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Review of Not Now, Bernard at the Unicorn Theatre

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Ben Adams as Dad, Bea Holland as Mum and Guy Rhys as Bernard in Not Now Bernard at the Unicorn Theatre. Photography by Camilla Greenwell Want to get some peace and quiet and keep the little ones entertained for a while? Well, you can do no better than pop along to the Unicorn Theatre for their production Not Now, Bernard. Based on David McKee’s book of the same name, this is the story of Bernard (Guy Rhys) a young boy who just wants to be noticed by his parents. Unfortunately, his Mum (Bea Holland) and Dad (Ben Adams) are too preoccupied with important things like watering plants, and watching the cricket to respond to his warnings that there is a monster in the garden that wants to eat him with anything more than a perfunctory ‘not now Bernard’. Then one day, he goes out to play in the garden and, while he doesn’t return, something larger and hairier does. Having not read the original book I wasn’t sure what to expect from this production, but as soon as I entered the auditorium and …

Left My Desk by Lost Watch at the New Diorama Theatre

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What is your opinion of Social Workers? Mentioning them usually causes one of two reactions; support or antagonism. Even 1980s sitcom Yes Minister mentioned them in an episode called The Skeleton in the Closet, and I quote – “Parkinson’s law of social work you see; it’s well known that social problems increase to occupy the total number of social workers to deal with them”. This is, of course, a gross exaggeration but the occupation of a social worker is not that many people would choose, though most feel free to criticise. This is demonstrated really well in Lost Watch’s production Left My Desk which is its first show at the New Diorama Theatre since becoming Associate Ensemble. Left my Desk is a series of scenes in the life of Senior Social Worker Becca (Rianna Dearden) and the people she deals with (Jennifer Daley, Rachel Hosker, Adam Langstaff and Jamie Samuel). Becca, like the rest of her team, has a full caseload of work, dealing with delinquent children, unfit mothers and absent…

The Unbuilt City at the King’s Head Theatre

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The Unbuilt City: Sandra Dickinson (Claudia) and Jonathan Chambers (Jonah) – Photo by PND Photography People keep secrets. They keep things from their nearest and dearest, their friends, random members of the public. They also have a tendency to keep things. When my grandmother died and we were clearing the house, we found every utility bill she had ever received kept in a folder in her desk. I mention this because the idea of keeping secrets and things is at the heart of Keith Bunin’s one-act play, The Unbuilt City which is getting its European premiere at the King’s Head Theatre The story takes place in the Brooklyn Heights townhouse of Claudia (Sandra Dickinson), a reclusive socialite. It’s a cold February and she is welcoming a visitor in the shape of Jonah (Jonathan Chambers) a young man on a mission, He has two things on his mind. One finding out if Claudia has certain, almost mythical, item in her possession and two, if she has it, convincing her to part with it. This is going …

Review of Beautiful Thing by Jonathan Harvey at Above The Stag Theatre

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Beautiful Thing: Credit PBGSTUDIOS If you ever want to wind up a twenty-something, then the best thing to do is let them know how close they are to being a quarter of a century old. Twenty-five years is, in the life of a person, not that long at all, but in the lifetime of a play, the twenty-fifth anniversary is a perfect opportunity to give it a spectacular revival, and that is exactly what the team at the Above the Stag Theatre have done with their new production of Jonathan Harvey’s Beautiful Thing. On a typical post world-war Thamesmead council estate in South East London, there are three flats next to each other at the end of one of the walkways, From the outside, these are nothing special, looking exactly like the rest of the building and the estate that surrounds them. But inside, there is a seething mass of stories and emotions ready to be let loose. In the first, there is Leah (Phoebe Vigor) a young girl, recently expelled from school, who spends her days listening to music b…

Review of Translations at The Olivier Theatre | National Theatre

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Ciarán Hinds (Hugh), Colin Morgan (Owen), Adetomiwa Edun (Lieutenant Yolland). Image by Catherine Ashmore Love it or loathe it, the British Empire is a rich source of material that is ready-made for novels or plays – usually suggesting the English were bad while everyone else good. However, some writers have approached the subject in less obvious ways and one of those is Irish playwright Brian Friel, whose 1980 play Translations has recently been revived at the National Theatre. 1833 and in the quiet community of Baile Beag, life continues much as it always has. The inhabitants are an insular lot who speak Irish, Greek and Latin – thanks to a knowledge of the classics and the teachings of the Catholic church – but who don’t speak English, the language of their rulers. In the local ‘hedge’ school, aspiring teacher Manus (Seamus O’Hara) is working with Sarah (Michelle Fox) a local girl with a severe speech impediment. His father, schoolmaster Hugh (Ciarán Hinds) has not yet returned hom…

Review of Blueberry Toast by Mary Laws at Soho Theatre

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Blueberry Toast prod images. Adrianna Bertola and Matt Barkley. Credit Helen Maybanks & Soho Theatre. Back in the day, many toys were operated by a clockwork mechanism, You would wind the key, feeling the spring inside tighten up until it would go no more, then push a button, the spring was released and the toy would charge off doing whatever it was supposed to do. I mention this because the idea of winding a mechanism until it goes off is at the heart of Mary Laws’ play Blueberry Toast which is receiving its European premiere at the Soho Theatre. On a normal Sunday morning, poetry teacher Walt (Gareth David-Lloyd) is marking texts in the kitchen of his lovely suburban home. His doting wife Barb (Gala Gordon) has asked him what he would like for breakfast and, having got his order, has started to make him blueberry toast. Whilst breakfast is beig prepared, the couple’s children, the whimsically named Jack (Matt Barkley) and Jill (Adrianna Bertola), are working on a four-act play t…

Review of Into The Woods at The Cockpit

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Into the Woods (photo by David Ovenden) I have a tendency to overanalyse things. This can be a huge mistake, particularly in regards to fairy stories. Why? You may ask. Well, most fairy stories are actually quite nasty. Death, destruction and humiliation are often at their heart, The saving grace is that they always finish with a happy ending, or do they? Well, pop along to the Cockpit Theatre for an evening of Sondheim with Into The Woods. The musical starts with an introduction from the Narrator (Jordan Michael Todd) who introduces the audience to the various protagonists in the story. First, we have a wistful Cinderella (Abigail Carter-Simpson), unhappy since the death of her mother (Christina Thornton ). Her father has remarried and brought his new wife (Mary Lincoln) and her two daughters Florinda (Macey Cherrett) and Lucinda (Francesca Pim) into her life. Next is Jack (Jamie O’Donnell) and his young mother (Madeleine MacMahon), living on the breadline with a cow that doesn’t giv…