Here are some reviews. The Stage calls it "repellent and compelling", which is about right:
On 9/2/12 we were supposed to see Freedom at the Arcola but skipped it because the reviews were so bad.
On 13/2/12 we saw The Trial of Ubu at Hampstead, Simon Stephens' updating, if that's the word, of Alfred Jarry's play about an incontinent tyrant. It fell into three parts. Firstly, a retelling with Punch and Judy-type puppets of Jarry's original story of a greedy underling who seizes power from the king and runs a regime of slapstick slaughter and childish brutality; performed in a hole in an otherwise blank wall at the front of the stage. Second, Ubu's modern-day trial in some International Criminal Court, as seen through the eyes of two interpreters sitting side by side in their booth, taking turns to voice the words of lawyers and witnesses, their contrasting characters lightly sketched in, the impact of having to listen day after day to such disturbing testimony hinted at in their reactions, the passing of time suggested by heavy colds and by their comings and goings in different clothes with the passing of the seasons. Third, short scenes which take place to either side of the interpreters' booth, between Ubu and his jailer in his cell and between two lawyers in a smoking room outside the court. These last, it seemed to me, diluted the impact of the central section and I couldn't quite see why they were there, unless Stephens felt we needed to see the aged Ubu, who was indeed a compelling grotesque, a broken old man cadging cigarettes from his jailer but utterly without remorse, and then threw the lawyers in to make up the numbers. Ninety minutes played straight through. Nikki Amuka-Bird and Kate Duchene as the interpreters, Paul McCleary as Ubu, directed by Katie Mitchell (whose work I would always travel far to see and whose painstaking work on character I think was evident in those hints of the interpreters' off-stage lives and relationship, none of which seemed to be in the text), set by Lizzie Clachan.
Reviews here. Charles Spencer calls it "arty and tiresomely self-regarding" which is unfair, but I see why he says it:
On 16/2/12 we saw Tales of Hoffman at ENO.
On 18/2/12 we went to the new Turner Gallery on the seafront at Margate.
On 20/2/12 we saw Travelling Light at the Lyttelton (National Theatre).
On 24/2/12 we saw The Recruiting Officer at the Donmar.
On 27/2/12 we saw Murnau's Faust at the Royal Festival Hall with live accompaniment from the Philharmonia.