Michael Billington

Tis Pity Shes a Whore review naked passion illuminated by candlelight

John Ford’s unsettling Renaissance incest drama is lent a subtle urgency by fine acting and direction.

Sunny Afternoon review: a heady celebration of the Kinks and Ray Davies

Neatly allows the songs to grow out of the story, and perfectly captures Ray Daviess mix of bloody-mindedness and innocence.

The Wild Duck review revision serves up 80 minutes of potted Ibsen

Simon Stone's compressed and clever Australian version aims to capture the essence of Ibsens greatest tragicomedy, but where's the irony?

Memphis: The Musical review Beverley Knight shines in story of R&Bs explosion

Shaftesbury, LondonThe singer combines charisma and power alongside a Sinatra-like Killian Donnelly in this exciting take on a key moment in pop history Continue reading...

Nevilles Island review descent into savagery stretches credulity

Duke of Yorks, LondonAwayday adventurers Adrian Edmondson, Robert Webb, Miles Jupp and Neil Morrissey go wild in the Lake District Ade Edmondson: I never laughed as hard as I did with Rik Continue reading...

The House That Will Not Stand review unlike any other play in London

Marcus Gardleys pulsing new play about a free black woman and her daughters in 1830s New Orleans is a rich mix of rivalry, voodoo and the fight for freedom.

Our Town review an unforgettable evocation of Everytown

Almeida, LondonDavid Cromers cooly observant narrator leads a radically reworked version of Thornton Wilders classic that taps into collective folk memory Continue reading...

The Cherry Orchard review: Simon Stephens leaves little space for laughter

Young Vic, London This compressed, contemporary Chekhov directed by Katie Mitchell skips over the works tragicomic irony Simon Stephens on the impossible act of translating Chekhov Continue reading...

Loves Labours Lost/Loves Labours Won a perceptive pairing

Royal Shakespeare theatre, Stratford-upon-AvonThe operetta treatment of the first play may be misguided, but Christopher Luscombes directing style comes into its own in the second, Much Ado about Nothing Measure for measure: inside the RSCs costume depart

Gypsy review Imelda Staunton in superb tale of showbiz and self-delusion

Chichester festival theatreEverything slots perfectly into place in this glorious evocation of American vaudevilles tackiness Continue reading...