✮ Anton Chekhov's The Seagull Regent's Park Open Air Theatre | London directed by Matthew Dunster I wonder what Stanislavski would make of this. Here his famously-accented ‘bits’ – or beats, slices of action in this oft-revived Chekhov – are accompanied by Christopher Shutt’s jarring bass drone. These moments of ominous importance, klaxons that would be more at home in a trailer for a Michael Bay film, occur countless times throughout the evening and are about as subtle as a
✮✮1/2 Rebecca Gilman's Luna Gale Hampstead Theatre | London directed by Michael Attenborough Rebecca Gilman’s Luna Gale may be set in present day Iowa, but the questions it raises – and their rankling replies – are of interest to any country with a bureaucratic responsibility for its children. The risk in accepting this culpability is the knowledge that with one false move, one slip of a vulnerable child through the net, the entire system falls apart, taking both public trust
✮✮✮✮1/2 Stephen Adly Guirgis' The Motherf**ker with the Hat National Theatre | London directed by Indhu Rubasingham The ‘C’ word here being nothing more flagrant than ‘commitment’. And yet, as words go these days, almost as controversial. Commitment to our romantic relationships, yes, and therein lies the plot – but also commitment to ourselves, to that intangible sense, barely more than a hunch, of the self that dwells somewhere between past mistakes and tentative fidelity t
✮✮✮✮✮ Tristan Bernays's Teddy Southwark Playhouse | London music Dougal Irvine directed by Eleanor Rhode Snapdragon and Theatre Bench’s production of Teddy accomplishes that rarest of things: it leaves you feeling as giddy and untethered as a teenager again. This time machine of a show, powered by fictional four-piece Johnny Valentine and The Broken Hearts, crackles with vintage chemistry as Teddy and Josie – two spunky, sparky, South London youths – embark on a fateful night
✮✮1/2 Patrick Marber's The Red Lion National Theatre | London directed by Ian Rickson "Is it illegal? Is it a bung?" talented young semi-pro footballer Jordan asks his manager as dodgy arrangements, "sweeteners," are put in place to facilitate his transfer to another club. "It's football," the gaffer replies. "It's the wild west down 'ere. Unregulated." Welcome to the world not of corrupt FIFA officials and World Cup bids but grassroots, non-league football. The common link?
✮✮ Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children Belvoir St Theatre | Sydney directed by Eamon Flack It cannot be denied that war is a part of human nature. We can certainly imagine a world with no battles, but history proves that it is in fact inevitable, that people will fight, over religion, money and land, no matter how catastrophic the results may be. We are however, resilient and optimistic, with a survival instinct that does not easily give in to threats and destruc
✮✮✮✮✮ David Ives' Venus in Fur Darlinghurst Theatre Co | Sydney directed by Grace Barnes The bedroom is not for thinking about politics, if sexual pleasures are to be had. This statement reveals the wealth of meanings that are embedded into our desires and the way we satisfy them. David Ives’ Venus In Fur is a brilliant exploration into the manifestations of our sexualities, and an examination of impulses that might run contrary to our intentions and the kinds of people we wi
✮✮✮✮ Berg's Lulu Dutch National Opera & Ballet | Amsterdam William Kentridge | Lothar Zagrosek Just who is Lulu? Frank Wedekind’s femme fatale needs a re-think if she is to work for today’s enlightened viewer – at least, so think many contemporary stage directors. For his recent Munich production, director Dmitri Tcherniakov gave audiences Lulu as a borderliner, victim of her own emotional damage. In Amsterdam, William Kentridge sees no such need for re-assessment. He takes