Posts

Featured Post

Small yet perfectly formed: King Tut A Pyramid Panto @KingsHeadThtr

Image
Christmas is coming and so that means that pantomime season is in full swing. Charles Court Opera is back at the Kings Head Theatre with their off-kilter take on the panto genre with King Tut, A Pyramid Panto. Pared back so it’s called a “boutique panto” this one is small but perfectly formed with cheap laughs, a weird plot and some fine singing.Set in the Valley of the Kings, a small troupe of explorers are about to open up King Tut’s tomb only to find themselves whisked back in time to when King Tut ruled with his pal... Who just happens to be a talking Camel.

Delightful, delicious: The Box of Delights @Wiltonmusichall

Image
Wilton's Music Hall's production of The Box of Delights is a  delightful night of theatre that never ceases to amaze. A great ensemble and imaginative staging make this a must-see Christmas show.

They've employed every theatrical trick to tell this Christmas adventure. There's puppetry, projections and people popping out of wardrobes. Adapted by Piers Torday from the 1935 novel by John Masefield, the story seems reminiscent given it involves a  mysterious box, the three friends on an adventure and an orphan boy. But while you'll be recalling stories by Tolkien and JK Rowling, the ingenuity of this adaptation is how it grabs your attention and never lets up.

We're introduced to the hero Kay Harker (played by the heroic looking Alistair Toovey) as he's travelling home from school. He's visiting his guardian for Christmas. On the trip he meets a Punch and Judy man Cole (Matthew Kelly) and his dog Toby. He also has an encounter with a spooky looking couple …

Wicked men with beards: The Woman In White @charingcrossthr

Image
What makes The Woman In White interesting is the cast assembled for this tale about imprisonment, nasty men and poor artists. Even if this story makes no sense, it's a chance to be amazed by performers who hopefully will get to go onto bigger (and better) things.

It’s having its first revival at Charing Cross Theatre. Pared back from its original production which premiered in the West End over ten years ago, here there are less effects and a bigger focus on the story.

But the story doesn’t make much sense. Two young bored women Laura (Anna O'Byrne) and Marian (Carolyn Maitland) trapped in the country enlist the services of an artist, Walter (Ashley Stillburn), to help them draw. The artist sees a ghostly woman dressed in white on the way to their house. Walter falls in love with Laura. But Laura’s engaged to marry Sir Percival Glyde (Chris Peluso) as it was her father’s dying wish. Her father mustn't have liked Laura much as you just know by Sir Percival's facial hair…

Wishful thinking: The Passing of The Third Floor Back @Finborough

Image
In The Passing of The Third Floor Back, the arrival of a mystery man at a lodging turns a bunch of crooks, philanderers and pretenders that make up English society into human beings.  The action takes place over the festive season and it could be an alternative to Dickens's A Christmas Carol. Without the ghosts.

The piece is having its first revival in 70 years at the Finborough Theatre. I overheard someone leaving the theatre noting they found the first part more interesting than the rest. Afterall, this prologue is the bit that presents the characters with all their flaws. The dialogue is sharp and hilarious. And you could be forgiven for thinking not much has changed in London since Edwardian times.

But Jerome K Jerome, who spent some time living in down and out places depicted here, has other plans for his characters. The arrival of a mysterious new lodger (Alexander Knox) confronts the characters one by one. Each believes they have met him somewhere before and take his advic…

Lost in the city: Ordinary Days @OrdinaryDaysLDN @draytonarmsSW5

Image
Life goes on whether you like it or not in Ordinary Days. A great little musical currently running at the Drayton Arms Theatre.At first glance this story of two couples coming together could be confused for yet another quirky New York-y musical... Like the dreary I Love You, You’re Perfect Now Change or I Love You Because. But Adam Gwon’s songs explore loneliness and wasted time in a big city and give this piece a lot of heart. And perhaps a few tears.The premise if four people lost in New York and coming together. They find something about each other and themselves in the process. There’s Warren (Neil Cameron) the struggling artist and cat sitter. Deb (Nora Perone) the student with an implausible thesis. Jason (Taite-Elliot Drew) who’s moving in with his girlfriend. And Claire (Natalie Day) who’s making room for her boyfriend, but not much.Through a series of songs each character gets to tell their story. The songs, like their lives, are at first compartmentalised. But over the course…

Mixed race privilege: White @ovalhouse

Image
I always knew what I was. I was mixed race. I was... And so begins Koko Brown’s monologue White. It’s about being mixed race and being an outsider and growing up in modern Britain dealing with labels when sometimes none really fit.

It’s currently playing at the Ovalhouse Theatre as part of its Autumn Series of shows.

Koko Brown uses spoken word, live vocal looping and multimedia to create a powerful and compelling statement on how we view people.

Distant and remote: The Dark Room @theatre503

Image
Angela Betzien’s hard-hitting play The Dark Room at Theatre 503 explores the underbelly of neglect and violence in outback Australia. Or the Northern Territory to be precise. But this isn’t the Northern Territory famous for its obscure newspaper headlines. This is a much darker, isolated place where the people meant to protect vulnerable people mistreat them instead.

It’s billed as a disturbing psychological thriller but the resemblance to real events makes it feel more like a horror show. Betzien wrote the play after witnessing first-hand the shortage of accommodation for children in care in these communities. In the end you leave the theatre feeling shocked and numb from what you’ve seen.

Set in a run-down motel room, a series of characters come together to tell the story of stretched resources, limited patience and a tyranny of distance. Time moves forward and back as this bleak plywood motel room as each character recalls another.



It opens with youth worker Anni (Katy Brittain) b…