Featured Post

Grief and fluff: Tiger @OmnibusTheatre

Death is something we all will face. After all, nobody gets out of here alive. But how do you get past it when grief is all you can feel? And this is the premise of Tiger, currently playing at Omnibus Theatre . It's a fascinating exploration of the stages of grief. And with a terrific cast to take you on this journey, it's an endearing and sweet story that has you engaged from the start, wondering what will happen next.  We are introduced to Alice (Poppy Allen-Quarmby) as she gives a stand-up routine. It's not particularly funny and starts to veer into the topic of dying. Something isn't right. She used to be good at this but can't move forward. Soon, she is back in her London apartment with her partner Oli (Luke Nunn), discussing that they need to get a lodger to make ends meet.  Oli is a doctor working night shifts at the local NHS hospital. Alice is not ready to face a return to stand up or anything. So when the first potential lodger arrives (Meg Lewis), looking

Disorder in the house: This House

This House by James Graham, back for return season at The National Theatre, is a political drama (and comedy) that manages to capture the excitement and the insanity of its time. It covers the period between 1974 to 1979 which was the last time there was a minority government running the country. With a wafer-thin majority the government was not expected to survive and it was the role of the whips, who enforce party unity in voting, to ensure its survival or bring it down.

While it is full of some of the spectacle set pieces of the time such as a near riot in the Commons and Big Ben breaking down, what is more remarkable is how it sheds some light on the relationships that developed in the period both within the parties and across party lines. It is part epic drama with a booming soundtrack supplied by a supporting band, and part series of small scale personal dramas from people passionate about something.
You don't really get to know what that something the characters are passionate about. It is either assumed knowledge or perhaps irrelevant to the play and its characters. Although by doing so it's tempting to root for the government whips forgetting that they were trying to get the numbers to nationalise vast swathes of industries and bring the country to its knees. On the other side, there is only a brief reference to the need for a new free market way that new lady would bring. But the inherent conflict that comes with a Parliamentary system makes for fun, exciting drama, even if it is wallowing in everything that is wrong and out of date with the system.

While there is a fine (and large) ensemble cast, key to the drama are the roles played by Charles Edwards and Reece Dinsdale as the deputy whips from each party. They are great parts which highlight the farcical nature of the times, class differences and a level of respect for each other. They keep channels of communication open, while everything else around them is chaotic.

For the most part the play avoids sentimentality and obvious references to the future (although there is probably not much to be compared with the current minority government). It is a fascinating work that weaves together facts with anecdotes and dramatisations. It is up for several Oliver Nominations and it is easy to see the appeal. And despite the subject matter it is a surprisingly intelligent and entertaining evening at the theatre. It will be part of the National Theatre Live season later this year as well. Worth a look.

Popular posts from this blog

Opera and full frontal nudity: Rigoletto

Fantasies: Afterglow @Swkplay

Play ball: Damn Yankees @LandorTheatre