Theatre Reviews

Our theatre reviews aim to bring you the latest and best performances of plays, dance and music. Ink Pellet celebrates the country’s vibrant regional theatres – from performances of the classics and set texts, to new plays that will inspire and support you.

Once again, we have a merry band of discerning teachers who visit plays in their town (sometimes earning themselves a free programme and interval drink)to review for the magazine.

We’ll also review something you might like – just for sheer pleasure! If you would like to join our panel of reviewers, please join in or email the editor john@inkpellet.co.uk.

  1. Jungle Rumble – Perform Productions Fortune Theatre

    Jungle Rumble – Perform Productions Fortune Theatre  

    The political message in this 45 minute show for under 7s is laid on thickly. Beware of crude indoctrination masquerading as educative entertainment. Yes of course we need to save endangered animals and to conserve the jungle but absurd, outdated stereotyping of the sort of people who once killed animals for taxidermy is hardly likely […]

  2. Hamlet – Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

    Hamlet – Sam Wanamaker Playhouse  

    This is a Hamlet designed to court the young so it’s shallowly populist in places. It is punctuated, for example with inappropriate Smiths songs although I liked the occasional “profane” interjection into the text. The use-your-own accent policy grated at the beginning, but once I got used to George Fouracres as Hamlet speaking in a […]

  3. Handa’s Surprise – Little Angel Theatre (to 16 April)

    Handa’s Surprise – Little Angel Theatre (to 16 April)  

    Effectively a 35 minute opera for preschoolers, Handa’s Surprise is adapted from Eileen Browne’s much loved 1995 book. Akeyo (Rujenne Green) wants to take a gift of fruit to her friend Handa (Hannah Akhalu), but all the fruit she gathers is eaten by animals she meets on the way, so it’s fortunate that a goat […]

  4. Macbeth – Shakespeare’s Globe

    Macbeth – Shakespeare’s Globe  

    Witchery, regicide, paranoia, somnambulism and, ultimate good-guy coup – yes, it’s the Scottish play. And because this production is part of the Globe’s long standing Playing Shakespeare With Deutsche Bank project which provides free tickets for state school groups from London and Birmingham, it is neatly pared down to 90 minutes. Sarah Frankcom’s direction ensures […]

  5. Animal Farm – Cambridge Arts Theatre and touring

    Animal Farm – Cambridge Arts Theatre and touring  

    Toby Olié’s puppetry (see our interview on page 26) are what this show will be remembered for. If life sized puppets are to live, they must never be still. Designed and directed by Olié these jointed creations are magnificently controlled by a team of fourteen skilled puppeteers, they move continuously in a convincingly equine, canine, […]

  6. Beethoven  – British Library until 24 April

    Beethoven  – British Library until 24 April  

    It’s often forgotten that the British Library is a repository of manuscripts not just books and this enlightening exhibition (postponed from 2020 which was the 250th anniversary of his birth)  shows what a surprisingly wide range of Beethoven texts are held there. The famous 9th symphony, for example, was commissioned by the Philharmonic Society of […]

  7. Habeas Corpus by Alan Bennett – Menier Chocolate Factory

    Habeas Corpus by Alan Bennett – Menier Chocolate Factory  

    A surreal play, dating from 1974, Habeas Corpus is farce without the clutter. Director Patrick Marber and his team know how to make vintage Bennett sing. The piece makes no attempt at realism. The set consists of a coffin, identities are continually mistaken, characters burst into song and often deliver soliloquies in rhyming couplets. Twice we […]

  8. Measure for Measure – Sam Wannamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe

    Measure for Measure – Sam Wannamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe  

    Usually listed rather uneasily as a comedy, Measure for Measure is actually a pretty serious play although it descends close to farce in Acts 4 and 5, which is why it’s often dubbed a “problem play”. Blanche McIntyre’s 1970s-set version plays it for laughs. Her cast of eight (there’s some very accomplished doubling) squeeze every […]

  9. THEATRE REVIEW: Animal Farm – National Youth Theatre Rep Company

    THEATRE REVIEW: Animal Farm – National Youth Theatre Rep Company  

    Very clearly reimagined as muscular, vibrant, ensemble-based physical theatre, supported by John Elliott‘s relentless, menacing soundtrack, this riveting take on Animal Farm opens with a mock Pathé News item. It’s immaculately voiced by Will Stewart, who also does a simpering, comfort-loving pragmatic Mollie, and introduces each character. Then we’re into the timeless story about the […]

  10. THEATRE REVIEW: Anton Chekhov – Jermyn Street Theatre

    THEATRE REVIEW: Anton Chekhov – Jermyn Street Theatre  

    Michael Pennington is, as always, a joy to watch and listen to. One of at least three fine one-man shows he has written, toured and revived many times, Anton Chekhov dates from 1984. It’s a glorious monologue in which he depicts the aging Chekhov, reflecting on his life.  Of course it’s autobiographical. We learn that […]