Showing posts from March, 2017

5 Star Review of Adam & Eve… and Steve at the King’s Head Theatre

Steve (Dale Adams) Eve (Hayley Hampson) Adam (Joseph Robinson) Ask any devout Christian why they are against homosexuality and their first reaction is to reach for the trusty bible and open it to either Leviticus 18 or Genesis 1. Now Leviticus is easy to discredit – just look at the list of things that are banned in that chapter and you see why – but Genesis is a little more difficult, after all, everyone knows it takes a man and a woman to produce offspring and populating the world would have been difficult without a lot of babies being born. However, supposing there had been some judicious editing done to Genesis before publication and instead of God creating just Adam and Eve, he actually created Adam & Eve… And Steve? Well, wonder no more and just pop along to the King’s Head Theatre where a new musical of that name has just arrived to set the record ‘straight’. All is going exceedingly…

The Chemsex Monologues at The King’s Head Theatre – 5 Star Review


The Chemsex Monologues at the King’s Head Theatre. Photo by Mark Douet Some of you may have heard of an app called Grindr. It is a social app for gay men that enables them to chat and arrange to meet up. Okay, it may be a bit more than that but once again I must remember my mother reads these things. Anyway, if I was to download it and switch it on now, two things would become apparent very quickly. The first is that a lot of people take really bad photographs which seem to cut off their heads and the second is that the world is divided into those that say ‘chems OK’ and those that say ‘No Chems’. Being firmly on the ‘No Chems’ side, it is interesting to delve, if only briefly, on the other. Such an opportunity is available as Patrick Cash’s play The Chemsex Monologues makes a welcome return to the King’s Head Theatre in Islington. As the title suggests, The Chemsex Monologues are a series …

Run by Stephen Laughton at The Bunker – 5 Star Review


RUN AFPhotography Human beings are fragile things. For example, a trip when getting in or out of a taxi cab can break a small bone and render a person immobile for six weeks. We faint if it gets too hot and cease operating completely if it gets too cold. If human bodies are bad then our feelings and personalities are even more fragile. Sometimes all it takes is a word or sentence out of place to ruin a friendship, destroy a relationship or even change a life completely. At the same time as being so fragile, people can be amazingly strong. Both physically and mentally they are able to withstand things that would floor a lesser individual. A fine example of this dichotomy in the human race can be found in Stephen Laughton’s Run which, after a sell-out run at the Vault Festival last year has now transferred to the Bunker Theatre. Yonni (Tom Ross-Williams) is a seventeen-year-old London boy who appears to co…

The Principle of Uncertainty at Draper Hall – 4 Star Review


Sometimes a show is so surprising that it takes a while to fully analyse what you have witnessed. This could be for a variety of reasons but ultimately, after a good night’s sleep, you can put all the ducks in a row and be at ease with the play. So, having got that out of the way, let’s take a look at The Principle of Uncertainty which I recently saw at the Draper Hall, Elephant & Castle’s newest theatrical venue. As the doors opened, we were told that the lecture was about to start – a comment that raised a few eyebrows amongst the audience members – and that we were free to have a look around before taking our seats. This was worth doing as there were biographies of famous scientists on display, and personally, I would have welcomed a little bit longer to read them. However, in the lecture theatre type space, was Laura Bailey (Abi McLoughlin) who was occupying the time by coin tossing. As …

The Frogs at Jermyn Street Theatre – Review


There aren’t many musicals that have taken over two thousand years to write and can boast the creative talents of Aristophanes, Stephen Sondheim, Burt Shevelove and Nathan Lane, but The Frogs which is having a run at the Jermyn Street Theatre is just such a show. The time is the present, the place is Ancient Greece and Dionysos (Michael Matus) is in despair about the state of the world. Being the God of Theatre he thinks the best idea is for him and his slave Xanthias (George Rae) to head to Hades and bring George Bernard Shaw (Martin Dickenson) back to the earth to write a play that will speak to the people of the earth and help society with their problems. Whilst reluctant – he really doesn’t like travelling – Xanthias goes with his master, well he is a slave so his options are limited. On the way, the two travellers pop in to get some advice from Dionysos’ half brother, Herakles (Chris McGuigan) on ho…

Spiral presented by Free Rayne Artists at the Bread and Roses Theatre


Omar Khan and Stephanie Pezolano in REFUGE – Photo credit: Olivia Rose New writing always excites me and one of my favourite theatrical nights is when I am invited to see some new work which is either complete or being tested out. So, you can imagine I was happy to head back to the Bread and Roses Theatre in Clapham to see the latest such night, Spiral presented by Free Rayne Artists. The evening started with Baby Girl Productions written by Colette Lewis and directed by Leanne Pettit. In a London office, a mother, Joe (Philippa Robson) is waiting nervously with her daughter Izzy (Stephanie Manton). They are there for Izzy’s audition in front of music svengali Nathan (Malcolm Jeffries) after Izzy was spotted in a talent competition in her home town of Hull. While Izzy is the talent – possibly as we never get to hear her sing – Nathan is more interested in her mother – a real Mamma Rose type if…

