“What if Juliet... didn’t kill herself?” asks Shakespeare’s wife Anne Hathaway (Cassidy Janson) in this gloriously silly, unexpectedly poignant jukebox musical. “I mean, what do I know, but it seems like she’s got her whole life ahead of her, she’s only had one boyfriend…” It’s a fair point. Will gets to work on a rewrite.& Juliet, built around the music of songwriting savant Max Martin, takes this wry premise, douses it in glitter and runs with it. Every moment of the Luke Sheppard-directed production is soundtracked by one of Martin’s power-pop hits – songs made famous by Katy Perry, Ellie Goulding, Kelly Clarkson, Robyn et al.
“You can’t arrest the internet,” exclaims the bereaved father in this superb Tony-winning musical. The primary meaning of his words is that you can’t apprehend it as if it were a criminal. But the secondary meaning has here become the primary one: you can’t stop dead a phenomenon that is as weightless as the ether, and yet can crush individual lives like a conscienceless juggernaut.Steven Levenson’s script is unflaggingly wily and kicks off from a very intriguing premise. It focuses on a socially awkward teenage boy (the eponymous Evan, played by Sam Tutty) who, at the suggestion of his shrink, tries to raise his spirits each day by sending himself a pep talk email.
No play by this acclaimed young American dramatist is ever going to be caught breaking the speed limit. Annie Baker’s much-deserved relationship with the National Theatre began in 2016 when it produced the English premiere of her Pulitzer Prize-winning off-Broadway piece The Flick, a studiedly downbeat, very unrushed and ruminative look at three minimum-wage misfits as they go about their routine work cleaning a fleapit cinema. The era of traditional celluloid was about to give way to the digital world.Relatively snappy at two hours straight through, this superbly cast production of The Antipodes, directed by the author and Chloe Lamford, makes us privy to a succession of brainstorming sessions about how to pitch a particular story. It’s arguably left too moot and unspecified. Aficionados of the characteristic Baker rhythm – uptight fretful lassitude, which occasionally breaks into laugh-out-loud hilarity – will not be disappointed.
The mistake people made with the election of Barack Obama,” says Wendell Pierce, staring intently, “was claiming, ‘We are post-racial.’ What? Tell that to all those guys who just got killed by police during traffic stops.”Sitting in his dressing room at the Piccadilly Theatre, where he is about to embark on a 10-week run as the star of Death of a Salesman, the 55-year-old is an engaging mix of humour and gravitas. One moment, he is doing a witty impression of New Orleans jazz legend Sidney Bechet; the next he is suddenly intense and forthright, particularly when he is talking about racism in America, a problem ingrained “since the original sin of slavery”. He says the US is still blighted by discrimination. “We keep people enslaved under the false pretence that they are free. We have a criminal justice system that, over the past 150 years, was all about criminalising an under-class. To this day in Louisiana, our penitentiaries are working plantations.”
Mary Poppins sniffs as if at a slightly improper suggestion when Mrs Banks brings up the subject of references. “I make it a rule never to give references,” she declares airily to the mother of Jane and Michael Banks in the stage musical, now in previews at London’s Prince Edward Theatre. “A very old-fashioned idea to my mind,” she adds, with a faint hint of Lady Bracknell. “The best people never require them.” She’s not being rude, exactly, but her tone leaves little doubt about who is interviewing whom in this encounter.This suggestion of inscrutability – of the stern, slightly droll briskness with which she refuses to explain herself to anybody – is a characteristic which literature’s predominant diva of the nursery shares with her creator, PL Travers, who first wrote about her in a book published in 1934. It’s not that Mary Poppins needs to fear adverse testimonials from previous employers. It’s more that a testimonial might well expose those glaring, imponderable gaps in her back story. How would you get your bearings on a figure who seems to have blown in on the east wind, “to have existed as long as recorded time and to be friendly with the powers of the universe”? That’s how she’s described by Richard Eyre, director of the stage-musical version.
Two planks are lowered on to the stage at the start of Mike Bartlett’s disgracefully funny adaptation of Vassa. They descend in deadpan sequence. One reads, “This play is set before a revolution.” The other, after a mock-solemn fade, “Capitalism is showing its age.”Not the revolution, note. Experience suggests that revolutions are inclined to devour their young. Written after the failure of the 1905 Russian revolution, when the Imperial Guard fired on a peaceful demonstration, causing many fatalities, Maxim Gorky’s 1910 play is a savage reminder that capitalism too is no slouch at tearing itself apart greedily. It is this gleefully baleful early version – published but never performed at the time – that Bartlett has adapted, and not Gorky’s 1936 revision.
