Showing posts from November, 2016

5 Star Review of Scrooge and the Seven Dwarves at Theatre 503


Sleeping Trees, Scrooge and the Seven Dwarves – courtesy of David Monteith-Hodge It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to know that I used to enjoy the series ‘Glee’. Part of the reason for this was the way they used to do ‘mash-ups’ where they took two completely different songs and interweaved them together to form one complete tune – for example, ‘Don’t Stand So Close to me’ and ‘Young Girl’. I mention this because, for the second year running, Sleeping Trees Theatre Company have done a similar thing and put two Christmas stories together to present their rendition of Scrooge and the Seven Dwarves, which they are presenting at Theatre 503. This is not your average fringe Christmas show and the show starts with the Sleeping Trees – Joshua George Smith, John Woodburn and James Dunnell-Smith – telling the audience about the scale of the production we are about to see. With its cast o…

3 Star Review for Swan Lake/Loch na hEala by Michael Keegan-Dolan


Swan Lake by Michael Keegan-Dolan. Photo by Colm Hogan Sometimes a review is the easiest thing in the world to write. Everything works with a show and the words flow so fast I can’t type them fast enough. At other times, it is the opposite. For whatever reason, or reasons, the words don’t run smoothly. Michael Keegan-Dolan’s Swan Lake/Loch na hEala at Sadler’s Wells is an example of the latter type. Loosely based on the traditional tale, this version has been transferred to contemporary times and moved to a small town in Ireland. Loosely based on the traditional tale, this version has been transferred to contemporary times and moved to a small town in Ireland. The princess is a thirty-six-year-old man (Alexander Leonhartsberger), with mental illness, living with his mother (Elizabeth Cameron Dalman) in a run-down house in rural Ireland. Unusually for what is ostensibly a dance piece, the show al…

3 Star Review for The Tempest: The Print Room at The Coronet


Hugh John and Paul Hamilton – Photo by Marc Brenner William Shakespeare has probably given the English language more new words – according to Shakespeare online he invented over 1700 words – and individual quotes than any other playwright. In fact, I think barely a day goes by when someone in my vicinity inadvertently quotes Shakespeare’s works. I’m not sure which of the Bard’s works have produced the most oft-used quotes but if I was to take a guess, I would suggest it is The Tempest – a new version of which I saw recently at the Print Room at The Coronet in Notting Hill. The story of The Tempest is fairly well known. A ship carrying Alfonso, the King of Naples (Paul Hamilton), his son and heir Ferdinand (Hugh John), the king’s brother Sebastian, Antonio, the Duke of Milan (Callum Dixon) and Gonzalo (Steven Beard) a kindly elderly courtier, flounders in a horrific storm and they are washed up…

5 Star Review of Testosterone at New Diorama Theatre


Testosterone by Rhum and Clay Theatre Company – Photo Credit: Richard Davenport for The Other Richard Just over 53 years ago, I arrived into the world and the doctor that was lucky enough to deliver me said four words that have shaped my entire existence ever since “Congratulations, it’s a boy”. As I’ve gone through life, changing from a boy to a man, I, like so many before me, have never actually stopped to think what that means. After all, we just accept that we are men, don’t we? But does anyone actually know what that means? What is a man, and how is a person a man? We don’t question we just accept. However, for some people, this is not as easy as it seems. A point that is expanded upon in Rhum and Clay’s production, Testosterone, currently running at London’s New Diorama Theatre. Using his own real life experiences, trans-man Kit Redstone, along with other cast members Daniel Jacob, Julian Spooner…

4 Star Review of Beefcake at London New Cross Theatre


Masculinity is an odd concept. After all, if someone is described as masculine that is a compliment isn’t it? Well, as with so many things in life, it’s all about the context. For some, masculinity is a badge of honour, for some it’s a stereotype and for others, it’s an extremely negative view of a certain type of man. To get an example of two of these types pop along to The London Theatre, New Cross to see Beefcake. The show itself consists of two highly individual monologues that look at masculinity from very different viewpoints. The first is The Cake, written and performed by Luke Rollason, a Bouffon Clown and the proverbial ‘nice guy’ who just wanted to meet and date a woman. To this end, he has been listening to self-help CDs which guarantee a man that women will fall for them if they obey the rules set by the seller of the help. In his desperation, the character even turns to Dapper Laughs – som…

