Sunday evening was a night of new discoveries. The Canvas Café, just off Brick Lane, serves homemade cakes and prosecco by the glass. It also has walls you can write on and a cosy downstairs performance space. In that space was Ivy Davies and her show Wonderations, a gentle, joyful blend of spoken word, songs from her EP and questioning whether or not Mickey Mouse is actually God.
Maybe the witch in Snow White isn’t that bad. Or, maybe her badness is justified, like she had a traumatic childhood or suffers from a mental illness. Siobhan McMillan proposes just that: Shivvers realizes she’s past her prime and, with insecurity taking over rational thought, she decides to hunt down the young woman who dethroned her from her position as the fairest in the land. This quest takes shape as a solo performance told in the third person, like a fairytale. McMillan regularly interjects with contemporary references and using sarcastic humour to great advantage, makes a strong comment on women’s insecurity about ageing.
Amy Fleming’s dad committed suicide when she was four years old. Fleming struggles with mood swings and wonders if she’s “mental,” like her dad. Luckily, she studied Molecular Medicine before becoming an actor so she understands how genetics dictates our characteristics. She also knows that talking about our problems and developing positive habits helps us overcome them.
Simon McBurney journeys up the Amazon into the heart of darkness and and finds light and enlightenment.
Going to a Crick Crack Club storytelling event is a bit like joining a private members’ club. This club doesn’t have strict entry criteria, nor is it cold and exclusive – quite the opposite. A welcoming spirit of community and the use of ritual enhance Jan Blake’s and TUUP’s four globe spanning stories. The first half of the two-hour, four-story Shifter has sturdier narratives, but the tales of trickery and metamorphosis interspersed with simple call and response create a magical, engrossing evening despite a few structural shortcomings.
Without question, my best new writing discovery of 2015 was young writer Isley Lynn’s play Tether at Edinburgh Fringe. This surprising, diverse two-hander also made it into the top five of my Top 10 Shows of 2015 so I was excited to receive an invitation to her autobiographical play Skin A Cat at Vault Festival.
Powerful play about brothers comes storming into Sloane Square from Manchester, trailing tenderness and terror.
Carmen Disruption This Simon Stephens deconstruction bore little resemblance to the opera. Instead, we had a cast of dysfunctional, damaged characters unable to connect with the world around them on any meaningful level. They filled the Almeida with an electric loneliness that grasped the desperate humanity residing deep inside us all before chucking us out, […]
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 […]
Near the end of his two-year imprisonment for gross indecency, Oscar Wilde was a man broken from hard labour, isolation and social disgrace. Until a sympathetic warden at Reading Gaol allowed him restricted writing privileges, he hadn’t been able to write at all. Provided with a single sheet of paper that would be collected and replaced when that one was filled, Wilde penned an 80-page letter of 50,000 words to the selfish lover who was his downfall, Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas. Heavily edited and published posthumously by Wilde’s friend and former lover Robbie Ross, the chatty letter was titled “De Profundis”. After Wilde’s release, he wrote poem “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” whilst exiled in Paris; this work details the execution of a fellow inmate.
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.
This adaptation of The Tempest by Kelly Hunter was a one-off performance as part of the Bloomsbury Festival at the Bloomsbury Studio Theatre. Hunter specifically designed this piece to enable children on the autism spectrum to participate in the show with the actors. These children’s parents/carers are invited to sit and watch.
We never meet Joanne. We do however, meet four women who encounter her at different points over a crucial 24-hour period of her life, and one that remembers her as a child. We learn that she cuts a tall, striking figure, makes immediate impact on those she meets and she doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere the world. Joanne is homeless and has just been released from prison.
✭✭✭✭✭ Hilarious and very exciting
Junior review by Cora Dibdin:
This show had the real Julia Donaldson. She brought her husband Malcolm and sister Mary and there were two other people, James and Joanna.
The woman who told the stories was called Fiona Herbert. The stories were about some eejits and someone who has lots of hissy fits. An eejit is another word for a silly-billy.
Sometimes the stories made me feel scared but sometimes they were very funny. There were some surprises as well!
✭✭✭✭✩ Hidden talent:
Echoes of times past creep into Hidden Door with Annie E Lord’s entrancing piece of site-specific storytelling, Hooves.