Andrew Billen has worked as a celebrity interviewer for, successively, The Observer, the Evening Standard and, currently The Times. For his columns, he was awarded reviewer of the year in 2006 Press Gazette Magazine Awards.
Articles in Theatre
The Same Deep Water As Me
Orpheus; Forest Fringe
Peter and Alice can’t escape their shadows.
The Book of Mormon
The Audience; Trelawny of the Wel
Money: the Game Show;
Something is stirring in London’s West End.
Viva Forever!; The Effect; People
The Mikado; Robert le diable
Damned by Despair; This House; The River
In 2008, the Lithuanian director Rimas Tuminas received
Love and Information
The benchmark of my Edinburgh Fringe will forever be a 1
In Edinburgh, the how can sometimes overshadow the what.
The Last of the Haussmans
The Cunning Little Vixen/Falstaff, Glyndebourne/Roya
Love, Love, Love
Theatregoers have a lot to thank the Olympics for.
In this Olympic year, the Globe’s idea is smart: all 37
Sophie Elmhirst talks to the director about adapting Bul
Palsson’s Supper Club in New York first played host to t
The programme for this powerful, no-tricks, high-end pro
On the Kilburn High Road in north London last Saturday,
While it must have been exciting to be at the Hampstead
Be Near Me takes us to Dalgarnock, a small pari
The decisions have been tough.
What's necessary in a Christmas show?
Perhaps as a reaction against his acclaimed version of P
Why is it that whenever someone has a successful, but ob
Since London theatres are currently full of somewhat you
Simplicity, and a growing sense of horror, are the two k
Power play and the time-wasting antics of a reluctant wo
Can you really put a comic strip on the stage?
Just before The Country Wife (written in 1675 b
For those of you who don't already know the short, sinis
Machine-gun fire rakes the stage at the Gielgud, which i
Fragments is appropriately named.
I suppose Islington is as good a place for it as any, bu
Transforming Pedro Almodóvar's Oscar-winning 1999 film
Eugene O'Neill's startling play, about an American convi
The year is 1837 and Chartism, a new political movement
From the moment that Marsha Fitzalan, playing the adulte
There are some shows where the central performer is so m
To watch The Enchantment, by the little-known,
Martin Wagner is a man who has clearly got a big bee in
For once, the Arcola Theatre has served up a dud.
Joan of Arc, as every schoolchild knows, was burned at t
A manic-looking masked woman in a robot suit; the boomin
As if it were a rebuke to all the West End's summer sill
Show me the money.
After a somewhat baffling and sometimes disastrous run o
Just over ten years ago, it emerged that Harold Pinter a
Henry Goodman's trawl through all the great Jewish roles
Othello was my A-level set text.
Big White Fog has never before been performed i
In an attempt to adapt one of the most hallowed treasure
Liam Steel's stage version of the Colin MacInnes cult no
The playwright Ayub Khan-Din clearly suffered from somet
As the composition of the audience - 90 per cent female
Condensing Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance, hi
Dissocia may be described as a Wonderful World, but from
Gregory Doran's production of Shakespeare's little-known
The ruinous effects of apartheid are not likely to be fo
A man pours water over a stone sculpture.
John Osborne's The Entertainer is one of those
What does one want from political satire?
Well, I'm a complete failure - or at least I am accordin
A good farce is always worthwhile, but a good French far
The French are a laughing stock.
Improvised jazz, with its smoky mystique and the seeming
For his production of The Seagull, Chekhov's an
They don't come much more visceral than Blasted
Same Time Next Year by Bernard Slade, which has
At a moment when capital punishment is up for public scr
As its grand festival of the canon draws to a close in S
This year has been dominated by two trends in theatrelan
The main problem with The Bitches Ball, on in L
The title of Caryl Churchill's new play is also its firs
The average West End musical has one magical moment.
I suppose if a play has been a hit since 408BC, it will
Arriving for The Mouse Queen with Honey, my sma
Well, if you are into theatrical realism, a believable p
You really want to like Township Stories, an ac
There's a new tune blowing through the West End.
I had always imagined that Mark Thomas's shows would hav
It seems as if there are, at the moment, two drastically
Eve Ensler's new stage show, The Treatment, is
Nicholas Hytner's production of The Alchemist i
Even in the most contemporary of settings, there is some
Ultimately, the walls of Troy doomed the Trojans.
Frost/Nixon, Peter Morgan's play about David Fr
On the first night of the Edinburgh International Festiv
What makes men want to kill each other?
James Joyce never saw a production of his only stage pla
The summer musical at Regent's Park this year is Sandy W
To have a couple of actors in a play who have to cope wi
The poster for Alan Bennett's Habeas Corpus sho
The National Theatre is offering two European heavyweigh
You can almost hear the plan for Avenue Q being
From the rockin' stable of 1970s Brit musicals that was
To appreciate Tom Stoppard's new play you need a firm gr
All right: 20 years on, it's time to iconise the Eightie
For this production of the gory shocker from Shakespeare
The Copenhagen Ring cycle is fundamentally anti
The Changeling has something for all the family
"As to the rumours of my retirement, I am not retiring y
I owe a lot to Joan Collins.
