Dave Fargnoli – London Theatre Critic

Selected reviews by Dave Fargnoli, freelance theatre critic for publications including The Stage.

Dave Fargnoli is a Scottish playwright, artist, and theatre critic.

He writes for a number of publications including The Stage.

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Withnail and I at the Birmingham Rep (2024)

★★★
"Entertaining, satisfyingly skewed sitcom" "Dynamically staged and energetically performed adaptation of Bruce Robinson’s cult film" "Wallowing more in nostalgia than…
The Stage
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Between Riverside and Crazy at the Hampstead Theatre (2024)

★★★
"Funny, sparky and sharp" "Danny Sapani gives a rich central performance in Stephen Adly Guirgis’ tragicomedy" "Investigating intersecting themes of…
The Stage
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Punch at the Nottingham Playhouse (2024)

★★★★
"Emotionally bruising" "James Graham’s new play is a powerful, detail-packed exploration of violence and redemption" "Graham crams in a mass…
The Stage
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The Ballad of Hattie and James at the Kiln Theatre (2024)

★★
"Unapologetically demanding" "Unfocused and uneven story of musical rivalries and missed opportunities" "Charting the lifelong impact of an intense teenage…
The Stage
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Power of Sail at the Menier Chocolate Factory (2024)

★★
"Dramatically unsatisfying" "European premiere of Paul Grellong’s timely but tediously handled story of campus cancel culture" "Timely, pleasingly twisty, but…
The Stage
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The Duchess Of Malfi at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (2024)

★★★★
"Detailed, highly visual staging" "Francesca Mills is compelling in this classic story of callous cruelty and bloody revenge" "This lucid…
The Stage
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Standing at the Sky's Edge at the Gillian Lynne Theatre & National Theatre (2024)

★★★
"Breathless and big hearted” (Gillian Lynne Theatre) "Chris Bush’s sprawling, big-hearted musical charting 60 years of social change in Sheffield…
The Stage
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Nachtland at the The Young Vic (2024)

★★★
"Heightened, tongue-in-cheek tone" "Provocative dark comedy about how fascism flourishes, in a vigorous staging by Patrick Marber" "Posing disquieting questions…
The Stage
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Hir at the Park Theatre (2024)

★★★★
"Challenging, confronting and comedic" "Felicity Huffman shines in this sharp satire of patriarchy, gender and the need to return home"…
The Stage
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Dear Octopus at the National Theatre (2024)

★★★★
"Particularly poignant revival of Dodie Smith's comedy" "Timely revival of Dodie Smith’s bittersweet portrait of a family gradually growing older,…
The Stage
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A Mirror at the Trafalgar Theatre (2024)

★★★★
"Jonny Lee Miller heads a starry cast in this sharp satire about state censorship" [Almeida Theatre] "In its opening moments,…
The Stage
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Othello at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (2024)

★★★
"Intriguing but incomplete" "Powerful performances elevate this psychologically rich but overstuffed production" "Reframing Shakespeare’s story of deceit and deadly jealousy…
The Stage
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Exhibitionists at the King's Head Theatre (2024)

★★★
"Silly and sweet-natured" "Slight, light and diverting comedy of manners" "Co-written by seasoned playwright Shaun McKenna and newcomer Andrew Van…
The Stage
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Ulster American at the Riverside Studios (2023)

★★
"Relentless clowning diffuses the tension" "Woody Harrelson stars in this high-energy revival of David Ireland’s controversial parody of power, privilege…
The Stage
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Rock 'n' Roll at the Hampstead Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Self-indulgent piece packed with fascinating ideas" "Timely revival of Tom Stoppard’s 2006 essay about the intersections of pop culture and…
The Stage
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Ghosts at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (2023)

★★★★
"Bold staging" "Stylish, visually inventive production of Ibsen’s notorious 1882 tragedy" "This streamlined new version, adapted and directed by Joe…
The Stage
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Lyonesse at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Full of humour, wit and fragments of poetry" "Endearing performances from Kristin Scott Thomas and Lily James provide a warm…
The Stage
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The Score at the Theatre Royal Bath (2023)

★★
"Brian Cox is gripping in shapeless drama" "Brian Cox’s fine central performance is the saving grace of this underwritten period…
The Stage
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Portia Coughlan at the Almeida Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Striking delicacy" "Wrenching, atmospheric revival of Marina Carr’s still-shocking story of generational trauma in rural Ireland" "Director Carrie Cracknell carefully…
The Stage
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Shooting Hedda Gabler at the Rose Theatre Kingston (2023)

★★★★
"Bold reframing of Ibsen’s play" "Radical reworking of Ibsen’s drama confronts pertinent contemporary themes of power, submission and the exploitation…
The Stage
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Boys From The Blackstuff at the Royal Court Liverpool (2023)

★★★★
"Ambitious and timely" "Heartfelt performances power James Graham’s galvanising stage version of Alan Bleasdale’s acclaimed anthology series" "There’s plenty of…
The Stage
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Frank and Percy at the The Other Palace (2023)