A woman escaping her abusive partner franticly seeks refuge at a domestic violence shelter. A prisoner pleads for her TV to be taken away because she knows exactly how to electrocute herself with it. An inexperienced probation worker is sent to speak to the mother of a dead inmate she’s never met.There are 100 scenes in the full script of Alice Birch’s [BLANK], all inspired by women affected by the criminal justice system, and which Birch describes as an “invitation to you and your company to make your own play from these scenes”. Director Maria Aberg has picked 30 of them for this potent performance at the Donmar Warehouse, which marks 40 years since two female prisoners founded the reformative theatre company Clean Break. Two of its members – Shona Babayemi and Lucy Edkins – are in the cast.
This programme by The Royal Ballet combines gorgeously lucid dancing with an exploration of influence. It celebrates the centenary of contemporary dance pioneer Merce Cunningham with a world premiere from in-demand choreographer Pam Tanowitz and Frederick Ashton’s luminous Monotones II. Always rigorous, it’s an evening that ranges from prickly to serene.Tanowitz formed her own company in 2000, but her international career is skyrocketing after the recent success of Four Quartets, which responded to T.S. Eliot’s poetry with dance of glowing, spacious beauty. The new Everyone Keeps Me is on a smaller scale, focused on connections: between dancers, between Tanowitz and the choreographers who came before her. The intimacy is very appealing, though it’s frustrating that The Royal Ballet keeps putting female choreographers in smaller spaces like the Linbury, away from main stage.
I did question whether I deserved it,” says Richard Gadd. “Where did my wrongdoing stop and hers begin? When she started doorstepping me? When she attacked me?”The 30-year-old comedian is talking about his stalker. The woman, “Martha”, who sent him 41,071 emails, 350 hours of voicemail, 744 tweets, 46 Facebook messages, 106 pages of letters, sleeping pills, a woolly hat, a pair of brand new boxer shorts and a cuddly reindeer toy. Who turned up at his shows, and outside his house. “All,” as he says in his new show Baby Reindeer, “within the realms of legality.”
Estate agent Garry Lejeune (Daniel Rigby) is standing in a tattered suit, with a stunned look on his face. “The sardines,” he cries, “they’re gone!”. Before him on set sits a full plate of sardines. Something has gone wrong.In Michael Frayn’s brilliant meta-farce Noises Off (1982), the fourth wall is not so much broken as smashed down, along with much of the set. This is the “play gone wrong” par excellence.
The Royal Ballet’s new season opens with Manon, Kenneth MacMillan’s tale of doomed love and sexual exploitation. It’s a ballet that shows off the whole company’s gift for storytelling, conjuring up an 18th-century world that is greedy, gilded and desperate. Rags and riches literally jostle together in Nicholas Georgiadis’s brilliant designs, poverty looming over the characters’ passions.Created in 1974, Manon has become one of the company’s most popular works. The title role is coveted by ballerinas around the world: a heroine who falls for the young hero Des Grieux, even as she’s being lured into life as a rich man’s mistress.
Caryl Churchill pushes boundaries. Your wits need to hurry to keep up with the audacious, haunting and often horribly funny games the veteran dramatist is playing in Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp. This latest quartet of works is unveiled in James Macdonald's immaculate, imaginative productions on the Royal Court's main stage.It's conceivable that other dramatists might have come up with the idea of a grotesque correspondence between the alleged depravities of Weinstein, Trump, Epstein et al and the career of Bluebeard, the serial wife-killer of fable. But Churchill's approach here has her distinctively inspired stamp in its almost laconic outrageousness. The brothers of the murdered women have already put the offstage ogre into intensive care with fifteen, frustratingly non-fatal stab wounds. The full title of the play is Bluebeard's Friends; the focus is on his erstwhile moneyed intimates, seen foregathering in his castle for a post-mortem over a few bottles of wine.
