Monday, February 01, 2016

Blowing off steam: One of Those @TristanBates


It all happens on the mid-morning train to Cornwall in One of Those, in this funny and fresh piece of new writing by Tom Ward-Thomas.

A train ride to Cornwall is full of connections, and not just of the rail kind.

The play's title comes from the false assumptions that people make at first meeting and how this influences how they behave.

Pillow talk: Jeepers Creepers @lsqtheatre


Life is a series of bedroom scenes in this tribute to comedian Marty Feldman, Jeepers Creepers. It's playing downstairs at the Leicester Square Theatre through to 20 February.

And while you learn a bit about the man from East London who found fame in Hollywood, you never really understand what made him so funny in the first place.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Let's talk about stuff: Clickbait @theatre503


Clickbait is a comic new play about society’s attitude to porn and the women who make it for themselves. But it is hard to know exactly what to make of it.

There is enough material for several plays here; attitudes to pornography, how to set up a sex empire, concepts of consensual sex. They are all explored, but all too briefly to make much sense.

The play follows Nicola (played by Georgia Groome) who, threatened with the release of an amateur sex video, makes a snap decision to post it online herself.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Lighter shades of grey: The Picture of Dorian Gray @Trafstudios


Something seems missing in this new adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, currently playing at Trafalgar Studios. Missing is any sense of excitement or thrills you would expect from Oscar Wilde's story about a beautiful man's hedonistic descent.

The story was a scandal when it was first published. This new adaptation by Merlin Holland (Wilde's grandson) and John O'Connor, restores some homoerotic passages from the original manuscript. But as fascinating as they are, the overall piece is a bit of a damp squib.

Dire sheep: Big Brother Blitzkrieg @KingsHeadThtr


It seems like a great concept: after many rejections from Vienna's art school and a botched suicide attempt, Hitler wakes up in the Big Brother House.

But what could pass for a five minute sketch is dragged out for an excruciating seventy minutes with few laughs.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The finer things in life: The Long Road South @KingsHeadThtr


The Long Road South at the Kings Head Theatre takes the period of the 1965 civil rights marches and distills it into a small character study. But the pleasure from this piece is in its humour and strong performances.

Not much is happening in the summer of 1965 in Indiana. It is hot and the house of the Price family needs looking after. And over the course of the next ninety minutes, it becomes clear that it is not just the hedges and the grass that need trimming.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Smoking previews: Aaron Kasmin, Lucky Strike @sims_reed


Opening Sims Reed Gallery’s 2016 programme is an exhibition of chalk pencil drawings by artist Aaron Yasmin.

Known for his abstract paintings and elegant colour pencil drawings, in Lucky Strike Yasmin takes inspiration from American cultural history to create a series of striking images.

Taking inspiration from Lion Match Company’s mid-twentieth century feature matchbooks, these drawings reflect the rise of America’s consumer culture and how small matchbooks were used as tools to influence purchasing habits.

The drawings evoke a glitzy bygone era... When smoking was so glamorous.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The sex is in the beat: Kinky boots @kinkybootsuk


I finally caught up with Kinky Boots, which is currently playing at the Adelphi theatre in London. The show is the Full Monty meets Priscilla Queen of the Desert. It's a show with terrific songs, great cast and fabulous outfits.

However the story is a bit predicable. It derives its formula plot from the film of the same name. But thankfully as an added addition are a collection of songs written by Cindy Lauper that range from folk, pop and disco. On top of this are some very impressive (albeit kinky) boots.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Bump in the night: Botallack O'Clock @ORLTheatre


Botallack O'Clock brings to life the creative struggles of Roger Hilton in a funny and dreamy production. Insomnia has never seemed so inspiring and lonely as the dead of night comes to life.

Towards the end of Hilton's life he turned to producing works using poster paint on paper. He worked mostly throughout the night on these works, along with writing letters to his wife and various other musings. This piece brings together these items to explore his struggles and his demons.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Cat people and corns: Grey Gardens @swkplay


Perhaps the central message in Grey Gardens is that no matter what you do, no matter how much you fight it, you will turn into your mother. Particularly since Jenna Russell (in a a star turn) plays both Little Edie and Big Edie in this show, based on the the Beales of Grey Gardens

It’s only early in the year, but this has to be one of the funniest things to happen on stage in London for 2016. It also serves as a wonderful vehicle showing just how darn funny Russell can be.

Grey Gardens is a musical based on the documentary of the same name. The documentary, released in 1975, caused a sensation with its frank depiction of two old cat women living in squalor with cats and raccoons. They also just happened to be related to Jacqueline Onassis.