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Showing posts from May, 2017

Batter up: Jam @Finborough

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No doubt there are days when teachers just wish they had a baseball bat to put a little bit of distance between themselves and their students.

In Jam by Matt Parvin, teacher Bella Soroush is lucky enough to do just that. It's currently playing at the Finborough Theatre.

The premise in this two-hander is that ex-pupil Kane ruined Bella Soroush's life. Something happened and so she moved schools, moved towns and got on with her life. But now Kane has tracked her down and claims they have unfinished business.

Flipping memories: Catch Me @FlipFabriQue @UnderbellyFest

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It's the start of summer. The weather's hot and the Underbelly Festival at the South Bank Centre is opening with its usual eclectic mix of circus acts, comedy and cabaret. And Flip FabriQue's Catch Me fits this bill well.

There is beauty and fluidity in the performances. The premise is that ten years later a bunch of friends reunite for another weekend at a cottage together. They play. They have fun. And they do strange and unusual things with straps, trampolines and diablos.

The not-so merry widow: Ballroom @Waterlooeast

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There's a terrific band and a real nice crowd... So one of the opening songs goes. Not all the magic is here in this lost musical of loneliness and rediscovering life. But as a vehicle for a star performance by Jessica Martin, it's great.

Martin plays lonely widow Bea who runs off to a ballroom and finds herself living life again. She's vulnerable, she's stunning and she has a great singing voice. It's currently playing at Waterloo East Theatre.

Talks preview: Preservation during conflict @WorldMonuments

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As part of a series of talks about heritage in conflict zones, on Tuesday 16 May at the Royal Geographic Society World Monuments Fund Britain presents Zaki Aslan, Director of ICCROM-ATHAR - an international body that works to conserve cultural heritage in the Middle East. Zaki Aslan will provide significant insight into the state of heritage in the region and discuss how the world’s nations could help more with conservation. The evening will be introduced by Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage at DCMS.

This event follows the 2015 inaugural talk World Monument Fund talk in which Professor Maamoun Abdulkarim, the Director-General of Syrian Antiquities, visited the UK for the first time. With the recent news that Palmyra in Syria has just been freed from ISIS for a second time, Maamoun Abdulkarim will join the lecture by video to give us the very latest position on his country’s besieged cultural heritage.

Conflict continues to dominate the Middle East and we regular…

Beautiful at the ballet: No Place For A Woman @Theatre503

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No Place For a Woman combines music, movemement and storytelling to present a haunting tale on human emotions and the desire to survive. And that despite it all, everything really is beautiful at the ballet. It's currently at Theatre 503.

Written by Cordelia O'Neil, this two-hander brings out the fine detail of two women's lives that are intertwined during conflict. It is set in Poland at the end of the Second World War, but there is something universal about the themes that make you feel as if it could be any time or place during conflict.

The premise is that as allied forces are interviewing the two women a story emerges. The wife of a prison camp commandant was throwing a party and she asks her husband to get champagne. But instead he brings home a ballet dancer from the camp. And they keep her.

Swinging and projecting: Soho @PeacockTheatre #sohotheshow

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A journey through London's soho with its street workers, artists, drag queens and everyday people is the theme of Soho. It is a  physical movement spectacular at the Peacock Theatre for a brief run.

Acrobats, dance and projections combine with a throbbing soundtrack to make for a breathtaking evening.

At times there is so much going on that it's hard to know where to look. But it's a slick piece of circus artisty and projections

The bizarre and the demented: Out There On Fried Meat Ridge Road @Trafstudios

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Out There On Fried Meat Ridge Road is a great title for a play. And it's a laugh out loud hour or so of bizarre antics. After a run in January at the White Bear Theatre it's at Trafalgar Studios. They've transformed the space into a dump of a motel and it's a fabulous experience. There are stains on the walls, mismatched furniture and endless country music.

It's difficult to describe the plot without giving away some of the surprises. It opens with JD (Keith Stevenson). He's a friendly kind of hillbilly living in this grimy place. Mitch (Robert Moloney) arrives answering an ad JD's placed in the paper looking for a roommate. Mitch has lost his job, his girlfriend and his apartment and so is desperate. But he's surprised to find JD living in motel. And then arrive the neighbours. There's the cranky old Flip (Michael Wade), the owner of the motel. Then there's meth-head Marlene (Melanie Gray) and her hot-headed boyfriend Tommy (Alex Ferns).

Will…

Needs a little more mascara: Madame Rubinstein @Parktheatre

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Madame Rubinstein at Park Theatre should be a camp romp covering the rivalry between Helena Rubinstein, Elizabeth Arden and Revlon. But instead it is a dragged out affair that has few laughs and some  unintended ones.

The jokes are so stale you could think that John Misto wrote it in the 1950s rather than the present day.

Miriam Margolyes as Rubinstein looks the part and has fun with the role. But in the end she can't do much with a lumbering script and odd looking production. Frances Barber as Arden is terrific as her foil, but she doesn't get much to do other than look fabulous in fur.

Sisters doing it to themselves: Everything Between Us @Finborough

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If a playwright ever wants to get the undivided attention of the audience, opening with: "Fuck you, you fucking bitch, I'll tear your fucking eyeballs out ya cunt!" sure does the trick.

And so begins an explosive 70 minutes of Everything Between Us by David Ireland. It's having it's English premiere playing in repertoire with Late Company at the Finborough Theatre.

It's about the conflict in post conflict Northern Ireland and the conflict between two sisters. Both unionists and both divided. But its power lies in how it can be funny and provocative at taking aim at Northern Ireland conflict and the people caught in it.

Trauma and light: The Braille Legacy @CharingCrossThr

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I suspect the inspiration for the musical the Braille Legacy currently playing at Charing Cross Theatre is to explore a young man's determination to read and learn.

But instead we get a lot of political intrigue and some unintentionally hilarious musical moments as children disappear after medical experiments go wrong. All set to music.

This is a new musical by Sébastien Lancrenon and Jean-Baptiste Saudray and translated by Ranjit Bolt. It's lush and listenable, but curiously lacking in any emotion or point.