In October 2017, as a host of sexual assault allegations were being levelled against Kevin Spacey, the Royal Court’s artistic director Vicky Featherstone was invited onto the Today programme to discuss them. The actor had been in charge of the Old Vic up until 2015, and there had been rumours about him, she claimed, stepping up to the plate with alacrity and punch, for some time. And about others, too. “Everyone up to this point has been complicit,” she said. “And we can’t be complicit anymore.”With these words, Featherstone – who became the Royal Court‘s first female artistic director in 2013 – tore away the muzzling constraints that had stopped discussion of ills within the industry at large: sexual harassment, bullying, silence extorted by various types of threat, the rehearsal room as a surreptitious paradise for perverts, etc. When it comes to British theatre, the Royal Court has led the way in confronting – with imagination and practical wisdom – the world that the MeToo movement has exposed in its sordid awfulness.
Fans of the comic body-swap genre were certainly well catered for by the cinema of the Eighties. 18 Again! Vice Versa. Like Father, Like Son. All of Me. Feeling nostalgic? Neither am I.Big, the 1988 hit with Tom Hanks, has honorary membership of this category. On the brink of his 13th birthday, Josh, our undersized New Jersey hero, gets an improvisatory test-run of the adult body to come when Zoltar, a mysterious, fairground slot-machine, grants him his wish to grow big. Josh becomes literally and figuratively the kid with the run of the (Manhattan) toy shop. If the movie couldn't disguise its creepiness-quotient in the Eighties, how will the material fare in this musical make-over by Richard Maltby and David Shire? It had a modest success on Broadway in 1996 and was reworked for the 2000 US regional tour. In Morgan Young's zestful production, the show hits London now in a climate that's more than ever aware of the vulnerability of minors to exploitation.
Everyone deserves a chance, at some point in their lives, to see their experiences represented correctly onstage or onscreen. A new production of Falsettos – a musical about a dysfunctional Jewish family set during the Aids crisis – to the best of our knowledge, includes not a single Jewish person among its core cast, creative or production teams.Two weeks ago, I, together with other Jewish artists, published an open letter addressing this; it was signed by actors and creatives including Miriam Margolyes and Maureen Lipman. We had noted and appreciated a culture shift where minority cultures were gaining traction in the long and important fight to define their involvement in the telling of their own stories. Our open letter included various examples of misrepresentation of Jewish characters and erasure of Jewish stories but centred around the case study of Falsettos. We wrote that while non-Jews can and should play Jews, that doing so in processes absent of any other Jewish voices can lead to misrepresentation, caricature and misunderstanding.
It all started here: one woman, on stage, telling a story. In 2013, Fleabag opened in a small, dank fringe space in Edinburgh, before Phoebe Waller-Bridge turned it into a beloved, era-defining TV comedy, the show that launched her career – and a thousand think pieces.So of course, this limited and very sold out run in a West End theatre isn’t actually the same, not really. She probably wouldn’t have written this kind of show for this kind of big grand old space: it inevitably feels rather small, just Waller-Bridge sat on a tall stool on an empty stage. The piped-in sound effects and lop-sided pre-recorded conversations occasionally feel odd, especially when you’ve also seen them spoken by real people on TV.
With the Edinburgh International and Fringe festivals drawing to a close over the weekend, and the 2019 awards in the process of being dished out, it seems an impossible task to pick just a few stand-out shows from amid the festivals’ extensive programme. Yet the cream is rising to the top; for example, playwright Kieran Hurley’s stunning discussion on class and appropriation in the arts, Mouthpiece, won the Carol Tambor Award, and will now transfer to New York, while Caroline Horton’s All of Me won this year’s Mental Health Fringe Award.At Summerhall, meanwhile, the venue selects its own favourite productions with the Lustrum Awards for "Great Festival Moments". While their exceptional programme suggests this might be an impossible task, this year the winners included among their number the intriguing Before the Revolution, a piece about the Egyptian revolution which has already been seen in Switzerland, France, Belgium and Cairo, where it caused predictable controversy and drew calls for a ban. This run in Edinburgh was its UK debut.
Questions of class and accessibility pervade discussions around the elite arts, and these inevitably reach a point of concentration at the Edinburgh International Festival. In terms of its subject matter, this new dance piece by Prime Cut Productions and Belfast-based choreographer and dancer Oona Doherty is a powerful antidote, taking as its inspiration the working class communities of the post-Troubles city.“If you’re in a shithole but you look fuckin’ amazing, there’s something empowering about that,” says the voiceover that introduces the largest-scale and arguably most impressive sequence here. “They’re superstars… (in this) little bubble that has tragedy in the walls… for putting their armour on and getting on with the day.” The unnamed female voice introduces a formation of teenage girls and young women in bright white jeans and dazzling tracksuit tops, whose dance resembles something between Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’ and a Maori Haka.
