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Showing posts from October, 2018

Alone in this world: Jericho’s Rose @thehopetheatre

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A loss of identity and being between two worlds lies at the heart of Jericho’s Rose. It’s Lilac Yosiphon’s account of a theatre maker who is trying to stay in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile her grandfather is in Tel Aviv suffering from Alzheimer’s. It’s currently playing at The Hope Theatre.The last time I was at The Hope Theatre it was to catch the excellent Cockamamy, about an absent-minded Spam-hoarding grandmother. This time around it’s about a grandfather trying to remember who he was. It’s as if the venue is becoming the Dementia Theatre.But this tale is also more abstract. Live music by Sam Elwin, sound loops and evocative projections weave a tale of confusion and isolation. Music, movement and background projections by Will Monk underscore the unsettling environment. For both grandfather and granddaughter. Both are struggling to find a place in the world. Both are in a state of flux. This is a minimalist piece. Part of it’s intent is to repeat in trying to remember the past and…

Depression and abuse: The Distance You Have Come @Cockpittheatre

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Scott Alan’s song cycle The Distance You Have Come gets a star quality injection with it’s lineup of West End performers. If only the material could match them. Entering the theatre you’re warned you’re about to see a show with “adult themes pertaining to depression and abuse”. But that’s only part of the problem. Still, it’s great to see some of the best performers on the West End up close in the intimate surrounds of the Cockpit Theatre.There’s Andy Coxon and Adrian Hansel play two lovers who after a brief relationship get a dog gayby. There’s Emma Hatton and Dean John-Wilson who seem to have a Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman Eyes Wide Shut-style of relationship. And there’s Jodie Jacobs and Alexia Khadime who are best friends until a close encounter of the same sex kind complicates everything. Cue the depression, abuse and extended self reflection. And a curious scene involving hooded people wearing masks, stripping Dean John-Wilson down to his boxers.It can be challenging to have a song …

Dying: A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the (etc etc) @Finborough

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Halley Feiffer’s A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre of New York City explores the fine line between laughter and grief. It’s having its European premiere at the Finborough Theatre.In this case it is facing grief, cancer and death in a pink hospital room. Complete with wall art that’s evocative as much as it’s hideous. You have to laugh that even facing death stereotypes persist. But it could be a hospital anywhere. These waiting rooms for those between life and death with their safety signs, equipment all look the same. And for anyone that’s had to visit someone in such a room, there is something funny about that. Even if you aren’t working on a stand up routine. Feiffer, who dramatised a dysfunctional playwright and his actor daughter in I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard, explores the funny side of death here. It opens with Karla (Cariad Lloyd), a stand up comedian trying out jokes on her mother, Marcie (Kristin M…

Brief encounters: La Tragédie de Carmen @popupoperauk

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In La Tragédie de Carmen, Popup Opera have a distilled version of Bizet’s Carmen devised by Peter Brook in the early 1980s. The gypsies are gone and all that’s left is the love triangle. And some of the best tunes...Carmen in some ways can survive being messed about with. The Royal Opera afterall is presenting Carmen in a gorilla suit. Cutting out large chunks of the story and setting it during the Spanish Civil War makes less sense. And in the venue of the Peckham Asylum the sightlines were a bit challenging. But it still works better than expected. Popup Opera is known for their fresh take on comic operas that tour around the country. But they are on a winner with a more dramatic piece for their autumn season. It doesn’t mess about getting to the best arias. And it helps they’ve assembled a youthful and impressive quartet to bring out the passion.Chloe Latchmore dazzles as Carmen, using her body and her voice as the seductive and sensual woman. She holds your attention with her clea…