A Passage to India opened its short national tour at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate Theatre last week and is now thrilling fans at Salisbury Playhouse.
Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd-Webber have written some truly captivating, catchy musicals and Evita is of course iconic and no exception to this. An ever popular rags-to-riches type of story based on the life and demise of Eva Peron, wife of Argentine president, Juan Peron.
Murder, ambition, back-stabbing and sex. Politics is a dirty business but never less than thrilling in Mike Poulton’s Imperium, his terrific adaptation of Robert Harris’s Cicero Trilogy.
‘Tis the season to remember those less fortunate than ourselves and David Edgar’s stirring new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, for the Royal Shakespeare Company, doesn’t stint on political rhetoric.
Unpredictable, thrilling and tense. Lizzy Watts is bold and fearless as Hedda Gabler in Patrick Marber’s engrossing update of the Ibsen classic.
Ria Jones dazzles in the poignant, wonderfully melodramatic and tragic Sunset Boulevard that is both a love letter to movies and a eulogy to Hollywood’s silent era.
It’s more than 30 years since the world fell in love with Jennifer Beals’ bad-ass welder turned dancer, Alex Owens, in the iconic dance movie Flashdance. The stage adaptation, Flashdance The Musical, now touring the UK, has a lot to live up to.
The Wales Millennium Centre has come of age with its first major foray into story-telling on a truly epic scale. Tiger Bay The Musical is the most significant, largest and innovative production ever produced by WMC.
With the two headliners of this show – Will Young and Louise Redknapp – being bona-fide British primetime celebrities and regular tabloid fodder, its no wonder that Edinburgh turned out in force to see Cabaret, director Rufus Norris’ latest show.
James Graham has turned his attention to national greed and our addiction to TV game shows for his latest factional stage play, Quiz, which opened last night on the Minerva stage at Chichester Festival Theatre.
If you know anything about pre-war Berlin it is that it was known for its hedonism and excess. Weimar Berlin was the uninhibited party capital of Europe, offering every perversion, debauchery, depravity and vice imaginable.
There are moments of pure awkwardness when the play’s central character, Patrice Naiambana’s Davies, finds himself caught in the middle of difficult conversations and situations.
In Wait Until Dark, the real tour de force is Karina Jones, who herself was registered blind at the age of 13.
Mark Watson wanders onto the stage and picks up a totally unseen script by a totally unknown female writer. It’s coincidence that tonight’s comedian is Mark Watson – there’s a different comedy performer for each show of Manwatching.
Camille O’Sullivan is gravelly, gritty and full of angst. She growls through a gorgeous set of songs by songwriters that inspire her – Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen top the list. It starts like a funeral wake, O’Sullivan clad in a velvet robe embossed with Bowie and Prince.
The madness of Edinburgh Fringe inevitably breeds a lack of wellbeing and an appalling diet, such is the rush to scamper from show to networking event and back again, ad nauseam. Good thing for Daniella Isaacs, who is here to ensure we eat healthily and increase our wellness factors.
Yvette is a story about growing up under the pressure of a broken home and is desperate to fit in with the rest of her school friends. Mum unknowingly despises her; Dad is nowhere to be seen.
It’s a road trip for Ellen Robertson and Charly Clive as they take to North America after school in the pursuit of John Hancock. He seems like as good a subject as any for their award-winning documentary film, footage that they show throughout Britney in: John.
At ten years old, GG (Naomi Sheldon) is of the impression that in order to be liked, she has to be a Good Girl. She’s at the county swimming championships and her coach is telling her to keep going, like a good girl. It’s such an awkward comment to make given today’s climate – the sinister connotations are hard to miss, despite it simply being a platitude of encouragement. But such an innocuous phrase seems to set up the remainder of GG’s emotional life, sticking in her mind at a pivotal developmental point for any child. Sheldon’s script tackles the damage caused simply by being anxious to fit in, to conform, to be a Good Girl.
For much of the story, GG seems like any other young woman – through her pre-teen to teenage years into young adulthood, she has a group of friends that discuss boys and their changing bodies. But GG seems to feel too much, describing it as a ball of energy inside her that threatens to burst out. It’s an apt description of something that children are never taught to understand – the feelings of anxiety that come with peer pressure and raging hormones. At first, they call it a Swayze, a pleasant warmth down below that seems foreign and strange. Then it’s talk of vaginas and orgasms – ultimately, it’s how to fit in and be the same as everybody else. But, how can we really know what is going on in each other’s bodies?
Sheldon is engaging, funny and effective at conveying the plethora of teenage personalities inherent within the girls’ coven. She writes honestly and truthfully about the difficulties of childhood years without sugar-coating the issues that children can face. They feel more impactful because they are still affecting so much about modern day culture. As GG’s ball of painful energy kicks into overdrive, she begins to break down more without ever truly understanding why – we don’t speak about this enough with the next generation.
There is a sudden switch in the story, a point at which Sheldon armours herself up and encases her overflowing emotions in a protective cage. It’s a switch that could be emphasised more in the production because the implications are somewhat dissociative in nature. Suddenly two personalities inhabit GG and it’s the turn of the cold, controlling bitch to come forth. She sleeps around to feel something and exhibits highly sociopathic tendencies. If people call her a whore, who cares? Suddenly the cat calling no longer affects this impenetrable exterior. Sheldon is less effective in her portrayal on this side to the character – she can’t seem to shut off her personality to the same extent.
Good Girl is a show where women are expected to have neat emotions and tiny, hairless vaginas. GG descends into the darker side of sexuality in order to try and come to terms with how she feels – sex parties, transactional encounters and the subsequent estrangement of her friends. Sheldon’s tale looks at the fallout from a girl who, in trying to be more ‘normal’, shuts down to an emotional shell and ultimately a less human version of herself. The execution needs more light and shade, but ultimately Good Girl is a worthy educational piece to show the next generation the mistakes of those gone before.
Good Girl plays Just The Tonic @ The Mash House as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 until 27 August 2017. For more information or to book tickets, please visit the website.
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If you find yourself anywhere in the vicinity of Reuben Kaye when he is performing, run. Run fast and don’t look back. If you make eye contact and the divine devil that is Kaye himself engages you with a sinister smirk, a heavily eyelashed wink and a seductive smile, you are lost to us all.