|Weekly review roundup: 3 March 2012|
|Most reviewers saw the debut play by 26-year-old actor-turned-playwright Luke Norris, Goodbye to All That at the Royal Court Upstairs, as a sign of a rising talent. His 3.7-star average (from six reviewers) was enough to get best new opening of the week, and he got four-stars from big names such as Michael Billington (Guardian), who said Norris wrote “with rare perception” about his chosen subject: “not just the right of old folk to an emotional life, but also the fact that love can take contradictory forms.”
In the play, a grandson discovers his grandfather has fallen in love with another woman, and tries to get him to go back to being the grandfather he always imagined. Beyond the script, Billington also called the production “beautifully acted” and said Simon Godwin directed “with deft economy.” (full Guardian review) Runs to 17 March.
The Gilbert and Sullivan comic operetta Patience, on at the much-loved Union Theatre, also pulled a 3.7-star average from four reviewers. The G&S satire of Oscar-Wildean frippery is delivered by an all-male cast, who “infuse the nonsensical story with camp flourish,” says Sam Marlowe in her four-star Time Out review. “The falsetto singing soars effortlessly, and every performance is endowed with idiosyncratic detail.”(full Time Out review) Runs to 10 March.
The Bush Theatre hosts a touring production by Ishy Din, inevitably described by reviewers as an “Oldham cab-driver-turned-playwright,” called Snookered. The play tells the story of five Muslim men who come together on the anniversary of their friend’s death for a bit of pool and lots of drinking. It garnered only three stars from everyone who saw it, and while none of the five reviewers expressed any real vitriol, neither were they terribly engaged, unfortunately for those of us who love to see everything the Bush puts on do well. Michael Coveney (What’s On Stage) said “In many ways it’s a fairly conventional dramatic construct, and not all of the dialogue is consistently sharp.” (full What’s On Stage review) Runs to 24 March.
The heavily-advertised Zach Braff play, All New People, is apparently dreadful, pulling a two-star average from seven reviewers. Libby Purves (Times) pulled no punches in her one-star review, calling it “the most aimless, pointless, immature play I have ever seen” while Ian Shuttleworth (FT) also gave one star to a “spectacularly misjudged drama” marked by “extreme lackadaisicality, as if on the assumption that critics and punters alike will jump through hoops to accommodate Braff” – and advises we do no such thing. (Full Times review; Full FT review). Booked to 28 April, but watch this space.