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Showing posts from April, 2016

THEATRE REVIEW: Folk ★★★★

Folk Birmingham Repertory Theatre Thursday 28th April 2016

Every Friday night, Withernsea folk Winnie (Connie Walker) and her friend Stephen (Patrick Bridgman)  like to settle down for a pint of Guinness - Winnie being a nun of course, and during these evenings they like to have a sing-song on Stephen’s guitar, and have a ciggie round the back. They do this every Friday, just the two of them, until one evening, after a funeral service for local lad Jason, a brick is thrown into Winnie’s window, the culprit being Kayleigh (Chloe Harris), an outspoken teenager who has lost her mother and lives with her step dad. This is the set up for Folk, a poignant piece of theatre by Tom Wells, having it’s world premiere at The REP after already performing to small local villages this year.

I cannot express how heart warming this 90 minute production was to me, as I was not sure what to expect before entering, as I really had doubts, but they were soon lost within 3 minutes of the whole production, as …

THEATRE REVIEW: A Machine They're Secretly Building ★★★

A Machine They’re Secretly Building Wednesday 27th April 2016 Warwick Arts Centre

Entering the room to two females on stage, one sat down on a table and one facing a camera set up to the side of a screen, with a test card projected with the words ‘Please Stand By’ with the image of a face with a pink beanie over their head, I was unsure what I had stepped into, but as I sat down, I stayed open minded. This was ‘A Machine They’re Secretly Building’ from Proto-Type, a theatre company I have only recently been made aware of, but really felt in awe of the productions that they produce, so I was very excited about going to watch this production!

‘From what might be a news desk, an office, a bedroom, a bunker under a mountain or a theatre, two people – reporters, senators, freedom fighters, or just… well… concerned citizens like you – think about what it is to speak up, speak out, blow the whistle and lift the veil.’

Above is how the show was advertised, and is pretty much spot on exactly what …

THEATRE REVIEW: Tonight Im Gonna Be The New Me ★★★★

Tonight I'm Gonna Be The New Me Warwick Arts Centre 26th April 2016

Half way through Jess’s second dance routine, where certain moves afterwards are dedicated to certain individuals in the audience, Tim, her boyfriend, returns with a beer that Jess asks for shortly prior to the dance, and as he returns, we as the audience get a first full detailed look at him, who has before just been a voice, standing there, watching his girlfrie dance around, and we can almost strangely feel comfortable at being uncomfortable, no matter how strange that sounds.

This was ‘Tonight I’m Gonna Be The New Me’, a production created by Tim Cowbury and Jessica Latowicki, who performs solely throughout the whole production, as we listen to her stories about herself and Tim, her boyfriend, who Jess also refers back to after moments of tense speech. To me it had the essence of Grounded, a show set primarily in a box, and This Is How we Die, a show by Christopher Brett Bailey, but then that's no surprise whe…

Musical REVIEW: Bring on the Bollywood ★★★

Bring on The Bollywood Belgrade Theatre, Coventry Monday 25th April 2015

Even though I have seen so many shows I have been unable to count the past few years, there is one style of theatre or dance that I have the least education on, and this is Bollywood, both the acting and dancing, and I feel like this may be due to the simple fact that that sort of culture is not shown in the UK, but when I watched Bend It Like Beckham, with all the dancing included in that, I loved it, so when I saw that Bring on the Bollywood was in Coventry, I didn't hesitate to buy a ticket on the day and head down to see what was in store.

Now what was in store was a 2hr and 45 minute journey that followed Bollywood Actor Amit (Rishi Nair) and Ronny (Adam Samuel-Bal), his cousin, in a search for love, with Amit pretending to be a Bollywood director, so that he could win the appraisal of his love of his life Rekha’s (Nikkita Chadha) parents, Colonel Sunder (Rohit Gokani) and Lalita (Sakuntala Ramanee) Pawar, …

THEATRE REVIEW: Glorilla ★★★★

Glorilla Gloucester Guildhall // Strike a Light Festival Sunday 24th April 2016
Presented by Spitz&Co, a company who I first came across in 2014 with their first show ‘Gloriator’ at Jolt Theatre Festival in Gloucester, ‘Glorilla’ is a story, or look back, at the life of Gloria Delaneuf, a famous French actress, played beautifully by Pauline Morel, who re-tells the tale of when she entered the Kungalunga Jungle and became friends with a Gorilla named Mickey.
Susie Donkin also returned to play Josephine Cunningham, Gloria’s tour manager amongst many other roles, and once again Susie brought the energy and vibe to the performance right from the start with some excellent audience interaction, handing out pencils for notes and making sure everyone was silent in preparation for a further segment in the show. It’s at times like this, when silence and pauses used throughout the show are so perfectly timed, that make Spitz&Co such a unique and fresh female double act so successful so much …

