Tuesday, October 29, 2013

No justice for minstrels but what a show: The Scottsboro Boys @youngvictheatre

A musicalisation of a forgotten case of injustice in America's south seems like it could be a heavy night at the theatre. But the Scottsboro Boys which is now playing at the Young Vic near Waterloo, manages to be brisk and entertaining, while making some sharp observations on injustice and romanticism of Americas south. With a great songs by Kander and Ebb and some thrilling choreography by Susan Stoman it should not be missed.

The story of the Scottsboro Boys revolves around nine teenage boys who were accused of rape in Alabama in 1931. They were found guilty and sentenced to death but with the support of  the American Communist Party a series of retrials ensued over the course of the following decade. The story is presented in the format of a minstrel show, where the cast are entirely black, with the exception of the interlocutor / master of ceremonies, played by Julian Glover. The interlocutor gives the show the device to pare this complicated story back to its bare bones and keep things moving at a pace that delivers the show in under two hours (and no interval).

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Weaving monologues: Crowning Glory

Crowning Glory which is now playing at the Theatre Royal Stratford East is a frank, sassy, funny and thought-provoking piece which apart from being about hair and makeup, is full of insightful observations about life - particularly the lives of black British women - and some raw emotions. The piece is told through the eyes of seven women and features a series of interwoven monologues, video projections and music asking about what is beauty, what makes people happy and in doing so also reveals their vulnerabilities and fears.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Between galleries: David Breuer-Weil's Heaven & Earth

David Breuer-Weil, who earlier this year was exhibiting in the vast cavernous spaces under Waterloo Station is back with a new show at two art galleries in central London called Heaven & Earth. The volume of his output and ideas at the moment shows with the range of new pieces presented.

The exhibition is intended to be shown in two separate spaces, and serves as a contrast the themes on display between the near (Earth) and the far (Heaven).  Across both you will see Breuer-Weil's usual themes of the environment, a sense of belonging and enlightenment throughout. Where the familiar becomes surreal and subjects are found in strange and interesting positions... Sometimes it is as if they are in orbit.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Spinning flipping and flexing: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers tour (or @7B47BUKTour)

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers stopped at the New Wimbledon Theatre this week. Its a fun, loud and incredibly energetic production with a terrific cast that will keep you entertained for its two hour run.

Based on a parody of the Roman legend The Rape of the Sabine Women, called The Sobbin' Women, it is set in Oregon in 1850. Adam (Sam Attwater), the eldest of seven brothers, goes to town to get a wife. He convinces Milly (Helena Blackman) to marry him that same day, as she has no family of her own. But on their return to his backwoods home she then discovers he has six other brothers, all living in his small cabin. Milly sets out to reform the uncouth siblings, who want to get wives of their own and she sees it as a way to get them out of her house. After some basic lessons the men head to town for a local dance and to meet some women. But find that all the ladies are spoken for. Returning back home and feeling down, Adam inspires his brothers after reading one of Milly's books about the Roman capture of the Sabine women, to kidnap the women they want.