Viewing all posts by Michael Reffold


Come into my world: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Apollo Theatre

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time hurtles towards you at a rate of knots, rather like the tube train that marks protagonist Christopher’s first adventure on his own in the terrifying big-wide world. It's a production that lays everything out bare on a stark stage, serving as the perfect cross between classroom and playground: the characters become part of the set, appearing through unexpected doors in the walls of a massive, blackboard-like canvas. Read more →

Searching for Watt: Barry McGovern in Watt at the Barbican

You’d be forgiven for thinking we've perhaps seen all there is to see of the acclaimed Irish playwright Samuel Beckett. After all, there have been a myriad Vladimirs and Estragons left Waiting for Godot, and Krapp’s Last Tape must surely count as overplayed by now. Just when it seemed like there may be nothing new to discover in Beckett's work, along comes the frighteningly talented Barry McGovern to breathe new dramatic life into some less likely source material. Read more →

All That Glitters: The Great Gatsby at Wilton’s Music Hall

If there’s one thing that the creative team at Wilton’s Music Hall get right with their adaptation of this most slippery of novels, it's in the way that they capture that sensation of being borne back into the past. This hidden gem of a venue, nestled into the backstreets of Aldgate, fits the era to a tee, with its series of connected rooms transformed beautifully into a 1920s club. It’s helped along by the cast and crew of ushers, all decked out in period costume and interacting (at times a little unconvincingly) with the audience before, during and after the show. When I found myself caught in the act of scribbling in my reviewer’s notebook by actor Connor Byrne in the guise of a 20s policeman, I rather dangerously claimed to be a Russian spy. Read more →

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”: The Judas Kiss at The Duke of York’s Theatre

Sometimes an actor inhabits a role so completely, so convincingly, that for the duration of a performance you really do believe you’re watching a different person. One such performance belongs to the rightly acclaimed Rupert Everett in his impersonation of Oscar Wilde in David Hare’s The Judas Kiss. Read more →

Pinter’s Pest Control: Old Times at the Harold Pinter Theatre

Old Times, first performed in 1971, is a prime example of Pinter’s ability to create characters who are riveting, engaging an audience’s full attention despite not a great deal happening on stage. In this three-hander examining the relationship between a married couple and a mutual female “friend”, Pinter expertly forges an edge-of-your-seat narrative even though very little actually takes place. Read more →

Letting Slip the Dogs of War: Julius Caesar at the Donmar Warehouse

The current production of Julius Caesar at the Donmar Warehouse is a curious creature. In what could be seen as a move specifically designed to court controversy, director Phyllida Lloyd has assembled a formidable cast of women to portray testosterone-filled Ancient Romans in one of Shakespeare’s most male-heavy plays. This production was a talking point from its origins onwards, sparking heated debate about how sacrilegious it was to mess around with the Bard like this, and prompting rumbles of disbelief that the actors would be able to pull it off at all. Read more →