MUSICAL REVIEW: Mary Poppins ★★★★★

Mary Poppins Birmingham Hippodrome Friday 22nd April 2016
Based on the 1964 Walt Disney Musical, and the stories of P.L Travers, this Cameron Mackintosh musical production of Mary Poppins is set around London and focuses on the Banks Family, which features Mother and Wife Winifred (Rebecca Lock), Husband and Father George (Milo Twomey) and their two children Jane and Michael, who were played by Maia West and Santiago Weston respectfully on the evening on this specific performance. As George is a hard-working husband who has just had a promotion, and Winifred is trying to get back into acting, they are constantly having to find nannies who fit the bill that can then look after Jane and Michael, but they go through so many due to the pressure, until a certain lady with an Umbrella shows up, Mary Poppins, portrayed marvellously by Zizi Strallen.
Now I thoroughly enjoyed this spellbinding production from start to finish, especially with the movie being such an iconic part of my childhood, thi…

THEATRE REVIEW: The Comedy About a Bank Robbery ★★★★★

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery The Criterion Theatre, London Saturday 2nd March 2016
Following on from their phenomenal success with Play and Peter Pan ‘Goes Wrong’, Mischief Theatre have returned once again to make your jaw and belly ache from all the laughter you will most definitely feel when watching ‘The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, which unlike their previous outings, this production is very much just a comedic, farce take on your average diamond heist, but when mistaken identity and fraud ensues, you can tell that laughter is not far behind when Mischief Theatre are in town.
Right from the very beginning, this production is packed with laughter, making the audience feel completely at ease, especially when two of the prison convicts try to escape what they think is the outside of the prison, but is in fact the main chiefs office, which ends in them falling out of the high story window. The use of pauses and perfectly timed dialogue makes scenes like these become so slick.
A real hi…

THEATRE REVIEW: X ★★★★★

X 30th March 2016 The Royal Court, London

It’s 30th March 2016 and there is an eerie, excited buzz in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at The Royal Court in London, as it happens to be the night of the first preview of Alistair McDowall's latest play X, set billions of millions away from Earth on the planet Pluto, where a lone research base, which on board has 5 crew mates, lose contact with Earth, and whilst they are waiting for a signal, or more importantly, hope, some start to see things out in the darkness, and throughout the whole performance you are found to be gripped in your chair, not knowing exactly what will happen next…

What I found really exciting about this production was for me personally the fact that it was the first time I had been to a professional London theatre on a preview night, and it was incredibly satisfying to know that everyone in the same room where going to be sharing the same experience all together, and the fact that none of us in the auditorium had any i…

THEATRE REVIEW: Unearthed ★★★

Unearthed24th March 2016The Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham

Presented by Folio Theatre, and supported by The John Thaw Foundation and Sackler Trust, Unearthed follows the story of Eliza (Lizzie Stables) and Ben (Chris Ashby) as they are set a number of tasks by their father, who passed away at the beginning of the play, that was left in his will. Though I saw the play entirely differently, and more about the relationship between two siblings who are somewhat disjointed in their lives at the beginning of the play; Ben has Daisy (Alana Ramsey), his girlfriend who looked after Ben and Eliza’s father in the leadup to this demise, and Eliza has her career to think of.

I thought that this play was incredible, and beautifully written by Alys Metcalf, as well as directed by Kim Pearce. Watching a show with such a powerful message lifted perfectly by four creatively trained actors is a real breath of fresh air to see nowadays, and as someone who thrives to see small cast productions doing stories …

THEATRE REVIEW: A Government Inspector ★★★

A Government Inspector 21st March 2016 The Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Originally written in 1835 by Nikolai Gogol, this production of A Government Inspector was commissioned by the Rep Theatre in association with Ramps on the Moon, a company whose sole ambition is to integrate BSL (British Sign Language) and audio description into theatre these days. This meant that the performers all had some sort of disability on stage, whether this may be sight, sounds, or physical movement. This was also apparent during the production as a subtitled screen was suspended at the high point of the stage itself, which would then allow those in the audience with hearing difficulties to see what was going on, as well as an actor who was both playing a character and signing at the same time.

So the plot itself revolves around a town where the mayor has received news that a government inspector is to arrive soon, which has the residents initially shocked and excited at the same time. Soon, a well dressed ge…