Parodies of familiar tales are a well-loved staple of comedic storytelling. Everyone from the Carry On films to Spike Milligan and Mel Brooks have successfully employed this strategy, often injecting social satire into the mirth.
Mates blogger: Michael Davis
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The latest from Michael on MyTheatreMates
Every person who has ever been diagnosed with cancer asks at some point “What do I do now?” and “How can I carry on?” While the ‘tropes’ of behaviour post-diagnosis are familiar to people as the five stages of grief, there is a world of difference between being ‘intellectually aware’ of such things and ‘living in the thick of it’…
During the 20th century, absurdism and surrealism surfaced in literature to make pertinent points about human nature and ‘the real world’. Prime examples include Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and by George Orwell’s Animal Farm. In both cases, anthropomorphism features – a state of affairs that is tonally ‘taken for granted’.
Written by Peter Mulligan, Loop examines different philosophical outlooks one might have and how they ‘help’ (or not) with expectations of life.
In keeping with its nuanced writing, Colour shows how people of all backgrounds are susceptible to feigning civility, using acts of ‘kindness’, ‘politeness’ and even smiling to hide their innermost thoughts and feelings.
Originally conceived in 2018, the House of Blakewell’s Everything Is Absolutely Fine is a fitting show to usher in theatre for 2021 and prescient in the way it broaches mental health issues.
An anthology of female-led black comedy, Obscenities (which is written by Venetia Twigg and Will Nash) is evidence of theatre’s ability to adapt to our current Covid restrictions. Split into three short episodes, each segment is underpinned by characters who find themselves in uncomfortable situations.
At the start of 2020, Southwark Playhouse commissioned five playwrights to pen brand new short plays for performance by the Elders Company, its weekly drama group for anyone aged 65 and over.
Written by Lorna Wells and directed by Aisling Gallagher, Illusions of Liberty focuses on Liberty Jones (Corinne Walker) – a young cellist who has just had test results from doctors regarding her general state of ‘lethargy’.
First performed on stage in 2015, (Fire) Embers (Ash) – which is written and directed by Hailey Mashburn – has been reimagined as an audio play for 2021.
As part of the digital Living Record Festival Covert Firmament’s contribution includes 40 separate plays and films, which are written and directed by Dan Horrigan. These include three audio plays – monologues that are very different to each other in terms of subject matter, but also in their execution.
To all the artistic directors out there, let’s have more plays like S-27 at the Finborough Theatre that have something to say about the world today.
Originally performed in Edinburgh in 2019, Caroline Horton’s All Of Me returns in two different formats – as an interactive digital version hosted on gaming platform Twine and as an audio version on Soundcloud. This particular review focuses on the audio incarnation of the show in November.
While the play addresses the hopes and fears of those seeking to escape destitution (and achieve a better life), much like the fairy tale it mimics, Caperucita through its choreography and poetic use of language evokes a Lorca-esque quality to the proceedings.
The Absence of Silence is a frank examination of the impact of long-term physical and emotional abuse on women in relationships.
Rather than veer down the road trod by films such as I, Daniel Blake, People Show’s Last Day addresses the ‘inconvenience’ of having a conscience if one is in middle management and the choices that one has to live with… or not.
In OPEN Ealing’s Love Screens – three short plays that are written by Nicolas Ridley and directed by Anthony Shrubsall – relationships are placed under the microscope: those that have run their course, those that have remained in a state of inertia and those that may blossom, given the right circumstances.
Combining music and choreography with the spoken word, Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow is thoughtful in its conception and ambitious in its scope, looking at the ‘bigger picture’.
The second entry in Alchemist Theatre’s ‘Writers On Hold’ series, Blue Beneath My Skin continues to explore the themes of racial identity and femininity.
While Ibsen’s A Doll’s House is arguably the first and most famous ‘modern’ play about female emancipation from an inequitable marriage, it’s certainly not the only drama to tackle this once-controversial topic.
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