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Showing posts from August, 2017

EDINBURGH FRINGE 2017: Stop ★★★★

Stop C Venues Monday 28th August 2017
Justin, Chloe, Lewis and Martha are all random citizens of London and just waiting to catch a bus, but one that never seems to come. Though one thing seems to connects them all; Mental Illness. From a production developed by students from Oxford in association with the mental health charity SANE, Stop is a brand new musical which pulls at the heartstrings and delves into what life is like living with a mental illness.
Though this particular performance had a wobbly start and continued throughout with technical issues, some which I think were intentional, I can’t say enough just how utterly heartbreaking and beautiful this production was from everyone involved; the four main actors, Jack Trzcinski (Justin), Gemma Lowcock (Chloe), Eoghan McNelis (Lewis), and Annabel Mutale (Martha/Bookwriter/Co-Director/Lyricist) all put in outstanding performances that really make you believe so wholeheartedly in their characters and want to know further about their l…

EDINBURGH FRINGE 2017: Bare Skin on Briny Waters ★★★

Bare Skin on Briny Waters Pleasance Courtyard Monday 28th August 2017
Two seemingly unrelated stories, and they are, but something that connects them both; a train journey. Bare Skin on Briny Waters is a tale about two girls, Annie and Sophie, sat side by side in present time on a clifftop, but in real life at The Edinburgh Fringe, Bellow Theatre presents this newly-written production from Hull with two actresses and a musician present on a bench, whilst a circular smashed mirror is situated on the floor.
The tale is one that I have seen more frequently recently in the fact that you believe the story is going one way until something changes, which I won’t be giving away in this review, but it’s one that makes you change opinion and overanalyse everything you’ve been told for the past 55 minutes. It’s a really clever move and one that really has impact due to the fantastic acting from the two main performers in the production, Charlie Sellers (Annie) and Maureen Lennon (Sophie). Maureen in…

EDINBURGH FRINGE 2017: (FEAR) ★★

(FEAR) Zoo (Venue 124) Monday 28th August 2017
A man sits in the corner of a room which is to the side of four large red letters spelling out the word FEAR. All sounds very simple, apart from the fact that the man sitting in the chair is wearing a crocodile mask. This is (FEAR), a show about literally that, the fears that we have when we were younger and how it develops when we grow older.
As the man gets off the chair and starts to crawl behind the letters, I’m already starting to feel a bit uneasy, and sadly with this production, this wasn’t the end of feeling like this. Though the performance is full of passionate speeches from Gareth Clark, the performer and creator of the show, and he’s very good at improvisation, in this instant when a phone went off in the audience, I felt very tense and nervous throughout.
The problem with the performance was how jumble everything was - there was no storyline from his childhood being the thread throughout the whole show, making almost seem like yo…

EDINBURGH FRINGE 2017: Tape Face ★★★★★

Tape Face The Grand, Pleasance Courtyard Sunday 27th August 2017
Having risen to fame after appearing on America’s Got Talent back in 2016, Sam Wills, or Tape Face, as most people will know him, he has been considered one of the world’s top comedy artists in recent years. After a run at the Garrick Theatre in London earlier this year in July, Tape Face arrives at The Edinburgh Fringe, where he brings what is hands down the funniest piece of comedy theatre I have ever witnessed.
The laughs for this show were instant and carried on throughout the performance in a laugh-a-minute format. From a foreshadow of a future material with a track from The Journey, Plate Spinning, or a rendition of ‘Don’t blame it on the Boogie’ from Jackson 5, the production is cleverly put together whilst set within a dressing room on stage. Some of the routines on stage are so perfectly planned out that they become reoccurring throughout the show; one audience member's sole purpose was to be humiliated by Tape…

EDINBURGH FRINGE 2017: MANWATCHING ★★★

MANWATCHING Roundabout, Summerhall Sunday 27th August 2017
A comedian walks into the middle of the stage, the ‘Roundabout’ in this instance, which is very much like how it’s described with different entrances/exits in the space set in the round, and collects an Envelope from the Stage Manager, Bethany. Inside the envelope contends a script, written by an anonymous female writer, and you want to know what makes this production so unique? Well, every single time the comedian enters the stage, they haven’t read it beforehand,as this is a performance where there are no two of a kind. Today’s comedian was Andrew O’Neill, best known for his comedy performances at Download, as well as being the guitarist of the heavy metal band ‘The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing’.
The script handles erotic subject matters like masturbation, foreplay, and sexual fantasies,something that when you consider someone directly opposite may be watching you in a packed house, you may feel a little bit uncomfort…

