Preview: Gabe Day

The science of previewing is no more a science than augury. Especially if, like Gabe Day, the play has profited from two rehearsals only. A wrinkled, newborn baby is dangled before the soothsayer; prophetic words must be proclaimed. Gabe Day, the brainchild of Rory Platt from Trinity, is thankfully not still-born but very much alive […]

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Review: London Assurance

Light and fun. This year’s Merton garden play brings the ludicrous frivolity of the 19th century nobility to life in a slick adaption of Boucicault’s play. The script itself, relying much on subtle echoes to Austin, Wilde and Shakespeare, may not be for everyone. But you don’t have to be a lover of the world […]

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Review: The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice is perhaps the most unsuitable play for an outdoor Shakespeare festival. How does one capture the dark underbelly of city life on an English summer’s day surrounded by verdant pastures? Well, director Lucinda Dawkins’ answer was to start at eight and hope it gets dark in time for the trial scene. […]

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Review: Alice in Wonderland

Trinity Lawn’s Alice in Wonderland is not to be confused with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which is quite a different story altogether. It is not a straightforward adaptation of either of Carroll’s Alice books, borrowing from both but pitching the heroine as a peculiarly childish sixteen year old making her debut. Tom Elliot’s play centres […]

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Review: Philoctetes

Natalie York’s production of one of Sophocles’ tragically underperformed plays, Philoctetes, fails to capture most of what makes the original so engaging. The play as Sophocles wrote it is about Odysseus and Neoptolemus (Achilles’ son) who have been sent to fetch the injured Philoctetes, left on Lemnos before the start of the Trojan War because […]

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Review: Dr Faustus

Christopher Marlowe’s most famous play, Doctor Faustus, sees the eponymous antihero sell his soul in a quest for power and knowledge. By the end of this performance I was almost willing to sell my soul for it not to have rained. Unfortunately for Christ Church’s unpolished production, the atmospheric setting of the grandeur of the Christ […]

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Preview: Middle England

Few topics heighten emotions and evoke hysteria as much as the mention of a missing child. Think of Madeleine McCann or Shannon Matthews – issues of parenting and child safety in middle-class Britain have never been more topical. Middle England tries to encapsulate all of these issues, but does so through an unrelenting focus on the […]

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Preview: Dr Faustus

Demons, devils, and black magic; Marlowe’s Faustus is no light-hearted comedy. It’s ambitious stuff for students to undertake, and the play’s grandiose themes and supernatural setting create a lot of potential for disaster. Thankfully, this production has a strong lead, careful and meticulous direction, and will be staged at the magnificent Christ Church cathedral gardens […]

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Review: The Seagull

Chekhov’s play The Seagull can easily be staged as a Puccini-esque 19th Century melodrama moving between affected solo arias and perfectly orchestrated chorus scenes  (as the unfortunately successful 1898 production by Stanislavsky demonstrated). Luckily for Chekhov (and for us) Blanche McIntyre’s production makes none of these mistakes. At first sight, the play revolves around a […]

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