Death Takes a Holiday ★★★

Death Takes a Holiday ★★★

Magic realism in 1920s Italy makes for a haunting musical. Lush romantic stories are bread and butter to composer/lyricist Maury Yeston, and he writes scores to match. His elegiac music conjures time and place and whether the place…

Promises, Promises ★★★

Promises, Promises ★★★

The swinging 60s live up to their name in a musical with pedigree. With its stellar writing team – music and lyrics Burt Bacharach and Hal David, book Neil Simon (based on Billy Wilder’s screenplay for hit comedy The Apartment) – this musical set in early 60s New York is as lovable and eager to be loved as any pedigree pup…

Veteran’s Day ★★★★

Veteran’s Day ★★★★

Donald Freed’s 1987 cautionary tale is timely and provocative in the month of Trump’s inauguration. The theatre is a storage room in an LA veterans administration hospital. The date is 11 November 1989 – Remembrance Day. Three veterans of three different conflicts, emblematic of a 20th-century world torn apart by war…

Rabbi Lionel Blue has died aged 86

Rabbi Lionel Blue has died aged 86

Judi Herman remembers two encounters with him in the last months of his life. There will be beautiful, insightful and loving obituaries about Rabbi Lionel Blue, the much loved minister, teacher and, famously, speaker on BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day, from those who knew and loved him well over many years.

Once in a Lifetime ★★★

Once in a Lifetime ★★★

Sophisticated fun set in Hollywood at the birth of the talkies. When witty Jewish writing duo George Kaufman and Moss Hart wrote this back-of-the-movie-lot comedy, set at the birth of the talkies, neither had been to Hollywood, but they knew enough about the goings-on in the movie business to know it would…

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen

A personal response from JR’s arts editor Judi Herman. This is not where you will read erudite analysis or an account of a life, or even of the work. I am simply asking myself and others like me why we have been so profoundly affected by Leonard Cohen’s words, music and life.

The Mighty Walzer ★★★★

The Mighty Walzer ★★★★

Howard Jacobson’s comedy of table tennis and Jewish teenage angst in 1950s Manchester comes home in triumph. From the moment Elliot Levey ‘s Oliver Walzer bounds on stage and takes in the 360 degrees of audience seated around him, the warmth and inclusivity of…

Simon Bent & Elliot Levey

Simon Bent & Elliot Levey

Playwright Simon Bent and actor Elliot Levey talk life in Manchester and bringing Howard Jacobson’s comic novel The Mighty Walzer to the stage. “It became a very exotic place for me.” Simon Bent is talking about the Manchester of the 1950s, the setting of Howard Jacobson’s mighty tale of table tennis…