Monday, April 22

London

Spencer Jones: Making Friends – Soho Theatre
London

Spencer Jones: Making Friends – Soho Theatre

Actor and comedian, Spencer Jones is back with a brand-new hour of chaos at the Soho Theatre Downstairs. We explore the creation of his lockdown crafts, new friends found and lost in Devon and his justification of career as his kids seek advice to escape bullies and chickens. From the very entrance Jones is excitable and generous with his audience. Humble and giddy to be here, we are immediately put at ease ready to enjoy whatever he has crafted for us this evening. Pre-warning us “if you haven’t seen one of my shows before, ah ahaha. At least you’ll have a story”. There is loose plot, but we can put ourselves in his ‘study’ at home in his new house in Devon mid lockdown trying to create ‘new material’ to pay his mortgage. Longing to make new friends here, with anyone: neighbours, rail...
The Retreat – White Bear Theatre
London

The Retreat – White Bear Theatre

From the writer & creator of “Peep Show” & “Fresh Meat” comes a disappointing, often predictable farce on spirituality, mental health and the pressure of modern living. Monk-in-the-making Luke (Jed McLoughlin) escaped London’s City life and painful events to find inner peace at a spiritual retreat in the Scottish Highlands. His coke and sex addict of a brother, Tony (Harry Harding), comes to bring him down from his Gaelic cloud and back into carnal reality. Ensues an endless series of easy plot revelations, which sadly turns the play into a classic, yet unimaginative topping improv exercise of “Yes and…” There is little to no subtext here, nor emotional reality to hold on to. The somewhat intimate, confessional moments feel unearned. The childish blaming game gets old fas...
Gunter – Royal Court
London

Gunter – Royal Court

Gunter is haunting! Take a bow! Lydia Higman, Julia Grogan, and Rachel Lemon are three co-creators who prepared the show just in time for the Edinburgh Fringe 2023. They took the Fringe by storm with sold-out shows at Summerhall then. As you read this review, they continue their winning streak with sold-out shows at the Royal Court. The play wraps fiction, myth, past, and present with haunting imagery and spine-tingling music. My favourite moment on stage is young Anne centre stage, sitting with her period pain as the 'adults' trip over their own assumptions of what is happening without asking her. You wonder why you have never seen this before on stage. You wonder, after all these years, why we are still fighting wars and lamenting dead children instead of researching the deep pain wo...
Love Steps – Omnibus Theatre
London

Love Steps – Omnibus Theatre

The writer, poet and producer Anastasia Osei-Kuffour makes her playwriting debut in Love Steps: The story of Anna a young, gifted and Black girl navigating a world in turmoil searching for the one thing missing in her life, love. The set is simplistic with only shadow effects of their silhouettes, flashed up words to reflect the mood, offering no hiding place for this two person play.         Anna played out by Sharon Rose set the perfect scene of her successful professional life with prose poetry and dance. She had everything a Black girl would want except in this life, devoid of a man’s love and affection, marriage and children. She would ponder, analyse control and create a checklist of the perfect man. When will happen, and how, who will it be are...
The Pinot Princess – Omnibus Theatre
London

The Pinot Princess – Omnibus Theatre

“Blessed are the hags and the harlots. For they shall be celebrated in this show.” A Bruntwood Prize 2022 nominee, this dark comedic Tale of Two Marys packs up a punch for all feminist and Life Of Brian enthusiasts out there in just under an hour. The Pinot Princess follows Irish actress Pamela Flanagan in her double portrayal of unruly, gender-tormented Marys. First as Pinot, a punk Virgin Mary and the lead character in a rebellious-soon-to-be-viral-hopefully-Vatican-banned production on Jesus’ legendary mum. Second as modern Mary, the catholic actress who portrays the horny, foul-mouthed heroine, and who is convinced she will go to hell for it. Opposite Mary is, of course, her co-star Joseph. Energetically portrayed by Neal Craig in a whirlwind of colourful role-playing, Joe of...
Horne’s Descent – Old Red Lion Theatre
London

