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Showing posts from October, 2019

THEATRE REVIEW: The Watsons ★★★★★

The Watsons Menier Chocolate Factory, London Friday 20th September - Saturday 16th November 2019
Inside the programme notes for Laura Wade’s latest production, which has transferred after an acclaimed run at The Chichester Festival Theatre in 2018, Professor John Mullan opens up his analysis perfectly, ‘We cannot help wanting to complete what she left us’. Mullan is of course referring to Jane Austen, one of the most prolific authors of the 19th century and to whom spanned six finished novels during her lifetime. It is here where things get interesting though,as The Watson’s would have been Austen’s seven novel, but mysteriously got shelved in favour of writing others, and is where Wade jumps in to take the reigns and turn this mystery into a play, to where this review also must endeavor to avoid spoiling what might perhaps be the most thrilling, and unexpected twists in the most recent history of theatre and jaw-dropping moments to which will stick in the minds of the many audience …

THEATRE REVIEW: Groan Ups ★★★★

Groan Ups Vaudeville Theatre, London Friday 30th September - Saturday 1st December 2019
As Mr White (Dave Hearn) and Miss Murray (Bryony Corrigan) set towards the lectern to address the audience, or should we say pupils in an assembly, it’s almost a very subtle throwback and nod to what has now become the longest running play in Broadway, and on a hugely successful UK Tour, in the form of The Play That Goes Wrong. For the fans of that particular show who will come to visit The Vaudeville Theatre in the upcoming year as Mischief Comedy take a residency at the West End Theatre, they sure will feel comfort with the family start. This though is where the similarities end though, as Groan Ups simply put is an amalgamation of our school years rolled into a rather condensed two hour production which will see you crying with laughter one moment, to weep with sadness the next. 
Mischief this time round have found a way in being able to modernise their storyline for a relatable audience. I am …

THEATRE REVIEW: Solaris ★★★

Solaris
Lyric Hammersmith. London
Thursday 10th October - Saturday 2nd November 2019Whilst orbiting the far-away planet of Solaris, a team of trepid expeditioners find themselves haunted on their space mission when they believe the oceans surrounding their new findings are bringing back their loved ones back from the past. Based off the 1961 novel of the same name by Stanislaw Lem, this brand new production from David Greig certainly delivers in suspense, but due to a rather dated story which doesn’t seem push the ideas further, you are left feeling deflated whilst heading back to Earth.When we join the crew onboard the vessel, we are all mutually introduced to Kris (Polly Frame) who has come to join the team, which currently involves Snow (Fode Simbo) and Santorious (Jade Ogugua), who speak of objects and creatures appearing aboard with no explanation, solely determining that the planet they are running experiments on has a living conscious of its own, and soon Kris is exposed to the…

MUSICAL REVIEW: Our House ★★★★

Our House
Playhouse Theatre, Cheltenham
Friday 11th - Saturday 19th October 2019Based on the music from the ska band Madness, Our House follows the story of Joe Casey (Jamie Evans) and his troubled teenage life, whilst along the way encountering the love of his life Sarah (Olivia Facer), with a added moment in the production involving where Casey's world split in two, giving us a 'Sliding Doors' moment, and allows us to envision a alternative world jumping between a Good & Bad Joe, which though definitely in this version has the ideas floating around, it doesn't manage to differentiate and land with much impact.Evans is full of energy and shows commitment to the protagonist; barely off stage, he powers through with persistent, and even though his vocals can be hard to hear due to the uneven mic levels at times, his voice carries the whole production alongside Facer's, who equally is angelic and charasmatic with a huge array of emotion. Their version of 'It mu…

THEATRE REVIEW: Rumpelstiltskin ★★★★

Rumpelstiltskin
The New Room Chapel, Bristol
Friday 4th October - Friday 1st November 2019In the hidden streets of Bristol, magic is truly being spun in in the form of Insane Root Theatre's production of Rumpelstiltskin, playing at The New Room Chapel in Broadmead. Brought to life by a trio of exceptional talent from Norma Butikofer, Katie Tranter, and Dan Wheeler, the folk story surrounding the Millers daughter and the mystery shrouded around the antogonists name is so lavishly told and compels you throughout the entire 70 minute running time.From the start we are captivated into the world within as the doors are flung shut and we are ushered with the help of our newfound storytelling friends into the heart of the chapel, with seating all around from chairs and benches at the sides, to the use of the the pews in the open centre which give the most immersive and effective experience with the performers between you and in your personal space. As the king and the miller's daughter…

THEATRE REVIEW: My Beautiful Launderette ★★★

My Beautiful Launderette
Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
Tuesday 8th - Saturday 12th October 201934 years after being released in the cinema, screenwriter Hanif Kureishi has returned to help move his My Beautiful Launderette from the screen to stage, on a brand new tour which has currently stopped at The Everyman, who are responsible for being one the producing partners. My Beautiful Launderette suffers largely in Cheltenham from the lack of diversity in the city which is so richly portrayed on stage, with a half empty auditorium, and the lack of emotion from some of the company, which keeps there characters two-dimensional.Having taken over his uncles rather dousy Launderette, Omar (Omar Malik) finds an unlikely partner in the form of his former lover Johnny (Jonny Fines), the leader of a gang who one night attacks Omar due to his racial background. Within these moments of tension, Paddy Davis is rather extricating as gang member Genghis, with his other role as Dick O'Donnell equally …

