Critics.- Sam Marlowe

Sam Marlowe – London Theatre Critic

Selected reviews by Sam Marlowe, the lead theatre critic for The Stage.

Sam Marlowe is an arts and theatre journalist based in London.

She has written for and contributed to i News, The Times, Metro, The Independent, Time Out, The Stage, The Chicago Tribune, and theartsdesk.com. She started her journalism career writing for What’s On In London, eventually becoming theatre editor at What’s On.Her radio and television appearances include BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and Sky News.

Sam studied at the University of East Anglia, and went on to train as a musicals theatre actor at Mountview drama school in London.

Sam serves on judging panels for The Stage Debut Awards, the UK Theatre Awards and the Evening Standard Awards (Most Promising Playwright category).

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Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Timely and tart" "Slick, starry production of Sam Steiner’s tart but undernourished two-hander" "It gets slick, sensitive direction here from…
The Stage
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Alex Edelman: Just for Us at the Menier Chocolate Factory (2023)

★★★
"As thoughtful as it is beguiling" "Whip-smart comedy explores what connects and divides us" "Edelman has been performing the piece…
The Stage
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A Streetcar Named Desire at the Almeida Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Ferociously gripping" "Psychologically penetrating, emotionally devastating fresh take on a classic" "Rebecca Frecknall’s staging of the Tennessee Williams classic –…
The Stage
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Derren Brown: SHOWMAN at the Apollo Theatre (2022)

★★★★★
"As clever as it is charismatic" "Existential profundity elevates mischievous, moving, mind-bending entertainment" "So dazzling and discombobulating, so uplifting, funny…
The Stage
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As You Like It at the @sohoplace (2022)

★★★
"Welcome warmth on a cold night" "At its best, the staging has a golden-russet shimmer, as if it’s aglow with…
The Stage
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Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre (2022)

★★★
"Sugary Christmas treat" "Cornball musical strictly for the sentimental" "Bathurst is no singer, so it’s a relief that he only…
The Stage
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Mandela at the The Young Vic (2022)

★★★
"Galvanising performances" "Tribute to the great freedom fighter is simplistic, but blazingly performed" "... the book, by Laiona Michelle (creator…
The Stage
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Kerry Jackson at the National Theatre (2022)

★★
"Clumsy" "Part soap, part sitcom and irredeemably clumsy, this new play by April De Angelis is an absolute howler" "In…
The Stage
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Hex at the National Theatre (2022)

★★
"Sleeping Beauty inspired musical is a frustrating, overcooked mess" "The book, by Tanya Ronder, is befuddling, the music by Jim…
The Stage
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Orlando at the Garrick Theatre (2022)

★★★★★
“Theatre to make the heart leap" "Giddily gorgeous staging captures the transgressive spirit of Woolf’s novel" "What rare glory is…
The Stage
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Othello at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Potently intelligent, intermittently effective landmark Shakespeare staging" "It is thoughtful rather than seismically moving: Giles Terera is meticulous in the…
The Stage
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Best of Enemies at the Noel Coward Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Richly entertaining" "James Graham’s fizzingly astute drama, in a production by Jeremy Herrin transferred from the Young Vic, zeroes in…
The Stage
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The Sex Party at the Menier Chocolate Factory (2022)

"Embarrassingly limp" "Limp comedy that strains for socio-political significance" "... this new comedy – which reopens the Menier after an…
The Stage
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Blackout Songs at the Hampstead Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Sharp and jagged dialogue" "Two-hander of love and addition has a sour potency" "This new two-hander by Joe White captures…
The Stage
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Not One of These People at the Royal Court Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Extraordinary theatrical experiment exploring identity and the ethics of art" "There are lots of people living inside playwright Martin Crimp’s…
The Stage
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Super High Resolution at the Soho Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Articulate warning" "Compassionate, darkly funny depiction of individual and institutional crisis in the NHS" "... it is a departure from…
The Stage
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Tammy Faye – A New Musical at the Almeida Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Surface-skimming romp" "New musical about the iconic televangelist takes you halfway to heaven" "This new musical, with book by playwright…
The Stage
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@sohoplace at the @sohoplace (2022)

