Tuesday, January 25

London

Fair Play – Bush Theatre
London

Fair Play – Bush Theatre

Ella Road's new play 'Fair Play' offers an incisive look into the world of women's athletics and the lives of those who inhabit it. Premiering at the Bush Theatre, the show invites the audience to glimpse into the pressures and anxieties that these athletes deal with, having to contend with never-ending public scrutiny and judgement passed on their bodies, lifestyles and choices, on the track field and outside. Directed by Monique Touko and designed by Naomi Dawson, there is a searing rhythm to the evening that doesn’t let us look away for even a second. The play opens with Ann (Nick King), a young Black girl who has joined a local running club in London. Here, she meets Sophie (Charlotte Beaumont) has been training for a while. Both these young girls are short-distance runners in trai...
Doctor Who: Time Fracture – Unit HQ, London
London

Doctor Who: Time Fracture – Unit HQ, London

17 different worlds, 43 live actors, around two hours and one mission; to save the universe. You've been selected by the Doctor to join the Unified Intelligence Taskforce, also known as UNIT, to investigate the time fracture. The rift in time and space is becoming out of control. There's not long left before it destroys all of existence! In this story there needs to be a hero, and this time, it's you. The Doctor Who experience, presented by Immersive Everywhere, is a masterpiece of promenade theatre. Whilst similar types of production exist, you have never seen one on this scale before. Catering to a beloved fanbase who know the details and expect perfection, I think what they get is pretty close. From the outside it looks like an ordinary warehouse, but, predictably, the building i...
The Last Nativity – The Actor’s Church
London

The Last Nativity – The Actor’s Church

“Now’s the perfect time for the nativity. They’re drunk enough that they’ll be forgiving but not so drunk that they’re falling asleep.” Thus, siblings Laura, Blake and Mia begin the performance of the nativity play that Laura scripted when they were just children. Now all grown up, and having grown apart, the three return home for Christmas to discover that the last minute addition of Nana Sue to the family celebrations means their Secret Santa exchange is a gift short. Younger sister Mia (they never say she’s the youngest, but you can always tell, can’t you?), an actor struggling for work, devises the idea of giving Nana Sue the gift of a performance of a much loved nativity play, complete with badly aged songs (Santa Give Me A Kiss For Christmas would definitely have attracted the at...
Algorithms – Soho Theatre
London

Algorithms – Soho Theatre

Every so often you come across a show that is pure theatrical brilliance.   Witty, hilarious, sad, relatable and performed with delicious tragicomic timing, Sadie Clark's "Algorithms" is quite simply one of the best shows of 2021.  It's not surprising that the play had a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019 and went on to win the TV Foundation's 'Stage to Screen' New Voice Award in 2020. Brooke is facing the milestone of her 30th birthday amid the debris of the sudden failure of her relationship, leaving her with nothing but Amira's dying succulents. She wants and desperately needs a new person in her life - hopefully hooking up before her birthday party so she can show her mother she has a date - and uses the services of the online dating company she works for a...
Showstopper! The Improvised Musical – Lyric Theatre
London

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical – Lyric Theatre

To say that I went into Showstopper! not knowing what to expect is an understatement. I’m sure most people have gone to the theatre with minimal detail on what they’re about to see, but in the case of Showstopper! even the cast has no idea how the performance is going to unfold. This is because the entire production is completely improvised; from the musical numbers to the storyline and script, the cast and musicians are completely winging it, taking some direction from the audience. Audience participation is fast paced, led last night by Sean McCann who opens by taking suggestions for the location, inspiration and title of the show from the audience, which we voted on in the time-honoured tradition of applause and foot stamping. Establishing that “Ice-Olated” was to be set in a remote...
Red Riding Hood – Theatre Royal, Stratford East
London

Red Riding Hood – Theatre Royal, Stratford East

Theatre Royal Stratford East returns with its 6th rendition of ‘Red Riding Hood’ as its winter pantomime in its 130+ years of operation. Reimagining a classical children’s tale for contemporary audiences, young and old, is never an easy task. However, the team led by Robert Shaw Cameron’s direction and Carl Miller’s writing succeeds in doing precisely that – this adaptation brings climate change, self-expression and many more important themes to the fore without letting go of the story’s inherently magical and whimsical charm that’s enthralled audiences around the world. With stellar performances by its cast, complemented by an eclectic musical arrangement by Robert Hyman who returns for his 23rd year at Stratford East, as well as a vibrant design by Jean Chan, this performance simply tak...
Sunset Boulevard – Royal Albert Hall
London

Sunset Boulevard – Royal Albert Hall

Sunset Boulevard is a whirlwind of a musical about ambition, dreams, and human fragility. The story focuses on two characters, one who is based in fantasy and one who is based in reality and what happens as their worlds collide. Joe (Ramin Karimloo), a writer in desperate circumstances fortuitously meets Norma (Mazz Murray), a middle-aged actress longing for her glory days. The plot lulls the audience into a false sense of security, as it is easy to buy into the “struggling writer who finds a new muse” and “has-been who reclaims her fame” cliché. Both actors bring a truth and freshness to their roles, handling their characters with delicacy and are thus magnetising. Karimloo is the first to appear on stage, transporting us to Joe’s feeble life as a writer in Los Angeles. He imbues Joe ...
Measure for Measure – Shakespeare’s Globe
London

Measure for Measure – Shakespeare’s Globe

Shakespeare's Globe opens its winter season with a lively production of the bard’s more intriguing plays, Measure for Measure. Referred to as one of Shakespeare’s ‘problem plays’ for its ambiguous tone, the play may easily be described as a farce, a comedy or even a drama. It touches upon a vast multitude of themes, from the role of government in controlling individual liberty to the damning negotiation between morality and societal status. Director Blance McIntyre seeks to bring out and contextualise these threads to modern society by setting the play in mid-1970s Britain, where the state finds itself (and its powers) increasingly at odds with what the citizens desire. With a tight-knit performance by the experienced ensemble, a cross-casting of different characters and an intimate envir...
A Christmas Carol – Alexandra Palace
London

A Christmas Carol – Alexandra Palace

For many Christmas would not be Christmas without Dicken’s famous ghost tale which in many ways started and embodies the Victorian tradition of Christmas, which is still with us today. The Nottingham Playhouse production presently playing at Alexandra Palace is a new adaptation by Mark Gatiss, who also stars as Jacob Marley. The play script follows the traditional story closely with all the normal ingredients that one would expect, but Gatiss emphasises the spookiness of the original story which in the dilapidated auditorium of the old, but only recently re-opened Alexandra Palace Theatre, works well and is enhanced by numerous very effective supernatural effects created by the illusion designer John Bulleid. The traditional setting, however, is not maintained by the Paul Wills’ set...
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – The Troubadour Theatre
London

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – The Troubadour Theatre

I was twelve years old when I first entered Christopher Boone’s world in the pages of Mark Haddon’s widely celebrated novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Fifteen years later and a decade after the play first premiered, I sat in the audience of the Troubadour Theatre in a pool of nostalgia as passages from the story vividly made their way back from my memory. Christopher’s detective journey across the United Kingdom was my first introduction to neurodiversity as a young adult. Traveling through his narrative altered my very singular understanding of touch, sound, and emotion in a way that fifteen years later, staged within the deft craft of Simon Steven’s playwriting, held even more value. This play has been taken all around the world. It has excellent reviews and ...