Posts

Featured Post

Keeping up appearances: The House of Bernarda Alba @SpanishTheatreC

Image
You’re never in doubt with this production of The House of Bernarda Alba that the heat and the attitudes are oppressive in this small Spanish town.

A thin veneer of respectability and status barely conceals the urges and desires lurking beneath. And women, as second class citizens have only gossip, traditions and the church to cling to.

This passionate, topical and emotional production is currently playing at the Cervantes Theatre near Southwark, in both English and Spanish.

Rubbing the wrong way: The Red Lion @Trafstudios

Image
Patrick Marber commented that his play The Red Lion dramatises something about England. One part is about community and belonging, and the other part is about business. But it also could be about not being terribly good at the sport, either in playing it or managing it unless you're importing it. It's currently playing downstairs at Trafalgar Studios.

It's a locker room comedy-drama set in a semi-professional football club in the north. Kidd (Stephen Tompkinson) as manager has spotted Jordan's (Dean Bone) potential and puts him on as a reserve. But his real plan is to transfer him to another team. With a transfer, he and the club stands to gain financially.

Victims of circumstance: Mother Courage And Her Children @swkplay

Image
War is hell. War is a bitch. But everyone has to scrape by and make a living. Tony Kushner's translation of Mother Courage And Her Children was given an epic staging at the National Theatre in 2009. Here in the more intimate surroundings of Southwark Playhouse, there's less spectacle. But it's still worth a look. Particularly if you're sitting on the right side of the traverse.

Brecht's piece should make you feel uncomfortable with sharp observations about capitalism, war and religion. This production just makes you feel uncomfortable. If you're sitting on the wrong side you will have to make do with either stretching your neck or imaging what's going on behind you.

Smirking out loud: The Diary of a Nobody @KingsHeadThtr

Image
The Diary of A Nobody returns to the Kings Head Theatre for a short run over the next few weeks. Rough Haired Pointer’s reimagining of the classic Victorian lower middle class tale was a hit a few years back. First at the White Bear Theatre and then at the Kings Head. But something seems amiss this time around. The comedy seems strained and the pacing a little slow. At best it elicits smirks out loud rather than belly laughs.I recalled it being it funnier and full of energy, allowing you to overlook some of the more curious interpretations of the source material. This includes the decision to have an all-male cast play a range of female roles.

Bad stuff happens: Insignificance @arcolatheatre

Image
Insignificance at the Arcola Theatre takes four famous people from the 1950s and puts them in a hotel room. Is it a nostalgia piece or is there a deeper meaning? Written by Terry Johnson, it’s having its first revival in over twenty years. In the second act, the senator (meant to be Joeseph McCarthy) talks about how heroes, geniuses and stars serve as a convenient distraction. It’s also tempting to see parallels with the present day. Thirty five years ago it was the Reagan era and the threat of nuclear war from a trigger-happy b-movie actor-president. In the intervening years there have been desert storms, coalitions of the willing (with or without poodles). In the future maybe there’ll be a battle between little rocket man and the oversized Oompa Loompa. Horrible stuff happens. And the heroes, geniuses and the celebrities exist just to make us feel there’s hope.

A broad range: Jinkx Monsoon Sings Everything @lsqtheatre

Image
Thanks to Ru Paul’s Drag Race being one of the shows available to stream for some time on Netflix, series five winner Jinkx Monsoon is a bit of a star over here. Now she’s here in London for a few days at the Leicester Square Theatre singing songs, improvising and doing stuff. For the few people that don’t have a Netflix subscription, Ru Paul’s Drag Race is a hilarious send up of the reality show format. But it’s also given rise to a new breed of drag super stars. They sing, they strut, they teach you how to throw shade. In this show, with her combination of improvised comedy and a relentless voice, Jinkx Monsoon gives you a night to remember.

Mother and son: The Busy World Is Hushed @Finborough

Image
Family and faith is at the forefront of The Busy World Is Hushed by Keith Bunin. The characters here have their faith tested, gained and lost over the course of the piece. It's having its European Premiere at the Finborough Theatre.There's Hanna (Kazia Pelka), a widowed minister and bible scholar. She's received a recently discovered gospel and engages the help of writer Brandt (Mateo Oxley), to help her turn her research into a publication.As they start work her only son Thomas (Michael James) returns home from a trip out in the wilderness. And Brandt and Thomas take an almost-instant liking to each other.But Brandt has just discovered his father has a brain tumour. And Thomas is still searching for reasons why his father died before he was born.