With its wife-beating antihero and early dramatic climax, it’s no mean feat to make ‘Carousel’ a satisfying experience. Opera North’s revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most operatic musical is richly orchestrated and vibrant – even if it doesn’t capture all of its darker edges. An impressive set featuring a lightbulb-lit … Continue Reading Carousel

The Revenger’s Tragedy

The engineered cliffhanger that ends the first half of this fast-paced, blackly funny production isn’t followed by a ‘duff duff’, but it could be. This is Jacobean tragedy via ‘EastEnders’ – and it works. Thomas Middleton’s lurid, camp tale of a man’s elaborate revenge on the duke who murdered his … Continue Reading The Revenger’s Tragedy

The Great Gatsby Musical

F Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic novel about 1920s America continues its 2012 onslaught on the British stage with this musical adaptation. Don’t panic about people singing about hit-and-runs though; it’s handled more subtly than that. But perhaps inevitably, some of the book’s desolate beauty and power is missing. Linnie Reedman has … Continue Reading The Great Gatsby Musical

Julius Caesar

‘Julius Caesar’ is a harder sell as an outdoor family show than ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, which Principal Theatre Company is staging in Coram’s Fields on alternate days. In response, director Paul Gladwin has put everything in modern dress and upped the comedy quotient. We get football-style chants at Caesar’s … Continue Reading Julius Caesar

The Fear of Breathing

The Finborough is keeping time with real life in this harrowing verbatim piece, knitted together from secret interviews conducted in Syria by journalists Paul Wood and Ruth Sherlock and director Zoe Lafferty. A clamour of voices – including a hotel owner, a radio DJ, a student activist and members of … Continue Reading The Fear of Breathing

Ten Billion

think we’re fucked.” That’s Professor Stephen Emmott’s stark conclusion at the end of Ten Billion, which reveals in fascinating and horrifying ways the true nature of the damage we have inflicted on our climate in the past 300 years. Ten billion is the estimated world population by the end of the century … Continue Reading Ten Billion

The Trojan War and Peace

The Scoop’s sunken amphitheatre is a natural fit for Phil Willmott’s ambitious adaptation of Aeschylus’s ‘Oresteia’ trilogy, the latest in Steam Industry Theatre’s annual series of free outdoor shows. The sequence kicks off with the child-friendly ‘The Trojan Horse’, which makes a song and dance of the siege of Troy … Continue Reading The Trojan War and Peace

Blue Remembered Hills

This adaptation of the 1979 Dennis Potter TV play (which starred Helen Mirren) gives us a childhood haunted by the Second World War and the spectre of adulthood. Storm clouds loom over the blue remembered hills of A.E. Housman’s Shropshire Lad as the actions of a group of seven-year-olds lead … Continue Reading Blue Remembered Hills

Blue Remembered Hills

Interior (Natasha Tripney): A thicket of skeletal trees made from scaffolding poles painted a jarring shade of blue forms the backdrop to Anna Ledwich’s stage adaptation of Dennis Potter’s television play. The cast, playing seven year olds, clamber and scramble across these metal branches; they swing by their arms and drop … Continue Reading Blue Remembered Hills

The Dark Side of Love

Red balloons litter the floor like bloodied, deflated hearts; knives are thrust into stomachs again and again; a couple dance with need and disgust; and we watch like voyeurs. The party is over in this splintered vision of love, staged in the bowels of the Roundhouse as part of the … Continue Reading The Dark Side of Love


Mike Batistick’s play about identity crisis among ‘the working poor’ has some sharp lines and could be interesting in the right hands. But this lacklustre production does it no favours. Hard-up Big Mac addict Wendell (Craig Kelly) is struggling to provide for his pregnant wife, Lina, while trying to rid … Continue Reading Chicken