The Voysey Inheritance is a witty, hundred-year
Noël Coward's play Hay Fever has the flimsiest
Francisco Pizarro's conquest of the Inca empire is fasci
"Half your family has pissed off to Spain and the other
Within a couple of years of Samuel Beckett's death in 19
Now that our lattes bear inscriptions such as "The liqui
Admirers of the golden age of American theatre, which il
The curtain fell on Arthur Miller's Resurrection Blu
In his new play, Mark Ravenhill transports us to a night
Stephen Unwin's Hamlet, which has now reached L
A hard-hitting play that spares no blushes, Honour
Once you have seen Thatcher: the musical, the m
Forty-four years after it was writ-ten, Edward Albee's
Pablo and Pierre Caesar are close to physical perfection
Jacques Tati's 1967 film Playtime was set in an
The coterie of Young British Artists that emerged in the
Does the name Jan Ludvik Hoch mean anything?
Imagine a bare blue stage and a man tap-dancing to Max B
In 1927, when the population of the United States was ha
This month Harold Pinter accepted his Nobel Prize in Lit
After the poetic languor of The Glass Menagerie
When The Emperor Jones first appeared in 1920,
Can you believe that Moliere wrote a play called The
This is the story of a Berlin transvestite who collected
You need a bit of gusto and confidence to "do" a George
Can modern technology revive Agatha Christie?
''If you get a panic attack, please contact one of the u
How to measure longitude?
Halfway through your life, you sit up and think, "How di
Having dealt, during my two-year stint as minister for l
John Osborne's most famous stage creation, Jimmy Porter,
''He died with the hammer in his hand." The words of "Th
Officialdom dictates our lives.
The highlight of this year's Edinburgh International Fes
The 2005 Edinburgh Festival had hardly kicked off when W
Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors is not an easy p
The Lord Chamberlain's role as theatre censor ended in 1
How can a magazine's two theatre critics write and stage
The press officer at the Soho Theatre announced: "Last n
I confess that it did happen.
There once was an advertising campaign that asked adults
Boy meets married girl; girl persuades boy to help murde
Well, it just won't do.
There's something for everyone in the West End these day
The prolific and brilliant dramatist and film-maker Neil
''The editor cut my best bloody line." How I feel for Ge
The swearing in the stage version of Billy Elliot
I have never before been assaulted by a widow - though,
The defiantly Dionysiac qualities of Shakespeare's Falst
You don't expect menace at the seaside.
Mary Margaret Kaye's The Far Pavilions was alre
In the mild early evening light, there was a queue snaki
Thirteen civilians died and a similar number were wounde
Asylum-seekers can be blamed for almost anything.
As the slinky teenage girl attempts seduction, Gordon Br
When Henrik Ibsen was 61, he met Emilie Bardach, aged 18
As a vision of Englishness, the play that has just opene
While controversy rages about criminals who make money f
The return of The Dresser to London's West End
Was Arkle a horse or a god?
''Clap if you like undemanding, middlebrow entertainment
Don't put your son on the stage, Mrs Worthington.
It must be 27 years ago that I saw Tom Conti in the role
This piece is a sequence of seven scenes (or plays, as t
Tejas Verdes was the name of an old resort hotel in San
When was the moment when it all went wrong?
The verdict of the audience is final.
''People don't want books, they want a party and to look
The love triangle, despite its geometric simplicity, can
When he received one of his dozen Tony awards for the mu
Ladies, if you have a teenage daughter who is the spitti
''Not enough Sex and the City" is a reasonable
''This play being about hysteria [simper], the actors ha
''Four big hits and seven licks ago,/our before-daddies
Watching The Woman in White gave me a headache,
''I feel like God wants me to run for president," says t
Edgar is, in the modern jargon, a young male with a chal
How do the grubby little creatures do it?
Swaggering toffs wearing silly clothes bray at each othe
You might expect a circus from Australia to begin with a
Thank goodness for George Dubbya.
Sweeney Todd was a mass murderer.
I dread being plucked from the audience by a performer a
''What time does the play end?" I asked, as I took my se
Congratulations to Imogen Stubbs who in her debut as a w
I had never really thought about whether I like Mae West
In September 2003, Robin Soans travelled to Israel, the
I am writing this review the day after seeing - perhaps
It requires an effort, strolling among the tourists on L
The role of the theatre in exposing the truth and realit
Evelyn is not the sort of girl you'd want to mess with.
The Venus flytrap, a carnivorous plant, enjoys pride of
In Shakespeare's Hamlet, we can never be sure h
David Mamet first shocked London audiences with Olea
In 30 years of seeing Hamlet on stage and scree
For me, Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac com
Sex gets into everything these days, they say.
Two brothers and a sister rendez-vous at the grand paren
Come on, admit it.