★★★
"Allam and McKellen are wonderfully watchable" (Theatre Royal Windsor) "Tender performances animate this dramatically inert comedy about queer love in…
The Stage
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Operation Epsilon at the Southwark Playhouse Elephant (2023)

★★★★
"Smart and incisive" "Egos and ethics clash in this compelling UK premiere of Alan Brody’s cerebral character study" "Playwright Alan…
The Stage
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God of Carnage at the Lyric Hammersmith (2023)

★★★★
"Uproarious farce" "Exuberant performances animate this revival of Yazmina Reza’s award-winning dark comedy" "Exploring the fine line between civilised behaviour…
The Stage
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Farewell Mister Haffmann at the Ustinov - Bath Theatre Royal (2023)

★★★★
"Witty and sharply focused" "Handling its weighty subject matter with humour and sensitivity, this award-winning 2016 play from French author…
The Stage
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Next to Normal at the Donmar Warehouse (2023)

★★★
"Truthful, affecting moments" "Committed performances help to ground this UK premiere of Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s flawed but affecting…
The Stage
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Disruption at the Park Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Compelling dark comedy about AI" "Timely and incisive speculative satire predicts the insidious influence of AI" "... Andrew Stein’s compelling…
The Stage
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Dr Semmelweis at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Stylish and highly stylised" "Mark Rylance gives a fascinating, febrile performance in this unwieldy but absorbing historical drama" "... the…
The Stage
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The Third Man - A Musical Thriller at the Menier Chocolate Factory (2023)

★★★
"Masterfully staged" "Atmospheric aesthetics and crisp choreography can’t disguise the lacklustre songwriting in this downbeat musical thriller" "This stylish but…
The Stage
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The Crucible at the Gielgud Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Staged with real dramatic flair" "Visually arresting production captures the menace and madness of Arthur Miller’s timeless allegory" "Transferring to…
The Stage
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The Shape of Things at the Park Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Slick and sinister" "Committed performances empower this slick, unfussy revival" "LaBute has made slender tweaks to the text in preparation…
The Stage
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Rose at the Ambassadors Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Maureen Lipman is precise and subtle" "Timely revival of Martin Sherman’s moving monologue describing a century of war, displacement and…
The Stage
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The Comedy of Errors at the Shakespeare's Globe (2023)

★★★
"Frenetic and unapologetically shallow”" "Breezy and accessible take on Shakespeare’s classic farce of mischance and mistaken identity" "Bursting with exuberant…
The Stage
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4000 Miles at the Chichester Festival Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Eileen Atkins gives a consummate performance" "Gripping performances energise this downbeat drama about social responsibility and intergenerational friendship" "Slow moving…
The Stage
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August in England at the Bush Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Lenny Henry charms in his powerful debut play" "Poignant monologue explores the experiences of the Windrush generation with humour and…
The Stage
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Cymbeline at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon (2023)

★★★★
"Breezy adventure" "Gregory Doran’s RSC swansong is lively, lavishly designed and full of uplifting warmth" "Marking former artistic director Gregory…
The Stage
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Richard III at the Liverpool Playhouse / Rose Theatre Kingston (2023)

★★★
"Adjoa Andoh makes a formidable Richard" (Rose Theatre Kingston) "Adjoa Andoh’s vivid vision animates this flawed but thoughtful production" "Putting…
The Stage
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Retrograde at the Kiln Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Ivanno Jeremiah is magnetic as Poitier" "Compact biographical drama examines repression and racism in the golden age of Hollywood" "Playwright…
The Stage
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The Dry House at the Marylebone Theatre (2023)

★★
"Unfocused" "Powerfully performed but clumsily told story of a family caught in a downward spiral of grief and addiction" "By…
The Stage
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Oklahoma! at the Wyndham's Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Captivating, offbeat and pulsing with sexual tension" "Stark, unsettling and wholly contemporary reimagining of the classic musical" "Less a revival…
The Stage
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The Winter's Tale at the Shakespeare's Globe (2023)

★★
"Undeniably inventive" "Gimmicky and disjointed production straddles both Globe stages" "This glib and gimmicky version, helmed by Shakespeare’s Globe associate…
The Stage
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The Walworth Farce at the Southwark Playhouse Elephant (2023)

★★★★
"Dark, absurdist comedy" "Committed performances carry this bleak revival of Enda Walsh’s dark farce" "Enda Walsh’s dark, absurdist comedy grapples…
The Stage
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Grenfell: System Failure at the The Playground Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Stately, subdued power" "Understated and affecting interrogation of the causes of the 2017 fire" "Kent’s minimal staging lets the words…
The Stage
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Winner's Curse at the Park Theatre (2023)

★★
"Funny but unfocused" "Overstretched comedy portraying the messy process of international diplomacy" "Though insightful and frequently funny, Taub and Patterson’s…
The Stage
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Linck & Mülhahn at the Hampstead Theatre (2023)

★★★★
"Sparky chemistry, nuanced performances" "Compelling historical drama about gender-nonconformity in the 1700s" "Ruby Thomas’ ambitious, if somewhat overstuffed drama draws…
The Stage
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The Unfriend at the Criterion Theatre (2023)

