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Showing posts from April, 2019

Gay gore: Tumulus @Sohotheatre

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Something is unnerving about Tumulus. It isn't just that some audience members are asked if they want apple juice or Lucozade before the piece begins (although that's pretty weird too if you're unfamiliar with the subject matter). But it's that the show will leave you with the thought that in the London gay community there are a group of professional men who are perfectly happy to let you die. Just not in their own flats. So beware partying with anyone with easy access to Hampstead Heath.

A short piece it's about respectable professional Anthony (Ciarán Owens). He has a stable job and a penchant for young boys and 36-hour chemsex parties. When his ex-lover is found dead on Hampstead Heath was it just another overdose that happens every week. Or was it something more sinister?

The life of Anthony, his addictions and the people around him weave together like a gay gore whodunnit. But writer Christopher Williams creates a funny and playful account of life in London, …

A class of their own: HMS Pinafore @KingsHeadThtr

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Charles Court Opera's production of Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore takes life below deck to a new level. Set on a bright yellow submarine in the 1960s, it is a treat. Particularly with some excellent vocal singing from the small cast. It's currently playing at the Kings Head Theatre.

As a satire on the enduring preoccupation by the English on class, the piece never feels dated. So shifting the time and place doesn't seem such a bad thing. It's full title HMS Pinafore, or, the lass that loved a sailor pretty much sums up the story. The captain of the HMS Pinafore intends his daughter to marry the first Lord of the Admiralty, but she is in love with a lower-class sailor.

Here with a small cast while the chorus is reduced, it allows us to focus on the main action. And the music under the direction of David Eaton on keyboard. The cast works well to balance the demands of the music with the comic elements of the piece.


As the lovestruck sailor Ralph Rackstraw, Phi…

Animal Urges: Awkward Conversations with Animals I F*cked @kingsheadthtr

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Awkward Conversations with Animals I’ve F*cked certainly has an evocative and attention-grabbing title. There’s also an animal-like performance by Linus Karp. He’s part awkward young man, part woodland creature and so he holds your attention. But once you realise the animals are real the rest becomes a letdown. It’s less awkward conversations and more repetitive conversations. The species changes but it’s the same story. It’s currently playing at Kings Head Theatre.

It opens in what looks like a student dorm room. Dirty sheets, dirty clothes and food are strewn across the floor. And Bobby is lying there on the bed. It’s the morning after the night before. And then he starts talking. Soon you realise that the trying on the dog collar is not quite role-playing. 



Next, he moves on to conversations with cats. Then sheep, monkeys and bears. Sure the conversations touch on his life and loneliness. There’s a hint about mental illness. But none of this is particularly convincing. The attempt …

Flying and flexing: A Simple Space @UnderbellyFest

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Gravity and Other Myths return to the Underbelly Festival on the South Bank with their thrilling minimalist and physical show, A Simple Space. The piece strips back the art of circus performance until it’s just skin and muscle. Leaving you amazed by the feats of endurance, strength and precision.

It’s been four years since Gravity and Other Myths had this show on the South Bank. And while the performers have changed, the sense of playful wonder remains. And it’s still exciting seeing performers skip rope, handstand and backflip to the point of exhaustion.


This is not a show that makes circus art look easy. The show progresses through various feats of endurance including throwing, catching and falling. The opening scene features each performer shouting out they’re falling and wait for another performer to catch them. It’s an evocative opener and sets the tone for various set pieces that play on the theme of gravity-defying circus acts.

Audience participation includes an endurance piece…