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Showing posts from September, 2019

THEATRE REVIEW: Pride and Prejudice* (*Sort Of) ★★★★

Pride and Prejudice* (*Sort Of)
Bristol Old Vic
Saturday 7th - Saturday 28th September 2019There’s been a revolt in the history books and Jane Austen’s most popular novel of love ans sacrifice has been turned on its head; the servants are taking a stand and tell their version of events, and it’s one spectacular ride full of laughter and centuries of romantic pop songs to bring the tale to an updated stance and audience. Alongside Austen's creations, Isobel McArthur has penned a genuinely brilliant script full of powerful women ready to take their stand, in a version of Pride and Prejudice no-one would would have seen alike before! Directed by Paul Botherson, this adaptation is recognisably vibrant; there’s a real sense of emotion and motive in each of the performers many characters. McArthur herself radiantly shines on stage as Mrs Bennet and Darcy, with real air and alongside Megan Tyler as Elizabeth, the chemistry, even in the awkward pauses scattered about, truly is electrifyin…

THEATRE REVIEW: Wild Swimming ★★★★

Wild Swimming
Weston Studio, Bristol Old Vic
Tuesday 10th - Saturday 21st September 2019With a timeless and simplistic set, which allows our protagonists Nell and Oscar to jump through the centuries, Marek Horn's Wild Swimming pushes the boundaries to what we consider theatre to be; with a clear lack of blocking, the production allows the performers in the space, Annabel Baldwin and Alice Lamb, to become free and silly, all thanks to Julia Head's considerate direction, which truly allows each performance to become a unique experience.Oscar (Baldwin) has just returned from university when we first encounter his reunion with his close friend Nell (Lamb). With talk of the Greek tale involving Hero and Leander, we are sucked in this world where at any moment the performers can break and interact with the audience, wether this may be through handing out snacks from their multi-purpose set, to talking to babies and getting lost in the text; it's incredibly exciting and fresh to ha…

THEATRE REVIEW: The Lovely Bones ★★

The Lovely Bones
Birmingham Rep 
Friday 6th - Saturday 21st SeptemberBased on the 2002 best-selling novel by Alice Sebold, turned 2009 Motion Picture movie directed by Peter Jackson, The Lovely Bones tells the story of Susie Salmon, a 14 year old raped and murdered by her close neighbour Mr Harvey. Having adapted the book to fit the stage, this theatrical production directed by Melly Still first graced the Birmingham Rep stage in 2018 before turning. A year later and the production has resurfaced with what seems like a vision very closely tied to the book, and unlike the movie, with Susie Salmon, played by Charlotte Beaumont, predominantly centre staged in ‘Heaven’, marked out on the floor as part of the early moments in the play.Melly Still has done well directing a play in which tackles with some hard hitting moments; there’s no doubt that the opening sequence is striking with certain use of body parts, thanks to Ana Inés Jabares-Pita intriguing and cleverly designed staging, allowi…

THEATRE REVIEW: A Very Expensive Poison ★★★★★

A Very Expensive Poison
The Old Vic, London
Tuesday 20th August - Saturday 5th October 2019
There’s a moment in the climax of Act One in Lucy Prebble’s new play, A Very Expensive Poison, where Reece Shearsmith steps forward, breaks the fourth wall whilst remaining in character as The President, and addresses to the audience a passage that will race through my mind for years to come. It also must be one of the most powerfully driven, heart wrenching monologues from what is already an undoubtedly stunning piece of theatre, one remisinate of Angels in America Part Two, and 1984, in a way that would only spoil if delving into more detail, for this is a production which must be seen live with little prior knowledge.
Based on Luke Harding’s book of the same Title, the story centres around the real-life assassination of Alexander Litvinenko, portrayed in such a fashion from Tom Brooke, and in this production is told mostly through the eyes of his wife, Marina Litvinenko (Myanna Buring). Bro…

THEATRE REVIEW: The Life I Lead ★★★★

The Life I Lead
Wyndham's Theatre, London
Monday 16th - Saturday 21st September 2019David Cecil McAlister Tomlinson was born 7th May 1917, and was best known for his roles as George Banks in 'Mary Poppins' and Professor Emelius Browne in 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks', though his personal life was far from glamorous, from one failed marriage with a widow in the 1940s to his unsettling relationship with his strict and harsh father, Clarence Tomlinson, known as CST. In this staggering and genuinely emotional memoir-like production, The Life I Lead sees comedian and actor Miles Jupp give an absolute masterclass in the most subtlety of acting and comedy, constantly juggling humour to sadness, ripping your heart out along the way.James Kettle, who shares a true friendship with Jupp, helms the script which so effortlessly interweaves throughout Tomlinson's varied career and personal struggles; Jupp equally, in this one man show, embodies real life caricatures to such an ex…

