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The Ballet Boyz, Sadler's Wells, London
Alina Cojocaru, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

If you had to sum up the career of William Trevitt and Michael Nunn in a single word, audacity would do it. Ever since they dumped their safe, salaried jobs with the Royal Ballet, the duo have dared more and more. While it was fine and noble to want to take modern ballet to places such as Leicester and Aberdeen, it was hardly a new idea. It took their particular nerve to pull it off, lifting the mask to show audiences the gritty reality, the blood, sweat and blisters that go into putting new dance on stage. The risk was that exposure would kill the magic. In fact, it had the opposite effect. The self-deprecating video diaries threaded through the Ballet Boyz' live shows have made men want to be them, women want to marry them, mums want to mother them, and everyone love them to bits.

Inside Reviews

So Close To Home, Circus Parade, Brighton (Rated 3/ 5 )

Friday, 16 May 2008

In So Close to Home, Robert's life has been tainted by his father's absence. Divorced and struggling to cope with alcoholism, his fear of abandonment prompts those around him to do just that. Now, just as he is about to open his own restaurant, his son Sean, a cocky youth, announces that he's going to live with his mother. As if that's not enough, Robert's father has turned up looking for reconciliation – and speaking with a ghastly faux-American accent.

An Infinite Line, The Basement, Brighton (Rated 3/ 5 )

Friday, 16 May 2008

The Brighton Festival may pride itself on being an event of national standing but, in terms of its themes and preoccupations, it's still very much a local affair. Over the past few years we have seen performances taking place in an abandoned Art Deco hotel; in the bowels of the town hall; under the stage of the Theatre Royal; and even in a public lavatory. This year, the theatrical innovators Fevered Sleep, led by the artist and writer David Harradine, have chosen a windowless basement for their latest work. Not the most prepossessing of surroundings, but it's a show that could only take place in Brighton.

The Deep Blue Sea, Vaudeville Theatre, London (Rated 3/ 5 )

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Premiered in 1952, The Deep Blue Sea is the finest play by Terence Rattigan and a perceptive drama about a relationship where both parties suffer because of an inequality of passion. Terence Rattigan had personal experience of this: the suicide of a former male lover spurred him to composition, and by reinventing the situation as a doomed heterosexual affair, he created one of the great female roles of the modern repertoire.

First Night: The Good Soul Of Szechuan, The Young Vic Theatre, London

Thursday, 15 May 2008

The Young Vic scored a critical hit last year with the Big Brecht Fest, a season of short plays that showcased unfamiliar facets of Marxism's favourite dramatist and proved it's occasionally possible to put "Brecht" and "knockabout fun" in the same sentence.

That Face, Duke of York's, London (Rated 4/ 5 )

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Polly Stenham must be (in roughly equal parts) the envy, despair and inspiration of fledgling dramatists. She wrote That Face when she was 19. She scooped three awards after the premiere at the Royal Court. And, with this transfer to the Duke of York's, she's the youngest dramatist to hit the West End in nearly 50 years. It can't make it any easier for young fellow-playwrights that this runaway success is richly deserved. That Face is a razor-sharp dissection of a dysfunctional upper-middle-class family that achieves a rare balance of raw emotion and knowing, black comedy.

Boris Godunov, Warwick Arts Centre, Warwick (Rated 4/ 5 )

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Most people know the story of Boris Godunov only through Mussorgsky's opera. Thanks to Declan Donnellan and Russian company Cheek by Jowl, we now have a rare chance to experience Pushkin's original 1825 play. In a thrilling modern-dress version, it emerges as a mordant commentary on the instabilities of power and the repetitive nature of tyranny, and it crackles with edgy, topical relevance.

Funny Girl, Minerva Theatre, Chichester (Rated 4/ 5 )

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Can you do Funny Girl without Barbra Streisand? As Angus Jackson's supremely intelligent and sensitive production shows, the answer is yes, yes, and yes some more. Though Streisand's image is intimidatingly welded to the show that made her a star, that chilly egomaniac was never good casting as Fanny Brice, a performer so lovable, so nakedly vulnerable that not laughing at her jokes would have been like spitting in your mother's soup.

Ballet Boyz Greatest Hits!, Sadler's Wells, London (Rated 3/ 5 )

Monday, 12 May 2008

Over seven years, Ballet Boyz William Trevitt and Michael Nunn have built an adventurous company, focused on new work. Their range and ambition has been admirable. Characteristically, even this Greatest Hits! programme sneaks in a little new work, alongside a group of past successes.

Henry VI, Parts 1, 2 and 3
Richard III, Roundhouse, London
(Rated 4/ 5 )

Monday, 12 May 2008

The procession of bloodstained ghosts that began in Michael Boyd's previous tetralogy for the Royal Shakespeare Company grows in number and pace in this, and some of them are angry. The murdered Duke of Gloucester hovers over the deathbed of his old rival, Beaufort, and strings him up. The howling bishop rises heavenwards, trailing a crimson coverlet, his terror and agony suggesting that he is really going in the opposite direction.

Preview: Jane Eyre, Peacock Theatre, London

Monday, 12 May 2008

The London Children's Ballet is set to bring Charlotte Brontë's masterpiece, Jane Eyre, to London's West End. This adaptation, performed by 54 rising stars between the ages of nine and 15, follows the young orphan Jane's bittersweet journey from her bleak time at the charity school, Lowood, through to her tender relationship with Mr Rochester.

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