“We get paid to speak on stage,” say each of the four men before us. “You’ve got to be having a laugh.” As well as their maleness and their joint profession, it’s their apparent cerebral palsy that links the quartet. Two use wheelchairs, all of their voices are difficult to make out to some degree – and yet they’re here to present a show filled with physical movement and dance while telling their own stories. What follows is a warm and funny experience that achieves what all the best theatre does: open a window on other lives and experience what the audience might never have considered.Under the artistic directorship of Robert Softley Gale, Scotland’s Birds of Paradise theatre company is breaking down boundaries in how work made for and featuring disabled people is presented. Namely, Gale (who also has CP) has cut away the sense that these subjects have to be treated with a heightened sense of solemnity, self-awareness and suffocating respect.
Frankenstein: How to Build a Monster ★★★★☆ / Trying It On ★★★★☆Beatboxing theatre seems to be in the midst of a mini-comeback at this year’s Fringe. Between the return of Shlomo with two shows, one for adults and one for children, the prevalence of the form alongside tapdancers in Noiseboys, and the enjoyment of Boar at Pleasance Courtyard, it has hardly been better represented. To the above roll call we can also add Frankenstein: How to Build a Monster at the Traverse, one of the most crowd-pleasing shows of the year at Edinburgh’s new writing hub.
Part cabaret, part catwalk show, designer Jean Paul Gaultier’s stage autobiography is massively self-indulgent but also kind of fabulous.It’s basically two hours of hot-bodied dancer-singer-exhibitionists posing and vogueing in his hyper-sexualised, gender-bending creations, supposedly to show that “everyone eez byoodeefool”. Um, what’s not to like? Both JPG and his Fashion Freak Show — FFS! — may be absurd but they undoubtedly add to the gaiety of nations.A rough arc of his life is sketched out in frantic dance routines interspersed with video interludes to a superb soundtrack by Nile Rodgers. JPG put a conical bra on his teddy at seven and would later put one on Madonna. Originally employed by Pierre Cardin, he discovered his own signature style mixing kink, camp and glamour in the Eighties. His most famous collections are referenced but his later work for Hermès and his designs for films barely merit a mention. He also promoted ethnic and bodily diversity, which is echoed here in the casting. Sort of.The show has been imported from the Folies Bergère in Paris with little concession made to British audiences. Few of the video cameos will be familiar outside France or fashion circles, with the exception of actresses Catherine Deneuve and Rossy de Palma. But his love of London shines through. Punk was an influence, as was the Queen. Her Majesty is here played on screen by Antoine de Caunes, JPG’s co-host on the Nineties TV show Eurotrash.Gaultier is now 67 and his designs, like Madonna’s boobs, no longer seem as outrageous as they once were. But the impish spirit that led him to record a dance single in 1988, and to collaborate with streetwear brand Supreme this year, remains. “Have fun, be free,” he twinkled from the stage last night, wearing a feather headdress. This raucous frocky horror show is certainly fun.Until August 2 (020 3879 9555, southbankcentre.co.uk)
The magnetic young actor James McArdle was in his mischievous/despairing element a couple of years ago as Platonov, the title character in David Hare‘s brilliant adaptation of an early Chekhov play, directed by Jonathan Kent. For the same team, he is now being no less dazzling, owning the Olivier stage for an unflagging three and a half hours as the incorrigible fantasist, who here goes by the Anglicised name of Peter, rather than Peer Gynt.In fact, the show is billed as “by David Hare after Henrik Ibsen”. Authorial hubris? No: for my money, in its black hilarity and acute understanding of how the modern world has demeaned the concept of the “self”, this production offers the most laugh-out-loud, feel-bad version I’ve seen of this astonishing, ahead-of-its-time phantasmagoria. It comes, though, with certain strings attached.McArdle is cornering the market in sexy, irresistible s***s. Platonov is a negiligent lady killer who knows deep down that his amoral behaviour is ultimately doomed. By contrast, McArdle’s Peter is in compulsively prattling denial that ultimate authenticity exists. His talk is a non-stop haemmorrhage of defensively vainglorious yarns. Hare’s version latches fruitfully onto the current fashion for believing that our lives are the “stories” we improvise – an ideological position that lets us off the hook, favouring the accumulation