"In my experience of writing – and of life – the frenzy of dreams and that of form always go together." Iosi Havilio
Theatre
The Talleyrand of East Africa

The Talleyrand of East Africa

“’Ullo, I am ze Breetish Consul.” My startled reaction revealed my prejudice. I didn’t cover it well. “You can’t be. You’re French!” “Eet is a long stohry. Shall we ’ave a drink?” We sat down. One by one the other members of the company came to join us, dressed in their evening casual best, and...
Peter Shaffer: An immortal life

Peter Shaffer: An immortal life

Our lives, our intellectual and emotional worlds, our humanity and imagination, owe a great, indelible debt to Peter Shaffer, for revealing to us the wonder and the dark mystery of our existence, for enhancing so starkly and so gently our knowledge of ourselves, of our history and society, its ethics, aspirations, the sheer mechanics and...
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...