Sunday, October 24

REVIEWS

One Man Poe Livestream – The Space Online
London

One Man Poe Livestream – The Space Online

Written in the 1840’s by Edgar Allan Poe, this quartet of short stories and a poem show off to best effect Poe’s interest in the dark side of human nature. Many writers have been inspired by the works of Poe, who pioneered the genre of ‘horror’, and his work is still as popular today. Artistic Director of Threedumb Theatre, Stephen Smith has taken his passion for gothic horror and the original works of Poe and created a one-person show using an unknown narrator to deliver these authentic Poe tales. Smith is directing and performing all the roles himself. First off is ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’, a disturbing look inside the mind of an unnamed narrator who is believed to be insane, but he will try to convince the audience that he is sane, by describing the events that led up to a brutal murde...
The Shark is Broken – Ambassadors Theatre
London

The Shark is Broken – Ambassadors Theatre

There are few movies as instantly identifiable by the first few bars of their theme tune. The "Jaws" theme - and the movie - became an iconic hit after the film's release in 1975. The film itself may have been thrilling and horrifying, but the drama that went on behind the scenes was also amazing. Bruce, the titular mechanical star of the film, broke down after salt water corroded his insides. This left the three human stars, Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss, with nothing to do until the production team could get the shark back up and chomping on the people of Amity Island.  This slice of real life has been turned into this wonderfully original production that wowed audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2019.  It's not hard to see why it was such a hit. ...
Flushed – Park Theatre
London

Flushed – Park Theatre

For many of us, our closest confidantes have been our siblings. From secrets and admissions, including the ones within shared knowledge and the ones deliberately kept hidden from each other, this relationship is equally unique in its love-hate characteristics. In Catherine Cranfield’s play Flushed, we see this contradiction at play through the story of sisters Marnie and Jen. From boy problems and adulthood woes to annoying habits and profound decisions, they rely on each other for better and for worse. Unfolding as a series of unfiltered conversations shared between cubicle walls of public bathrooms, we meet the older sister Marnie (Elizabeth Hammerton) who tries to play by the rules and is working hard to become a self-functioning adult. Her hopes for a fulfilling romantic relationsh...
Sold – Park Theatre
London

Sold – Park Theatre

Mary Prince lived an extraordinary life. Born into enslavement in Bermuda in 1788, her life was filled with struggle and pain, but she refused to let it define who she was. Her book ‘The History of Mary Prince’ published in 1831 offers a first-hand account of the brutalities of the slavery regime in the British Caribbean colonies of the time, and forms the source material for Kuumba Nia Arts’ show ‘Sold’. Through theatre, song, music, drumming and dance, we witness Mary’s momentous journey, from childhood to her late 40s, which had an electrifying effect on the abolitionist movement. Directed by Euton Daley and written (and performed) by Amantha Edmead, the show intends to offer a chronological retelling of Mary’s life, tracing her experiences as a young woman of colour trying to come ...
Do You Hear the People Sing? – Northwich Memorial Court
North West

Do You Hear the People Sing? – Northwich Memorial Court

It’s clear to see that theatres are delighted to open their doors again all over the country and the award-winning Knutsford Musical Theatre Company (KMTC) are one company who demonstrate this as they welcome audiences back to Northwich Memorial Court this week. This is KMTCs first concert since lockdown and in an evening that provides a wide array of songs from musicals, it was obvious that the intent of the evening was certainly to be an evening of celebration. There could be no denying from the opening number of Clare Moorhouse’s performance of ‘Tell me it’s not True,’ with the KMTC from the fabulous ‘Blood Brothers’ that the quality of the entire evening was going to be exceptional. As the evening unravelled it was hard to believe that this was amateur theatre as the energy from...
The Enemy – King’s Theatre Edinburgh
Scotland

The Enemy – King’s Theatre Edinburgh

If you live in Scotland, you’ll know that we’re fiercely proud of many things, but few things can compare to the pride we have for our tap water. In our opinion, our humble council juice makes our hearts sing. That’s why The Enemy, Kieran Hurley’s brilliant reimaging of the classic Henrik Ibsen play, ‘An Enemy of the People’ is simply perfect. Not just because it resonates with a post-truth world but it’s perfect for Scottish National Theatre, a perfect for 2021 and perfect as a play performed in Scotland for Scottish people returning to our theatres.  Scientist Kirsten Stockman (Hannah Donaldson) has discovered a life threatening bacteria in the tap water of a Scottish town that’s about to open a luxurious water park and become of the UK’s next hot tourist spots. Naturally this d...
Bedknobs and Broomsticks – Palace Theatre
North West

Bedknobs and Broomsticks – Palace Theatre

Bedknobs and Broomsticks arrives in Manchester this week, the first of a trilogy of Disney productions to play at the Palace Theatre with Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King arriving in the next 12 months. Tonight’s show was truly a lesson in visual artistry with scene after scene making you question if your eyes really saw that? Countless illusions including a flying bed and fully functioning broomstick take centre stage alongside glorious puppets all illuminated by a stunning lighting design all knitted together with slick direction from Candice Edmunds. The shows website says “When the three orphaned Rawlins children are reluctantly evacuated from wartime London to live with the mysterious Eglantine Price, they have no idea what adventures lie ahead. Upon discovering Eglantine...
Epic Love and Pop Songs – New Wimbledon Theatre
London

Epic Love and Pop Songs – New Wimbledon Theatre

What do you call a musical that isn’t really a musical but sort of is a musical? And how do you explain it to people who might want to see the not-quite-a-play but not-quite-a-musical? Here is my attempt: Epic Love and Pop Songs is confusing; think Marmite but for your cultural tastebuds. The story explores the complex dynamics of teenage friendship; needing to find your tribe, wanting to belong and wanting to stick out at the same time, the politics of the secondary school hierarchy. It also looks at love, loss and tragedy - Doll and Ted are teenage friends, bound together by hurt and need, and their friendship will eventually be the making or the end of them both. From the off, the stage is cluttered and it’s not clear why, the basic props sort of work but I didn’t understand the ...
Chop Me Up or Let Me Go – Hen & Chickens Theatre
London

Chop Me Up or Let Me Go – Hen & Chickens Theatre

Among the things that we all have collectively experienced over the past year, one of them has to be the physical and mental limits we are pushed to in confinement (read: lockdown). This set-up is not unfamiliar to the dramatic world – being stuck in a place with nowhere to go and nothing to do – and has been aptly used as a narrative structure in this new production by the Albiston Line Theatre Company. Chop Me Up or Let Me Go is a terse two-hander written and directed by Lesley Ann Albiston that explores survival, obsession and human relations through the lens of its two characters. Thomas Reynolds, a famous actor, has been kidnapped by Astrid Barton, a researcher who swears she’s his biggest fan. Astrid’s motives for the kidnapping aren’t particularly clear but it’s evident that Thomas...
Matthew Bourne’s The Midnight Bell – Liverpool Playhouse
North West

Matthew Bourne’s The Midnight Bell – Liverpool Playhouse

The bad boy of ballet is back with a sultry, sensual tale of lonely hearts and hedonism in 1930s London. Delivered by Bourne’s New Adventures company, we’re introduced to a multitude of characters from the underbelly of Soho, who congregate at night in a local pub, the Midnight Bell, trying to escape the mundanity of their daily lives and connect with whoever may have them. Heavily inspired by the novels of Patrick Hamilton, each distinct personality dances straight out of the pages of his work, to present an often-bleak view of the very human desire for love and acceptance. A true ensemble piece, our dancers weave in and out of each other’s spaces and stories with wonderful fluidity and awareness of each other. Immaculate choreography and timing pulls us into each picture pos...