EDINBURGH FRINGE 2017: Me & Robin Hood ★★★

Me & Robin Hood Pleasance Dome (Venue 23) Sunday 27th August 2017
Have you ever had that moment where a homeless person asks you for money, and you genuinely want to give them something but have nothing? A note might seem too much, but what if you, whilst searching for loose change in your pocket, pull out a first class train ticket? Well, that's what happened to Shõn Dale-Jones, the performer of ‘Me & Robin Hood’, on his way to a theatre that he was performing that evening. Me & Robin Hood is the tale of where, through flashbacks, Dale-Jones visualises being the heroine of the hit show 'The Adventures of Robin Hood’, and how he would be able to rob a bank to give back to the poor!
The premise works incredibly well - though Shõn is performing by himself in front of an audience around 50-60, he is completely charming and grabs your attention throughout the whole run of the performance, I would go as far as to say he's the sort of guy you could go to the pub with an…

EEINBURGH FRINGE 2017: A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) ★★★★★

A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) Sunday 27th August
When you first look at this production on promotional material alone, you would think that a musical about depression wouldn't work, or would be something that would be hard to really convey, so going into watching this production you would feel very apprehensive, but you can be rest assured as I must admit that I think this production was one of the most skilled, inventive and funniest musicals I have seen which had so much heart and soul, dealing with the subject matter of Depression beautifully.
The production has six chapters, each with a title that conveys Sally's, our main protagonist, main milestones whilst living with the mental illness; The Best Night of Sally's Life, How Everything Went To Shit, The Most Depressing Job in the World, Margarita's in Disneyland, The Worst Night of Sally's Life, and finally, (What Happened Next…). Each of these chapters is presented in…

EDINBURGH FRINGE 2017: The Picture of Dorian Gray ★★★★

The Picture of Dorian Gray White Belly, Underbelly Cowgate (Venue 61) Sunday 27th August 2017
To put this performance into context, this production of The Picture of Dorian Gray originally was suppose to play in a different venue other than White Belly, but due to water damage, Box Tale Soup had about 15 hours to relocate to White Belly, and at an even earlier start time to what was originally stated, to perform that very Sunday morning. Noel Byrne, one of the actors and creators of Box Tale Soup, apologised in advance for the fact that they had hardly practiced in the space prior to the morning’s performance, but honestly he did not need to apologise as you would've been surprised to believe any of the previous statements due to how slick and professional the production was, even going as far as to say the best production Box Tale Soup has created to date!
Dark and edgier than any previous outing from the company, The Picture of Dorian Gray is beautifully performed by all the cast in…

EDINBURGH FRINGE 2017: The Toxic Avenger ★★★★★

The Toxic Avenger Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) Saturday 26th August 2017
The Toxic Avenger, a film originally created in 1984 which has now been made into musical, first opened up at The Southwark Playhouse in London in April 2016 for 5 weeks, before recently being confirmed to open up at The Arts Theatre in the West End later this year from October 2nd 2017, but before that is having a run at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Before I knew I was coming to The Fringe this year, I instantly knew I was going to book my ticket for The Toxic Avenger when it arrived in The West End later this year, but I couldn’t resist myself watching it beforehand at The Fringe after a brilliant recommendation from a friend who saw the production within the first week of The Fringe, and I’m so glad I took up the offer to watch it as it was hands-down the funniest musical production I have seen in years!
With a setting very reminiscent of Urinetown, that includes a vulnerable male and sweet love-interest fema…

EDINBURGH FRINGE 2017: War Pig ★★

War Pig
Zoo (Venue 124) Saturday 26th August 2017
War Pig was a production that I didn’t buy a ticket for until the day of the performance, and though I did read some reviews beforehand which did not paint the performance in the best light, I took a punt and ventured to watch the show, though I wish I backed out after reading the reviews due to the nature of what happened during the production.
The story of War Pig is set during the war, where young private Juan and private captain Fidel Castra are alone far away from the front line. The synopsis states that the production is a mix of violent moments to much more light-hearted sequences, and though this is true, it's extremely messy with long blackouts and a very uneven mix of slick performances from the two performers throughout. Some sequences work well, with highlighted movements involving a waving matchstick being for instance a nice gesture, the terrible use of a fart gag, nudity for the sake of using nudity, and sexual movement…

EDINBURGH FRINGE 2017: Fleabag ★★★★

Fleabag

Underbelly George Square, Edinburgh Saturday 26th August 2017
Before becoming a smash hit on BBC Two, Fleabag, written and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, originally started out as a play, following the life a woman who is trying to sort her life out after her best friend Boo tragically dies in a road accident, leaving Fleabag behind with the Guinea-Pig Cafe to which they both owned.
For this year’s Fringe production, Maddie Rice stars as the helpless romantic female who is completely likeable and someone that the audience can warm to instantly as she enters the stage, as she is very much a normal human being who always makes mistakes; she’s not perfect by any means, and that’s what makes this character so understandable as she leads her normal life. Rice is very convincing in the role, and as the production is a solo show with only added voiceovers to make the piece more open, Rice excels in bringing characters not on stage to life in our imaginations. With only a High Bar stool …

