful dramatic symbol which many writers have used, most famously Edward Albee in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. And it's at the centre of this short but very powerful play by new... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2016 at John Morrison
Al Smith's play, now at the Gate Theatre, garnered a raft of good reviews at the Traverse in Edinburgh in August, and it's easy to see why. It's a very loose adaptation of a short story by Nikolai Gogol about... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2016 at John Morrison
Belarus Free Theatre has been established in exile in the UK for more than a decade, but their uncompromising work makes few easy concessions to charm a fickle British theatre audience. Sometimes punishingly violent, it straddles the boundary between the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2016 at John Morrison
Lear's cavalier division of his kingdom into three ranks with David Cameron's ill-thought referendum on EU membership as an example of catastrophic decision-making. Both moves are followed by political breakdown and a lot of stabbing in the back, not just... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2016 at John Morrison
Director Iqbal Khan has delivered a Macbeth packed with good acting and exciting ideas, but one whose impact is for me fatally undermined by the Globe's new policy of heavy reliance on artificial lighting and amplified sound. This is the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2016 at John Morrison
Playwright Martin McDonagh, winner of the 2015 Olivier best new play award for Hangmen, is being honoured with his own theatre festival, in which his plays will be performed non-stop for a week. But fans of his writing will have... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2016 at John Morrison