A woman falls asleep in front of the telly waiting for her teenaged son to come home. Instead, the police knocking on her door wakes her up at 3 am. Her son’s fine, but he’s done something so horrendous she refuses to disclose it.
Actor and writer Milly Thomas is an unstoppable force refusing to shy away from tough material. Her two shows at the fringe are stylistically different from each other, but both are similarly confrontational.
Mowgli, a ferocious boy-child raised by wolves in the jungle, has been kicked out of the pack. He’s trying to figure out what to do next when he meets a mysterious creature from another world – or rather, another story.
In 1949, George Orwell lived the final months of his life in University College Hospital due to a severe case of tuberculosis. Torn between an uncertain faith in a recovery and the consciousness of the approaching end, hoping to write again, he decided to marry Sonia Brownell, a young and beautiful magazine editor.
The music they listen to, and that which seeps from them with aching melancholy, is by Bob Dylan – written decades after the Great Depression ended. Combined with Conor McPherson’s earthy, Celtic script of imagery-laden prose, Girl From the North Country is not a musical.
A middle-aged, gay Welshman contemplates the English class he teaches in Hong Kong. Amongst the students is Windy, the Chinese woman with whom he shares his bed.
Bechdel Theatre’s recent initiative Bechdel Testing Life asks women to send in recorded conversations from their everyday lives that pass the test. These are then given to playwrights, who use the conversations as jumping-off points for short plays.
The show revolves around three couples; central are husband and wife Steven and Amelia, whose clashes over television choices mask deeper communication problems in their relationship. Amelia is a Kardashian fanatic and composer Steven loves Mozart, dismissing his lawyer wife’s obsession.
Tighter dialogue in the latter half and the addition of some physical theatre sequences give this update more sophistication, but a few of the original issues are still there. McNeill, who also directs, shows an inclination towards European theatre aesthetics, but he doesn’t quite go far enough.
This Hamlet, freshly transferred to the West End from the Almeida, is a slick, beast of a production surpassing three hours. Undeniably contemporary, it does its best to smash the restrictions of the proscenium arch with a celebrity cast and achingly cool, Scandi/corporate design.
This 1983 show has some great numbers, but its frivolity and insubstantial book focusing on a personal journey rather than the larger political landscape is diminutive rather than powerfully sweeping.
Paying homage to Shakespeare’s genius but not slavishly binding themselves to it, Golem! sticks up two fingers at Shakespeare purists who, with quivering voices, clutch their pearls and gasp, “But the text!”
Exchange Theatre sets The Misanthrope in a contemporary newsroom full of gossip, affairs, backstabbing and cocaine-fueled all-nighters. Alceste loathes the way his colleagues behave, but fancies the flirtatious Celimene in spite of his prejudices.
Alice Birch’s new work, Anatomy of a Suicide, courageously investigates how the suicide of a mother affects the lives of a daughter and a granddaughter, haunts their own motherhood (or causing the lack of it) and their relationships.
This is a pretty piece of expressionistic theatre that pleases the eyes and ears, but its favouring of poetic ambiguity and metaphor over concrete details and characterisation creates emotional distance. It’s difficult to find sympathy for a psychopath when their childhood trauma is nostalgically romanticised or vaguely alluded to when we see so little of them directly.
Trying to write about Chris Goode’s latest Ponyboy Curtis show vs. is like trying to fit a hurricane into a canning jar. The energy, love and freedom on the Yard’s stage is irrevocably alive and unrestrained, and trying to pin this one-of-a-kind butterfly onto a page kills it a little, or a lot.
Deciding what is best is a tricky thing to do. It’s particularly difficult if you’re trying to do what is best for someone else. How do you know if you’re doing the right thing? Is your aim and end admirable but your means slightly suspect?
Sion Daniel Young is Davey, a fifteen-year-old tearaway who roams the streets looking for trouble. A traumatic incident several years before, severe poverty and a well-intentioned but clueless mum means he channels his anger into violent bullying.
There is always something unsettling and creepy about our memories of school. Almost everyone had “that” teacher who tends to reappear as a projection of our fears during stormy nights all through our life. But on those nights, teachers might find students in their nightmares too.
James and Daniel are chalk and cheese, and very much in love. The unemployed photographer and Canary Wharf stockbroker are adorably domestic, but both are hiding secrets. When James’ uni mate and ex-girlfriend Olivia vengefully reveals one of them, this irrevocably opens the floodgates to the rest.