Neighbourhood Watch

Alan Ayckbourn’s brand of Little Britain social comedy has wrapped itself around many subjects over the years. Here, directing as well as writing, he tackles a Big Society-ish world with disarming wit. When a garden gnome is lobbed through a window, the Daily Mail-inflamed residents of Bluebell Hill Development take … Continue Reading Neighbourhood Watch

Bette and Joan

The career-long feud between Joan Crawford and Bette Davis is the stuff of cinematic legend, blending seamlessly with the schlocky pleasures of their only film together, 1962′s Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Its tale of deranged sibling rivalry between two faded child stars and the stories dogging its production have made it … Continue Reading Bette and Joan

Mary Rose

Matthew Parker’s version of this ghost story by JM Barrie is often mournfully beautiful, capturing the play’s dark swell of loss and need. It’s 1919 and Harry has returned to his family home after years abroad and time in the army. But the Sussex house, although locked up, is not … Continue Reading Mary Rose

A Clockwork Orange

Why bother adapting Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange after Kubrick? The author wasn’t happy with the film but as Stephen King’s dismal TV version of his own novel The Shining demonstrates, faithful doesn’t equal definitive. Add to the mix the tabloid scaremongering about copycat killings that saw Kubrick ban his film from being shown … Continue Reading A Clockwork Orange

Going Dark

Sound&Fury’s innovative new production plunges us into darkness to connect the vastness of the night sky with our lives, loves and ways of seeing the world. Sometimes the lines are a little too obviously drawn; but ultimately this cosmic exploration of human loss and the power (and necessity) of imagination … Continue Reading Going Dark

The Summer House

Three men – two doctors and one stranger – fret over their career paths and ponder dormer windows, while sniping at each other like children and trying to achieve the impossible task of seeming macho by getting pissed in a hot tub. This collective effort from Will Adamsdale, Neil Haigh, … Continue Reading The Summer House

Sex with a Stranger

While the BAC revisits Homer’s The Odyssey care of Paper Cinema, Trafalgar Studios’ latest production also tells the story of an epic journey. But instead of gods and monsters, Adam (Russell Tovey) and Grace (Jaime Winstone) must contend with sub-zero temperatures, night buses, taxis and their utter mismatch on the … Continue Reading Sex with a Stranger

Shallow Slumber

Ex-social worker Moira radiates defeat. Limp-shouldered, her grey dressing gown hangs loosely from her as she clutches a mug of tea and looks with deadened eyes at Dawn, the young woman recently released from prison who is asking tearfully and increasingly angrily why she “won’t fucking help” her. “Because you … Continue Reading Shallow Slumber

Stacy

The title of Jack Thorne’s deceptively simple one-man play of 2007 – the most recent revival of which has transferred to London following a critically acclaimed run at last year’s Edinburgh Festival – is a neat bit of misdirection. We never meet the eponymous Stacy; we only encounter her through … Continue Reading Stacy

Huis Clos

In today’s world of reality TV and instant celebrity, Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1943 vision of a place of damnation in which one of the greatest torments is that there are no mirrors feels chillingly prescient. “Hell is other people” when their faces, distorted by lust, fear or self-deception, are the only … Continue Reading Huis Clos

Guys and Dolls

The Fringe’s recent winning streak of musical adaptations continues into 2012 with this raucously fun version of the enduring 1950 Broadway hit by Frank Loesser, Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. Director Racky Plews proves that less is more, eschewing the razzmatazz of other revivals to make a virtue of the … Continue Reading Guys and Dolls