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Showing posts from May, 2015

Previews: The Dreamers @St_JamesTheatre

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The St James Theatre is giving a new piece of musical theatre its London debut from 30 June. Commemorating 100 years since the Battle of Gallipoli, Runner Bean Productions is presenting The Dreamers.

With original words and music by James Beeny and Gina Georgio, this new musical tells the true story of war hero Captain David ‘Reggie’ Salomons who led his regiment Third Field Company to
Gallipoli in 1915.

Set during 1914-15, The Dreamers is based on the true story of Captain Reggie Salomons and tells the story of the outbreak of the First World War through the eyes of the soldiers and the families that they left behind.

There’s something about Tracy: High Society @oldvictheatre

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An ingenious staging in the round and some rousing numbers (in the second half) may still have you wondering about the point of this revival of High Society at the Old Vic Theatre, a show that was probably best left on film rather than attempting to transfer it to a staged musical.

The production is quite marvellous to look at. Things just pop up from the floor - stages, tables with umbrellas, second pianos. There is even some on-stage cooking of breakfast and as someone who loves the smell of eggs and bacon cooking in the morning (although it could have been pancakes - I wasn’t sitting close enough), it was pure bliss.

But by casting actors who are not the best singers, the shine seems to be missing in this frothy, superfluous musical, giving it a grittier feel that does not quite sit with it’s farcical and escapist plot.

Out of the focus group: The Candidate @theatredeli @labcollective

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It's well known that key messages espoused by politicians these days are the product of carefully considered focus groups and research. But here in the Candidate, it takes this a step further, suggesting that everything is up for grabs in shaping a new leader, presently bereft of any thought. It proves for an amusing and topical diversion.

Arriving at the rather dreary looking 119 Farringdon Road, the former offices of The Guardian, and home to Theatre Delicatessen, you are ushered into a room and told that you would be taking part in what is described as a unique polling session.

The Candidate, Omar Ibrahim, is seeking views (in this case the unsuspecting audience members) to help shape his ideals, policy and image. He can be whatever you want or need him to be, adjusted to suit the tastes of the theatregoers.

When women war: The Lonely Soldier Monologues @cockpittheatre @LSpace10

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The Lonely Soldier Monologues, currently playing at the Cockpit Theatre, by Helen Benedict takes the stories of seven women who served in the US Armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. What emerges from this verbatim play is the subtle and none-too subtle methods of discrimination and sexual harassment that they suffer serving in the armed forces.

The piece is not anti-war or anti-military; for many of these women the serving in the Armed services was a way to show patriotic duty after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, or just a way off welfare. But it highlights many of the excesses known from the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, in war so poorly planned and organised that soldiers had to make do without body armour but could still eat lobster.

Oh what a lovely war on terror: Product @arcolatheatre

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One of the lasting memories about watching the 9/11 terrorist attacks unfold live on television was wondering what would happen next. There was the first tower, then the second, then the Pentagon, and then somewhere in middle America. A few weeks later there would be the anthrax scare, the need to be alert but not alarmed, and to buy up duct tape.

In the immediate post 9/11 period there was so much paranoia about how clever and evil the perpetrators of this terrorist attack were, that anything next was possible.

Product, currently playing at the Arcola Theatre, is Mark Ravenhill's monologue about the pitching of a dubious script. It brings back the memories of the worst of this post 9/11 paranoia.

Sultry and sweaty: In The Dead of Night @LandorTheatre

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A sexy cast, terrific dancing and high drama make In The Dead of Night a fun, fascinating and classy take on the film noir thrillers of old Hollywood. The dialogue is clipped, the dancing is tight and the bodies are hot. So hot you can smell the sweat coming off them. Or it might be baby oil looking like sweat... The Landor Theatre is a pretty intimate space so sometimes nothing is left to the imagination.

In the Dead of Night is set in a dodgy South American shanty town at the end of the war, and  everyone is on the take. The men work on the docks. The women sell their bodies. And if the men are up for it they sell their bodies too.

Death becomes him: Everyman @NationalTheatre

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Judgement day and getting taken to the cleaners takes on a new meaning in this spectacular new take on the classic fifteenth century morality play Everyman at the National Theatre with Chiwetel Ejiofor.

It feels like every theatrical trick is deployed during the roughly ninety minutes it takes for one man to account for his life. There  is a giant video screen, dazzling lights, a urinating penis prop. It’s all terrific stuff and an awe inspiring updating of the tale to modern and secular London.