Posts

Featured Post

Come inside and take a seat: Unfamiliar at home

Image
Continuing the online theatrical experiences is Unfamiliar at Home . Streamed online using the all-too-familiar office video conferencing facilities of Zoom, it brings to life the trials of domestic life, being queer and the desire for a family. It's part performance, mixed media and office meeting. But it captures the ordinary and extraordinary lives of creative people living in improvised and unexpected domestic arrangements. The piece introduces us to Victor and Yorgos. They want to have children. Or at least that's what they think. But past run-ins with parents, the economic uncertainty of being artists and the struggle of finding a surrogate are barriers. And there's plenty of unsolicited advice about what makes a family and how to become queer parents. I was surprised none of the advice was about making childproof their home, but maybe nobody had seen their overstuffed bookcases until now. The story is autobiographical and at times intimate as it goes into the detail

Manhunt: In Search of a White Identity @TheActorsCentre

Image
After a summer of protests and counter-protests, In Search of a White Identity looks at what happens next. Patrick and Mickey are in a cell. Both were arrested at the same protest but from opposite sides. Mickey and his like-minded people have a beef with immigrants who have out-priced him at work or on the property ladder. So he hit some guy. And Patrick’s been arrested for threatening behaviour after getting caught up with a group who were trying to take down statues.  While sizing each other up, they realise they’d grown up in the same neighbourhood. Back then, everyone got on. Or so it seemed. Nostalgia gives way to darker, harsher memories of abuse, fear and poverty. And the search for a single cause of their grievances finds that it is the conversation rather than the rhetoric that  makes all the difference. Initially presented in 2019, it has been reimagined after the events of 2020. After all, there was a time over the summer that Saturday afternoon around Trafalgar Square was

Goodbye to London: Falling Stars @Gingerqmedia @TheUnionTheatre @stream_theatre

Image
A lost songbook in an antique shop on East Finchley High Road in London could be a metaphor for a lost London. Peter Polycarpou’s discovery of a songbook full of songs from the 1920s is the basis of a song cycle that pays homage to the composers and creators of some of the most memorable and influential songs of the time. But they also capture the escapist mood sought during a different time and place.  Watching  Falling Stars online  at the end of 2020 during a second lockdown feels like reminiscing over a lost London and what it was like before March when you could pop out for an evening at a small theatre and get lost in some terrific storytelling or music-making. It’s a part education of the early twentieth-century songbook, and part entertainment as Peter Polycarpou and Sally Ann Triplett interpret the songs and music of Chaplin, Irving Berlin, Buddy De-Silva, Arthur Freed and Meredith Wilson. The songs about better days, loss and reflection hark back to a different time and p

Missing live theatre or The Death of England: Delroy

Image
Seeing the first instalment of Death of England at the National Theatre by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams seems like a lifetime ago. But it was only February. There in the smaller Dorfman Theatre 450 of use crammed into the intimate space to watch a piece about identity, race and class in Britain. Fast forward nine months of the pandemic, with lockdowns, excess deaths, Black Lives Matter, and "clapping for carers" we're back at the National. But this time around it's a black man who is talking about identity, race and class. And this time everyone is sitting apart wearing masks.  Even watching in the socially distanced space of the Olivier, it did not diminish the power of what the show has to say. The Olivier has been reconfigured to a theatre in the round seating up to 500. But with signs throughout the theatre reminding everyone to keep their “social-racial-distance”, you were never far away from being reminded that all is not well either in the state of the theatre

The elephant in the room: Elephant’s Graveyard @TheProdExch

Image
Saturday is the last day to catch the live stream of Elephants Graveyard . It's a title that piqued my interest, assuming that it was about a bar where old people go and drink. But it's not that. Instead, it's a combination of oral history, legend and direct to camera straight-faced explanation of the only known lynching of an elephant. Adapted well to the world of COVID with sharp cuts, circus-themed backdrops and the now-familiar multiple camera squares of video streams.  It's not live theatre, but it's a welcome online diversion with an entertaining story that explores spectacle, violence, rumours and revenge. All the things that seem to be near and dear to our hearts at the moment.  Written by George Brant, it is set in 1914 in a small forgotten town in Tennessee where people were bored. So a circus coming to town was a chance to escape boredom and have some fun. But during the parade and freak accident happens. Soon rumours are spreading that culminates in this

Signs of life online and in concert...

Image
While theatre is slowly showing signs of reopening in the coming month I’ve seen my first show indoors. In Italy. A concert. No temperature checks just leave your name and wear a mask throughout the concert. And sit relatively apart from strangers within a small church where the concert was taking place. It was great to see something. Anything. After so many months.  The transmission rates are lower in Italy, and they do appear to be taking Covid19 a lot more seriously than in the UK. Leaving your name and phone number is a requirement. Posters are everywhere reminding people to wash their hands and keep a distance. Indoor spaces are well ventilated. Everyone wears a mask without making a fuss. Hopefully following these simple rules without over-complicating things will allow venues to open up where possible.  Until then, The Public Campaign for the Arts has launched a new online platform, creating an unprecedented support link between UK citizens and their cultural organisations. The

Appeals and live streams: Madness of King George III @NottmPlayhouse

Image
The National Theatre live streams at home continue this week with the Nottingham Playhouse production the Madness of King George III available from Thursday. Adam Penford’s production was filmed from the Nottingham Playhouse stage in 2018. The cast includes Mark Gatiss, Adrian Scarborough and Debra Gillett. The production will be available for free. But  Nottingham Playhouse hopes that viewers will take the opportunity to donate to its Curtain Up Appeal and contribute to the re-opening and future of the theatre. Donations to the Curtain Up Appeal can be made via their website or by texting NOTTS 10 to 70085 to donate £10 or text NOTTS 20 to 70085 to donate £20. Check their website for the latest news regarding Nottingham Playhouse and its reaction to Covid-19.

Supporting local fringe: House to House @BrxHouseTheatre

Image
Brixton House, which formerly was known as Ovalhouse theatre, opens at its new location in Spring 2021. Meanwhile, they're taking the opportunity during lockdown to look back on some highlights from the Ovalhouse days. Called House To House , Filmed by LIVR , the 360° virtual reality theatre platform will feature their past productions. Random Selfies (4 June) from Mike Kenny, WHITE (11 June) and GREY  (18 June) from Koko Brown, and Derailed (25 June) from Little Soldier will each be available free on the Brixton House website for one week only. You can also donate to Brixton House on their website .