''A well-told story's like a well-made clock, relentless
It cannot be often that a child with Down's syndrome or
Why, when the curtain came down on the Royal Shakespeare
OK, I am impressed.
An eerie silence of anticipation falls over the theatre.
The internet offers opportunities for escapism unimagina
''If they could see her through my eyes, maybe they'd al
Before the curtain went up on David Hare's play about Br
A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life on London'
Life is a tartine de merde, wrote Mich
Michael Frayn's Democracy might well be this ye
Political theatre has an image problem - it has become s
Nick Dear is a dramatist of distinction who now returns
Before the year is out we will have the Elvis Presley mo
I cannot recall a better time in the West End for the pl
There are few London treats more delicious than a beauti
Even by Ibsen's standards, Brand is a hard play
Suddenly, there is a new, multicultural audience at the
Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936) is one of the major Europea
Another week, another London theatre refurbished and reo
If the Spanish Armada had succeeded, we might have had L
Evenings don't come much weirder than this.
''Farce," the late Ben Travers once told me, "is all abo
Nostalgia, as the old joke goes, isn't what it used to b
Terry Johnson's talent as a comic dramatist has always b
Even by Chekhovian standards, Three Sisters is
At a time when the West End is having its worst season e
Sometimes, even with Broadway musicals, smaller can be b
Among recent discussions of changeovers at London's thea
The Sean Mathias revival of Strindberg's Dance of De
0n his way out of the stage door at the National after s
After six years, Trevor Nunn bids farewell to the Nation
The new Hampstead Theatre is very glamorous.
This year, every London theatre and company from the Nat
In the history of British writing about India, no story
The poster and programme for The Duchess of Malfi
Michael Grandage's production of The Tempest, n
A Little Fantasy, devised and performed by the
Anything Goes is the last musical under Trevor
Part of the RSC's season of neglected plays by Shakespea
Michael Grandage's artistic directorship of the Donmar W
At the top of my list of the theatrical events of this y
What the Night Is For is perhaps better known a
Ed Hall's new Macbeth at the Albery is a bitter
The title refers to a map of the world, but Shelagh Step
To understand what has gone so horribly wrong over here
An interest to be declared first: Somerset Maugham wrote
Let us suppose, if only for the length of this review, t
It is wonderful to have two of our greatest Dames, Judi
Strangely and sadly, Trevor Nunn opens his farewell seas
Somehow I always feel I have failed the A-level in Caryl
When David Hare updated Schnitzler's La Ronde a
To mark the tenth anniversary of his management of the D
At a time when both the National and the RSC have shamef
The Coast of Utopia is our young century's most
Over dinner, after seeing Abigail's Party, my c
One of Peter Porter's fine recent poems is called "Going
Philip Massinger began his long career as playwright for
Hours before the opening performance of Bacchai
I've just taken a kicking.
From the 1930s until the 1970s, it was customary to view
Although presented as a luscious period piece in Peter H
King Lear, with which the Almeida Theatre's run
Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811) could have been invented
Although any theatre company should pride itself on its
Ben Jonson's most inventive city comedy was written in t
It has often been said that a good priest, whose job is
After watching a rehearsal of J M Barrie's Mary Rose
I was probably the only child unaware of the Japanese cu
The programme of the gloriously lavish new presentation
How do we celebrate a tragedy?
A Day in the Death of Joe Egg was well ahead of
Chekhov is thought to have written his sprawling "Play w
In 1726, William Brown was arrested in the cruising grou
When Brian Friel's version of Chekhov's Three Sister
The recent arrival of the Al-Kasaba troupe at London's R
As the Royal Shakespeare Company and its theatres approa
To label Sam Shepard's modern family melodrama A Lie
When I first heard a rumour from a Stratford landlady in
There is no theatrical institution more sadly underrated
"Do servants still exist?" asks the hero's fiancee brigh
It's a stormy night in 1960s Harlem.
The women are strikingly different: the bitch in a black
"We have all waited long, but it's not over yet," warns
Alistair Beaton's scathing satire Feelgood is c
Whether or not Fiona Shaw is well received in the title
Harold Pinter has just turned 70, and theatrical cele- b
For many years I wanted to write a play about Stalin's "
We are in a dowdy shoe store - it could as easily be Ire
There's a playwriting exercise that illustrates the diff
Women who rule the roost are a tradition in Irish writin
Harold Pinter's Betrayal, Tom Stoppard's Th
What is Michael Gambon doing reclining on a cloud?
Hotfoot from appearing in Noel Coward's Song at Twil
Summertime and the living is uneasy.
A prisoner on Robben Island complains when his cellmate
Who could have predicted that Conor McPherson's The
George Bernard Shaw sets the scene for Widowers' Hou
I was shocked when the American playwright Wallace Shawn
Above, a man is swimming towards us.
Yukio Ninagawa's production of King Lear has ex
The chorus in Declan Donnellan's marvellous and arrestin
Ian McDiarmid looks like a Rembrandt portrait as the Jew