Friday, January 27

REVIEWS

Fresh Blood – Arrival Festival 2020
REVIEWS

Fresh Blood – Arrival Festival 2020

Fresh Blood from Popbox is a reinterpretation of Bram Stoker’s classic gothic novel, Dracula, set in the modern world of social media, online influencers and live streamed workouts and video games. Created and performed by Josh Cannon, Tom Morris and Georgie Sykes, this surreal piece of theatre allows you to jump between three channels, each one focussing on one of the cast, creating a unique jigsaw of this much loved vampiric story. All three channels are very different, with Georgie’s consisting of dramatic readings of sections of the original novel, Josh’s focussing on the characters’ social media presence and Tom’s being an original peek into everyday life. The three cast members play various roles across the three channels bringing to life both modern versions of the original char...
Three Kings – Old Vic In Camera
London

Three Kings – Old Vic In Camera

The Old Vic celebrated 200 years of theatre in 2018 and even though its doors are closed to live performance, they have taken their expertise in producing high quality theatrical productions and transported this grandfather of London theatre into the digital age. In a striped back production due to many of the staff being furloughed, the Old Vic have taken on their second live screening, following on from the success of ‘Lungs’.  Written by Stephen Beresford, who began his career as an actor and then found quick success as a writer penning such films as ‘Pride’ and ‘Tolkien’ and for the stage, ‘The Last Of The Haussmans’.  ‘Three Kings’ was written for Andrew Scott who performs this dialogue alone on the stage at the Old Vic, and if you have been fortunate enough to have seen...
Scrounger – The Finborough Theatre
London

Scrounger – The Finborough Theatre

In partnership with Scenesaver, The Finborough Theatre gave a final digital viewing of Scrounger and they plan to continue with monthly releases from their back catalogue to help to raise money to keep the theatre afloat.  Scrounger was part of the Vibrant 2019 Festival of Finborough Playwrights and premiered in January 2020.  Written by and starring Athena Stevens, the play focuses upon an incident that occurred when Stevens was attempting to travel to Scotland via a flight from London City Airport.  Stevens was born with a condition called ‘athetoid cerebral palsy’ which has meant she needs a special wheelchair to be able to get on with her everyday life.  After booking onto a flight and confirming with British Airways (BA) that they were able to carry her whee...
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – Glyndebourne
REVIEWS

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – Glyndebourne

It’s a delight to see a virtual performance of David McVicar’s 2011 Glyndebourne production of Wagner’s epic midsummer opera that is more comic than comedy. At a church service, Walter (Marco Jentzsch) becomes smitten with Eva (Anna Gabler), who tells him she is to be engaged the next day to the winner of a song contest sponsored by the local Mastersingers. Her friend, Magdalene (Michaela Selinger), asks her boyfriend David (Topi Lehtipuu), an apprentice to cobbler Hans Sachs (Gerald Finley), to explain the rules of the competition. The Mastersingers arrive for a preliminary song trial and Walther upsets smug town clerk Beckmesser (Johannes Martin Kränzle) who is keen to win. When Eva’s father, goldsmith Veit Pogner (Alastair Miles), confirms her hand as the prize, Sachs suggests she s...
Declan – Traverse Theatre
Scotland

Declan – Traverse Theatre

Kieran Hurley’s powerful theatre work Mouthpiece has been transformed into a 25-minute short film Declan for Traverse Theatre’s online festival in lieu of the Edinburgh International Festival. Angus Taylor revives the titular role of Declan with ferocity, anger and tenderness. Although the script is only altered slightly from the original theatre work, the relationship between Declan and failing playwright Libby is compromised here, but we gain a more intimate insight into Declan’s home life and lived experience. Transferring Mouthpiece to film has allowed Declan’s artwork to come forth among animated sections of plot. Nisan Yetkin’s stunning and emotional animations bring interactions to life between Declan and an unseen Libby, driving the relationship between them with written dia...
Lucky 8 – The Space UK
Scotland

