Wednesday, December 7

REVIEWS

Red – The Shows Must Go On
REVIEWS

Red – The Shows Must Go On

A pretentious artist and his naïve assistant work away in a 1950’s New York studio. John Logan’s Tony award winning piece may not sound like the most exciting subject, but don’t let that deter you. It’s a deep-dive into the creative mind with thrilling performances. The play spans two whole years of an intense working relationship. Mark Rothko (Alfred Molina) is a celebrated artist who has been commissioned to create art for display at the new Four Seasons restaurant. He is assisted by “over-eager under-graduate" Ken (Alfred Enoch).  Questioning opinions and confronting each other's weaknesses makes for an uneasy partnership but a riveting play. Enoch is charming as the assistant. The quirkiness of his movement and emotional openness are played expertly by someone in his We...
The Legend of Moby Dick Whittington – Online
REVIEWS

The Legend of Moby Dick Whittington – Online

If ever a Christmas show was so bang on trend, it’s ‘The Legend of Moby Dick Whittington’. Not only do Sleeping Trees manage to pull off a high quality production full of interactivity and fun – they do it from the confines of a small house using bundles of creative energy. It is this sense of the ‘make do and get on’ which is of huge appeal in this ‘living room adventure’ which is stuffed with Christmas cheer and puns a plenty. Interactivity is high on the agenda with easy screen prompts and many calls for you to get involved. The story is as follows: Mayor of London, Dick Whittington, is turning on the Christmas lights but then a giant whale appears and swallows Santa Claus whole. Dick, along with his trusty sidekick Cat, must embark on a quest to stop Christmas being ruined forev...
ALLO Opera – Online Opera Gala
North West

ALLO Opera – Online Opera Gala

Tonight, I had the absolute pleasure of viewing ALLO Opera’s inaugural recorded Opera Gala. We find ourselves in a time when live performances are scant so any opportunity to enjoy a fantastic evening of singing is to be grasped with both hands. Of course, with the current climate, social distancing is the order of the day and I was delighted to find that the performers found a perfect way to maintain the 3-meter rule for singers to make sure everyone was safe. Ross Cumming took first performance and also doubled up as a more than capable compare for the evening. His rich tone and strength of voice complimented the Mendelssohn Elijah piece, Lord God of Abraham, and it was sung with a great reverence and sensitivity. He presented a totally different tone for Ach wir Armen Leute from Hum...
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,...
Shakespeare’s Sonnets: Full Show – The Shows Must Go On
REVIEWS

Shakespeare’s Sonnets: Full Show – The Shows Must Go On

"Shakespeare's Sonnets Full Show" is The Shows Must Go On's... well the title says it all really. This show is all of Shakespeare's 154 sonnets performed to camera by an ensemble cast that includes Fiona Shaw, Sir Patrick Stewart, David Tennant, Simon Callow, Simon Russell Beale, Kim Cattrall, Dominic West and Stephen Fry. Many of the performers here are household names and all are familiar faces, some for Shakespeare, others not, and a very few for their expertise either in performing Shakespeare in the period accent or his life and times, which is always intriguing and if nothing else proof of the vast love that has brought these people together over this text. The text is not the only reason though as this show is for a cause, to raise money for The Actor's Fund as well as severa...
Don’t Leave Me this Way – Voila Festival
London

Don’t Leave Me this Way – Voila Festival

‘Don’t Leave me this Way,’ by Zoo Indigo is part of Voila Festival, an annual celebration of European theatre set in the shadow of Brexit which seems a million light years away in the current climate of the pandemic. As we know theatre and the arts have been severely compromised so they are having to adapt. Their performance was pre-recorded in the Cockpit Theatre in London's Marylebone. We are encouraged to turn up the brightness of our computer screens preshow as it is a little dark due to being recorded in a theatre. I felt uncomfortable when they told us what a watch party is as most people are aware of this. Rosie and Ildiko, are the Anglo-German duo who make up Zoo Indigo and explore their heritage tonight in a two woman show alongside the talented Rob the violinist. A fantast...
West End Unplugged: Vol 2 – The Shows Must Go On
REVIEWS

West End Unplugged: Vol 2 – The Shows Must Go On

This is the second concert like this on the Show Must Go On YouTube channel. It features West End stars singing with a small group of musicians on acoustic instruments. This is mixed with socially distanced sofa chats between West End choreographer Anthony Van Laast, the stars and other theatre workers. There are 2 mini concerts with different acts put together to make a 90-minute session. These shows are billed as the West End’s biggest stars, which could be debated as some of the acts last appeared there at least 7 years ago. The songs are also not ones which would instantly jump to mind as popular favourites. This week’s acts are Hannah Waddingham, David Bedella, Joe Stilgoe, Richard Fleeshman, Celinde Schonemaker, Katie Brayben and Cavin Cornwall. With everything stripped ba...
The Aftermath – The Piece Hall Halifax
Yorkshire & Humber

The Aftermath – The Piece Hall Halifax

One of the most depressing aspects of the pandemic is how quick people are to condemn parts of our communities for its spread and even more bizarrely putting a lot of the blame on young people as a group. That’s why a troupe of young dancers from across Calderdale, supported by Northern Broadsides, worked with choreographers Sam Ford and Anna Holmes to devise this original piece reflecting on their own experiences of living under the shadow of the virus, and to rebut the idea that mass infection is somehow all their fault. Led by professional dancers Daniel Phung and Soul Roberts they delivered what appears to be a clever, vibrant and challenging piece. I say appears because Aaron Howell’s film of their performance in the piazza of Halifax’s historic Piece Hall is a distraction.&nbs...