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London Reviews

The Dishwashers – Richmond Theatre, London

Writer: Morris Panych Director: Nikolai Foster Reviewer: James Higgins In the basement of a high class restaurant lie a small band of manual plate scrubbers that themselves seem to exist on the fringes of society. Not for The Dishwashers the creak of machine and clunk of the automatic cleaning systems. Every single plate, bowl, ramekin, tumbler, fork, spoon and knife ...

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Each of Us – Tristan Bates Theatre, London

Writer: Ben Moor Director: Erica Whyman Reviewer: Harry Stern Ben Moor revels in language. Writing it. Performing it. Making it up. Getting his tongue and his brain around what he has created. It’s marvellous stuff. Uplifting, moving and provocative. Whether what he has created here is nihilistic or an exercise in ultimate optimism must be the audience’s privilege to determine. ...

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A Hard Rain – Above the Stag, London

Writers: Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper Director: Tricia Thoms Reviewer: Stephen Bates Taking its title from an apocalyptic Bob Dylan song, this new full-length play itself depicts the end of a world – a rotten one of prejudice, deceit and corruption – but unlike Dylan’s song, it also leads to the hope of a new dawn and a better world. ...

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Dog Days – Theatre503, London

Writer: Annie Hulley Director: Lisa Cagnacci Reviewer: Harry Stern There are some very good things about this quirky first play by Annie Hulley but its curate's egg nature gives rise to more questions than it has any answers for. There is a peculiar mish mash of writing that leaves one wondering whether, ultimately, Hulley knew what play she wanted to ...

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Rachael’s Café – Old Red Lion Theatre, London

Writer and director: Lucy Danser Reviewer: Nichola Daunton Lucy Danser’s debut play comes with a rich, factual history attached. Based on the real Rachael’s Café in the small town of Bloomington, Indiana, the play explores the experience of running an all-inclusive café cum arts space from the perspective of its owner, a trans woman named Rachael Jones. Having met Rachael ...

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The Act – Trafalgar Studios 2, London

Writers: Thomas Hescott, Matthew Baldwin Director: Thomas Hescott Reviewer: Karl O'Doherty Does anyone still speak Polari? Can anyone? It was an incredibly important dialect at a time, and now that it doesn't have to be used as a matter of necessity, it can and should be celebrated for being so fantastically outré and interesting. A few words have crossed into ...

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The Nutcracker, Moscow City Ballet – Richmond Theatre, London

Composer:PyotrTchaikovsky Director:VictorSmirnov­-Golanov Reviewer:CavelleLeigh Tchaikovsky'sTheNutcracker,isunfailinglylinkedtothegaietyofChristmas(andfortheeighty's childamongusHomeAlone).NevermindthenthatthisoneisperformedinFebruaryatthe RichmondTheatre,thoughquiteaptly,foraworkbythefamouscomposer,bytheMoscowCity Ballet. IttellsthestoryofyoungClara,whohastheultimateGodfatherinDrosselmeyer.Notonlydoeshe dressupasSantaandspoilherwithtoysatChristmas,hemakesthemcomealive.Cueamagical balletthathasenchantedadultsandchildrenalikeforoveracentury. Inacolourfulfirstscene,oneseesClara(YuliaZhuravleva)andherbrotherFritz(NinoUchava) eagerlyanticipatingChristmasday,duringaChristmasEvepartyheldbytheirfather.Enter'life andsoul'Drosselmeyer(SergeiSaliev)whomightbedescribedasTHEgodfather.Firstdressedas FatherChistmas,thenasamagicianhetreatsClaratotheNutcrackerDoll(thecharmingValeriy Kravtsov),MouseKingDoll(themenacingYaroslavAlekhnovich)andDoll(theplayfulMarina Larina)whomiraculouslyawakenclosetomidnight. Whatshouldunfoldisabewitchingfairytale,yetwhileitisn'twhollydisappointing,thisrather formattedproductionoffersnothingbywayoforiginality.Itretainsatraditionalstylethroughout, whichinitselfnobadthing.Howeveritappearstobesomewhatrepetitive,witheachscene notably similartothelast. Thefirstactisratherchaotic,withperhapstoomanyofthecorpsdeballetpresent forastage restrictedinsize.Unfortunatelytheylackedtheprecisionandsynchronisationonemight expectof suchthishighlyregardedcompany,anddonnedseeminglycheapcostumesthaton occasionwould bebetterplacedinaChristmaspanto. MorepromisewasshowninthesecondactwithiconicscenesliketheLandoftheSnowflakesand theWaltzoftheFlowers.MostenjoyablyistheLandoftheSweetswheretheaudienceis transportedtoArabia,SpainandChinainamedleyofexoticdanceperformedbyEkaterina Tokareva,EkaterinaOdarenko,ElenaKotelkinaandMikharuNishi.Assolo,pasdedeuxorpas detrois,ballerinasoftheMoscowCityBallettrulyshowtheirstrength.TheNutcrackerPrince (KanatNadyrbek),theMouseKing(TalgatKozhabaev),theFlowerFairy(LiliyaOrekhova)and againClara(Zhuravleva)alldisplayedcontrolledandgiftedtechnique,leavingtheimpression oncemorethatthecorpsdeballet,oftenstatic,weresurplustorequirements. Overallthisadaptationleavesoneunaffectedeitherway.OnefeelsthattheMoscowCityBallet hasmuchpotentialbutalittlemorecreativityandperfectionismwouldnotgounrewarded. Runsuntil2nd March (then touring)

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The Knight of the Burning Pestle – Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London

Writer: Francis Beaumont Director: Adele Thomas Reviewer: Tom Finch It isn't every day that one gets the chance to see a Jacobean meta-theatrical comedy but that is exactly what's on offer at the Globe's stunning new indoor venue, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. The much blogged complaints of sore bums caused by the wooden benches have clearly been listened to and ...

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