La Cage Aux Folles at New Wimbledon Theatre – 5 Star Review


La Cage Aux Folles – Pamela Raith Photography
Some shows really have more meaning than the writers intended for members of the audience who may have their own memories associated with them. For example, West Side Story was the first show I ever saw on the West End, The Car Man was my first introduction to dance as an entertainment form in its own right and there other examples. However for memory associations, little comes close to La Cage Aux Folles so you can imagine how happy I was to hear that a new production is currently doing a UK tour and I was lucky enough to catch up with the show as it touched down at the New Wimbledon Theatre. La Cage Aux Folles tells the story of Georges (Adrian Zmed) the owner and Master of Ceremonies of a drag nightclub in St Tropez. The star of the twice-nightly show is George’s partner Albin (John Partridge) who performs as Zaza, when Stage Manager Francis (Jo…

LMTO’s Honeymoon in Vegas the Musical in Concert – Review


Honeymoon In Vegas – Credit Nick Rutter
It’s not often that a musical theatre buff gets to see a show where the writer of the music and lyrics conducts not only a world class thirty piece orchestra but an internationally famous cast as well. However, it does happen and last night I was privileged to visit the London Palladium to see the London Musical Theatre Orchestra perform Honeymoon in Vegas under the baton of lyricist/composer Jason Robert Brown. Jack Singer (Arthur Darvill) has a problem. He wants to get married to his long-time girlfriend Betsy (Samantha Barks). Normally, this would not be an issue. A visit to the jewellers, then down on one knee and ring slipped on the finger – sorted. Unfortunately for Jack, he is hampered by his mother, Bea (Rosemary Ashe). On her deathbed, she made her son promise to never get married and every time he gets close to proposing, her ghostly form …

UK premiere of Southern Baptist Sissies by Del Shores – Review


Southern Baptist Sissies
Above the Stag is a theatre that specialises in putting on LGBT+ shows. I’ve been there a couple of times previously and seen some very well produced and very funny plays about gay life. So, I was really looking forward to another visit last night to see their latest show, the European premiere of Southern Baptist Sissies by Del Shores. This is the story of four people emerging from childhood and becoming adults. These boys are all from the great state of Texas – the ‘buckle’ in the bible belt – and all are regular attendees at their small town Baptist church presided over by a real old fashioned ‘wrath of God’ style preacher (Stephen Parker). The four boys are all really good friends who each bring something different to the group. So, there is preacher’s son Mark (Jason Kirk) the thinker, TJ (Daniel Klemens) the brawn, Andrew (Hugh O’Donnell) the introverted and…

The Inevitable Disappearance of Edward J. Neverwhere


The Inevitable Disappearance of Edward J. Neverwhere is a new piece of work that is currently at BasicSpace in Peckham. Before we start, there is one thing that needs to be made clear. We are not looking at your average tale with Edward J. Neverwhere here. Edward (William Sebag-Montefiore) is not real, he is the paper creation of a young boy who needs a friend of his own to help him cope with the awful home life he has. The boy shares everything he can with Edward, including his most prized possession and for his part, Edward promises to always be with his young friend. However, things change and as the boy changes, so does Edward, who finds that the only certainty in life is that one day it will end. Paper dominates this performance of The Inevitable Disappearance of Edward J. Neverwhere and on entering the performance space the audience is free to wander around and read the hundreds of let…

One Was Nude and One Wore Tails at the Hen and Chickens Theatre


ONE WAS NUDE and ONE WORE TAILS Ever hear the expression, “Too clever for his/her/their own good”? Usually applied to people, it’s not necessarily seen as a compliment. Having now seen One Was Nude and One Wore Tails at the Hen and Chickens Theatre, I’m now going to say this about playwright Dario Fo. The play itself seems to be split into three distinct parts. The first is an introductory song by a group of road sweepers who sing of their lives and their jobs. Part 2, if you will, is a philosophical discussion between two of the road sweepers (Nicholas Bright and Brian Eastty). The road sweepers are not named but let’s just say Road Sweeper 1 is a little intellectually and linguistically challenged when compared to Road Sweeper 2. No 2, has an interesting take on life and particularly the importance of being unimportant so comes up with philosophical gems such as “You don’t see …

Wisdom of a Fool at Lost Theatre London – Review


Wisdom of a Fool (c) Jack Lane In order to put on a really successful one-person show, there are two main elements that have to be in place. The first is an engaging story that will capture the attention, and secondly a performer that can instantly connect with the audience and have them on his or her side throughout. A brilliant practitioner of the one man show principles described above is writer/actor Jack Lane who has brought his show Wisdom of a Fool to the Lost Theatre. Wisdom of a Fool is a lovely walk through the life of one of the funniest entertainers ever to have graced the stage – Sir Norman Wisdom. Jack plays Norman and plays the part to perfection. From the moment he walks onstage, Jack brings every mannerism and quirky gesture so beloved of the great man to life. In addition, though, Jack also plays thirty other characters that Norman encounters through his life. Included in this list …

4 Star Review of Handbagged at The Brockley Jack Theatre


Ever wanted to be The Queen? not a Queen but The Queen? It can’t be a bad life really. You get to travel around for free, everyone does whatever you tell them and it’s a job for life. Of course, there are snakes as well as ladders in the monarchy game. As Queen you have no actual power, can’t vote and every Tuesday you have to spend some time with the current Prime Minister – someone you may not personally like or respect – and listen to them whitter on about how great things are. In the UK, for an eleven year period, the roles of Monarch and Prime Minister were both held by women. Nobody knows what passed between them at their weekly meetings, but playwright Moira Buffini has come up with some ideas and her award-winning play Handbagged, currently running at the Jack Studio Theatre, is the fruition of her thoughts.

Unusually for a play about the monarch and her PM, Handbagged makes use of …