Posts

Showing posts from March, 2015

Let the river run: Hiraeth @sohotheatre

Image
Some people are rocks. Some people are rivers. Some people can be rocks in rivers. Some people can be rocks just nearby the river. And so on and so on and so on.

These important observations are about as deep as things get in Hiraeth. The word is Welsh for longing. But notwithstanding the flimsy premise the piece is a sweet-natured, whimsical account of  one woman’s journey from a small Welsh farming town to London.

Hammams of convenience: Mozart's Die Entführung @PopupOperaUK

Image
There is something appealingly convenient about the format of Pop Up Opera’s productions. They take witty (and often seldom performed) pieces and stage them in unusual locations, with a modern twist. The convenient part comes in the fact these locations are either close to your place of work, your home et cetera. So by the time Die Entführung came to south east London, I was ready to go.

Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio) is about a hero, Belmonte and his servant, Pedrillo, and their attempts to rescue their lovers, Konstanze and Blonde from an Ottoman harem. Given the popup opera treatment, the harem is now a big brother-like bath house come beauty boot camp where no men are allowed. And no women are allowed to leave (at least until the treatments are complete).



In this production most of the spoken dialogue is removed and in place are some rather witty title cards. The role of the figurehead-dictator Pasha Selim is now an omnipresent big-brothe…

On target: Shrapnel 34 Fragments of a Massacre @arcolatheatre

Image
Shrapnel: 34 Fragments of a Massacre by Anders Lustgarten is an angry and sweeping account of the Roboski airstrike that took place in December 2011 near the border of Iraq. Politicians, the military, modernity and the industrial complex are all called into account here.

The startling thing about this piece however is how it shows it is so easy to forget the incident as just another case of collateral damage in a land far away. The relentless coverage of war and conflict framed through two minute television news stories simplifies everything and desensitises you. It also removes any chance to understand the context and history. This piece tries to slap you about and wake you out of such complacency.

A whole lot of soul: Cynthia Erivo in concert

Image
Last Monday night was an opportunity for Cythia Erivo to strut her stuff in her first solo concert. Whether it is a quiet softly sung ballad or belting out a showstopper there does not seem to be anything she cannot do.

She has been a rising star in the West End with stand out performances in The Color Purple, Dessa Rose and Sister Act, but here she was able to showcase a range of musical styles, and her phenomenal vocal range.

Tight spots: Lardo @ORLTheatre

Image
It is not often you get to go to the theatre and get an eyeful of spit, blood and tight-fitting Lycra. But this is the case in Lardo, now playing at The Old Red Lion theatre. It’s a descent into the subculture of Scottish wrestling, its characters and violence.
It is also an immersive experience. Entering the Old Red Lion theatre is like entering into the world of insane wrestling. The performance space is a wrestling ring, the Scottish flag and walls smeared with muck and graffiti.  
There are real stunts and some pretty nifty moves. Audience participation is a given. You will find yourself shouting and booing (whether you really wanted to or not). And even when the play feels like it is losing momentum there is always the next wrestling match that will save it. 

Music for desperate nights: Desperate Divas @St_JamesTheatre

Image
It was only for one night, but hopefully it won’t be too long before we see the Desperate Divas return (if they can find the time between their busy schedules).

Tiffany Graves and Anita Louise Combe presented their show last Sunday about love and the fruitless pursuit of it. It was inspired by their real-life adventures dating men (and sometimes the same men). Both are exceptional singers with long careers on the West End. Their voices and be powerful yet nuanced - and when singing together they produced some sublime harmonies in this show.

Fire down below: Hellscreen @VaultFestival @Firehousetweet

Image
Hellscreen updates Japanese writer Ryūnosuke Akutagawa’s tale of  creating artistic hell on earth to the London art scene. It is a high concept treatment with film, music and other tricks creating a few chills in the damp and murky space under Waterloo station. However there are so many different theatrical styles and tricks at work here, at times it feels like they get in the way of telling the story rather than making for a truly gripping piece of theatre.