View Post

27 – Battersea Arts Centre

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Laura KresslyLeave a Comment

Brian Jones. Jimi Hendrix. Amy Winehouse. Janis Joplin. Jim Morrison. Kurt Cobain. Peter McMaster? No, he didn’t join the “27 Club” but he celebrates the risks and excesses of the age that took so many legends. With co-performer Nick Anderson, they relay personal milestones from birth through the near future amongst displays of risk taking, celebration and sensual interaction with the audience and each other. This encroaching on personal space and copious amounts of dust creates a boundary-less, intimate world with surprising additions of pain and violence – an excellent depiction of the living life on the edge.

View Post

HARDY ANIMAL – Touring

In Dance, London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews, Touring by Laura KresslyLeave a Comment

What happens when a dancer and performance maker loses the ability to dance due to chronic pain? She makes a solo dance piece with hardly any dance in it. A mix of emotive description, encounters with medical and health practitioners, and her own research tell the story of an injury and the subsequent pain that wouldn’t leave her body. Pointedly still and so quiet that she needs a mic, Laura Dannequin’s resilience makes a compelling piece of solo storytelling that mourns the dances her body wouldn’t allow her to make.

View Post

THIS ROOM – Battersea Arts Centre

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Laura KresslyLeave a Comment

Laura Dean has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She’s afraid she’s going to kill herself in her sleep so spends at least two hours before bed checking her house for anything she could use to self-harm. Scarves and tights are hidden away, as are knives and other sharp objects. She can’t sleep without her checking routine and after months of exhaustion, she’s had enough.

View Post

THE BROKE ‘N’ BEAT COLLECTIVE – Battersea Arts Centre

In Dance, London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Laura KresslyLeave a Comment

Kids have it tough, especially if they’re poor. Decreasing social mobility, higher costs of education and living, and decreasing welfare are trapping our future generations in inescapable cycles of poverty. They are just as aspirational as young people from more privileged backgrounds and aware of the opportunities they don’t have. They are angry, frustrated and lack the opportunity to constructively express their feelings that often go completely disregarded by more comfortable members of society.

EVERY ONE – Battersea Arts Centre

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Laura KresslyLeave a Comment

Mary Jane, Joe and their two teenagers, Maz and Kev, are happy. Even Mary Jane’s mum, confined to a wheelchair and trapped in her own mind by age and medication, is happily restful. Their lives aren’t perfect, but they love each other and relish their middle class, heteronormative, suburban existence. Joe’s a teacher, Mary Jane’s a tax inspector, Maz wants to study fashion and Kev is obsessed with video games. They are undeniably normal, until Mary Jane has a stroke whilst doing the ironing and the four of them are changed forever.

View Post

EVERY ONE – Battersea Arts Centre

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Laura KresslyLeave a Comment

Mary Jane, Joe and their two teenagers, Maz and Kev, are happy. Even Mary Jane’s mum, confined to a wheelchair and trapped in her own mind by age and medication, is happily restful. Their lives aren’t perfect, but they love each other and relish their middle class, heteronormative, suburban existence. Joe’s a teacher, Mary Jane’s a tax inspector, Maz wants to study fashion and Kev is obsessed with video games. They are undeniably normal, until Mary Jane has a stroke whilst doing the ironing and the four of them are changed forever.

JACKSON’S WAY: THE CHRISTMAS TOP-UP POWER SEMINAR! – Battersea Arts Centre

In Comedy, London theatre, Plays, Reviews by Laura KresslyLeave a Comment

Will Adamsdale’s standup/solo performance creation Chris Jackson is a motivational speaker and life coach, and the audience is at his seminar to learn his life changing methods. Jackson’s Way: The Christmas Top-Up Power Seminar! teaches you the importance of attempting meaningless or impossible actions, or “jactions”, in our lives that are otherwise filled with purpose. Adamsdale’s script has a clear narrative but somewhat lacking in follow through – we never really learn precisely WHY we should be filling our time with jactions, but the character’s detailed biography and emotional journey through the Christmas story is satisfyingly seasonal.

View Post

Battersea Arts Centre: Live from Television Centre

In Features, Festivals, Films, Inspiring people, London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Laura KresslyLeave a Comment

On Sunday night, theatre people ( and hopefully others) up and down the country tuned in to BBC Four to watch Battersea Arts Centre and Arts Council England take over the former BBC Television Centre, now a building site for luxury flats. Over two hours, four theatre companies streamed their work for live audiences in the comfort of their homes, to push the boundaries of theatre’s adaptability to the popular small screen and to challenge typical TV programming. I watched in bed and with Twitter open so I could keep half an eye on #livefromTVC; it was a gloriously anarchic experiment that I hope ushers in a new era for telly and theatre even though not every element worked as well as it could have – but that’s the point of experimentation.

View Post

THE NOTEBOOK – Battersea Arts Centre

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Laura KresslyLeave a Comment

Nearly everyday we see news of refugees fleeing war torn lands in search of safety abroad. No matter how the press spins objective facts to suit their own agenda and their readers’ opinions, the perspective of these events unfailingly separates “them” from “us”. These people running for their lives are The Other that we must either keep out or allow in. It’s all very black and white, heavily doused with an air of superiority; we either look down on them as vermin that need controlling or as victims that need handling with kid gloves. We never really hear from these refugees, though. It’s all, “me, me, me” and a flamboyant display of either virtue or condemnation.

View Post

BAC: A theatrical trailblazer faces a different kind of blaze

In Features, London theatre, News, Opinion by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

I’ll admit that I seldom go to BAC. But I have always liked — even loved — that it’s there. It’s a major home for emerging theatre companies, and even if I miss them at the beginning of their lives there, I acknowledge that the building has a major role in developing the talent of the future and the future, in turn, of the theatre.
It is here, after all, that my favourite British musical of the century so far — Jerry Springer the Opera — was born. It’s also where the 1927 company, whose show Golem transfers to the West End’s Trafalgar Studios next month, began.
So it was particularly distressing to hear of the fire that engulfed the venue yesterday — and utterly destroyed its venerable 120 year old Grand Hall.