Lucky 8 – The Space UK

Glass Half Full Theatre’s Lucky 8, written by Stephanie Silver and directed by Amelia Lovsey, is an original look at dating at work and the effect different commitments at home have when looking for love. Marcy (Stephanie Silver) has a crush on a woman at work, played by Valenzia Spearpoint. Marcy is clumsy, awkward and suffers from self-confessed verbal diarrhoea, while Spearpoint’s character is confident and well put together in stylish linen clothing. Marcy develops a habit of watching Spearpoint from afar while trying to talk herself into asking her out, noticing that Spearpoint regularly consults a Magic 8 ball she keeps in her office, making Marcy believes that she believes in fate. One morning Marcy excitedly tells us she has told her mother, who has MS and whom she cares for...
Showstopper! The (Socially Distanced) Improvised Musical: ‘The Balloon Where It Happens’
REVIEWS

Showstopper! The (Socially Distanced) Improvised Musical: ‘The Balloon Where It Happens’

Tonight, I watched a premiere of a new musical about two couples who travel back in time when their hot air balloon is caught in a freak thunderstorm during a 30th wedding anniversary celebration. This is a musical about recognising what you have, and about living your best life. With catchy songs based on the musical styles of Hamilton, The Boy Friend, Les Misérables and even the Muppets, I discovered just what happens when you have the chance to change your past. And who wrote this new work? Well, we did! We – the audience that is. The Showstoppers have been wowing people with their genius since 2008, improvising a brand-new musical at every performance based on suggestions provided live by their audiences for settings, musical styles and plot twists. I’ve been intending to see th...
Caitlin – ZooTV
Scotland

Caitlin – ZooTV

This disconcerting dance theatre piece from the Welsh ensemble of Light, Ladd and Emberton was first produced for the BBC’s #DancePassion series in 2019, and now receives a showing on the Zoo TV platform for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Caitlin was the wife of poet Dylan Thomas, known for his hard drinking and passionately lyrical poetry. After his death, she attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and this is where we find her, in a circle of empty chairs. Just one other chair is occupied by the husband who caused her so much pain and distress with his infidelities and desertions. As she and Dylan fight through the ups and downs of their tempestuous marriage, this dance sequence takes on an edgy, jagged tone with explosions of stylised violence and physical battling. It is a powerfu...
The Complete Works of Shakespeare*…*but just the Deaths (and the gory bits too) – The Space UK
Scotland

The Complete Works of Shakespeare*…*but just the Deaths (and the gory bits too) – The Space UK

Even though the title may be a tad too long, I could have carried on watching this play for much longer than its 45 minutes.  Taking their name from a quote in Macbeth, the Cream Faced Loons have done a remarkable job to stage this wonderfully refreshing take on Shakespeare’s plays in a digital environment.  Before the pandemic ‘the Loons’ liked to perform in site specific locations such as castles and parks but have adapted their style to You Tube and it showcases their versatility and unique take on the Shakespearean classics. The challenge is to perform all 10187 deaths that appear in Shakespeare’s 37 plays.  That seems rather a lot I hear you say, but all is made clear later on in the show.  Will you take up the challenge to tick off the deaths as the show goes ...
The Beat Goes On – The Space UK
Scotland

The Beat Goes On – The Space UK

With the Edinburgh Fringe Festival not going ahead this year, there has been a huge gap in the diary of both Fringe lovers and artists.  Wonderful venues such as The Space UK have not been able to host their usual Fringe events, so they have put on a digital festival instead.  This festival offers a real mix of comedy, theatre, dance and cabaret.  The Glummer Twins definitely come under the heading ‘comedy’. The Glummer Twins are a duo (as the name suggests), ‘The Beat Goes On’ is their reflection on how the last six months of lockdown have been for them.  The duo was formed by David Harmer and Ray Globe who were once a part of a comedy group called ‘Circus of Poets’ which also included Ian McMillan and John Turner. This 25 minute performance is packed full o...