Horne’s Descent – Old Red Lion Theatre

In the intimate surroundings of the Old Red Lion Theatre, you feel as if you have been invited to a dinner party from the last century. With 1920s décor, and a set that resembles a real-life drawing room, this is an immersive fly on the wall experience. Albie (Magnus Gordon) sets the scene for the coming soiree with his cut glass accent and aristocratic ways. We meet his childhood friend Peter Horne (Alexander Hackett) who has recently become a priest, and who Albie wishes to avail himself of his godly duties by marrying him to his latest fling, Mary (Bethany Slater), the niece of Etta (Cici Clarke). Of course, a party is never a good party without trouble, and the scene is set for a night of debacle and debauchery when we learn of Etta’s interest in the occult. Add in the PTSD of t...
Life with Oscar – Arcola Theatre
London

Life with Oscar – Arcola Theatre

Life with Oscar is a tumultuous to-and-fro between the cult fever of Hollywood and its horrible shadows, all through the autobiographical perspective of Nick Cohen. We are introduced to a round table of figures, immigrant creatives familiar to Cohen gathered round to discuss the casting of Superman. Soon we are whisked from Lewisham to Los Angeles, all the way back to the dawn of the Academy. It’s not just places and times we encounter; we’re also uncovering the ‘secret formula to winning an Oscar’ alongside Cohen’s persona. We chart Cohen’s quest with a sense of irony, given the show’s semi-autobiographical nature; before our eyes, Cohen is carving out his own Hero’s Journey as a writer. Cohen glides comfortably between portraying characters and describing their actions. Ultimately, h...
An Officer and a Gentleman – New Wimbledon Theatre
London

An Officer and a Gentleman – New Wimbledon Theatre

Based on the award-winning movie of the 1980s and featuring a soundtrack with hits from Madonna, Bon Jovi, Cyndi Lauper and Blondie, An Officer and a Gentleman bursts into their tour run as a must-see, feel-good romance which will leave your heart fulfilled. This is the emotional story of Zack Mayo (Luke Baker), a young officer candidate with a dark past, and his captivating love interest Paula Pokrifki (Georgia Lennon), who bonded over their zest for life and fiery spirits. The plot also centres around Zack’s right-hand man on the Officer Candidate School (AOCS) course, Sid (Paul French) and his sweetheart Lynette (Sinead Long) navigating their newly formed romance. The set in this production immediately stands out and is hard to believe that it belongs to a tour production. Large ...
Holly Spillar: HOLE – Soho Theatre
London

Holly Spillar: HOLE – Soho Theatre

Holly Spillar is obsessed with holes: the ones in your face, the ones in Warburton’s crumpets, and especially the ones in our pants. After being diagnosed with vaginismus (a condition that causes the vagina to suddenly tighten when something is inserted, making penetrative sex painful), she’s become particularly fixated on why her hole can’t easily welcome a pole. This quest to try and achieve the “basic, beige sex life of her dreams” is the premise of her one-woman show HOLE, playing at Soho Theatre until 3rd April. Accompanied on stage with nothing but a loop pedal and a microphone, Spillar takes us on a surreal musical and comic journey about her experiences of navigating a litany of gaslighting doctors, terrible one-night stands, and internal misogyny. Spillar’s deft use of the ...
Pansexual Pregnant Piracy – Soho Theatre
London

Pansexual Pregnant Piracy – Soho Theatre

Get on board, baby. It’s Pansexual Pregnant Piracy at the Soho Theatre. Creators Eleanor Colville, Ro Suppa, and Robbie Taylor Hunt also make up three quarters of the four-person cast singing and dancing their way through the totally possibly true and occasionally even accurate life story of real-life eighteenth-century pirate Anne Bonny. Played with great aplomb and shimmering gravitas by Suppa, Anne is a solid lead audiences root for as easily as she uproots gender conventions. Colville’s panachefull presentation as Calico Jack is delicious and the joy of creative performance shines out of every porthole. Elizabeth Chu rounds out the cast in a practically perfect performance as “hot wet babe” Mary Read, and an even more transfixing interlude as an even wetter fish. Creator, perfor...