3 Star Review of Princess The Good Girl’s Gone Bad at the Lost Theatre


Without straying too far into gender stereotyping, lots of young girls (and one or two boys as well) dream of one day being a Disney-style princess. Of course, that’s not a realistic career goal and most people do grow out of it. However, Disney princesses have also grown up and are no longer the weak young innocents hoping a handsome prince on a white charger will pop up and save them from whatever vile thing is trying to hurt them. Today’s princess is more likely to be some Xena type ready to defend herself against all comers. All this talk is merely a way to tell you that I recently saw Stuart Saint’s new production Princess – The Good Girl’s Gone Bad at the Lost Theatre. Using a combination of dance, music, video and mime, Stuart’s piece tells the story of a girl (Jennie Dickie) who wants to be a fairytale princess and then one day is taken by her trusted rabbit (Morgan Scott) into a tw…

5-star Half A Sixpence at the Noel Coward Theatre

Hand on heart now, how many of you reading this right now, play a Lottery game in some form or another? And how many of you players do so because of the money the various organisations distribute to good causes throughout the length and breadth of the UK? Let’s be honest, we play the lottery to win the money and change our lives. However, maybe we should be careful what we wish for, because when a life is changed by money then all of the values that were held dear are looked at from a different perspective. Not sure if I’m talking through my hat here? Well get yourself down to the Noël Coward Theatre and go and see Cameron Mackintosh’s latest smash hit transfer from the Chichester Festival – Half A Sixpence. Its 1904 and young Arthur Kipps (Charlie Stemp) and his best friend Ann Pornick (Devon-Elise Johnson) are playing. There is sadness in their games though as today, Arthur is…

5 Star Review of School of Rock The Musical


Take a 2003 musical comedy film, add the writing of Julian Fellowes, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater and a talented bunch of kids and what do you get? That’s right, you School of Rock The Musical, which has just opened at the New London Theatre.Opening with a performance from rock band ‘No Vacancy’ of their latest song the show introduces Dewey Finn (David Flynn) a man that has never grown up, nor given up the dream of being a rock star.
Unfortunately, he isn’t and his attempts to push himself to the front of the group leads to him being sacked. Returning home to the apartment he shares – well has a room he doesn’t pay for – with best friend, former rocker and now substitute teacher Ned Schneebly (Oliver Jackson), Dewey is confronted by Ned’s disapproving girlfriend Patty (Preeya Kalidas) who tells him to pay up or ship out. Later that day, Dewey takes a call from Ms Mullins (F…

5 Star Review of Tonight with Donny Stixx at The Bunker


One of the great tasks of a parent or guardian is to protect their offspring from harm and danger. However, is it possible to protect them from the realities of life? And what happens when they find out that everything they have believed about themselves is fundamentally wrong on every level? The consequences of this can be seen in Philip Ridley’s play Tonight with Donny Stixx at South East London’s newest theatrical venue, The Bunker. As the lights go down, a figure edges his way onto the stage. Compared to the size of the performance space, he seems very small and looks nervous. He tries to speak then chickens out, then tries again and eventually Donny Stixx (Sean Michael Verey) starts to talk. The format of Donny’s show is the standard ‘Tonight With’ variety, questions from the audience and anecdotes about his life and fame, some humour, some tears, and – like all celebrities doing this type of…

4 Star Review for Mule, a seriously great production from start to finish


According to the old song, “A mule is an animal with long, funny ears, He kicks up at anything he hears, His back is brawny and his brain is weak, He’s just plain stupid with a stubborn streak” However, there is a much nastier side to the word and demonstrated in Kat Woods harrowing one-act play Mule at the Omnibus in Clapham. Based on a true story, Mule starts with a series of projected text messages (good work by Video Designer Carrie Shearman) between two sisters from Ireland. One having recently lost her job is heading off to spend the summer in Ibiza, while the other stays home and relays messages. As time goes on, things seem to be going okay, and then suddenly the messages stop, the phone goes unanswered and voicemails aren’t replied to. The home-based sister is getting more worried and upset and eventually calls in the Police to find her sibling, which they do, sitting in a Per…

Trumpageddon by Simon Jay at the King’s Head Theatre


Once in the the theatre, we get to meet the shambolic figure of Donald J Trump Trumpageddon which I saw at the King’s Head Theatre on election night.
(Simon Jay) who has ‘flown in’ after voting to be with us this evening. Donald is an orange faced affable(ish) character who, very bravely, not just talks to the audience about how great he is but allows them to question him on his campaign, thoughts and potential actions as President of the United States.So, I’m sitting writing this review as Donald Trump is declared the winner in the US Presidential Election. If you are on Twitter then just take five minutes to search for #Trumpageddon and you will see a huge reaction to the victory. You will also see comments about Simon Jay’s one-man show  I am going to be really honest and say my feelings about Trumpageddon are really conflicted. Simon Jay has really captured the person of Donald Tru…