Monday, November 30, 2015

National obsessions: Bend It Like Beckham The Musical

At a time when you could be forgiven that (apart from football), immigration is all that the nation is obsessing about, Bend It Like Beckham the musical is an infectious celebration of different cultures living together in London without much fuss in beautiful downtown Hounslow.

What is memorable about the piece is the strong story about two women who have a passion for football. One just happens to be in a traditional Indian family and torn between her family's traditions and her passions.

Art Previews: Hugh Beattie's London Ancient and Modern @jhlbeattie @lagalleria

Opening this week at the Royal Opera Arcade off Pall mall is Hugh Beattie's exhibition called London: Ancient and Modern.

The exhibition brings together 30 new paintings by artist Hugh Beattie depicting views of London’s skyline which we do not normally see.  The works contrast the heritage of London and the new architecture of glass.

Over 70% of the City of London’s buildings have been erected since the millennium. In Beattie’s canvases, Early Medieval buildings share the cityscape with towering Modernist flats.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Previews and long runs: #f_ckingmen #boysareback @kingsheadthtr

It's once, twice, three times the er charm(?) at the Kings Head Theatre this Christmas when the ever popular play F*cking Men. The play already has been extended since starting last summer and enters its third month.

This time there the production will be streamlined with three actors playing all ten roles... While that sounds exhausting there potentially is a touring future for the show.

Check out details at the theatre's website. The play that dare not print its entire name runs through to 9 January.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Made up voices: Me and Mr C @Ovalhouse

After watching Gary Kitching’s improvised performance at Oval House Theatre, Me and Mr C, you realise that you probably had the most fun you could invent for an evening.

On our night, audience members were chanting “Pigfucker! Pigfucker! Pigfucker!” as part of a lesson in organised heckling, while the remainder of us were rolling around in hysterics at the premise.

Kitching has come up with an act that derives its humour from getting the audience to do stuff. Lots of stuff. And amazingly everyone does what they are told.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The smell of the motorcycles, the gasps from the crowd: La Soiree @Southbankcentre @theatreblogs

In it’s eleventh year of touring and sixth year in London, La Soiree still manages to thrill and excite like it has just burst onto the scene. It’s mix of old favourites and new acts still makes it the show to see over the next few months.

Constantly changing, La Soiree keeps you second guessing what will come next. Whether it is Freddy Mercury obsessive in very tight jeans crowd surfing or a gorgeous acrobat dangling from the top smoking a cigar, this is a show that is determined to make sure you have a good time.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

It's coming on Christmas previews: Theatrefullstop Presents... The Christmas Wishlist...

Baubles up in shops, tinsel on sale in the supermarkets and dirty old men looking at little girls through telescopes, are tell tale signs it is coming on Christmas.

Theatrefullstop have decided there’s no better way to celebrate than to head down to The Yard Sunday 13 December and treat yourself to a host of theatrical... Treats.

Theatrefullstop Presents... The Christmas Wishlist sees eight acts perform a variety of circus, physical theatre, comedy and monologues.

This year's acts include: spoken word artist and writer Ese Ighorae who will present an excerpt from her latest play Olu; Lulu, a circus sex tragedy told with knives; and emerging burlesque talent Cici Noir.

Further information about all other unique and diverse artists appearing throughout this exciting evening can be found on their site...

Monday, November 09, 2015

Fags and flares: Anita and Me @stratfordeast

Anita and Me, currently playing at Theatre Royal Stratford East covers Meera Syal's life growing up in 1970s West Midlands. It was an era of chain smoking, flares and glam rock. But something feels lost in the translation from book to stage production. It feels like it is a series of random encounters with northern stereotypes.

Not much happens in this slice of life comedy-drama and the accompanying music often serves to distract from the story making the show less involving than it should be.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Passing through: Rotterdam @Rotterdamplay @Theatre503

Rotterdam is a unique and hilarious story about gender, sexuality and life abroad by playwright Jon Brittain. It is made even more memorable by the strong and tender performances by the leads.

It’s having its world premiere at Theatre503, which is continuing to nurture original new writing in London. It has to be the first “gay play” or perhaps the first "lesbian transgender comedy" in a long time to explore something that feels like real characters.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Where nobody's dared to go: Xanadu @swkplay

Xanadu, currently playing at the Southwark Playhouse takes the format of musical based on a movie and sends it up mercilessly, but the high energy levels and sheer enthusiasm from this cast make it more than just a cheap show.

Usually musicals based on a movie (or a jukebox) have source material that was loved or respected. Xanadu did not have that. It seemed to be a showcase Olivia Newton-John's limited acting (and dancing) abilities. The occasional cheap effect could not conceal that looked as if it was staged in a supermarket. And shot mostly at eye level meant that none of the dance sequences could really be seen anyway.

Over the years it developed a cult following among those who appreciated it for being "so bad it is actually good”. It was also Gene Kelly’s final film so how bad could it really be?

Monday, November 02, 2015

Heads up: previewing La Soireé @lasoireelive

Returning for a sixth season in London, the little show with a big heart La Soirée is back at the Spiegeltent at the Southbank Centre.

The show is currently in previews and I recently caught up with some of the performers during a lunchtime break.