“They Call Me, “Woman!’’ (written by Ayo Jaiyesimi and presented by Thespian Family Theatre & Productions, Nigeria) is a set of five monologues spotlighting some of the issues confronting the African woman. Whilst there’s strong advocacy for gender recognition, equality and equity all over the world, the struggles of African women, educated or illiterate, young, or old, modern, or traditional, need to be felt in order to be understood. This is our spotlight.”
‘You have to admire Jameson’s chutzpah’: TEN DAYS – The Space (Online show)
Taking as his central text American journalist John Reed’s seminal book Ten Days That Shook The World, Matthew Jameson’s “labour of love” project Ten Days (it has taken a mere 10 years or so to get this work finished) provides a convoluted history lesson which sets out the main events in some detail and introduces a whole gallery of historical figures who played their part in the process.
‘Absorbing audio drama’: BENNY & HITCH – BBC Sounds (Online show)
Benny And Hitch concentrates on the turbulent relationship between the director and his often first choice composer, Bernard Herrmann. They worked together on an unbroken stretch of eight films from 1955 to 1964 and the composer also contributed to the TV shows made concurrently.
‘The physical damage & emotional destruction is vividly conveyed’: FOUR POEMS FROM UKRAINE – Finborough Theatre
Using examples from the past 180 years, Four Poems From Ukraine oscillates between poems performed in English (by actors in London and Toronto), and Ukrainian actors performing in their native language (with English subtitles), with filmed footage of the bombsites of Irpin.
‘A time for making discoveries about oneself’: TALKING HANDS – Deafinitley Theatre (Online show)
The lockdown experience was, of course, an infinitely lonely and disturbing one for many and involved living life rather differently. It was also a time for making discoveries about oneself and that is one of the key themes running through Talking Hands, five short pieces (average playing time, 20 minutes) from Deafinitley Theatre.
‘Chilling & contemporary’: NOTRE DAME – The Space (Online review)
Ever since Covid’s early days pioneering company Threedumb Theatre has developed and sustained the idea of the one shot livestream; this is unedited and raw but captures much of the spontaneity and edge which comes with live performance. Their latest, Notre Dame, is probably their most ambitious.
‘Can leave the listener wanting & needing more’: OUR VOICES – Small Truth Theatre (Online show)
Small Truth Theatre has commissioned a series of micro plays recorded as part of its Digital Caravan space (their original mini theatre on wheels being decommissioned because of the need for social distancing). About a month ago they put out a new set of material under the umbrella title of Our Voices consisting of four short pieces inspired by interacting with young people in and around the company’s north Kensington home.
‘Will ring more than a few bells’: Interdimensional Phishing Scam/Penumbra – Chronic Insanity (Online review)
It’s been an absolute age (well, about a year anyway) since I visited those innovative people at Chronic Insanity. They are well known for pushing boundaries of the possible in both live and digital situations. And that’s not to mention the sheer amount of work they produce; the aim is 12 pieces of drama every year.
‘An ambitious debut production’: Dots & Dashes: A Bletchley Park Musical – The Space (Online review)
In Dots and Dashes: A Bletchley Park Musical, which comes to London from the Edinburgh Fringe, the women of Bletchley Park are centre stage, clever mathematicians, linguists, and navigators who were selected to serve their country.
‘Definitely an ensemble piece’: BEDROOM FARCE – BBC Sounds (Online review)
One of Alan Ayckbourn’s biggest ever successes, 1975’s Bedroom Farce, has only just made the transition in an entertaining production from Martin Jarvis and Rosalind Ayres which premiered in two parts across New Year’s Eve/Day. It is now available via BBC Sounds.
‘The social divide is front & centre’: A CHRISTMAS CAROL: A GHOST STORY – BBC iPlayer (Online Show)
What is certain is that if you want an account that’s faithful to the spirit (sorry!) of the original but doesn’t let proceedings drag on (it comes in at under two hours without missing much out) then Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story is certainly worth your attention.