EDINBURGH FRINGE 2017: Flo & Joan ★★★★

Flo & Joan
The Tron (Venue 51) Saturday 26th August 2017
I’ve admired Flo & Joan’s work for awhile now - with over 500,000 views on ‘The 2016 Song’ on Youtube and digital album ‘Victory Flaps’ currently available on all platforms, the comedy duo comprised of real life sisters are slowly becoming a phenomenon in the comedy circuit. Having originated from the UK but in the past few years lived over in Canada, when I knew that they would be returning to perform at The Fringe Festival, I immediately bought a ticket weeks prior to travelling up to Edinburgh.  
The Tron I believe was the perfect venue to hold the performance from this incredible duo; feeling very intimate with a capacity of around 40-50 punters, you really have this close connection to the performers during their slots at The Fringe, and this was no exception with Flo & Joan, which I should point out is not their actually real names, but names from their family history. For those who have listened to their digital a…

THEATRE REVIEW: Angels in America ★★★★

Angels in America
National Theatre, London

Angels in America, Tony Kushner’s two part groundbreaking piece of theatre which premiered back in 1991 in Britain, tells the story of two couples living in the mid 1980s and tackling the stigma of AIDS and sexuality. Though some may see this play as a complex story in reading, this epic 9 hour brand new production lands almost perfectly stable on the ground in the Lyttelton theatre, directed by the wonderful Marianne Elliott.

Casting this production must of been no mean feat when you look at what the production is trying to tackle, so casting Andrew Garfield in the role of Prior may seem confusing to some given his background as a hetrosexual male, but I really must say his performance is undeniably the standout in this production, completely embodying this character who is suffering from AIDS and in a play where most of his scenes see him vision an Angel (Amanda Lawrence), he’s engrossing to watch. This is also the case for his acting part…

THEATRE REVIEW: Against ★★★

Against The Almeida Theatre, London Saturday 12th August 2017
Sitting in on the first preview of the world premiere of Christopher Shinn’s Against at The Almeida Theatre, it hits me that this is actually my first encounter with this beautiful theatre - as I enter the auditorium, a police tent with tape across the front of the stage catches my eye - as this is the first preview, there has been little to digest beforehand about what the production has in store, so this initially has me completely hooked and curious straight away.
The production centres around aerospace billionaire Like, portrayed by Ben Whishaw, who is absolutely captivating in the role; he has this skill where without saying anything, the expression on his face could give off endless emotions and it's thrilling to watch this performance as the first in front of a paying audience and watch him interact in us and challenge the script structure throughout, constantly keeping myself in suspense about the next movement of t…

THEATRE REVIEW: The Ferryman ★★★★

The Ferryman The Gielgud Theatre, London Saturday 12th August 2017
Hailed as the ‘Play of the Year’ by TimeOut, The Ferryman first debut was at The Royal Court on 24th April 2017 and got 5*s across the board and further rave reviews from anyone who had seen it, so I was very excited to see what all the commotion was about, so let me tell you when I left the theatre, I was certainly not disappointed.
The play is set in 1981 Northern Ireland, where we meet the Carney family, to whom the whole production is centred around in their kitchen. It’s a smart move from the creative team in this instance, as the family is so large and full of drama throughout the production that it’s nice to have one constant setting to peak in throughout the whole performance, almost making us intruders into the lives of Quinn Carney (Paddy Considine), his wife Mary (Genevieve O’Reilly), Sister-in-Law Caitlin (Laura Donnelly), and the many children shared between them all. What is also really surprising to see on …

MUSICAL REVIEW: Kinky Boots ★★★★★

Kinky Boots Adelphi Theatre, London Saturday 5th August
I'm going to start off and say hands down that right now in the West End, Kinky Boots is currently the pinnacle of Musical Theatre being expressed beautifully in The Adelphi Theatre. I have never had an experience that has had me leave with such a powerful message before, this being acceptance in this production - I was left beaming for hours after watching this production!  
Recently there has been a usual cast change to the production, which happens to many plays and musicals in the UK regularly, so taking on the role of Charlie Price was David Hunter, whilst Simon-Anthony Rhoden portrays Lola. The chemistry between these two on stage was so electrifying, especially in the musical numbers 'Everybody Say Yeah’ & 'Raise You Up/ Just Be’, which both are the final song of each acts and such toe-tapping tunes - for those who didn't know about cast changes, you would be surprised that they've only just taken over …

THEATRE REVIEW: Mosquitoes ★★★★

Mosquitoes
The National Theatre, London
Saturday 5th August 2017I remember being on the playground on the morning that the Large Hadron Collider was first switched on; everyone was checking their watches and soon breathing a sigh of relief that the apocalypse hadn't arrived - back then it was a mix of excitement and nervousness, and somehow 9 years later sat inside the Dorfman Theatre at The National, I once again feel that same motion, but just with a touch more excitement this time.With such an extensive background to her career, Lucy Kirkwood brings together a story about family, trust and battling your darkest demons, with her latest production, Mosquitoes. With Olivia Coleman and Olivia Williams taking the title roles of Jenny and Alice, having chemistry on stage is vital more than ever when tackling with a story about a dysfunctional family through the eyes of these sisters; Jenny (Coleman) is a mother who has just lost her child prior to the start of the story, whereas Alic…