of wealth over the accruing of wisdom.Kent’s production gets majestic measure of the Olivier. Richard Hudson’s imposing design bifurcates the stage. One half looks like one of those lovely Eric Ravilious visions of a rather bleached and closely shaved green-and-pleasant-land. The other gives us slinky and pervy glimpses of a psychic dystopia. The kingdom of the terrifying trolls is staged as a candelabra-lit Oxbridge high table reangled at a steep incline, as if in a jeering travesty of a nervous breakdown. Around it congregate dinner-jacketed toffs, discussing the philosophy to which their gilded sty is dedicated: “To thine own self be true – and damn the rest of the world”.McArdle’s Peter pops up all over the place (head first, say, out of the golf holes on a celebrity golf course, like rabbits in a plutocratic retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland). The energy is thrilling, as is the nuance. He understands that it is only a short step from cocky blarney to being trapped in the cling film wrap of solipsism. His attempts to wrestle his way out of this packaging are distressing to watch. On the other hand, his aged Peter does becomes chastened and crumbly, as the character has done in many other performances. He remains ornery and protesting. The plays comes full circle to its starting place, but more in a corkscrew shape than in a quietist implication that it would have been better if he had remained home all along.Hare’s very funny script is richly resourceful in finding contemporary parallels. Spirituality? What earthly use is that? In paunchy middle age, McArdle becomes faintly Les Patterson in aspect, pooh-poohing the difference between the Sunnis and Shiites and shouting it up as, in the main, an opportunity to make money; “After all, what’s the difference between them? An interpretation of theology, that’s all! A prophet who wasn’t clear!” I occasionally wondered if Hare isn’t a bit too much on top of the game. He riddlesthe piece with light at the expense, perhaps, of ridding the piece of some of its irreducibly riddling qualities. But in general, this show – sharply etched across the board by populous crack cast – is a mighty achievement and one of which the NT can be justly proud.To 8 October, nationaltheatre.org.uk
There are some dancers – some performers – who are unlike anyone else. Rocío Molina is one of them. She’s flamenco’s wildest radical, punk and glorious, a magnificent dancer whose range takes in the fiery intensity of traditional styles, surreal fantasy and unpredictable humour. In Caída del cielo (Fallen from Heaven), she goes from moon goddess to rock chick, taking in crisps and pollution along the way.Her current tour, appearing at Sadler’s Wells as part of Flamenco Festival London, is Molina’s return to dance after having her first child last year. (Characteristically, she built a show around her pregnancy, adapting the choreography to her changing body). She’s back at full power.She’s the only dancer in Fallen From Heaven, working her way through strange transformations. Her four musicians mix traditional flamenco with rock music and compositions by another iconoclast, Paco de Lucía, a guitarist who branched into jazz and other styles. The show sometimes rambles, losing momentum as Molina pushes at boundaries, but still has her characteristic blend of imagery and powerful dancing.She first appears in an ice white dress, a snowdrift of ruffles around her ankles. Slow as a glacier, she leans this way and that, tilting and morphing from one pose to another. She could be a mermaid, or a sea creature evolving to walk, and dance, on shore.Once she’s got there, all bets are off. She strips off the white dress, then matter-of-factly wriggles into her leggings under a dressing gown, tugging fabric into place. Her footwork is fast and explosive, but she’s a flamenco star who never relies on it: she often dances barefoot, showing off liquid backbends, swinging hips and shoulders, her movement quality as sleek as a cat’s.Elsewhere, she discovers a bondage harness inside a packet of crisps, or dances with a long staff, her feet and the wood setting up cross-rhythms with the intricate clapped and beaten patterns from the musicians. Then she jumps astride the staff, like a witch who has discovered pole dancing.When Molina returns to the mermaid imagery, it’s with a sense of darkness. Pulling on wet plastic skirts, she leaves a trail of fluid behind her, splattering the stage like an oil slick. One of the musicians washes her feet before she changes into a wine red dress. Then she dances perhaps the most traditional solo of the evening, grand and assured, with her knees still muddy.Flamenco Festival London continues until 14 July. Box office 020 7863 8000.