‘Entertaining & educational’: TALKING HANDS – Deafinitely Theatre (Online Review) ★★★★★
In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Deafinitely Theatre, Talking Hands has been created in partnership with Paines Plough, allowing five deaf writers to share their stories of lockdown.
New post-show Q&A: Join Terri Paddock in a free online discussion about Original Theatre’s Into the Night
To celebrate the re-release of Original Theatre’s critically acclaimed, on-demand online production of Into the Night: The Story of the Penlee Lifeboat, and to commemorate the 41st anniversary of the real-life disaster, I’ll chair a FREE online discussion with playwright Frazer Flintham and Michael Sagar-Fenton, Cornish author of the book on which the play is based.
‘Excellent characterisation’: GREY MAN – Online Review
It’s that time of year when days get shorter, nights get longer and tale telling revolves around the supernatural. Just a couple of days ago the last thing I saw on stage, Here, was (partly) a modern day take on the ghost story. Now for good measure comes Grey Man, a piece of digital theatre written by Lulu Raczka, which investigates similar spooky territory. The piece has been subtitled “A Stage And Screen Experiment” which, as it turns out, is exactly what it is.
‘When family history & personal convictions become inextricably linked’: GUINEA PIGS – The Space (Online show) ★★★★★
If you could meet your 15-year-old-self, what would you say? Would your point of view be any different from theirs? Or perhaps the only deviation would be time has honed your views with greater clarity and nuance? Written by Elin Doyle and directed by Laura Kirman, Guinea Pigs is about a teenager whose father is connected to the British nuclear testing programme – its aftermath having major physical and emotional repercussions.
‘Exciting & challenging’: SCENE UNSEEN – English Touring Opera (Online show)
Jessica Walker and Joseph Atkins bring a touch of cabaret to English Touring Opera in this intimate show, co-produced by Royal & Derngate, captured on film and directed by James Dacre with animation by Thomas Hicks.
‘Dialogue whizzes back & forth like leather on willow’: STUMPED – Original Theatre (Online show)
When in 1964 Samuel Beckett (Stephen Tompkinson) and Harold Pinter (Andrew Lancel) play in the same cricket match in the Cotswolds, you might expect something out of the ordinary. Filmed live at Lord’s, the ‘home of cricket’, Original Theatre’s Stumped imagines what might have happened in such a meeting between two playwrights known for pauses and a sense of the absurd.
At the theatre after an extraordinary day that saw us bid farewell to Her Majesty the Queen
Welcome to today’s edition of ShentonSTAGE Daily, after an extraordinary day that saw us bid farewell to Her Majesty the Queen, after a reign of 70 years that saw her appoint 15 prime ministers — the latest of whom Liz Truss she met only on Tuesday. Truss will now be reporting in a weekly audience to King Charles III (coincidentally the title of Mike Bartlett’s 2014 play which imagined the future that awaited him — and us — that transferred to the West End and Broadway).
‘Comic invented history which entertains & informs’: Three Women & Shakespeare’s Will / Mrs Pack (Online Show)
Three Women & Shakespeare’s Will comes from the pen of Joan Greening who has made something of a speciality of writing about historical figures connected to the arts, albeit in imaginary settings/situations. Thus in recent years she has given us the relationship dynamics of three literary sisters in At Home With The Brontës and a trio of Rosetti’s Women and their influence on the titular painter.
‘Transports the viewer to different locations & into diverse lives’: MILES / THE FALL – Original Theatre Company (Online Show)
Riverside Studios has partnered with the Original Theatre Company to make their three competition-winning plays from debut writers available for on-demand viewing. Across three nights in July, these three plays were performed in the small space at Riverside Studios with all-star casts and simultaneously live-streamed to an international audience. Separate release dates for Miles and The Fall will follow, but watching them as a collective is just as valuable, transporting the viewer to three very different locations and into diverse lives.