Monday, April 22

London

The Dumb Waiter – Hampstead Theatre
London

The Dumb Waiter – Hampstead Theatre

When watching a play written by Harold Pinter, I always feel as though the writer is asking the audience to help him to write the play.  There is a feeling of inclusion as we follow the plot line, never really knowing what is coming next as we are still trying to puzzle out what just happened during the previous scene.  Pinter wrote this short play in 1957 and it premiered at Hampstead Theatre Club (as it was known then) in 1960 after first being staged in Frankfurt in 1959.  Pioneering his own style of writing; Pinter continues to fascinate 60 years later. The play begins with two men sitting in a shabby room with only two beds as furniture.  In typical Pinter style there is no explanation as to why these men are in the room, we are supposed to pick up on clues ...
Showstopper! The Improvised Musical – Garrick Theatre
London

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical – Garrick Theatre

Showstopper did not allow lockdown to stop their creativity, they have continued to produce online improvised shows, in fact North West End UK have reviewed some of these (see our website).  For those who have somehow missed the artistry that is musical improvisation here is a quick summary.  Showstopper use suggestions made by the audience to make up a musical from scratch in front of your eyes.  In a normal musical production, it can take years for a production to make it to the stage, with the services of a lyricist, a composer, producer, director, actors, etc, etc!  Showstopper does all of this in one night – the performers multi-task and roll all of this into one very sleek team. Ring, ring, the red phone shrills, and we know it’s going to be Cameron asking the...
Potted Panto – Garrick Theatre
London

Potted Panto – Garrick Theatre

Panto – as traditional a Christmas custom as mince pies, mulled wine and pulling crackers. Like many of our favourite things this year, Covid has put-paid to lots of the pantos and theatre trips we’d normally be enjoying, so naturally I jumped at the chance to see Potted Panto - a madcap romp through all the classic pantomimes, performed in just 70 minutes. As my first theatre trip in socially distanced times, I must give a quick shout-out to the team at the Garrick who did a terrific job of creating a Covid-safe space, whizzing us through temperature and bag checks and ensuring everyone remained vigilant with their masks. A different experience for sure but a smooth one which provided a small slice of normality in an otherwise very strange festive season. Using a pretty basic b...
Philharmonia Sessions: Beethoven’s Prometheus – Battersea Arts Centre
London

Philharmonia Sessions: Beethoven’s Prometheus – Battersea Arts Centre

Presented in the month of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra playing Beethoven's famous ballet The Creatures of Prometheus. In this version, each symphonic movement is punctuated by Stephen Fry explaining the part of the story about to be told, aided by animation by Hillary Leben and a script by Gerard McBurney. Beethoven wrote his hugely popular ballet score in 1801, in just 11 days and, as Fry tells us, the version of the ancient Greek creation story he used is not the most widely established one about Prometheus giving man fire. In this version Prometheus creates man with fire from Mount Olympus and then calls on Apollo, god of music and dance, the Muses, and a host of other deities to teach his Creatures what it is to e...
The Fabulist Fox Sister – Southwark Playhouse
London

The Fabulist Fox Sister – Southwark Playhouse

The Fabulist Fox Sister is a 2020 musical that plays with the idea of lies and fake truth in a historical context. Yet the references to today are there. The Fox sisters were 3 siblings who claimed to converse with spirits, becoming star medium performers during their lifetimes and now being cited as some of the founders of the Spiritualism movement. Michael Conley is a smiley and natural performer, as is his character Kate Fox who is reminiscing to an audience about her life in 1892. Kate is intentionally un-mystical, raucously funny, and from the start an unreliable narrator. The narrative is fairly typical of an older character looking back on their life and taking the audience through the events they have experienced chronologically, in Kate’s case she details her and her sister...
42nd Street – Theatre Royal Drury Lane
London

42nd Street – Theatre Royal Drury Lane

This show has it all - glitz, glamour...and of course, showtunes. Any fan of musical theatre - young and old - should see 42nd Street, a true celebration of the theatre and a masterpiece from start to finish. The plotline for this production is somewhat familiar - an age-old tale of the underdog done good. 42nd Street follows small-town girl Peggy Sawyer, whose one ambition is to secure a place in the chorus line of Pretty Girl, the hottest new show in town. Of course, to paraphrase Shakespeare, “the course of ambition never did run smooth”, so there was lots of obstacles for our young heroine to overcome to get there - but, thanks to her raw talent, she soon finds herself competing for the spotlight against theatre veteran and diva extraordinaire, Miss Dorothy Brock. It’s almost li...
Magnetic North: Voices from the Indigenous Arctic
London, REVIEWS

Magnetic North: Voices from the Indigenous Arctic

The British Museum teams up with Border Crossing’s ORIGINS festival’s latest offering to their series on climate change and indigenous people. Magnetic North: voices from the Indigenous Arctic sees art, technology, spoken word and music collide in an event dedicated to the culture of the indigenous people of the Arctic Circle.  Here, artistic expression finds its groove in technology and shows us love of the planet, and of each other’s culture is a vital step in the race to save the environment. Only then can we begin to understand what we are fighting for. Ishmael Angaaluuk Hope’s spoken word introduction describes indigenous people using the concept of Shukat Khu.oo, a Tlingit word meaning people at the very front and at the very back of society. Knowing our earth so intimately,...
In Search of a White Identity – The Actors Centre
London

In Search of a White Identity – The Actors Centre

This short play, filmed at The Actors Centre in Seven Dials, is written by Cliffordkuju Henry, who also stars as Patrick. As we find this black man in a holding area in a police station together with the white Mickey (played by Drew Edwards), we know we are in complex territory. Both have been arrested for their behaviour on a march that has turned violent, and although they were childhood friends, Mickey has become a right-wing white supremacist. Both come from the same background: violent father, a mother they couldn’t protect, a deprived inner-city estate. This is explored to some extent but fails to fully address the whys and wherefores of how such an upbringing may breed extreme views in later life. Years on, their former playground has been ‘gentrified', and Mickey in parti...
Death of England: Delroy – National Theatre Live
London

Death of England: Delroy – National Theatre Live

The sequel to the play that went out earlier this year where Raef Spall played Michael, friend of Delroy. Death of England: Delroy is a new play that premiered and closed on 4th November this year and subsequently is now being streamed live on YouTube in order to give it the airing it deserves. And of course, adjusting to the social distancing measures that have rocked the foundations of theatre this year. A refreshing new play written by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams is at least getting to reach a wider audience tonight who may not be able to visit the Olivier Theatre in London or not think to watch it so there’s some positivity to be gleaned from this. The writer Dyer tells us that out of adversity, things happen, and enthuses there has been a shift in consciousness this year due...
An American in Paris – Dominion Theatre
London

An American in Paris – Dominion Theatre

This S’wonderful, S’marvellous show was too short-lived in its West End run. The Broadway production of the musical opened in the Dominion Theatre in March 2017 to great acclaim. If you need a couple of hours to realise that although the world and the arts industry are in a terrible place currently, we’ve gotten through worse and we shall overcome this! Based on the film from 1951, starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron as Jerry Mulligan and Lise DeSan, Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope take on the lead roles, with Haydn Oakley as Henri Baurel, David Seadon-Young as Adam Hochberg and Zoe Rainey as Milo Davenport and a strong supporting ensemble this show is bound to put a smile on anyone’s face. If you’re a fan of old school musicals, big show stopping numbers and large-scale productions,...