Saturday, January 16

REVIEWS

The Corporate Knobs – Online @theSpaceUK
London

The Corporate Knobs – Online @theSpaceUK

Earl & Grace Productions’ The Corporate Knobs is a short comedy variety show exposing the truth about life in corporate America and how the pandemic has changed corporate work lives for better and worse. Performed by Lori Hamilton, the show opens with a short film showing the shady history of company, Landalor Industries as it grew from a small family business to the government’s main irresponsible disposer of nuclear waste. Diane Prenderghast (Lori Hamilton) is the exhausted and HR Director who leads us through our journey with the company. COVID, she tells us, has made many of us realise that we hate our jobs, but no one wants to quit when they can get a severance package, so she runs a short course in how to be a bad manager so that you can get fired and paid off. Or, if you ...
Sunset Boulevard – Leicester Curve Online
East Midlands

Sunset Boulevard – Leicester Curve Online

As it toured the country, Leicester Curve’s 2017 production was praised by audiences and critics alike. Now, the team has come back together and filmed the musical for home viewings, whilst the theatres it visited sadly remain closed. Nikolai Foster’s artistic take on the iconic show has elevated the plot, and in doing so, has created an even more captivating piece. The first number embodies the chaos and desperation of late-40's Hollywood, set to the familiar melodies of Webber. “Did I hear that chord sequence in Joseph, or was it Jesus? Or have I just heard it earlier on in this song?” Webber’s signature style is stamped onto the show from the get-go. Another thing that is noticeable straight away is the appeal of the leading man. Narrating directly to camera, Danny Mac (White Christ...
Piaf and Brel: The Impossible Concert – Online@TheSpaceUK
London

Piaf and Brel: The Impossible Concert – Online@TheSpaceUK

Melanie Gall, a Canadian opera singer who works internationally bringing the singers and songs of the past back to life, now focuses on the greatest of French musical icons: Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel. The concert is not impossible because of the music, but because these two legends never worked together or even met. Piaf (1915-1963), her adopted name causing her to be nicknamed “The Little Sparrow” was born into Parisian poverty, a daughter of street and circus performers. Brel (1929-1978) was born in Brussels and is considered to be the master of the modern chanson. Vocalist Gall clearly feels both affinity and affection with the music associated with both artists, and despite not being a native French speaker her diction is impeccable, mining the meaning deep within her song cho...
Staged (Series 2) – BBC iPlayer
REVIEWS

Staged (Series 2) – BBC iPlayer

The first series of Staged was one of the surprise successes of 2020, using the boundaries imposed by the pandemic and the shortage of new TV those limitations had imposed to create a low-budget and instantaneous reaction to the situation in six fifteen minute chunks. The overall narrative followed the attempts by fictional versions of Michael Sheen, David Tennant and Simon Evans (played by themselves) to rehearse remotely Luigi Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author during lockdown. The attempt is ultimately unsuccessful and the episodes themselves revolve around the different distractions and problems the trio face during this process. As we find ourselves in another lockdown (is this one the second? Or third? What are the criteria?), a second series did make a certain...
Twenties – Online @theSpaceUK
London

Twenties – Online @theSpaceUK

Funny and relatable, Charlotte Anne-Tilley’s production Twenties, from @theSpaceUK’s new line up of online shows, explores the trials and tribulations of young adulthood from the perspective of 21-year-old Hope. Mostly performed as a monologue interwoven with dialogue, wide-eyed and determined Hope (Charlotte Anne-Tilley) tells the story of leaving her small town life in Cheshire for the bright lights of London. As Hope tells her parents the news, their reaction was certainly one of the most relatable moments in the show. Hope’s concerned mother (Jess Parsons) listing every potential danger she may encounter in London whilst her distracted father (Harry McMullen) responding with indifference, felt pretty bang on to how many parents may react when their child decides to move away. An...
An Evening with David Bedella – Crazy Coqs
London

An Evening with David Bedella – Crazy Coqs

Opening with an exciting musical song, I presumed that David Bedella would take us on a journey through his award-winning résumé. A little Frank-N-Furter here, a Max Martin song from &Juliet over there.  I was surprised. Instead, we were served an array of music genres, all with the velvety vocals that Bedella delivers. The cabaret had the air of a sophisticated dinner party, with the guests being treated to a song or two from the host. We were given the story behind the choices; from an aspiring country career to his mother’s favourite song. Sitting on a barstool, delivering titbits directly to camera, the performance felt relaxing and intimate. It’s clear that Bedella is a very natural storyteller; through the conversation and the songs themselves. The rapport between per...
Ingenie: Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland and the Golden Age of Hollywood – Online @theSpaceUK
REVIEWS

Ingenie: Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland and the Golden Age of Hollywood – Online @theSpaceUK

Melanie Gall’s Ingenue: Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland and the Golden Age of Hollywood, tells the true story of Durbin’s life growing up in Hollywood, her relationship with Judy Garland, which the world wanted so much to be filled with mutual hate, and why she gave it all up in favour of a life of obscurity in Paris. A one woman musical, the show opens with Durbin (Melanie Gall) sitting in her simply furnished Parisian home in a floral housecoat, singing to herself. She is surprised when a knock on the door results in the arrival of a journalist from the New York Times, who wants to interview her in the wake of Judy Garland’s death and get the dirt on their tempestuous relationship. Durbin maintains that her and Judy were in fact friends, and reluctantly agrees to tell their story as t...
Dick Whittington – Bristol Hippodrome
South West

Dick Whittington – Bristol Hippodrome

What better way to say goodbye to a torrid 2020 and begin 2021, than being able to watch a spectacular theatrical treat, (albeit virtually), and that is just what Dick Whittington is! ‘The Shows Must Go On’ YouTube channel has been a real godsend during 2020, keeping audiences entertained from the comfort of their own living rooms, whilst raising much needed funds for important theatre charities. Dick Whittington, which was performed December 2014 to January 2015 is streamed by ‘The Shows Must Go On’ and presented by First Family Entertainment and is raising much need funds for the Inner-city arts charity. You can go to https://inner-cityarts.org to find out more about this charity and you can also donate to this charity on the website. This Glitzy, Glamourous, festive family treat ...
Uncle Vanya – BBC iPlayer
London

Uncle Vanya – BBC iPlayer

An evocative play about family resentments and tensions in a changing world. Adapted by Conor McPherson, Directed by Ian Rickson The theatre production for this Chekhov play was halted in March this year due to COVID-19 but the production was filmed in London’s Harold Pinter Theatre, released in cinemas and is now available on the BBC. What we see is an accomplished filming of a theatre production rather than a film/TV adaptation, as all the action takes place in one room and there is a distinct lack of intrusive camera work. The play is adapted by Conor McPherson and directed by Ian Rickson and with a strong cast they have managed to create an event very similar to visiting a theatre for a classic play. The set is wonderfully dark and rustic in its faded grandeur. There is a goo...
Pirates of Penzance – Palace Theatre
London

Pirates of Penzance – Palace Theatre

Of all Gilbert and Sullivan's works, Pirates of Penzance is probably the best known and one of their most popular, having been a hit since it first opened in New York in December 1879. Since then, it has been interpreted and re-interpreted - and Sasha Regan 's award-winning production is one of the very best. The "men playing women" trope has, of course, been around for many centuries, in Shakespeare and in panto. It depends on the talent of the actors to make the conceit work.  And work it does, the all-male cast adding an additional layer of whimsy to what is already a marvellously funny operetta. The story hinges on its subtitle "The Slave Of Duty".  After a miscommunication leads young Frederic to be indentured to the dastardly Pirates of Penzance, he delights in his free...