"A glittering jewel-box of glass, steel and wood, adorned with gleaming marble and constellations of twinkling lights, producer Nica Burns’…
The Stage
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Marvellous at the @sohoplace (2022)

★★★
"Understated, charmingly eccentric bio-drama" "Touching tribute to Neil Baldwin’s remarkable life lifts the curtain of Nica Burns’ new @sohoplace theatre"…
The Stage
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My Neighbour Totoro at the Barbican Theatre (2022)

★★★★★
"Unadulterated joy" "Exquisitely lovely and enormously beguiling take on the anime classic" "Faithfully adapted by playwright Tom Morton-Smith and directed…
The Stage
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Good at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"David Tennant gives a meticulous performance" "A chilling warning against the apathy and self-regard that allows evil to thrive" "It’s…
The Stage
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The Band's Visit at the Donmar Warehouse (2022)

★★★
"Staged with economic eloquence" "Slight and sweet musical story of human connection beyond politics" "Yazbek’s score, which blends Arabic music…
The Stage
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Iphigenia in Splott at the Lyric Hammersmith (2022)

★★★★★
"Essential theatre" "Astounding and essential cry of rage and pain against Tory inhumanity" "Played by Sophie Melville with a power…
The Stage
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John Gabriel Borkman at the Bridge Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Solid rather than sensational" "This new version by Lucinda Coxon gives it a modern-day setting but leaves much of the…
The Stage
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The Crucible at the National Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Thrillingly gripping" "Masterly staging that finds new resonance in a classic and chills to the bone" "From its opening moments,…
The Stage
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Eureka Day at the The Old Vic (2022)

★★
"Never hits home" "Given the trauma of the pandemic, you’d think the play would feel needle-sharp. Not so. In Katy…
The Stage
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The Clinic at the Almeida Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Wild, witty and shocking" "Gripping and original drama of family tension, activism and mental heath crisis" "Now, this is a…
The Stage
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Antigone at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Vivid" "Uneven urban reworking of the classical tragedy is energised by eloquent movement and vivid poetry" "The writing features flashes…
The Stage
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Silence at the Donmar Warehouse (2022)

★★★
"Crammed with vivid testimony" "Urgent accounts of Indian partition demand a more focused dramatisation" "It’s crammed with vivid testimony, and…
The Stage
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I, Joan at the Shakespeare's Globe (2022)

★★★
"Lusty rallying cry for equality" "I, Joan review“Lusty rallying cry for equality” "Part queer fantasia, part protest march, part ecstatic…
The Stage
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The Trials at the Donmar Warehouse (2022)

★★★★
"... this new play by Dawn King – whose 2011 debut Foxfinder offered a similarly unsettling vision of authoritarianism and…
i News
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Identical at the Nottingham Playhouse (2022)

★★★
"This new family musical dishes up a double helping of charm. " "The ambitious production has its sights set on…
i News
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The Tempest at the Shakespeare's Glob (2022)

★★★
"Inflatable lobsters and football anthems make for gimmicky Shakespeare" "It’s vivid, cheerfully garish and never dull, but it’s also gimmicky.…
The Times
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The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe at the Gillian Lynne Theatre (2022)

★★★
"It feels a little curious, in the middle of summer, to be watching a wintry tale that comes complete with…
i News
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Millennials at the The Other Palace (2022)

★★★
"Angsty songs, rainbow bubbles and a giant avocado" "this plotless collection of numbers feels rather aimless and generalised, and although…
The Times
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Patriots at the Almeida Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Tom Hollander is magnetic in Peter Morgan’s slick Russian oligarch drama" "...his [Peter Morgan's] latest theatrical outing is predictably pacey…
i News
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The Seagull at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2022)

★★★★★
"Emilia Clarke is dazzling in Jamie Lloyd’s brilliant reimagining" "The Game of Thrones actor gives a fragile, almost childlike turn…
i News
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The House of Shades at the Almeida Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Anne-Marie Duff glitters with spite in gripping family drama" "Steel’s writing is joltingly powerful, with its jagged confrontations, corrosive wit…
i News
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My Fair Lady  (2022)

