“If space flight gets to the point that it’s like jet travel, I’m definitely there. It may just be we actually can’t get very far. But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try." Michael Chabon
Theatre
An unfailing life

An unfailing life

On 29 April 1937 Virginia Woolf read one of her texts on the radio, the only recording of her voice known to have survived from a total of three BBC radio broadcasts. This highly introspective essay on the craftsmanship of writing was entitled ‘Words Fail Me’; four years later, almost to the day, Woolf would...
Forever Neverland

Forever Neverland

Sally Cookson’s Peter Pan at the National Theatre is an exuberant steampunk pyjama party, exploring grown-up themes of abandonment, jeopardy, loneliness and despair. Cookson thrusts Wendy Darling (Madeleine Worral) centre-stage, as her story arcs from wonder to understanding and impending adulthood, while Paul Hilton’s petulant Peter, in his outgrown green suit and arrested adolescence, remains...
A night in the barn

A night in the barn

David Hare’s The Red Barn, his latest sell-out play at the National Theatre, is a bold adaptation of Maigret creator Georges Simenon’s hitherto obscure novel Le Main, which is also now released by Penguin Classics in a new translation. In the depth of winter in 1950s Connecticut, Donald and Ingrid Dodd (Isabel in the novel)...
No end in sight

No end in sight

Sunset at the Villa Thalia by Alexi Kaye Campbell. Dorfman/National Theatre “Decision time. Have you chosen hope or fear?” says one of the characters in Alexi Kaye Campbell’s brilliant new play. That character is a forty-something American known simply as ‘Harvey’ and played electrifyingly by Ben Miles. Harvard man extraordinaire, US State Department ‘floater’, man...
In praise of evanescence

In praise of evanescence

A sense of bemused confusion and intrigued curiosity is the audience’s first impression of David Zinn’s set for Annie Baker’s The Flick, currently at the National Theatre following a strong and successful season in New York, where it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. There are seats on either side of the space that ought...
About a girl

About a girl

Annie Ryan’s acclaimed stage adaptation of Eimear McBride’s 2014 Baileys Prize winning novel A Girl is a Half-formed Thing has begun its sold-out run at the Young Vic. The 80-minute multi-voiced monologue performed by Aoife Duffin reveals the thoughts and experiences of a physically and psychologically damaged young woman. It’s a triumphant and devastatingly intimate...
A small wonder

A small wonder

They say that good things come in small packages, and W11 Opera’s current production of Eliza and the Swans, a sparkling retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Wild Swans, is certainly a glorious thing on the small stage of the POSK Theatre in Hammersmith, which for two nights transforms into the great world of fairy...
Not a girl, alas

Not a girl, alas

Our times are times of tremendous change, maturation and unique creative vibrancy for the theatre. Productions have multidimensionality, a plurality of voices and of centres of balance which enthrals us, inspires us, truly lures us to share in the dramatic experience, be more and more an integral, engaged part of a stage that is no...
Shakespeare's exiles

Shakespeare’s exiles

A tempestuous and disproportionate furore erupted in the media after Benedict Cumberbatch used stronger terms than usually expected to entreat the audience at a recent production of Hamlet at the Barbican to show support for the refugees arriving on Europe’s shores. The actor’s reaction, after being presented with a CBE by the Queen for his...
Opening night at Shakespeare’s Globe

Opening night at Shakespeare’s Globe

The Time Travel Handbook offers eighteen exceptional trips to the past, transporting you back to the greatest spectacles in history. You can join Henry VIII at the Field of the Cloth of Gold; march on Versailles with the revolutionary women of Paris; sail with Captain Cook to Tahiti and Australia; hang out at Xanadu with...