THEATRE REVIEW: Total Immediate Collective Imminent Terrestrial Salvation ★★★★★

Total Immediate Collective Imminent Terrestrial Salvation
Royal Court, London
Thursday 3rd September - Saturday 21st September 2019Selling out weeks in advance and fresh out from this year's Edinburgh Fringe, Tim Crouch's latest project, and for the purpose of this review we'll entitle 'Terrestrial Salvation', is personally what I believe to be the closest thing to perfection that London is currently offering right now, from the interaction and integral element that we as the audience play, as well as the power the whole process has to keep us on the edge of our seats and visualise throughout thanks to the hardback scripts which are placed for our pleasure as we enter the space.Terrestrial Salvation works best in you go into the zone blind; situated in the Upstairs space at The Royal Court, a selective audience number of around 80 are invited to take a seat, two rows of around 40, staged in the round. We are authorised to pick up our books and with the command from t…

MUSICAL REVIEW: Falsettos ★★★

Falsettos
The Other Palace, London
Friday 30th August - Saturday 23rd November 2019Falsettos, with Music, Book & Lyrics by William Finn, is a humourous, often relatable musical surrounding a dysfunctional family, consisting of Marvin (Daniel Boys), Trina (Laura Pitt-Pulford) and son Jason, who in this performance was brought to life by George Kennedy, giving his West End Debut in this production. With Joel Montague and Oliver Savile completing the cast as Mandel and Whizzer, the lyrics are interwoven into the story in a way that there's never really a moment of silence on stage, similar to Les Miserables or Hamilton to give some scope, and though these latter examples do well in bringing to the forefront pivotal plot points, at times throughout Falsettos, there is more of a sense that the locations are unwanted and a bit unnecessary, such as Jason's League Football team.Though the cast are radiant on stage, especially Pitt-Pulford who gives a sensational and pitch-perfect pe…

MUSICAL REVIEW: Preludes ★★★

Preludes
Southwark Playhouse, London
Friday 6th September - Saturday 12th October 2019Taking place 3 years after the event which drove himself into a spiral if depression, Preludes is unique in the fact that it's set in Moscow 1900, but then flutters back within Rachmaninoff's (Keith Ramsay) mind, where he has been hypnotised by Dahl (Rebecca Caine). Though the production has a lot of structure, and certainly impresses technically, battling through a hitch or two, the pacing is the fundamental flaw in three-time Tony nominee Dave Malloy's musical fantasia.With a stunning backdrop of LED strip lighting, and an old grand piano as it's centrepiece, it's undoubtedly clear have talented the team are; Tom Noyes takes the lead on piano as a more grown up Rachmaninoff, whilst Ramsay portrays Each, a man more fighting with the demons after a disastrous negative reception towards his Symphony No. 1 in 1897. Ramsay is transfixing as Rach, who brings a rage of energy to the stag…

THEATRE REVIEW: A Midsummer Night's Dream ★★★★

A Midsummer Night's Dream
Bridge Theatre, London
Monday 3rd June - Saturday 31st August
With a screening taking place as part of National Theatre Live later this year, 17th October to be exact, it's never to late to write some thoughts on this spellbinding adaption of the classic Shakespeare take from The Bridge Theatre, even if we had watched on its penultimate performance.
Being a staple point to educational services throughout the generations, Midsummers is probably the most well-known and scrutinised of the bard's work due to the familiarisation of his characters creations, which Nicholas Hytner directs with such a force of moving away from the common ground and flipping the inevitable to uncertainty, especially in a much more modern setting and scene that the UK has become, especially in being more open on sexuality and moving away from the norm.
This immersive, promenade experience is best felt through exactly that; choosing to stand within the pit, surrounded by the act…

THEATRE REVIEW: Equus ★★★★

Equus
Trafalgar Studios, London
Saturday 6th July - Saturday 7th September 2019Equus, a co-production between English Touring Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East, is an abstract telling of young Alan Strang, who one night viciously blinds six horses in a stable to which he works at on weekends, and Dr. Martin Dysart's focus to uncover the motive of the attack, which sees us as an audience travel back in Strang's past to his childhood, right the way through to the night of the fatal attack.Inspired by a true story, Ned Bennett is in the directing chair for this production, and produces a play in which keeps you compelled and gripped to the final moments. It's unclear whether we should show any mercy to Strang as the buildup to the night in question at the stable is unraveled, but the way that Bennett grapples with our emotions by keeping the majority of the staging simplistic, which is helped hugely by Georgia Lowe's bleak staging, allows us to focus primarily on Eth…