Monday, September 30, 2013

Just wait 'till you see the missus: Jekyll & Hyde at Southwark Playhouse

It is an evening of moody atmosphere and gender reversal in Jonathan Holloway's Jekyll & Hyde, which has been re-imagined in this production currently playing at Southwark Playhouse. The director, Jessica Edwards, notes in the programme that Jekyll & Hyde is a story that is so well known and mis-remembered, it gives the team a great deal of licence to unpick its ideas and mess around with it. They have indeed and it works quite well using a range of theatrical tricks, music and some good old fashioned shocks.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Stuff happens: Love n Stuff

A marriage and a lifetime of memories are the backdrop to a sweet, funny and often surprising comedy that is now playing at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. What is astonishing about this fast paced show is that even with over twenty characters are played by two people - Tony Jayawardena and Rina Fatania (pictured right) - you walk away from the show feeling as if you understand them all and want to see them again.

Bindi and Mansoor are a popular couple on their street in Stratford. But after 45 years of marriage Mansoor has decided to swap Stratford for Delhi, shocking his wife and their friends. While he is waiting for his flight to Delhi at Heathrow Airport, Bindi conspires with their friends to make him stay. It helps that the flight has been delayed for many hours and this is the setup for the piece.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Legal horse play: Same Deep Water As Me

Nick Payne's latest play at the Donmar, Same Deep Water As Me looks at the world of personal injury lawyers and the people who make false claims for accidents. It seems to be an attempt at farce but mostly comes off as a muddled soap opera that alternatively tries to be funny and make some serious points about sacrifices in the modern economy. None of it really works even though the cast are excellent and try their hardest to make sense of the material.

In the first half we are introduced to Andrew (Daniel Mays) and Barry (Nigel Lindsay). They are two struggling 'no win no fee' lawyers in Luton and business is a bit slow. Then Kevin (Marc Wooton), who is an old school friend of Andrew's, appears with a story about a crash with a Tesco delivery van. I could explain more but the problem with this piece is that by the time the set up is made the audience know what is going to happen. The comedy is mostly derived from attempts to make jokes from class differences and coarse language. But the best laughs come from the situations such as when Kevin's heavily pregnant wife has to take the stand at Luton County Court and promptly throws up.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Slappers and braggers: Fleabag at Soho Theatre

Phoebe Waller-Bridge's one woman show Fleabag is an entertaining smutty, funny and bittersweet tale. In Mydidae she was naked but here her character's soul is laid bare, as "Fleabag", a woman obsessed with sex. Everything leads to sex from a dripping stuffed crust pizza to a chance encounter with an ugly man on the tube. But amongst all the wild crazy hedonism emerges a real vulnerable person who is coming to the end of period of her life, even if she does not know it yet.

Sitting on a stool under a spotlight the piece opens with Fleabag taking an interview for an office job. It soon goes horribly wrong which then leads to her confessional-like monologue on her life. It is a life is full of asides about her ex-boyfriend, her family, casual sex and her friend, with who she ran a hamster-themed coffee shop with until her death.