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Some mothers do have them: Small Change @omnibustheatre

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With time often comes perspective, but in Peter Gill's memory play Small Change, time is less kind. The march of time has left behind a hazy recollection of events, missed opportunities and cues. Nothing seems to be what it is or was. For the audience, if you're lost trying to follow what's happening or unfolding, it shouldn't matter. And not just because if you’re like me it has been a while since seeing something at the theatre in person. The characters are most likely lost too. Its currently playing at the Omnibus Theatre in Clapham. The story takes place on the east side of Cardiff in both the 1950s and 1970s (time is a bit relative here). In the later period, Gerard (Andy Rush) is trying to find the moments in his life that made him who he is —growing up Catholic in the 1950s in Cardiff with his stern talking mother,  Mrs Harte (Sioned Jones). But his relationship with his neighbour and best friend Vincent (Toby Gordon) causes the most moments of reflection. From l

Beauty fades: Dorian A Rock Musical

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Usually, rock stars either die young or fade into obscurity as they become old and weathered. If they’re lucky, they will get tour with their greatest hits or get on some celebrity television show. But when it's a rock star by the name of Dorian, you know that he's going to be a baby-faced singer with a few skeletons in the attic. Or at least a portrait that's a bit suspect. Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, serves as the inspiration for this story of an eternally young rock star who wants to discover love. The electro-pop soundtrack makes it more like a nineteen-nineties pop musical than a rock musical. But it's melodramatic enough to hold interest as this Dorian takes off with both song and his heart. Although I was hoping that fate would befall Dorian like other nineties stars once he destroys the painting. Such as morphing into resembling a cab driver and  shouting about conspiracy theories . In this case, however it’s a faithful rendition of Wilde’s story. 

No small parts: Friend (The One With Gunther) @onewithgunther

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Suppose you have neither the time nor the intellect to sit through 236 episodes of Friends on Netflix. In that case, thankfully, writer and performer Brendan Murphy distils the ten seasons into his show, Friend (The One With Gunther), as told by Gunther, that guy who manages the coffee shop. The coffee shop is where much of the action of the show takes place. It's a strange location that looks like the show's creators couldn't work out whether it should be a bar, a diner or somebody's living room. But as acknowledged here, Gunther was there (albeit more prominently from season two), and so he is the best man to give his view on the goings on. And since the Friends characters always talked so loudly in the coffee shop, he could hear everything.It's part recap and part piss-take. The latter suits if you missed all ten series of the primarily white, often homophobic yet still curiously popular series.  Murphy takes us back to a different time and place. The nineties. B

Fear of missing out: A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) @SilentUproarPro

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When you chose to see a show called A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) , you know that something serious will get an upbeat musical cabaret treatment. But the cast's enthusiasm makes this show about discovering that it is ok not to be ok both compelling and a delight. It focuses on Sally as she comes to terms with understanding what it means to be depressed. From her first feelings of not being there in the moment. To the denials that anything is wrong. To the false dawns that she's made a breakthrough and managing it. And while a show about depression and suicide may not be for everyone, every stage is covered with a healthy dose of curiosity and perspective. And after nearly 18 months of lockdowns, the struggles of young people to find their way and carve out a future for themselves seems even more relevant.  Written by Jon Brittain, it's more of a show than a play. With props on stage and a cast of three that play a range of roles in Sally's life. As the s

Life without art: Theatre Channel Episode Seven @thetheatrechannel

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Regents Park and the spaces around Regents Park Open Air Theatre transform into a magical world full of Rodgers and Hammerstein music in the latest episode of the Theatre Channel . Audition waiting rooms. Picnics in the park. Even the pond geese feature in this reinterpretation of the classic songs from the Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook. Theatres are still playing to half capacity since being an afterthought in the great unlock down. And so, the Theatre Channel’s episodes continue to serve as a reminder about what we’re missing. This time around, it’s singing and dancing in the park. Without the garbage or hordes of people mulling about.  Performances in and around the park taking a fresh look at the Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook include Michael Xavier performing Climb Every Mountain/You’ll Never Walk Alone’ from The Sound of Music and Carousel on an empty stage. Josefina Gabrielle in an alfresco take on The Gentleman Is a Dope’ from Allegro. And Caroline Sheen turning Whistle A

Aviatrix or bust: Lone Flyer @jstheatre

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Lone Flyer is about taking chances and living a little. Celebrating the life of British pilot Amy Johnson, the idea of flying to bring people together seems a novel idea living in the era of traffic light restrictions and endless swabs. And so, Lone Flyer takes on new meaning for escapism at the Jermyn Street Theatre . Charts the highs and lows of living in early 20th century Britain, it's also one woman's story about escaping the typing pool and living a little. Amy Johnson decided to fly to Australia because it was there. And no other woman had done it. And so, with a bit of luck and flying mostly to outposts of the old Empire so she could count on their support, she did it. And all on a second-hand aeroplane. For an antipodean with no chance of flying to Australia anytime soon, given the lack of flights and long waiting lists, it's enugh to give you pause.  In this two-handler play, first seen at the Watermill Theatre, Writer Ade Morris contrasts her improbable rise to f

Two handers: No Strings Attached @KingsHeadThtr

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It seems apt that the first live theatre to watch since the pandemic kicked off in 2020 was about two men not entirely sure about who they are after an awkward encounter. After all, adjusting to new routines of mask-wearing, restrictions, bubble seating. It all feels just as awkward and enthralling as two men hooking up in a London car park for the first time. Charles Entsie’s No Strings Attached was to open the Kings Head Theatre in Spring 2020. But the delay has been worth it. Presented in an empty shop space in Islington Square, it feels more like you’re in a car park where the action takes place. And performing in an empty shop space is a reminder (whether intended or not), of the impact the year has had on retail and hospitality.  There are no names. There’s only a man (Razak Osman) and a boy (Shak Benjamin). Opening after the end of a brief encounter, the man tries to strike upon a conversation with the boy for reasons that aren’t entirely clear initially.  An awkward conversati

Streaming from a long way home: Side by Side

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Ann Hampton Callaway and her sister Liz Callaway are reunited at Ann's home in Tucson to stream their concert Side By Side to our homes. Both are award-winning artists with a reputation for insightful interpretations of popular songs, broadway and jazz, along with their compositions. Last seen in London at the Hippodrome in 2015 , the stream captures some of the magic of their live cabaret performances.  Their last collaboration, Sibling Revelry, sent up the idea they were brutal competitors. The focus here is more on getting together and singing some songs. Microphones may not work (or get dropped), lyrics get messed up, but they carry on with the spirit of being together and making music.   Songs include Melissa Manchester's Come In From the Rain, songs by Sondheim and Stephen Schwartz. There's also a medley of songs they used to sing growing up from the back of the car to taunt their parents on long drives. You could imagine their parents weighing up whether to be annoy