★★★
"Amara Okereke dazzles as Eliza Doolittle" "Bartlett Sher’s production, a 2018 hit at New York’s Lincoln Centre, is pretty to…
i News
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Oklahoma! at the Young Vic Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"A thrilling reinvention that swaps the twee for sex and danger" "No corn-fed hokey here – this production is tense…
i News
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Jerusalem at the Apollo Theatre (2022)

★★★★★
"Mark Rylance is unforgettable in a triumphant revival" "The actor gives a mesmerising turn as he reprises his role as…
i News
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Prima Facie at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Jodie Comer blazes with fury in a patchy sexual assault drama" "Suzie Miller’s play doesn’t offer much fresh perspective –…
i News
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Punchdrunk: The Burnt City at the One Cartridge Place (2022)

★★★
"Punchdrunk are back – but have lost a little of their magic" "The company’s latest show drawing on Greek myth…
i News
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Scandaltown at the Lyric Hammersmith (2022)

★★
"A biting satire? You can find sharper discourse on Twitter" "In current times, Mike Bartlett’s Restoration-style political romp ought to…
i News
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The 47th at the The Old Vic (2022)

★★★
"Bertie Carvel is magnificently monstrous – but this Trump satire falls flat" "Carvel steals the show with his uncanny turn…
i News
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To Kill A Mockingbird at the Gielgud Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Rafe Spall plays the hero in a tremendous reimagining" "Aaron Sorkin’s searing adaptation improves on Harper Lee’s novel where it…
i News
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Straight Line Crazy at the Bridge Theatre (2022)

★★
"Ralph Fiennes shines – but this lumpen play is, frankly, a bit boring" "David Hare’s New York-set polemic on gentrification…
i News
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The Human Voice at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2022)

★★
"Ruth Wilson and Ivo van Hove fail to connect in a clichéd show" "Ruth Wilson’s acting masterclass can’t save this…
i News
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Cock at the Ambassadors Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Jonathan Bailey and Taron Egerton draw blood in a shrewd, savage revival" "Jade Anouka combines assertiveness with longing in Marianne…
i News
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The Book of Dust at the Bridge Theatre (2021)

★★★
"Disappointing daemons and a surprisingly pedestrian adventure" "Lavery does her best to hack through the dense thicket of plot, but…
i News
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The Ocean at the End of the Lane at the Duke of York's Theatre (2021)

"A potent enchantment" "Glittering with dark wonder, this National Theatre staging of Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel is a bewitching shapeshifter."
i News
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A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story at the Nottingham Playhouse (2021)

★★★
"Mark Gatiss’s spooky new take is both horrific and hammy" "Nicholas Farrell’s acerbically funny Scrooge and Gatiss’s ghostly Jacob Marley…
i News
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Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical at the Lyric Theatre (2021)

★★★★
"Arinzé Kene mesmerises in an exhilarating tribute to a legend" "Lee Hall’s book grapples with turbulent politics, Marley’s complex personal…
i News
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Back to the Future at the Adelphi Theatre (2021)

★★★
"An eye-popping Gen X nostalgia trip... The vibe is determinedly feelgood in this dazzling production full of 80s hits." "The…
i News
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& Juliet at the Shaftesbury Theatre (2019)

★★★
"Max Martin’s musical & Juliet is bright, brash and a gazillion times camper than Christmas" "For all its iconoclastic swagger,…
i News
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Lungs at the The Old Vic (2019)

"Claire Foy and Matt Smith elevate Duncan Macmillan's rather toothless parenting drama" “Deluxe casting and slick delivery. Claire Foy and…
The Arts Desk
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Hole at the Royal Court Theatre (2018)

★★★
‘Ellie Kendrick’s flawed but ferocious debut play reverberates with feminist rage’ ‘Rage and frustration blaze throughout this play – but…
The Stage
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The Girl On The Train  (2018)

"This is a train wreck" “Menace and tension are obliterated in a teeth-grindingly slow production that is about as exciting…
The Times
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