The King’s Head Theatre has been turned into a South American jungle, and we are invited to go along with the intrigued explorer Tamino, as he embarks on his journey to discover a world full of magical beings. In this world, and actually this performance too, nothing is what is expected.
Andrea isn’t very well. In solitary confinement at some sort of secure facility, she has no one to talk to other than those who briefly visit and those who live in her head.
Rhoda is the picture-perfect 1950s American child. Obedient, clever and helpful, she is a dream for any parent. But after the death of a classmate who won the penmanship medal Rhoda coveted, mum Christine’s investigations into past “accident” uncover a dark secret from her own childhood that means Rhoda isn’t all that seems.
John Stanley’s dark comedy could easily descend into poverty porn, but he avoids this pitfall with a focus on detailed characterisation and the consequences of drug addiction, both of which can translate to any social class.
Alison Mead’s Politic Man chronicles the lives of Alfred and Ada Salter, an activist and political couple living and working in the Bermondsey slums of the early 1900s – I’d never encounrtered these remarkable people before. Avowed socialists committed to improving the lives of the city’s poor, Alfred moved from medicine into politics so he could help more people.
The Wild Party, a simple and to-the-point title, perfectly describes the show as well as the evening I experienced. There was so much to like about this performance. Adapted into a performance piece here by Mingled Yarn Theatre Company, The Wild Party was originally a book-length narrative poem by Joseph Moncure March in the roaring twenties.
Ugly Lovely snapshots down-at-heel but aspirational Swansea with well-rounded characters who are excellently performed within a promising script, but it has a somewhat unsatisfying resolution.
When the abusive, drunken woodcutter Sganarelle beats his wife one time too many, she takes advantage of passing strangers looking for a doctor to cure a young woman’s mysterious illness. Telling them she knows just the man, an eccentric but renowned man of medicine, sets the ball rolling on an absurd adventure of lust, remorse, and blagging it.
Fringe Shakespeare can be terrible, brilliant and everything in between those two ends of the spectrum. The better productions are vivacious and effortlessly handle Shakespeare’s language whether or not they are updated to a more modern setting, edited heavily or otherwise adapted with a concept. Thick as Thieves’ Twelfth Night is one of these good ones.
Half of the UK population born after 1960 will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. Considering this figure, cancer rarely features as the primary subject matter in theatre, though last year there were several productions that put it at the forefront. I caught two of them in Edinburgh: The Eulogy of Toby Peach and Goodstock. James Hartnell’s debut play, Beetles From the West, is also driven by a diagnosis.
What makes the story of Red Riding Hood so enduring? Is it the clever heroine? Is it the metaphor for growing up? Is it the violence and gore? Horse & Bamboo choose to focus on the colour red and its symbolism in their touring Red Riding Hood. Two actors, Nix Wood and Alex Kanefsky, are […]
Love is one of the best things in the world, or the worst. It feels like floating, butterflies, warmth and fuzziness, or being trapped in a cage with no way out. Everyone wants to love and be loved, but when it backfires, the effects are devastating. For life, sometimes. Torn Apart (Dissolution) presents three interconnected relationships across generations and international borders. These people are broken at worst or dysfunctional at best, which makes for some good dramatic tension but the playwright BJ McNeill’s structure, style and storyline deteriorates towards the end. Some lovely set-piece scenes, a few good performances and a powerful set design help offset these issues, but new company No Offence Theatre need to continue developing their ideas in order to better showcase them.
I imagine getting stuck in a lift is pretty high on the list of “Worst Things Ever.” Well, it’s obviously not as horrible as the death of a loved one, terrorism, cancer and a host of other things, but in terms of scary experiences that can ruin your day, it’s definitely up there. And, the longer you’re trapped, the worse it gets. In Claustrophobia, Aidan and Rachel are on their way home when the lift their in stops moving. As minutes turn into hours, their phones run out of battery and they run out of food and water. Mental and emotional deterioration sets in.
Knickers, bras and other vintage undergarments (oh my!) dangle from the Hope Theatre ceiling in dim light, the discarded ghosts of sexual encounters long past. Arthur Schnitzler’s 1897 Reigen, or La Ronde as it is more commonly known from the French translation, is reinvented in musical form in Michael John LaChiusa’s early 1990s Hello Again.
A lot of firsts are happening in Balham theatre at the moment. Theatre N16 has moved from N16 to a new home in SW12, The Bedford Pub. There is little theatre in the immediate area – Tooting Arts Club is further down the Northern line, Clapham and Stockwell both have venues closer to town, BAC is a bit of a trek and there’s a new theatre tentatively in the works in Streatham, but that’s it.
Siblings Joanna and Lawrence live in 1950s New York City, a place brimming with promise and excitement for its younger residents. They don’t take advantage of it, though. Lawrence never leaves their little apartment; instead he lives vicariously through Joanna’s “adventures” to the market and her encounters in the corridor with their landlady “Pruneface” who has said they need to move out soon. Pruneface doesn’t like that Joanna’s pregnant, and with good reason.
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