★★★
"Packed with pithy one-liners" "Strong performances energise this West End transfer of Steven Moffat’s light, likeable comedy" "Reece Shearsmith is…
The Stage
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Watch on the Rhine at the Donmar Warehouse (2023)

★★★★★
"Rousing" "Urgent revival of a searing, 80-year-old wartime drama" "Equal parts wartime thriller, tart drawing-room comedy and rousing call to…
The Stage
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Sons of the Prophet at the Hampstead Theatre (2022)

★★
"Pensive and sharply observed" "Bleak tragicomedy struggles to rise above a thoughtful but leaden script" "Karam’s writing is pensive and…
The Stage
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Henry V at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (2022)

★★★★
"Subversive interpretation that doesn't play by the rules" "Moody reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s patriotic history play" "From its opening moments, it’s…
The Stage
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A Christmas Carol at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Timely, lavishly designed revival of David Edgar’s didactic adaptation of the Dickens classic" "David Edgar’s strident 2017 adaptation aims to…
The Stage
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Mary at the Hampstead Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Fiercely relevant" "Fascinating reframing of the downfall of Mary, Queen of Scots continues Rona Munro’s epic history cycle" "Written by…
The Stage
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Elephant at the Bush Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Heartfelt musical-monologue" "Musical monologue gently unpicks complex issues around identity, class and Britain’s imperial legacy" "Handling weighty themes with the…
The Stage
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King Hamlin at the Park Theatre (2022)

★★
"Frequently moving" "Uneven but powerfully performed drama exploring poverty and gang violence" "There’s a sense of grim inevitability saturating King…
The Stage
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The Caucasian Chalk Circle at the The Rose Theatre Kingston (2022)

★★★★
"Boisterous energy" "Visually striking revival of Brecht’s sprawling wartime parable" "... Brecht’s epic parable of war, justice and the venal…
The Stage
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Jews. In Their Own Words at the Royal Court (2022)

★★★
"Undoubtedly ambitious" "Illuminating but inconsistent verbatim piece centres the experiences of Jewish people in contemporary Britain" "Despite the sensitivity of…
The Stage
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The Wonderful World of Dissocia at the Theatre Royal Stratford East (2022)

★★★★
"Exuberant riff on Alice in Wonderland" "Energetic and engaging revival of Anthony Neilson’s surreal, irreverent exploration of mental illness" "First…
The Stage
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The Two Popes at the The Rose Kingston & UK Tour (2022)

★★★★
"Compelling" "Consummate performances from stars Nicholas Woodeson and Anton Lesser lift Anthony McCarten’s cerebral character study" "... The Two Popes…
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The Snail House at the Hampstead Theatre (2022)

★★
"Dramatically flat" "Plodding, unpolished drama of family dynamics and intergenerational tensions" "Dramatically flat and struggling to cohere around a central…
The Stage
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Into The Woods at the Theatre Royal Bath (2022)

★★★★
"Glossy, stylised vision" "Terry Gilliam and Leah Hausman’s opulent, if overstuffed, production of Sondheim’s musical fable" "There’s a rich vein…
The Stage
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The Trials at the Donmar Warehouse (2022)

★★★★
"Gripping" "Timely and troubling speculative drama imagines the grim repercussions of our current climate emergency" "Though the dialogue’s sometimes bogged…
The Stage
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Billy Elliot The Musical at the Curve Theatre Leicester (2022)

★★★★
"Powerfully relevant" "Ambitious revival of Lee Hall’s coming-of-age musical bursting with energy and heart" "Artistic director Nikolai Foster handles the…
The Stage
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Patriots at the Almeida Theatre (2022)

★★★
"Unsettling political drama from Peter Morgan”" "In this slow-burning overview of Russian politics through the 1990s to the early 2010s,…
The Stage
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The Seagull at the Harold Pinter Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Striking" "Nuanced, quietly radical ensemble piece strips Chekhov’s dark comedy to the barest bones" "Anya Reiss’ bleakly comic take on…
The Stage
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Richard III reviews - RSC Stratford at the Stratford Upon Avon (2022)

★★★★
"Strong and diverse cast" "Striking performances lend power to this bloody, melodramatic conclusion to the RSC’s civil war play cycle"…
The Stage
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Mad House at the The Ambassadors Theatre (2022)

★★
"Dark and punchy" "Offbeat black comedy loses focus despite meaty performances from David Harbour and Bill Pullman" "Rebeck’s characters are…
The Stage
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That Is Not Who I Am at the Royal Court Theatre (2022)

★★★★
"Knotty interrogation of truth in fake news era" "Urgent, unsettling thriller stands up to scrutiny despite the questionable artifice of…
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Best of Enemies at the The Young Vic (2021)

★★★★
"Compelling" "Taut political docudrama showcases thrillingly combative performances from leads David Harewood and Charles Edwards" "Director Jerremy Herrin – who…
The Stage
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The Ocean at the End of the Lane at the Duke of York's Theatre (2021)

★★★★
"Darkness and dreamlike strangeness" "Capturing the darkness and dreamlike strangeness of Neil Gaiman’s bestselling 2013 novel, The Ocean at the…
The Stage
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