Oddly enough, not many parents choose to name their children after political heroes. So it's all the more telling that the offspring in The End of History – the latest, highly intriguing piece from the hit-making team of writer Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany – have been lovingly lumbered with Carl (after Communist Manifesto writer Karl Marx), Polly (after social anthropologist Polly Hill) and Tom (after political revolutionary Thomas Paine).This collaboration between Thorne and Tiffany has already given us a stage version of the Scandi vampire movie Let the Right One In and the mega-successful Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Their follow-up to the latter is set in Newbury, in the kitchen/dining room of a right-on, left-leaning family that would likely be hostile to Hogwarts on doctrinal grounds. Private schooling? The obscurantist escapism of magic as a pseudo-solution to social problems? Baby-boomers Sal and David have risen from deprived backgrounds to the relative security of this nice, roomy, scruffy-at-the-edges abode, without for a moment ceasing the struggle to educate the world towards the freedom of collective progress.Beautifully directed by Tiffany, the piece moves through three decidedly awkward family dinners in 1997 (the winter before the New Labour landslide), 2007 and 2017. The intervening decades are presented in droll, sped-up dance sequences. By the time we meet this clan, the indefatigably sincere teacher Sal has become – in Lesley Sharp's painfully funny performance – an embarrassing cartoon of herself to her long-suffering kids. And she is desperately aware of this. It's touching and awful how much she longs to share a bed again with her 19-year-old daughter Polly (the gawky, clever child who is excellently played by Kate O'Flynn). Polly has come back from her first term at Cambridge for this occasion. Her older brother Carl (Mum’s Sam Swainsbury is pitch-perfect as a ruefully conscious disappointment) is introducing his girlfriend and future wife, whose parents are Roman Catholics who have made their wealth from a string of service-stations. Late to the feast, because he’s been in detention for drug use, Tom (superb Laurie Davidson) is the sensitive, gay sixth former who'd be quite a wag if he weren't so incipiently suicidal.The piece, in its earlier stages, has a clever, accelerated Posy Simmonds-meets-Ionesco air, and throughout is a devastating verbal spree. But in its piercing look at the liabilities (and benefits) of being the offspring of political idealists, it puts you in mind of Tony Kushner's more serious Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism. It's both satire and celebration. David Morrissey beautifully conveys the maddeningly resilient side of the father, and he breaks your heart as he reads a bare, moving, Quaker-style list of his wife's achievements before her funeral. She did so much good for people. But like many idealists, she saw her children as a “legacy project that would protect the values she held dear”. Which is a big ask – sometimes intolerable, sometimes inspiring. I loved this show, though it could perhaps have been a tad more forthright about its intentions. To 10 August; royalcourttheatre.com
Flamenco star Sara Baras stalks on, dressed in a frock coat and trousers. Even in silhouette, it’s clear that the star of the show has arrived: she carries herself with commanding presence, with a sense of the storms of movement she’s about to unleash.Baras’s new show Sombras (Shadows) opens this year’s Flamenco Festival London with style. This month, Sadler’s Wells will host a packed programme of shows, from traditional galas to the gloriously experimental Rocío Molina. Baras stands squarely in the middle, with classic dancing and modern, streamlined staging. Baras is an international name, leading her own company for 20 years. She’s won a host of international honours – even a Barbie doll in her image. For Sombras, she’s joined by seven dancers and seven musicians, all seen at first as shadows on the backdrop, men and women in trousers. In recent years, flamenco has pushed harder at ideas of gender. Baras is more understated, but has made the farucca, traditionally a male style, her signature dance for two decades.She’ll take stark poses, or stand with one hand to her breast, both modest and proud. Her footwork is flexible and astonishingly fast. In perhaps her best known move, she glides across the stage, heels drumming as she goes – sharp and powerful as a pneumatic drill, but purringly smooth.Warmly lit by Óscar Gómez de los Reyes, the show is framed by sliding panels, with sketched outlines of dancers. Within this shifting frame, there are taut unison dances and moments of improvisation.Returning in a satin dress, she whirls and poses, the layers of her skirts making bold shapes around her body, precise as a bullfighter’s cape. For this show, Baras avoids the traditional ruffled flamenco skirt, but shows a classic skill with fabric, from a flowing shawl to the spiky shapes she creates in a fringed dress. In another scene, both men and women wear simple skirts, showing off long lines of movement.In one wonderfully intimate sequence, Baras and her percussionists trade rhythms as if the stage were their own private space. Her tapped footwork weaves in and out of handclaps and percussion instruments – including the mellow sound of a brass gourd – until she’s just listening, still and smiling, caught in the moment.Until 7 July. Flamenco Festival London continues until 14 July. Box office 020 7863 8000