Our ex­perts round up the best plays and mu­si­cals

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Film Theatre -

CRITIC’S CHOICE Hedda Gabler Ib­sen’s play pre­miered to neg­a­tive re­views in Mu­nich in 1891, yet Hedda re­mains his great­est char­ac­ter. This aris­to­cratic young woman can’t be re­duced to a mere archetype. Rather, as we find in Ni­cola Da­ley’s ex­tra­or­di­nary per­for­mance, Hedda is one of the most enig­matic, tragic fig­ures in world theatre. Arch, sharp and unashamedly snob­bish, Da­ley’s Hedda smiles with BEST OF THE REST The Se­cret Di­ary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ – The Mu­si­cal Turn­ing one of the most cher­ished books of the Eight­ies – Sue Townsend’s The Se­cret Di­ary of… – into a mu­si­cal? That’s a big risk. So it’s an un­ex­pected plea­sure to re­port that this all-singing, all-danc­ing Mole comes up trumps. It does that rare thing: both mak­ing you laugh and tug­ging at your heart­strings. Do­minic Cavendish Curve Theatre, Le­ices­ter, to April 4; 0116 242 3595, curveon­line.co.uk The Royale Boxing is well suited to the­atri­cal ex­plo­ration. The con­fines of the ring pro­duce an in­ti­macy barely dis­guised contempt for her hus­band (hap­less aca­demic Tes­man) and his stul­ti­fy­ingly bour­geois Aunt Juju. Yet, on ac­count of her sex, she lacks the free­dom to live as she would choose. Amanda Gaughan’s fine pro­duc­tion fea­tures strong act­ing across the piece, but it’ll be re­mem­bered for the bril­liant per­for­mance in the ti­tle role. Mark Brown Royal Lyceum Theatre, Ed­in­burgh, to April 11; 0131 248 4848, lyceum.org.uk and im­me­di­acy. In this per­cus­sive new play from US writer Marco Ramirez, set in 1905, Jay Jack­son (Ni­cholas Pin­nock) dreams of be­com­ing the first African-Amer­i­can heavy­weight cham­pion of the world. It cap­tures both the beau­ti­ful frenzy of boxing and the (sadly still) volatile state of race re­la­tions in Amer­ica. Ben Lawrence Bush Theatre, Lon­don W12, to April 18; 020 8743 5050, bushthe­atre.co.uk BOOK NOW The Au­di­ence Peter Mor­gan’s hit play re­turns, with Kristin Scott Thomas tak­ing over as the Queen, in the role first played by He­len Mir­ren. Apollo, Lon­don W1, from May 5; 0844 482 9671, ni­maxthe­atres.com

Enig­matic: Ni­cola Da­ley de­liv­ers a bril­liant Hedda Gabler

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