Saturday, August 13

London

Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope – King’s Head Theatre
London

Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope – King’s Head Theatre

“Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level. It's cheaper”. ‘Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope’ by Writer/Performer/Producer Mark Farrelly debuted at the Edinburgh Festival in 2014 and has toured constantly ever since, recently reaching its 150th performance. Directed by Linda Marlow, it offers a brief 70-minute snapshot into the extraordinary life of the legendary Quentin Crisp and is currently being performed as a unique double bill with ‘Jarman’. Split into two distinct parts, the play opens in the late 1960s in a grubby Chelsea flat. The audience is introduced to Quentin who suggests that “If at first you don't succeed, failure may be your style”. This is a clear indication of the rules and values that served as an undertone to Quentin’s early life of beatings and reje...
Rita – Charing Cross Theatre
London

Rita – Charing Cross Theatre

“Marriage is bliss…” An entertaining opera about marital strife, Rita tells the story of a married couple, Rita (Laura Lolita Perešivana) and Beppe (Brenton Spiteri) who appear to be in marital bliss while running a hotel together. Unfortunately for Rita, a spanner in the works is thrown at her when her believed-to-be-dead husband, Gasparo (Phil Wilcox) finds himself in the couple’s hotel. For both Rita’s and Gasparo, this causes overwhelming denial and confusion and makes for a comedic operatic interaction. Needless to say, a love triangle ensues, but not the most typical to be seen on stage! Both Beppe and Gasparo are present when the audience arrive. The set is minimal but intriguing; displaying three doors which become a key element of the show, a single table and two chairs. Th...
Kinky Boots: In Concert – Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
London

Kinky Boots: In Concert – Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

Kinky Boots is one of the most well-loved pieces of modern theatre. The production follows Charlie Price’s struggle to take over his father’s failing shoe company and how he finds help in the most unexpected of places…a drag bar in London. The incomparably lavish Lola and her Angels take Charlie on a journey of acceptance, defiance, and most importantly, making stiletto shoes for drag queens. Your average workday. The story of Kinky Boots is based on a true story and is split between its base in Northampton, the drag bar in London, and a fashion show in Milan. As someone who has just moved from Northampton to London, I do identify with Charlie’s struggle quite a lot, it’s certainly given me a new take on the show. Going into this performance, it was important to be reminded that it ...
Play…in your bathtub 2.0 – Camden Fringe Online
London

Play…in your bathtub 2.0 – Camden Fringe Online

Theatre makers have long been pushing the boundaries around staging works but using your own bathtub as a venue is certainly a new one. However, that is where I find myself to experience This is not a Theatre Company’s ‘immersive spa experience’ Play…in Your Bathtub 2.0. Created at the height of covid lockdowns, and directed by E.B. Mee, this participatory, multi-sensory piece is a 20minute meditation bringing in poetic monologues, classical piano music, toe wiggling and ASMR-style watery sound effects. Whilst the bath is the recommended scene, you can also opt for a footspa, shower, or even a bucket. It’s certainly a different experience, where you bring your own props of choice that relate to a specific sense (touch – warm water and bubble bath, taste – a beverage of your choice, ...
Together At Last – Aces and Eights
London

Together At Last – Aces and Eights

What I love most about shows at the Camden Fringe is the experimental, test-the-waters nature. Dave Hazelnut’s ‘Together at Last’ not only tests the water – it blows the water out of the lake and way beyond. His madcap one-man act of witty ditties and audience participation will have you squirming in awkwardness and crying with laughter. Looking like a lost ornithologist crossed with ‘Where’s Wally?’ Hazelnut takes up a variety of instruments to sing about everything from Love Nuts to a Long Spoon to Princess Anne. The lyrics show he’s clearly talented, but he doesn’t let that skill get in the way of being hilariously funny. Photo: Samantha Collett Vaguely reminiscent of ‘Flight of the Conchords’ if you squint hard enough and if they had solo careers, ‘Together at last’ is what f...
The Dumb Man – Cockpit Theatre
London

The Dumb Man – Cockpit Theatre

Based on Sherwood Anderson’s short story, this play for Camden’s Fringe Festival tells the tale of a man who lives in a world he created in his head. It begins with an elusive man addressing the audience and giving us a poetic introduction to the story. As Richard, the older character comes on stage he becomes consumed by whispering voices and eerie sounds. He gradually calms down and opens a letter which brings the characters of David and Jack to life as they converse across the stage and thus begins the illusory world. Jagoda Kamov’s writing has moments of eloquence and a particularly engaging scene between Jack and the nurse. The motifs of the windows and of the trees gave it a poetic feel and communicated Richard’s desperation to hold onto his illusions, as mirrored by Hardy Gru’s ...
South Pacific – Sadler’s Wells
London

South Pacific – Sadler’s Wells

For those who missed out on the Chichester Festival Theatre run in 2021, or those who loved it so much they need to see it again, its production of ‘South Pacific’ is back in London until the end of August, prior to a 3-month tour.  Assembling the same highly acclaimed cast as last year, the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic sees US Ensign Nellie Forbush falling for French plantation owner Emile de Becque on an island in the South Pacific island during World War 2.  Their happiness seems set despite the ongoing threat of war going on around them, while at the same time, young lieutenant Joseph Cable arrives on the island having been sent on a spy mission but is quickly distracted by his attraction to a local girl.  Love may be in the Pacific Ocean air for both couples, b...
Jarman – King’s Head Theatre
London

Jarman – King’s Head Theatre

A mighty spirit is about to reawaken. Yours! Over 80 intense minutes, Writer/Performer/Producer Mark Farrelly embarks on a journey to map out the life of Queer filmmaker, painter, gay rights activist, writer, and gardener Derek Jarman, from troubled childhood, through career achievements, illness, and death in his highly acclaimed solo play ‘Jarman’, which is being shown as a unique double bill as part of the Camden Fringe Festival. Jarman was an icon in the gay community, a trail blazer politically, socially, and creatively. One of the first public figures to announce his HIV status to the world, he called for us all to “be astonishing” and that is exactly what Farrelly achieves with this highly thought provoking and beautifully written piece of theatre. Farrelly’s writing is incre...
Chess – Theatre Royal Drury Lane
London

Chess – Theatre Royal Drury Lane

One of the key players in the ‘MegaMusicals’ club of the 1980s, ‘Chess’ was a megahit on both sides of the Atlantic.  Springing from the minds of ABBA geniuses Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, with lyrics by Tim Rice, the musical became of staple of the decade (despite being about a chess tournament being played at the height of the Cold War), with its hugely memorable synth-rock score which included the worldwide smash “I Know Him So Well”.  Now, over 36 years later, the musical is back on the West End at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, for three performances only. Set during the height of the political tensions of the 1980s, ‘Chess’ sees the American world champion Freddie Trumper (played here by Joel Harper-Jackson) preparing to defend his title against the Russian challen...
Tom, Dick and Harry – Alexandra Palace
London

Tom, Dick and Harry – Alexandra Palace

Tom, Dick and Harry is a flamboyant, fun, family friendly version of what most people will recognise as The Great Escape. After extensive research, a more truthful, less Hollywood retelling is what this play gives its audience. The title, Tom, Dick and Harry reflects the research undertaken by the writers by using the code names given to the tunnels which the prisoner’s of war use in an attempt to escape German capture. Written by Michael Hugo, Andrew Pollard (both of which perform in the play) and director Theresa Heskins, the writing brings levity and humour to what could be a long and historically heavy play. The scenes can linger a little on humorous asides and there is a lack of tension in places but the pace picks back up in the group scenes. Set in the round in the beautiful Ale...