As You Like It & Hamlet, Shakespeare’s Globe

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It would be so much fun to be part of Michelle Terry’s ensemble cast that performs both Hamlet and As You Like It to open this year’s season and her tenure as artistic director. They’re having a great time in what are something of a return to the Rylance era of the actor-manager, but uneven pacing and a smattering of interesting but disconnected choices lead to a lack of cohesion that indicates a lack directorial voice.

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Pyar Actually, Theatre Royal Stratford East

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by Laura Kressly

Polly lives in Gravesend, has a good job at the council, a husband and two children. Life is…fine. No, really – she insists all is well. Other than a few meddling Aunties and standard marital discontent, it’s fine. Then Bali, her school boyfriend, calls her after 20 years. He’s in town, and would she like to meet for a coffee?

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H.R.Haitch, Union Theatre

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by guest critic Amy Toledano

In a time when our world seems to be headed for destruction thanks to the likes of Brexit and Trump, it is comforting to reflect on a more progressive time. Iris Theatre’s latest production H.R.Haitch does exactly this by focusing in on an typical London family at the end of 2011. Throw in some fantastic music, highly energised performances and a royal wedding, and this show entertains from start to finish.

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Isaac Came Home From the Mountain, Theatre503

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by Laura Kressly

Bobby’s a bright, enterprising young man, so when his dad demands he get a job and do something with his life other than get stoned, he does. Desperate to impress his elders but with little sense for his actions’ consequences, Bobby’s series of bad decisions leads to catastrophe. But this new play, laden with thematic complexity, cuts the story short before it has the chance to fully resonate.

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Faust, Theatertreffen

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by guest critic Maeve Campbell

On entering a seven-hour long production one might ask the following questions: will I understand the plot, will I be able to sit through it for the duration and will it be worth the plane journey, holiday costs and copious amounts of pilsner consumed over the weekend? The answers are no and no but, to the last question, a resounding yes. Directed by the controversial Frank Castorf, famously ousted as leader of the Volksbühne theatre after nearly fifteen years of service, this production is his swan-song. Castorf’s previous work has been described as ‘deliberately incoherent’, and this Faust does not disappoint.

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Returning to Reims, Theatertreffen

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by guest critic Maeve Campbell

The audience enters the Schaubuhne theatre to voyeuristically inspect the inane musings of two men, protected by the glass of a recording booth at the back of a beautifully brown, wood-panelled studio. This space provides the backdrop for an extended examination of European class politics through reading and discussion of French sociologist Didier Eribon’s memoir, a surprise best-seller in Germany last year.

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