• London’s top 10 cultural cafés

    People watching is one of the greatest pleasures a big city affords. It’s especially good when practiced from a warm corner with a flat white and a home-made cupcake. It’s even better in a location that guarantees an eclectic crowd of trendsters, students, tourists, quirky arty types, and re

  • Stuff As Dreams Are Made On

    What more can there possibly be to say about Shakespeare?

    This was the ignoble thought I carried into the British Museum’s much-hyped autumn blockbuster, Shakespeare: staging the world. Frankly, Shakespeare exegesis suffers from the same paradox as the diet industry. Every commentator ends

  • Theatreland’s celebrity ladder

    TThe moment Stephen Fry utters his first lugubrious syllable in Tim Carroll’s Twelfth Night at The Globe, a frisson runs through the assembled crowd. By now, surely no nation on earth remains untouched by repeats of QI, and a good number of tourists and Londoners alike will have braved the Oct

  • The Tricycle’s new wheels

    Becoming the artistic director of any well-known theatre is always a tough gig. With Josie Rourke only one season into her tenure at the Donmar, Vicky Featherstone replacing Dominic Cooke as the first female AD of the Royal Court, and Greg Doran finally shouldering the seriously heavy mantle at

  • The luxury of a one-gulp read

    Last Friday, I spent eight hours reading The Great Gatsby – in Soho, in the dark, along with six hundred or so other skiving bibliophiles. This extraordinary experience, during which every single word of the novel was narrated on the stage of the Noel Coward theatre in an indefinable hybrid

  • Video design grows up

    London’s new smash musical Singin’ In The Rain has more than its fair share of memorable moments. And although the scene where Don Lockwood (Adam Cooper) joyfully splashes his way across the waterlogged stage wins out on feelgood factor, the funniest is the screening of Lockwood and his co

  • Scary Christmas shows

    It was the blow job joke that did it.

    Admittedly, the RSC’s new winter show, The Heart of Robin Hood, had signalled from the start that we weren’t in for wholesome derring-do amid dappled sunshine. Within the first few minutes our ungallant hero had shot dead a monk with an arrow through the

  • Hamlet @ Young Vic


    Ian Rickson’s new Hamlet at the Young Vic contained a lot of firsts for me. It was the first time I’ve been scared in the ghost scene. Thefirst time I’ve felt genuine danger in the Players’ mouse-trap play. The first time I’ve believed that Hamlet was a neuron-flick from suicide, not j

  • Are you ready to be a member?

    When it comes to London arts and culture, membership is a rather fraught concept. On one hand it seems inimical to the spirit of the place. Our city is renowned for its eclectic inclusivity; a spirit evinced both bottom-up, in the vibrant street culture, and top-down, with the government’s com

  • Uncovering Shakespeare’s contemporaries

    There’s a brilliant man strutting his stuff on the Southbank this summer. He’s a shrewd, witty Brit who swoops through time and space uncovering evil and rewarding virtue; however, he is eternally condemned to dwell in the shadow of his travelling companion, an eloquent magician of universal

  • Theatre embraces old age

    Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane, currently running at the Young Vic, is a feast of quotable lines and memorable scenes. But of all the reasons why this 1996 play consistently charms audiences and press alike – the black wit, the flashes of gore, the beautifully observed detai

  • The Centaur and the Animal @ Sadlers Wells

    I didn’t have many expectations about The Centaur and The Animal. What is one supposed to expect from a show that purports to combine French ‘equestrian theatre’ with one of Japan’s greatest masters of butoh?

    OK, probably not jazz hands.

    Now, I am the sort of girl who regularly drags my reluct