THEATRE REVIEW: Noises Off ★★★★

Noises Off
Garrick Theatre, London
Friday 27th September 2019 - Saturday 4th November 2020Before it’s hugely successful run at The Lyric Hammersmith earlier this year, the last time Michael Frayn’s Noises Off graced the stage was in at The Old Vic in 2011. If you were not aware of why it’s hugely successful premise took so long to come back to London, you’d only have to read the three act play to understand just how only someone like Jeremy Herrin, whose directed this take on one of the most successful farces in our lifetime, can dedicate their time to bring this epic back to the masses, with huge triumph.Having the inspiration come to mind when Frayn was watching a performance of his 1970 play ‘The Two of Us’ from the wings, Noises Off tells the story of an amaetur theatrical company putting on the production ‘Nothing On’ at The Grand Theatre, Weston Super-Mare. It’s the day of the technical rehearsal as the play opens and Dotty Otley (Meera Syal) is continually forgetting her lines …

THEATRE REVIEW: Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp. ★★★★

Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp.
The Royal Court, London
Wednesday 18th September - Saturday 12th October 2019It's hard to believe that this visit to The Royal Court, a magnificent building producing and bring in some of the most formidable pieces of theatre from practitioners all across the globe, also coincides as my first experience with a Caryl Churchill play, especially for someone so present and respect in the industry, and if this first outing is anything to go by, she's certainly found herself a new admire. Made up of four completely separate pieces which simply existence within their own, with remarkably memorable set pieces, each are very different to the next, with short interludes containing suprise destressing acts, though saying anymore will ruin the enjoyment.Glass, set on a suspended mantelpiece, tells the individual stories of the inanimate objects we find in any household and brings them to life, ranging from a clock, a red plastic dog, and a vase, though the main …

MUSICAL REVIEW: Daddy Long Legs ★★★★★

Daddy Long Legs
The Barn Theatre, Cirencester
Wednesday 2nd October - Saturday 2nd November 2019
As Autumn creeps around, the pumpkin spice is back, the nights are getting darker, and The Barn Theatre are bringing the warmth and unlocking the secret to happiness in the form of John Caird and Paul Gordon's musical, Daddy Long Legs, based on the 1912 book of the same name. So far this season, The Barn has seen them produce the intrepid ‘Henry V’, trailblazed their way through ‘The 39 Steps’, but has truly peaked in ‘Daddy Long Legs’, a production which simply takes your breath away with thanks to every aspect from the cast to the creative team.
With the story consisting of many minor characters, there are two at the centre who bring gravitas to the proceedings; Jerusha Abbott and Jervis ‘Daddy’ Pendleton, who are stunning portrayed by Rebecca Jayne-Davies and Ryan Bennett respectfully. Alone, the two show huge amounts of energy and sheer brilliance in voicing so many of the charact…

THEATRE REVIEW: When the Rain Stops Falling ★★★

When The Rain Stops Falling 
Irving Studio Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
Wednesday 2nd October 2019Evidence from previous productions prove that The Everyman Theatre has a hidden gem tucked away in the form of The Irving Studio; constantly changing its formation to suit and suprise the audience as they take their seats, it has been home to some of the most powerful and thought-provoking pieces of theatre seen in the theatre alone due to the intensity of the proximity and atmosphere. Sadly, this is fundamentally where 'The Rain Stops Falling', presented by Red Dog Company hinder themselves, with a large ensemble and unnecessary scenery making for a claustrophobic performance.Written by Andrew Bovell, the story revolves around different generations throughout the decades, expanding from 1959 - 2039, and how certain items can spark a journey of infidelity, molestation, love and heartbreak. Presented by the company, within the first monologue which opens the show from Paul Ansdell, t…

THEATRE REVIEW: Macbeth ★★★

Macbeth
Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
Tuesday 1st - Saturday 5th October 2019Alas, Autumn has fallen and the younger generation are back at school, where Shakespeare is in the syllabus and trips are being made to see his work on the stage. For the locals of Gloucestershire, it’s the Watermill’s adaptation of Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in place, and as the interval comes around, most of the children are devising a way to make haste. With lack of emotion and emphasis portrayed on stage, phones illuminate the auditorium from all ages, heckles revolt in the raunchy scenes, and when the over-exaggerated bows are given, sighs of relief and exasperated teachers are most ready to vacate.If it has not been made clear, The Watermill’s production of Macbeth does little to stabilize it’s adaptation and home in on a certain style; with actors coming on with guitars often distracting, and too much unfocused lighting to fill areas across the stage, with some of Macbeth’s soliloquies in dar…

THEATRE REVIEW: 'Master Harold' and The Boys ★★★

‘Master Harold’ and The Boys
National Theatre, London
Saturday 21st September - Tuesday 17th December 2019It’s 1950, and set against the backdrop of Hally’s (Anson Boon) parent’s tearoom in Apartheid, Soth Africa, Sam (Lucian Msamati) and Willie (Hammed Animashaun) as slowly closing up for the day after a slow service, but not being taking time to practice their ballroom dancing in preperation for an upcoming event. Taking place over real time, Athol Fugard’s production is one that has a real sense to the phrase ‘Calm before the storm’, with a more or less soothing atmosphere with a playful side throughout the majority of the performance, directed by Roy Alexander Weise. Taking sensitive topics such as racism and hatred attacks, Weise has somehow managed to find the right balance to bring the words in life in a way that makes us truly care for the three protagonists on stage; Boon brings a joyful warmth to Hally, Master Harold to Sam and Willie, and whilst the relationship with his pa…